Can UKIP resolve their existential EU referendum paradox?
Without UKIP there would be no 2017 EU referendum. But if the Out side wins they could become irrelevant because they "won". If the In side wins they could become irrelevant because they "lost". They need to resolve the paradox, via a massive new push in political ideas, and electoral reform
What happens when your maximal ambitions have been realised? Sometimes it can provoke a horror-movie-level crisis. UKIP could easily get into one of those nightmare situations due to the 2017 referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.
One note of respectful preamble; then to business.
Without UKIP, there would not be a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. Some Kippers out there still think Cameron will find a way out of it anyway.
Not unless he wants to join the Tony Blair one-man club of fanatically hated ex-leaders. He can't retain any credibility whatsoever without making good on the promise. It's going to happen.
And so to UKIP. Here's the problem, and the paradox.
If the British people vote to stay in the EU, UKIP risks irrelevance. The reason is that 90 percent of their voter appeal depends on Britain leaving.
First off, if we vote to remain in the EU, their flagship policy of leaving becomes moot for a generation.
Second, UKIP's main vote-winner policy idea is the (admirable) proposition that we should adopt an Australian-style points system on immigration. But if we remain in the EU, that's gone.
Third, significant elements of the new UKIP economic-social agenda are predicated on the availability of the funds that we would have at our disposal due to not being members of the EU. Want to cut taxes, fund welfare? Fine, all those billions we waste on Brussels are ours to spend as we like.
But if Britons vote to stay in the EU, UKIP won't have those funds to spend.
So, what if Britain votes to leave the EU?
No help here for UKIP either. Nigel Farage achieves his maximal aim; but now that it's all said and done, he still has one MP in Parliament and major political parties with long histories that will re-adjust in 3 seconds flat.
Neither Conservatives nor Labour are going to change an election system that excludes rivals and keeps them in place, without a struggle.
So, logic dictates, if UKIP is to have a future it is going to have to do two things:
1) Mount a massive campaign to abolish the corrupt and unfit first-past-the-post electoral system;
2) Provide a totally new agenda for British politics that will capture the hearts and minds of the millions of people that would need to be energised to participate in such a campaign.
Tough stuff. But, for UKIP, this is existential. Are they up to it?
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