Why Labour is to Blame for UKIP

Wings over Scotland

 

Posted on May 03, 2013 by Rev. Stuart Campbell

 

This shouldn’t take long.

Since 1997, and particularly since 2001, what passes for the political ideology of the Labour Party in Britain could be accurately summed up in one short phrase: 

“Be the smallest possible single step to the left of the Tories”

Protected by the grossly undemocratic First Past The Post electoral system – which discriminates massively against third parties and ensures that Labour or the Tories can secure huge, unassailable majorities on barely more than a third of the vote – Tony Blair’s brilliant, ruinous flash of political inspiration was the willingness to fully grasp the implication of that fact: that Labour could effectively all but become the Tories and still capture the left-wing vote, because it had nowhere else viable to go.

tubetrain

 

A bit like when there’s someone breathing right down your neck on a crowded train, that sent the Tories shuffling ever further along the political spectrum in an attempt to put some distance between them and their opponents, only to be confounded as Labour doggedly matched them step for step, constantly pressing their manifesto-groins into the Tories’ rear like some sort of gruesome sex pest. 

The phenomenon has only become more marked since Labour lost power. Shadow Cabinet members now line up to appear on the news promising to be tougher on immigration and tougher on the poor. (So desperate, in fact, are Labour not to be seen as “soft” on welfare they’re actually to the right of UKIP on the subject.) When Johann Lamont talks of changing the devolution settlement, it’s not in terms of bringing more powers to Scotland but more “responsibilities”, echoing precisely the words of Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson.

(Poor old Scottish Labour still haven’t managed to work out that the strategy that served the party so well south of the border doesn’t work in Scottish Parliament elections, because something approaching a fair electoral system DOES give voters more than a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledumber.)

At first glance this ought to seem like bad news for a party like UKIP. With the Tories pushed ever further to the right by Labour (David Cameron and George Osborne are, it’s widely agreed by both left and right in the UK press, pursuing policies even Margaret Thatcher would have shied away from), there ought to be no room for an even more right-wing Tory fringe party.

But there are two reasons it hasn’t worked out that way.

The first is simply a stroke of luck for Nigel Farage’s troops – the coalition has poisoned the Lib Dems, perhaps forever, which has liberated Labour from a threat on the left. With the Lib Dems hopelessly discredited on the left (and also electorally), Labour can worry even less about losing its core voters and keep pushing right.

But why does that suit UKIP, given that they don’t want the Tories encroaching on their ground? It works because with both major parties engaged in a consensus, the position of the “centre” changes radically.

Policies which would once have seemed extreme suddenly find themselves in the territory of respectability, because they’re only a little to the right of the party of government.

And while it seems counter-intuitive, the disintegration of the Lib Dems also frees up a “protest vote” element sickened by the two main parties, some of which will go to UKIP purely because it’s the only alternative party with what looks like any hope of getting anyone elected.

(An impression reinforced by the wildly disproportionate and friendly coverage the media, in particular the BBC, bestows on Farage, because he gives good TV. The Corporation recently awarded UKIP a “discretionary” extra party political broadcast, and this morning’s special election edition of BBC Breakfast was a quite extraordinary spectacle in which Farage was essentially allowed to interrogate the representatives of the other three parties as an interviewer.)

It might seem a stretch that Lib Dem voters would defect to UKIP, but not all Lib Dems are left-wingers. Some belong to the Nick Clegg “Orange Book” faction of the party, which is politically far closer to the Tories than the Lib Dems like to acknowledge, and some Lib Dem votes are tactical ones aimed at blocking Labour rather than the Tories, which could easily switch to UKIP for the same purpose.

For as long as Labour continue to handcuff themselves to the Tories in pursuit of Middle England votes, then, UKIP will continue to rise. And in the process, Labour will continue to dig itself deeper into a hole, pushing the terms of political discourse further and further onto the ground where it’s least comfortable and least trusted, and making it easier and easier for UKIP to dictate the agenda.

