No matter what, one week from now, UKIP will do well.
The worse they could finish is a strong third. They will probably also win more seats in the local elections to add to their impressive tally since 2013.
But the root of UKIP rise goes deeper than that, it goes that many in the political class took some issues for granted. I am not a fan of some of UKIP policies and especially how they brand them. It’s not by saying that UKIP supporters are loons and fuitcakes that UKIP supporter will get any lower.
The first problem in the EU. People in the UK voted for free trade in the 1970’s but since then the EU had taken a lot of powers without any consultation. One problem is also the lack of accountability in the EU, people are not even sure who is the head (or heads) of the EU. This was not only a fear of the right, many on the left were scared decades ago that the EU would become what it is today. It’s also not by having EU supporters who have part of the EU gravy train (for example by being former MEP), that the EU will build any support.
The second problem is immigration. It’s not by saying that people who is anti-immigration are racists that you will build any bridges. Instead it’s by winning the war of ideas, by giving a strong case that immigration is making everybody richer. It all comes to how Malthusian ideas are so deeply knitted
in the popular stigma. And yet, those on the left who are greens, do have the similar arguments as those who are anti-immigration.
The third problem that UKIP is the only one to talk about is drinking and smoking. UKIP is probably the only party which accepts that people smoke and drink. Why should people don’t smoke in pubs if the pub owner agree to it is beyond me. They are more liberal than the Liberal Democrats themselves about that.
And I agree that for anybody in Canada, Australia or New Zealand, to have a points based immigration system is a sensible policy which all actors across the political spectrum agree. But there is no doubts that as long as Europeans can work and live freely in the UK, many Brits do the same elsewhere in the EU. I want less borders in everywhere in the world, not more.
In conclusion, winning the political game is easy, but winning the battle of ideas is hard. But the second is much better, people it goes much beyond the political parties sphere. It goes to the civic society.