As everybody who is remotely following British politics could tell, the big news of 2012 was the rise of the UKIP which is currently the third party according to the latest polls.
But today, a dismissal have put a lot of ink in the table. It’s the dismissal of Oliver »Olly » Neville who was elected the leader of the UKIP’s Youth Wing (which is the group for those under 35 in the party).
I have been following this saga since a few weeks and one thing that I have seen is the malaise between the politburo of the UKIP and the grassroots especially considering UKIP particular history.
Since a decade or so, UKIP had been known as somewhat of a single-issue party being a party which is against the European Union.
But years passing by and especially since the party had elected Nigel Farage as leader, there was a niche for libertarians with the vast majority of them of coming from the Conservative Party.
Even through very few conservative politicians had formally crossed the floor to the UKIP, there was floor crossing especially among the grassroots and people which were with the Conservative youth wing.
However, it’s not true that all younger people associated with the UKIP were formelly Conservatives, as some were apolitical and others were swing voters in the classical sense of the term.
In case of the people formerly with the Tories, what explains the floor-crossing is very complex, but I could see that many who want to UKIP want because they thought the Tories were not enough libertarian on certain issues.
They are generally economic issues, as the people who are in the UKIP young wing are far more liberal (in the classical sense) on social issues that the old guard of the party.
One big difference with the younger and older guard of the party is even through there are not keen to the European Union (as a statist entity), Europe (or immigration) was not really the main reason why they moved over to the UKIP.
The other thing is that you can be for Europe (and speaking 3-4 European languages) but being against the EU. I am not so sure that the UKIP old guard understand this important point nowadays.
So, a month after the election of the Young Independance chairman (with a somewhat skeatchy electoral process), many younger people in the grassroots of the party were deceived by how the chairman of the party had in a way dismissed Neville.
Note that as opposed to some others implicated with YI and UKIP, Neville was never a member of the Tories.
So why exactly he was dismissed?
It’s very difficult to know the exact reason. According to a e-mail that Neville posted on social media, it’s basically a mixture of Neville positions on some policies (gay marriage, drug reform policy) and the fact that Neville told in an interview that the European parliament election was a »sideshow » to the 2015 general election.
One thing is sure, there is a big malaise among the old guard of the party which are interested in capitalising on the Con-Lib coalition gay marriage proposal in order to get conservative voters to their party.
And the hope of many in the young guard of the UKIP which goal was to put UKIP as the main libertarian political vehicule in the UK had drop on dead tonight.
The problem is that the UKIP needed this base for the future and especially because those people were far apart from the old stereotype of UKIP supporters (which is sort of a WASPY British nationalist county club crowd).
But the problem goes further then that, many in the UKIP had become members of the party become it had a grassroots appeal, that older top-down parties didn’t have and especially since younger wings of political parties are becoming less and less revelant.
I see nothing wrong as the UKIP as a populist British nationalistic party, but difficult then as a libertarian to work to move the party forward especially for someone in my shoes who could well be a British voter and a candidate in a general election (because I am a citizen of the Commonwealth and I have the quality of elector if I go live in the UK for more then a few months), but not as a WASP nor someone who has English as his first language.
And yet, I am not sure anymore if many libertarians could be at ease with UKIP as a laboratory for libertarian ideas more so then some wings of the Tories or the Orange bookers at the Liberal Democrats.
Sadly in order to score easy political points, UKIP had perhaps missed the opportunity of scoring some decent points among people who are not inclined to politics but are highly motivated. All major parties nowdays have difficulty in their youth wings and UKIP had the possibility of having sound ideas and this while implicated people who are members of a given party not because they want a parachuted job when their party is in power.
The younger wing of UKIP was very far from being a waspy-county club as it was alike Britain in general.
And making UKIP the genuine home for classical liberals and libertarians would probably have moved the party to something much bigger then something you vote every five years in an European election as a good chien de garde.
A party which does not have the elitist side associated with the Tories, nor the nanny statism of Labour, nor the relativism of the Lib Dems which is social-democracy with a »liberal » tag. A real libertarian party which is more interested in a Britain based on opportunity, merit and a patriotism based on freedom and respect and not on narrow-mindness.