Mainstream Britain still doesn't understand UKIP
People recoil from the high moral tone adopted by parties that have had members of parliament jailed for fiddling expenses, or have held abominable views on matters such as terrorism or Leftist dictators. But the real point is that a new political era has just begun
You just get the feeling, a matter of days before the European elections, that the mainstream political parties and media in Britain have at last understood that smears and slurs against UKIP not only don't work but are actually counter-productive.
They understand that because they can see the opinion polls as clearly as the rest of us. So, well done for understanding the blindingly obvious: no, smears and slurs against UKIP don't work. What they still don't understand is why.
The key point about UKIP is not, except to its activist core, that it is a paragon of virtue. Indeed, many people who admire what Nigel Farage has done and will vote UKIP on Thursday are well aware that the party does not yet even have a fully worked out manifesto for power. But this isn't a Westminster election, so that doesn't matter.
What people like about UKIP is that it treats them as equals, adults even! Many millions, tens of millions, of serious and decent and intelligent Britons have daily conversations about the unsustainability of unlimited immigration due to European decision making processes they are excluded from.
They're not racist, and they rightly get very angry indeed when dishonest and not especially bright journalists and politicians start directly or indirectly smearing them as such.
It gets even worse because of the high moral tone that is adopted by political parties that have had members of parliament sent to prison for fiddling expenses, or have just held abominable views such as former LibDem peer Jenny Tonge talking about the circumstances in which she might become a suicide bomber, or Labour's Harriet Harman describing blood stained dictator Fidel Castro, responsible for at least 15-17,000 murders, as a "hero of the Left."
Please show us a single remark from a UKIP MEP that even comes close to such levels of utter moral degradation.
In other words, the smears and slurs are not just the tactical mistake that the cronies in the Westminster Bubble have now recognised. The people pushing these smears and slurs aren't in any position to patronise, or deliver moral lectures to anyone.
And what's really changed with the digital revolution is that it's all so transparent. It took 30 seconds in total to find those links (above) to the remarks by Tonge and Harman. Back in the analogue era it would have taken a trip to the library, and then there wouldn't have been an outlet like The Commentator to get it out in the public domain anyway.
If the smear campaign had taken place a decade ago, it would probably have worked. They'd have closed UKIP down. But in the digital era not only is everything much more transparent, you can do something about it. And that's the big deal.
The mainstream parties and their cronies in the media have lost control of the public space. And for all their kicking and screaming, there's nothing they can do to get that control back.
The real significance of UKIP is that it is both symptom and cause of an entirely new political era. And if you think it's only a flash in the pan, it's a new political era you just aren't going to be part of.
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