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Guardian - Owen Jones - Rochester byelection: beliefs of Ukip voters are soaked in leftwing populism

If the seemingly irresistible rise of Ukip teaches us anything, it is that sentiment all too often trumps reality and mere detail in politics. The party is a self-described "People's Army", now emboldened by a victory in Rochester and Strood it hopes will bring renewed momentum. Its voters are disproportionately working class.

Polls suggest they support renationalising rail and energy and want higher taxes for the rich and an increased minimum wage. According to research by the academic Matthew Goodwin, 81% of Ukip supporters believe "big business takes advantage of ordinary people"; a slim majority want the government to redistribute income; and they overwhelmingly agree "there is one law for the rich and one for the poor".

These are beliefs soaked in leftwing populism; and yet those who subscribe to them have flocked in droves to a party of the hard right. Ukip's leaders now defiantly, unapologetically present themselves as a people's insurgency against a contemptuous establishment.
Ukip are not associated with this baggage: perversely, given their leaders are really unabashed ultra-Thatcherites. But, again, it's all about sentiments: Ukip present an entirely fabricated chasm between them and the Tories. In both Clacton and Rochester, voters were frequently reported to be voting for Ukip because the incumbent Tory had done nothing for them.

To explain that last bit; in both cases, voters re-elected the incumbent, who had switched from Tory to ukip.

If only there was a popular party that could energise the sentiments in the early paragraphs.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 22nd, 2014 at 08:58:59 AM EST
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