UKIP isn't "anti-politics" it's just anti "their" politics

It takes a strange kind of arrogance to believe that because someone disagrees with your view of how the polity should be ordered they must be anti-politics. Not anti-my-politics. Not anti-establishment politics. Not anti-anti-democratic politics. Just plain old anti-politics

Farage_pint
Cheers Nigel!
The_commentator_logo_updated9
the commentator
On 18 April 2014 10:58

A spectre is haunting UKIP; the spectre of being labelled an "anti-politics" party. There's probably a more elegant way of expressing the point, but one thing is undeniable: wherever you look in the mainstream media Nigel Farage and company are now routinely described as the party that is against politics itself.

It takes a strange kind of arrogance to believe that because someone disagrees with your view of how the polity should be ordered they must be anti-politics. Not anti-my-politics. Not anti-establishment politics. Not anti-anti-democratic politics. Just plain old anti-politics.

Talk about missing the point. A cocooned and self-referential Westminster bubble simply cannot conceive of anything outside of itself. But it is that very ability to think and act outside the bubble that has made UKIP into nothing less than a revolutionary phenomenon in British politics.

Pause and think about what they have done for a moment. But for UKIP there wouldn't have been the slightest chance of a referendum on British membership of the EU, something very political indeed. But for UKIP David Cameron might well be sailing on the back of a recovering economy into a second term victory with a Conservative majority.

As it is, all UKIP has to do is take five or six percentage points from the Conservative vote -- which it probably will -- to deprive Cameron of his majority, dump the Tories into opposition, the Lib-Dems into oblivion, and Ed Miliband into Downing Street. Sounds pretty political to us.

Ah yes, opponents of this line of reasoning would retort, of course there are political ramifications, but UKIP is defined by what it opposes not what it supports.

Hang on. First there's basic logic.

To oppose something, unlimited immigration from the EU for example, is necessarily to support an alternative ie. a more controlled immigration policy, along the lines of Canada for example. Once again, the fact that mainstream parties have all signed up to something doesn't make UKIP anti-politics because it opposes what they have signed up for. It just means they are anti their politics.

The point is redoubled with reference to UKIP's flagship policy: opposition to Britain's membership of the EU. UKIP consistently frames its hostility to the EU not, as it its critics say, in terms of xenophobia but in terms of a very positive celebration of national democracy. That's not anti-politics, it's pro-democratic politics.

If UKIP does not have as extensive a policy programme for government as the establishment Westminister parties, then that is easily explained because UKIP isn't a Westminister party. The electoral system excludes them. If that system were changed so would UKIP's policy programme.

In the end, it all smacks of desperation. The established parties have run out of ideas. If anyone is anti-politics it is they for failing to appreciate that the public increasingly regards them as out of touch with their most basic concerns. Or is the 20 percent of the British public that backs UKIP anti-politics too?

Bring on the Conservative, Labour or Lib-Dem spokesman that has the courage to say that out loud.

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