John Golding – ‘What Next After The Election?’
UKIP attracted a respectable number of votes at the general election and even managed to attain total control over Thanet district council, but it still wasn’t the groundbreaking result they had been so confident of. Farage’s resignation and subsequent decision to salvage what remained of his tarnished career by compelling the party’s NEC to keep him on regardless has triggered a rather messy ongoing internal civil war, and no amount of secretly whipping his underlings to declare undying loyalty is going to rescue his flagging career.
That’s not to say anti-racists can simply pack up and move on though. It should be noted that UKIP was only a couple of percentage points behind hoovering up numerous seats, coming second in 120 constituencies and third in many more. In Thurrock, it was only one percentage point between Labour and the Tories – a 24% surge on its result back in 2010. It was also a close runner-up in a number of working-class regions, receiving 30% of votes in Rotherham where it hijacked a child abuse scandal to promulgate its polarising message.
Despite positioning itself to the Right of the Conservative Party (and eating into the Tory vote) UKIP was unsuccessful in its ultimate objective to seize a number of Tory-held seats. Nor did it manage to make any considerable gains in Labour-held seats as some commentators were predicting, although its valiant attempt to exploit a widespread feeling that the Labour Party no longer represents working class people increased support in a remarkable number of Labour-held seats. New Labour’s much-criticised embrace of corporatist dogma has opened the door for UKIP – which of course is predominantly propped up by shady hedge fund billionaires using tax havens to hide their ill-gotten gains – to criticise it for being too friendly towards big business!
Labour’s depressingly predictable reply to the self-ascribed ‘People’s Army’ was to legitimise UKIP’s vindictive campaign of racist, anti-migrant rhetoric by trying to out-Kipper them with talk of ‘tougher migration controls’. Its stubborn refusal to learn any lessons from the SNP (who were offering an anti-austerity and anti-racist alternative) proved its undoing in Scotland but frustratingly, many within the party ranks appear to be under the irresponsible illusion that voters want it to ape UKIP’s racism instead of working to expose the ridiculous falsehood of its ‘anti-establishment’ radicalism. There is no alternative under the false “choice” of Labour, the Tories or UKIP; we need a new party to put workers from all walks of life first rather than seeking to divide and rule us.