Why I’m voting UKIP
Former CUCA Chairman and disappointed Tory CALLUM WOOD thinks dismissing UKIP out of hand is ultimately silly
The Right in Cambridge is seen, I think, as something of a minority – or, at least, conservatives are seldom very vocal. Students are forcibly represented by the cultural-Marxist doctrines of CUSU, and Dr Huppert smugly talks about ‘the way our city celebrates our diverse and inclusive communities’, whatever that means.
Due to the lack of UKIP candidates for Cambridge City Council, it has been assumed they have no presence here. I am therefore moved to correct the assumption that the old-fashioned Right is somehow beyond the pale.
Armed with blue face-paint and a flag, my Tory friends and I stayed up late on election night 2010. We booed and cheered in the Union at the appropriate intervals. We were all disappointed by the inconclusive outcome, but then quietly thrilled when the egregious Gordon Brown was eventually overthrown by the incoming Coalition. With their slogan of “Freedom, Fairness and Responsibility,” and with responsible orange-bookers helping out in the Treasury, we had something to be excited about. This really was one of the few times in my life when I felt optimistic about the future of this country. Now, just over four years later, I wonder how it could have all gone so wrong.
Despite a few good policies (free schools and raising the income tax threshold), the so-called Conservatives have on the whole been rather a disappointment. They have hardly made a dent in the deficit, and the national debt continues to climb apace. Cameron has given flimsy excuses over Europe, failed to reverse the tide of tokenism and political correctness, and wilfully alienated a number of Christians by persisting in his policy of redefining marriage. Even on the basic measure of competence, the government are woefully amaetuerish. This is despite their fundamental appeal being ‘we’ll do a better job than Labour’. The Party itself is full of sleazy incompetents, fraudsters and disturbingly ambitious hacks. The Conservative party has little to offer conservatives.
Perhaps if Cameron had done a better job, the dulcet tones of Nigel Farage and his barmy army would not sound so sweet. UKIP talk reassuringly about things like wind farms and traditional values. Their rhetoric on Europe is a siren song to right-wingers like me. They want to have a conversation about immigration, and it’s a conversation from which many frustrated people have been excluded in the past. Students who are concerned about access should recognise the role of grammar schools in propelling state-educated children into OxBridge.
Even their image is more appealing. Drinking pints, smoking cigarettes and haranguing Eurocrats makes Nigel seem just that bit more human than the PR-polished clones that stream forth from CCHQ mouthing rehearsed soundbites. (I am aware, of course, that UKIP has a PR strategy designed precisely to avoid looking as if they have a PR strategy.) It’s become clear that there are a number of troubled people that make up his entourage of donors and candidates. However, I’m not convinced that the main parties would fare much better if a large number of journalists were to scrutinise every tweet, post and comment of their grassroots members. Screeching ‘racist’ at people who are opposed to uncontrolled European immigration doesn’t do the left much good either.
I haven’t decided whether I’m going to vote UKIP on 22nd May, but I wouldn’t do it because I had any particular confidence in their MEP candidates. My interest in UKIP is, predominantly, related to expressing both my enthusiasm for Nigel Farage and my disappointment in David Cameron. The European Parliament is essentially pointless, so I struggle to believe that my vote would make a substantial difference to what happens. These elections are, as far as I am concerned, a popularity contest for the British parties (and, by proxy, a straw poll of our attitude to the EU).
Don’t be afraid of who you are. It isn’t impossible to be right-wing at Cambridge. At the General Election 2015, the UK will be faced with a choice between a disappointing David Cameron and the Red Menace of Eds Balls and Miliband. It is perfectly clear that whilst the former isn’t up to scratch, the latter is outright dangerous.
For the things that matter, I’d back the Conservatives. In the mean time I’d consider voting UKIP just to emphasise my dissatisfaction with the status quo.
Think voting for UKIP to express your dissatisfaction is stupid? Or is this spot on? Comment below or email [email protected] with your view.