The crazy bastards only went and did it. Despite a concerted slur campaign against it, the UK Independence Party has triumphed at the local council elections, stealing dozens of seats from the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Once all the votes are counted, it’s unlikely Ukip will control a single council, but its surge in support still represents a dramatic shift in the political landscape.
Suffice to say, the major parties are furious – primarily with the selfish ingrates who voted against the status quo. For the past twenty years, the political elite has peddled a narrative which says that our society is comprised of assorted victim groups – the poor, the oppressed, ethnic minorities, and the sexually different – whose welfare can only be assured by an Olympian council of politicos and their advice-ready supporters.
Watching the laws and listening to the noises that pour from this elite, one might think that hardly anyone remains who wants to be left alone to work hard, respect the law, or observe traditional values. The result of yesterday’s elections suggests otherwise.
The Tories will be particularly angry, because Ukip has split the conservative vote, and increased the likelihood of a Labour victory at the next general election. As far as many are concerned, Ukippers are just hidebound fogeys, who have failed to get with the programme.
While they were trimming their hedges and swapping racist jokes, the world turned, and their obsessions with national sovereignty and small government ended up in the dustbin of history, alongside poorhouses and slavery. If they knew what was good for them, they would ditch their outmoded ideals and get aboard the Big State bandwagon.
The arrogance of the Conservative Party shows how far it has drifted from the interests of its traditional support. Perhaps it thinks there are votes to be had in pandering to the victim culture, or is determined to shake off the ‘nasty’ tag, or simply prefers the opinions of the chattering classes to those of the lumpen masses. Whatever the reason, it has only pushed the party closer to the movements it once defined itself against.
Those flocking to Ukip see the Tories splashing around in the same tepid lagoon as Labour and the Lib-Dems, while trying to pass themselves off as bold seafarers. Instead of offering an alternative to the liberal-left consensus, they’re helping to define it.
A supersized state, microregulation, sieve-like borders, subservience to Brussels, forelock-tugging deference to ‘the experts’ – these are the stuff of modern government, and the Tories are guilty of perpetuating them. Because Ukip has these evils in its sights, it is now the only radical party of any significance in Britain today.
Even the Left will be alarmed by Ukip gains. In the north of England, Labour has lost voters who realise that under the current political orthodoxy you can’t do much to improve your lot, protect your interests or speak your mind, without becoming one of the designated bad guys.
They’re starting to understand that the political establishment Labour helped construct only cares about the people that give it a pretext for extending its power, making it increasingly indifferent to the aspirational working classes.
“So what?” cry the naysayers. “Ukip won’t win any seats at the next general election, so a vote for them is a vote wasted.” Taken to its logical conclusion, this reasoning would require people vote for parties whose policies they actively dislike.
But more to the point, it implies that the days when new political movements could spring up and take power – as Labour did in the early 20th Century – are over. Apparently, we now live in a post-historical age, where all the big arguments have been settled, and the last thing we need are a bunch of Johnny-come-latelys putting ideas into people’s heads. The electorate would beg to differ.
Even if Ukip has no short-term chance of forming a government, it has become an effective agent for change, just as the Tea Party movement has in the US. Not long ago, it was impossible to raise the issue of immigration without being labelled a racist, or to question the growth of the EU without being called a Little Englander, or to query any of the other points on the liberal-left agenda without being branded a bigot, a bully or a corporate shill. Ukip has changed all that. It has forced these issues onto the agenda, and they’re there to stay.
In trying to shoot down Ukip, and Nigel Farage in particular, the mainstream media has only revealed its own intolerance of divergent opinion, and shown how closely it works with the political establishment.
In the wake of the election, it will try to convince us that the results are of little consequence, but in truth they’ve changed everything. If the Conservatives ignore the message that voters are sending them, they face certain defeat at the next general election. That alone tells us that Ukip is doing its job.