(With a side effect that Labour voters in the poorest areas, especially in the north of England, will also become easier and easier prey for super-extremists like the BNP, who capitalise on the desperation of working-class poverty with what are fairly left-wing economic policies ostensibly funded by excluding ethnic minorities from services.)

Labour seems deadlocked into this cycle of self-destruction, completely bereft of the courage to offer the electorate a genuine alternative to Conservative ideology. The unfortunate British public has only begun to suffer the consequences.

Wings Over Scotland

Comments
  • Charlie Sutherland-Boyce May 3, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I may be disabled but, even though I Scottish Labour aren’t the party of the people anymore. They, to my mind are a better alternative than UKIP, who are short on policies written in a manifesto. UKIP are no friends to the unemployed, disabled or sick. They have many times stated intentions to do things about Welfare Benefits that are definitely far right and drastic. The only reason that may be they won’t have gas chambers is they can’t afford the power bill at todays gas prices!

  • David Moynagh May 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Looks as if Scotland will turn to SNP. This wuld be no bad thing as they have handled the scottish economy well in face of the cuts from westminster. They can be assured of my vote.

  • George Woodward May 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Fed up of the E.U. and all that it brings with it,fed up of “the human rights treaty” and all that it entails,fed up of immigration that’s me.
    The only party who promises to tackle it is UKIP.

  • Robin Macfarlane May 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    BSCParty have long said that Austerity was the wrong way to go for the British People. But it serves the Tory ideology well.New labour are nothing more than tories, Backing the Banker Brigade which has SCREWED the public at every turn.The only bank the people need is their own Bank of England(central bank)
    Bof E can give the people Interest FREE mortgages & secure Mortgages that don’t throw them on the streets.

  • Abbey Lane May 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Keep taxing people to death while you leave bankers sitting pretty on ‘their’ obscene bonuses. Don’t forget to snatch back the pensioners bus pass while the bankers drive past in their luxury limo’s. Hurl abuse and summary sanctions on the unemployed Brit while importing a multitude of (cheap-price) workers. Blah, blah, blah, no one believes this gov any more especially when they vote themselves magnificent pay-rises and fabulous pensions while subjecting the British population to unlimited and unusual cuts!

  • Humanity2012 May 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Totally Disgusting

    Labour is Supposed to be the Official Opposition and is Paid
    to be the Official Opposition so let it be the Official Opposition

    Stuff the Free Market Capitalist Slavery

  • Humanity2012 May 3, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Any Party which Does Not Support Decent Welfare Benefits and
    the Abolition of Degrading Tests and Sanctions is Fit to Hold
    Office

    The Party Political System it has to be Said is what has Divided
    the Nation and Yet through Gormless Consensus Given No Real
    Choice and Oppressed the Poor and Vulnerable

  • Prola Tariat May 3, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    The Tories are selling this country ,To the highest foriegn bidder,and nobody seems either willing or able to do anything to halt this blatant corruption!!

  • chindit May 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    the only good thing about ukip is that they are giving a bloody nose to the tories.i despair of the political parties. what has happened to this country.? have we brought this all on ourselves because we have let these politicians do as they like with no restraint.if evil exists it truly must be this tory government.

  • jay May 3, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    There is a great piece on this blog about the misuse of tax payers money and it being shovelled into private hands. This young woman hits the nail on the head with her in depth facts and figures.

    http://scriptonitedaily.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/scroungers-how-much-does-the-corporate-welfare-state-cost-the-tax-payer/

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS May 3, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Personally, i consider the humungus rises in pay and expenses of MPs to be the root cause of the Labour Party losing its direction.

    The extra wealth has led them into a new realm of hobnobbing with the enemy. They have started to relate to issues above their roots and have lost contact with the guiding principles of socialism such as the welfare state.
    Many of the party own multiple properties and follow the pattern of greed that ensues, often voting on issues that will enhance their private portfolios.

