Farage fever to reach new heights?
Before the death of Lady Thatcher, Farage was only party leader with a positive poll rating. Current events can only help that to go up
The most fascinating thing about the drama surrounding Lady Thatcher’s death and the aftermath is its possible effects on future elections (especially the local ones coming up soon). Speculation has provided a good distraction from the vile hate coming from the far-left.
There were those who were discussing a “Thatcher bounce” for the Conservatives as nostalgia caused Conservatives, both current and lapsed, to rally round. As far as polling goes that may be the case – but no one is sure how long it will last.
UKIP is also benefiting from the nostalgia – but in this case for a strong leader that seems in tune with the nation. UKIP voters are looking for a strong leader that speaks to them, someone who listens to them. In short they are looking for a modern Lady Thatcher. Whether you agree or not, from what we have seen of UKIP poll ratings and the success of the listening tour, that mantle is clearly placed with Farage (for now).
Gone are the days when UKIP events were seen as being filled with cranks with a grudge. Check out the statement from Fraser Nelson in the “Torygraph” who attended one such stop:
“No one seemed even to vaguely conform to the Prime Minister’s now infamous description of Ukip supporters as ‘fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists’.”
Hell even Nick Cohen, no friend of the right, has realised that UKIP is a genuine force, not fringe or racist, but serious. Granted he wheels a few clichéd tropes about the party as you might expect. But for someone writing in the Observer, making it clear that UKIP is not “BNP in suits”, it is quite a significant event. The following conclusion should send a twitch of fear down the spine of loyal Tories:
“It is Cameron's fear, rather than any faith in the opinion polls or admiration for the statesmanlike qualities of Ed Miliband, that suggests to me the Conservatives may be in more trouble than they seem.”
And even supporters of Thatcher and the Conservatives have been concerned by the spectacle that Cameron chose to put on for Thatcher’s funeral. Peter Oborne had this to say about the ceremony”:
“I am afraid that the decision to turn Lady Thatcher's funeral into a state occasion was a constitutional innovation and, like almost all such innovations, both foolish and wrong."
Will those on the right in retrospect cringe at Cameron saying “I think in a way we're all Thatcherite”? And does that help them in areas of the country where memories of Thatcher are not as rosy as one would hope.
Ultimately it may be irrelevant if Cameron wants to engage the UKIP threat or not. With the death of Margaret Thatcher, his weak leadership, and his inability to win an election against the much-maligned Gordon Brown being highlighted again, Britons are looking for a strong strident leader who reminds them of a time when the UK was striving forward.
Before the death of Lady Thatcher, Farage was only party leader with a positive poll rating. Current events can only help that to go up. Expectations are high with Farage needing to deliver on the post-Eastleigh wave.
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