The Sunday Mirror reports that its undercover reporters witnessed “Racist jokes, boozed-up delegates and champagne boasts on board £1m yacht” at UKIP’s Spring Conference this week.
While predictably irked by jokes that were intentionally non-politically correct, the Sunday Mirror’s reporting highlights a dark side of UKIP that isn’t necessarily to do with what it calls “racism”, or even the (shocking!) fact that people get drunk at political conferences.
Instead, the real rub of the Sunday Mirror‘s piece, whether the editors know it or not, is to do with the inherent snobbery and arrogance that has permeated throughout the party over the past 24 months.
Recent by-election results and polling figures have instilled an ‘untouchable’ feeling in the minds of many UKIPers, especially the young ones. The Sunday Mirror reported that Sean Howlett, a ‘rising star’ in the party, boasted that both he and his friend Dan Jukes would be Members of Parliament within a decade.
I’ve actually heard some senior UKIPers claim that the party could have “over 20” Members of Parliament after the 2015 general election – a disturbing disconnect from electoral reality.
While the Sunday Mirror goes to extreme lengths to portray Howlett and his UKIP colleagues as toffs of some sort (read: “glugging Chardonnay” as if you can’t get a bottle for £4 at Tesco), the real problem UKIP faces is to do with its increasing arrogance and ostensible disdain for certain parts of the electorate.
Moaning about legitimate refugees or poor areas of Britain is not going to endear us further towards UKIP. Some of their gripes may be correct, but instead of negativity, UKIP should be concerning itself with positive messaging, and steps forward for Britain.
If not, they will soon find themselves where the Conservative and Labour parties have ended up: broadly contemptuous of the electorate, and taking their party bases for granted.