Does UKIP Stand a Chance?

 

Over the past couple of years the UK Independence Party has seen a drastic increase in popularity, storming to victory in the European elections and gaining huge media attention. However, it seems their approval could again be waning, raising doubts that their success was little more than a flash-in-the-pan

 

Preliminary polls don’t look good for the party, although there is of course much variation in predictions, most agree that UKIP has lost traction in recent months. At the same time other parties outside of the big three, such as the Greens and SNP have been doing better. According to the ICM “Wisdom Index” in The Telegraph there has been a drop in support for Farage’s party by about 2 percentage points since December, with Labour and the Conservatives remaining steady. Lord Ashcroft’s poll shows similar results with UKIP still the third most popular party but slowly diminishing. Recent news that membership to the Green party has now overtaken UKIP and the Lib Dems, as well as their inclusion in many of the live debates, shows that it’ll be hard to predict exactly where the votes will go in this year’s election.

The recent defection of prominent UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir to the Conservatives is also doing the party no favours. The senior politician followed this with comments describing UKIP as a “party of ruthless self-interest” and “pretty amateur” in The Telegraph. Add to this yet more apologies having to be made by Farage for comments made by members of his officials and it seems that confidence may be waning in this untested party. Recent offensive remarks include the party’s secretary claiming the party stood for the “hundreds of thousands of bigots” in Britain, which Farage dismissed as a joke in the pub.

 

Is this enough to hurt UKIP’s chances in the upcoming election? It’s undeniable that the party has tapped into something in a large number of British people that no other party has been able to. Their extraordinary popularity can’t be easily dismissed but they face the same issue other smaller parties always have. Many may see a vote for UKIP as a wasted vote, even as support for Labour and Conservatives falters they are still often seen as the only two parties that matter. There is again talk of coalitions, a Conservative-UKIP vote vs. a Labour-SNP partnership, but given the disappointment many have felt with the current coalition this may be unpopular.

 

The general election in May is set to be incredibly close indeed, and the upcoming debates a must-watch. These are the people who will make the decisions that will affect us more than most, so I urge everyone to read up on the issues and vote! It is a right that was hard-won for us, so make your voice heard and make a stand for issues that affect you.

 

Image Credits: The Indepndent, BBC