The reason Ukip is now polling a consistent average in by-elections since May (23.6%) is admittedly a fascinating phenomenon. To take a couple of examples, in my euro constituency of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire two recent ward by-elections took place in Whitby and Scarborough. It's a corner of Yorkshire where UKIP has not been historically strong, the local branch has only recently been re-booted. Yet in two wards traditionally Labour and the other Conservative, Ukip scored 24.9% of the vote. A few weeks ago a similar percentage was hit in Wales, also not a historically strong UKIP area.
Those in the metropolitan élite bubble, who graze on sun-dried tomatoes, pasta and chardonnay are struggling with this. Why won't this beastly party of amateurs go away? It's now beyond a joke. Well, for a start, nearly 50% of the electorate have disengaged. The often repeated line on the doorstep is 'it doesn't make any difference who you vote for'. Of course this is true up to a point, it doesn't. Who can really spot the main policy differences between New Labour and Cameron's Conservative Party. There is no clear blue water and the electorate know it. But there is a new mood, to be understood by only those who are prepared to leave the bubble and talk to people in the pub, rugby club and cricket club. They are angry because they know they are not getting a fair shake. They pay rates, income tax, national insurance, a fortune for a tank of diesel, a pint of beer and packet of cigarettes. It is all tax, tax, tax. Yet no one seems to know where it goes.
£200billon to the NHS. Yet out of the 1.3million employees over 700,000 have no medical qualifications of any sort. The cancer treatment ratings are at the bottom of the industrialised world, there are not enough dialysis machines, A&E wings of hospitals are closing, police and defence budgets slashed. We all bounce over potholes in the road, who has not had to replace at least one tyre and sometimes wheels or suspension. We pay a fortune in airport tax yet queue for hours at Heathrow to get back into our own country! VAT at 20% is crippling manufacturing and retail.
The complaint is, what do we get for all this? Answer, bugger all.
Yet we seem to have money to burn. £1billon per month on foreign aid, £1billion to the EU, £1billon to charities, £4billion to Quangos. Everyone at senior level in the BBC seems to earn money that most of us can only dream about. Terrible stories emerge every week about the failure of social services but the senior executives at the town hall are all earning more than £100,000 per year. Cuts involve the poor little sod who digs the graves or sweeps the streets, on a pitiful low wage to start with.
There is 30% youth unemployment in the North of England, yet we maintain an open door immigration policy.
People are turning to Ukip because no one else seems to understand the frustration ordinary working folk are feeling.
I won a Labour seat in 2004 and held it with an increased majority in 2009. My main support came from Hull, Grimsby, Rotherham and Scunthorpe. These are Labour and not Tory heartlands. Political pundits are struggling with this, it does not fit the pre conceived idea of the UKIP voter. Take a look at the voting pattern next June at the Euros and learn.
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