Despite Conservative MP’s defecting to UKIP, the party will be keen to avoid a trojan horse infiltration by the very politics they claim to be opposed too.
UKIP staunchly stand upon an anti-political class, (now) working and middle class, anti-EU and populist pedestal.
Everything from their party political broadcasts, featuring their leader; Nigel Farage, joking and poking fun at the political class, to their range of policies which emphasise tax cuts and local sourcing of resources to help natives; it’s clear that they try to appeal to the disenchanted. They appeal to the the middle, that never quite fall into the two main categories of worker and owner.
In presenting both a democratic and economic argument to reclaim power from Europe and bring it back to the people, whilst simultaneously pinning the blame for this on the current political class, they have been propelled into a new political discourse of anti-Establishment politics.
In offsetting themselves against the political class, they become saviours of the country, the deposes of the current rotten politics, and the reinvigorators of democracy in the UK.
So if you were UKIP, what is the one thing you would want, and what is the one thing you would not want?
The ideal situation would be for UKIP to grow in membership, and to begin to develop systems to produce candidates to challenge the main parties. This is of course off the back of populist policies that oppose the mainstream.
The worst case scenario, would be for a host of stale old Conservative MPs to decide that they can jump on the UKIP bandwagon.
This would utterly diminish the anti-establishment, anti-Political class narrative, because it would pollute UKIP’s grassroots and organic drive. It would totally undermine their new direction with the same old politics, dressed up in a new colour.
Their successful anti-European focus is symptomatic of the distance between the ruler and the ruled in this country. AS Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell switched from blue to purple, it is clear they are not just switching party.
It’s far more complicated than that.
They are trying to tap into UKIP’s narrative of putting people back into politics. It is an attempt to detoxify their brand as Conservative MPs.
They are the old guard with a new image.
But it is clear that Farage is keen to prove he is not just leading a party for ex tories.
He wants to full up his party with Labour MPs too!
He said told the BBC, as reported recently in the Independent that “Of course there are Conservatives I am talking to but there are Labour people too. There are Labour people who are deeply frustrated with Ed Miliband’s leadership.”’
Historically, the dynamic within the Conservative party surrounding Europe, has been a split between free marketeers that are pro EU, and Nationalists that are anti-EU.
With the new trend of anti-EU MPs joining, or even threatening to join UKIP, the Conservative party will be affected in terms of maintaining a majority on major issues concerning Europe.
It will only push the mainstream parties further together, and align UKIP even more strongly as the anti-thesis to the mainstream.
It is thus very important that UKIP do not flood themselves with the political class’s anti-EU throwbacks, if they seriously want to show they are a fresh and nuanced party.
They want to prove to people that they are thriving off the back of distancing themselves from the hated political class, and reinvigorating a more organic and grassroots type of politics, that touches people’s nerves and gets people angry.
In may of 2014, Farage was attacked by the two mainstream parties as racist and UKIP as a far right party, in the same mould as Le Pen’s Front National.
The result of these claims was a massive increase in his popularity, because a lot of so called ordinary people simply didn’t see it. They saw a man drinking in the pub, having a joke and being able to identify with common issues.
Because UKIP still don’t technically have an elected MP in this parliament, they are still not mainstream or part of the political class.
After this criticism of UKIP by the two main parties, Farage claimed that “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you … then you win.”
Their rhetoric is about being ordinary, but also being extra-ordinary in terms of how politics is run in the UK.
This could easily be diluted by established politicians jumping on the UKIP bandwagon on the eve of a general election. It would infiltrate its anti-political establishment identity, and embed it firmly within the establishment.