    Money men have crept into the ranks and follow disproportionate routes that embitter those who sit beside them.
    They have lost contact but purport to be chasing policies that will appeal to the electorate.
    Sadly, the truth is they have lost their way………………….

    No longer do they communicate with the grass roots or the unions, thinking they know what we want rather than asking.

    Always promising, they never deliver, often siding with the opponents on matters that cause the supporters to wonder, in amazement, “what the hell are they doing”?

    Policies begin to look more and more similar to the coalitions as they are drawn blindly down a blind alley………..
    Backstabbing by the likes of Blair does not help, spinning around like headless chickens wondering where to turn………

    Instead of being champions of the welfare state they now imagine their roll as guardians of middle england, the very people who deem themselves to be the strivers and who look down on anyone less fortunate as being dross.

    Getting back to basics is the first step in repairing the damage. Listening to what we want instead of telling us and for christ sakes, ditch the bankers!

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS May 3, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    The Labour Party have become ashamed of the disabled and are happy to go along with the ethnic cleansing of the less fortunates, no wonder the Scots have lost faith in them………..

    A society is judged on its ability to look after its weakest,
    ours is geared up to help the richest.

    SELFISHNESS RULES O.K.

  • Annos May 4, 2013 at 12:42 am

    “Local election 2013: ‘Put disabled down’ councillor re-elected in Cornwall”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-22403852

    I am lost for words!!!.

  • Annos May 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    “GPs ‘flooded’ with letter requests due to UK benefit reforms”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-22406739

  • Thomas May 4, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Who do I vote for? Labour are Tory-lite, Lib Dems are traitors in my eyes to those who voted for them, Tories want to ruin my life, UKIP are fascists, BNP are Nazis, Greens and the TUSC have no chance of winning anything because of our voting system.

    • JEFFREY May 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      the voting system is useless,stop complying with it then
      if no one voted they would have to wise up ..jeff lph ..

      ps 3 parties same policies same all over the world..

  • GEOFF REYNOLDS May 5, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Still reeling from the loss of so many seats, the coalition came up with a “howler” this morning……………

    Apparently they are taking the moral high ground and intend to bring in a draft resolution called “Aydens Law”.
    The new draft is an attempt to make bullying in the playground and around school, a thing of the past……………

    Bullying of any kind is totally reprehensible they stated!

    What a bloody joke from the party who indiscriminately target the disabled and poorest in society!!!

    Even balding little creep, thatchers arse wipe, Hague, made a comment this morning. The tories don’t need to alter course much, he said, but understood that welfare was one of the issues needing to be addressed……………………..

    News sources stated that one in five families in the uk had to borrow or raid savings, just to eat.
    Wait until the cuts bite, if Cameron had his way we would be eating each other…………………….

    “The making of modern Britain”, what a fucking embarrassment……………..

  • nigel simmons May 9, 2013 at 11:21 am

    PETITION STARTS TODAY – NICHOLSON THE MAN THAT REFUSES TO GO
    The man in charge of our National Health Service has been found totally lacking in his ability to manage it with any semblance of credibility .Over a THOUSAND DEATHS caused by his lack of COMPASSION & PATIENT COMMITTMNENT in One Hospital – Stafford .Thatcher brought him in to close all the mental hospitals and implement Ken Clarkes ‘Care in the Community’ in 1990 which caused suicides galore and since then he has run the NHS on Profitability Grounds rather than any Patient Care and Respect .We the British Public owe it to the Victims of all Patients that have suffered under his Callous Regime .Ask yourself before you sign the Petition “Why hasn’t he been sacked” because he knows too much and he would take too many others with him .Please Make A Stand Against Our Ever Eroding Rights As Members of the British Public http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/49715

  • […] also: Why Labour is to Blame for UKIP Posted on May 3, […]

  • Black Triangle Campaign August 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    […] – but with quite different conclusions: Why Labour is to Blame for UKIP Posted on May 3, […]

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