Various commentators have recently started to talk about a “move to the left” and “departure of libertarianism” within UKIP. As a member of UKIP’s Board of Directors (we call it the National Executive Committee) I want to map out where I believe the party is, and where it intends to go over the next few years.
UKIP is late comer to the political scene in the UK and was primarily a single issue party until the late 2000s, when the party started to take a view on not just “who” should run the affairs of Britain (EU vs UK), but “how” they should be run post European Union exit.
The narrative UKIP started to take in 2009 was a libertarian one: small state, low taxes etc. Naturally this appealed to many of those in the Conservative Party. However, the party also had (and still does) strong policies in law and order, immigration, and of course Europe – all of which appeal to those in what we might phrase are “traditional old Labour heartlands”.
All parties evolve with time and it is sensible that they do so. Do the Conservatives still oppose the minimum wage, or promote Section 28? Of course not…
In our constitution, UKIP is still a “libertarian party”. Sure, our internet strapline no longer reads “a libertarian, non-racist party seeking withdrawal from the European Union” – but this is a change of political professionalism not policy departure.
There is no need to say we are not a racist party – we never were, and never will be – to even mention this is to play into the far left’s deceitful narrative of UKIP. Also, does the average chap on the streets of Basingstoke or Bromley know the philosophical attractions of Neo Classical Liberalism? Probably not – so, best communicate on a level we all understand.
A successful and strong economy produces rich people – the old Labour supporters who now support UKIP know this. They get it. We don’t need to promote any counter-productive ‘eat the rich’ policies to attract Labour supporters. There are lots of other parties for them to vote for if they want that. Sure, some of our spokesmen used conference to float some of their own personal exotic ideas (yes, for better or worse our conference is not micro managed like others) but these ideas will not be in the manifesto.
When it comes to taxation, celebrating wealth creation, and promoting individual responsibility: I have no doubt our manifesto will be the soundest of all the major political parties.
You’ve seen a glimpse of these so far: zero percent inheritance tax, cutting the 45p rate back down to 40p i.e. back to pre-Brown/Marxist inspired levels (note: the top rate of income tax with NIC in the UK was 52 percent – in Communist China its 45 percent, and Cuba 50 percent…) – this should give you a flavour of the direction of our party.
You wont find either of these policies in Cameron’s Conservative Party manifesto. The recent defections we have seen at a parliamentary level should also help guide people where we stand – i.e. we are not attracting the Dianne Abbotts and Ken Livingstones of the world…
As I’ve said before – it is perfectly rational to appeal to voters of all political colours. Those who have previously identified themselves as Labour but now feel let down by Brown/Miliband & Co. about the pace, size, and quality of immigration into the UK are welcome in our party with open arms.
In short we are appealing to a broader spectrum of voters than both the Tories and Labour.