07 February 2007

UKIP: what should one think?

The alternatives available to voters in Britain today are dispiriting. The three main parties are now all pro-state. Even the Tories no longer talk about "rolling back the state", or tax reduction, or preserving civil liberties. David Davis's querying of New Labour authoritarianism in yesterday's Guardian was a bit of a case of "too little, too late".

Having browsed their website a bit, I haven't yet seen a single policy statement where UKIP (apparently* soon to be rechristened "Independence Party") doesn't sound preferable to its rivals.

And yet, doubts remain. Perhaps they're just prejudices. It's not exactly that I suspect UKIP of being "loonies" or worse, as our dear Tory leader has suggested. It's just that one has a natural distrust of a newish, fringey party that hasn't been tried or tested.

Wherefore the hostility of people like Guido and Dale towards UKIP, on occasion apparently greater than towards Labour? Could they have been infected by the bias of the currently dominant bunch of Tories? I.e. those Tories who appear to hate those who might steal their own clothes, more than those whose clothes they seek to steal?

I don't have much more to say on this, except that I am considering voting for UKIP at the next election. I'd be interested in the views of others, for and against.

Note: I usually have no problem with publishing anonymous comments. However, in this case I'd be grateful if you could disclose where you're coming from, e.g. UKIP councillor, Tory agitator, Robert Kilroy-Silk, Joan Collins, etc.

* via Bel Is Thinking

Update: Steve at Pub Philosopher has written a scathing attack on UKIP, alleging they are corrupt and ineffectual. He may be right, but ...

I'm considering voting for them, not because of their imminent rebranding (which if anything puts me off, being an example of 'style over substance'), or because I think they will exercise significant political influence in practice. Rather, as an alternative to not voting at all, which I would otherwise do. I.e. as a protest vote, to express my dissatisfaction with being unable to vote for a major party which respects civil liberties and which doesn't want to further increase state funding and powers. I have reservations about voting for them even on that level, because of their apparent dodginess as reported by the media. However, it's difficult to know how much of the alleged dodginess is real, and how much of it is misrepresented by a political establishment which is clearly hostile.

Steve says that UKIP have achieved nothing useful in spite of winning several MEP seats, and he has a point. But on the other hand there is something to be said for a party which sits on its backside. Every time our present government comes out with another initiative, it makes me wish for leaders who thought doing nothing was the way to go. Politicians who just want to live the high life and fiddle their perks are far less dangerous in my opinion than those who feel they're on some utopian crusade. That's why I think it's a bit misplaced when people get more worked up about Blair's holidays, or Irvine's wallpaper, than about (say) New Labour's abolition of double jeopardy.