Elections really do fascinate me. Maybe it’s just because I crave an American-style government after watching the West Wing and 24. I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that the face of British politics is changing.
I wrote almost five years ago about the encouragement that so many young people came out to vote in the general election. I think the following years have introduced a younger generation to politics and I also think that it is taking its toll on some of the ‘classically trained’ parties that are involved in the government and the election process.
To any English person, it’s not breaking news that yesterday saw the polling stations open for a number of hours as people voted for a portion of English and NI councils alongside the UK in EU. It’s also the last big election before the general election next year.
I like to stay up as late as my head and eyes allow me to watch the results come in. But being an early-to-bed kinda guy, I don’t last too long. But waking this morning, I have been watching the commentary whilst working. And it has been very interesting – in both the results and the reactions of the key players in the parties. Now I don’t know a lot about politics and party policy – so this is all from my humble perspective. But I’m starting to think I may not be alone in this.
As my blog title suggests, this election has been all about UKIP. The United Kingdom Independence Party. A lot of the parties seemed scared before the election the took place and seemed to attack UKIP many shapes and forms. Some justified, some out of insecurity (I think).
The results of the UK councils are about 50% counted up and there has been a ‘surge’ in UKIP seats (as their leader quotes: “The UKIP fox is in the Westminster hen house”) across the country.
It’s been suggested that the reason for this ‘UKIP surge’ is the down to the ‘protest vote’. Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) stated this morning that “People are voting against politics”. I can’t speak for the people who voted UKIP, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the point they are trying to make. I think the point is more accurately this: “People are trying to change politics”.
UKIP is, from my perspective at least, the first party that isn’t acting ‘professionally’ and that doesn’t act in the “old fashioned” way to approach politics.
Ed Miliband (Labour) explained on BBC that people have voted UKIP in a frustration with the current way of politics. I think this is a more accurate conclusion. The trouble is – that there is a lack of confidence that the big 2 (Labour and Conservative) can actually do something in government.
I haven’t said who I voted for, maybe it’s clear, I don’t know. But this I will say – English politics has sadly become a watered-down squash mix (and no-one likes weak squash). It’s become wishey-washy as the ‘big’ parties pander to try and gather everyone’s vote by having no clear opinions on anything, to please everyone – all to their own detriment. If they were less concerned about catching everyone’s vote and more focused on delivering on the things that they have promised their party followers, I think both would have managed to keep the voters that they have lost to UKIP this election.
UKIP may have been branded as racist, unorganised party and many politicians label them as a ‘joke’. But one thing is for sure – they are at least able to bring about a change in British politics. Even without a full set of policies, people are willing to take a risk with them. And it seems as though it’s because they are able to relate to the actual people who are saying enough of the politician talk, it’s time to do something. I think this is going to be a busy year for Labour and Conservatives as they realise they may actually need to DO something this year, rather than just give all the right talk. Judge a man by his fruit (or lack-of!) and all that jazz.
There is so much more I would love to talk about but I think that sums it up for now.