Opinion poll results from TNS-BMRB earlier this week showed UKIP support at an all time high of 16%, double that of the Liberal Democrats and closing in on the declining support ratings for their coalition partners, the Conservative Party.
Whilst it is dangerous to rely too much on polls as anything other than an indicator, all the companies involved in this area are recording solid and improving results for UKIP month on month.
So what has led to this surge of support that is upsetting the cosy triumvirate of the old establishment political parties? I believe a clue may be in letters such as the one I reproduce below from G P Taylor of Scarborough in the Yorkshire Post which was printed recently. Mr Taylor is an ordained Anglican Priest, writer and broadcaster.
I HAVE been harbouring a deep and dark secret for the past year. At first, I didn’t even dare tell my wife, but I knew that at some point my Machiavellian assignations would be found out. Last week, I was threatened with my secret being “outed”. So, as a Yorkshireman, I have decided to tell the world. I know that some of my political friends may never speak to me again and may even delete me from Facebook. But the times are such that I have to be honest and come out of the closet. Yes… I am a member of the United Kingdom Independence Party.
It wasn’t something I did easily. I have not been a fan of conventional political parties for a long time. I hold professional politicians in deep distrust and wonder whom they really serve, their own self-interests or us? That was until I interviewed a high-ranking member of UKIP for a radio programme that I presented. Suddenly my interest in politics was rekindled. Here was a man with deeply held views, passionate about what he believed. I knew that every time I wrote in this fine newspaper about Europe, politics and morality then my mailbox would be filled with people who thought like me. People cried out for common sense in politics and a return to sensible policies. It was when I discovered UKIP that I found a party that held fast to these ideals.
For the first time in many years I had found a political group that actually stood for something and wasn’t afraid to say it. They had rightly predicted that Europe would start to quake and fall apart. Their words have been proven to be true as we see every day, the sick state of Europe trying to stay alive for another month, threatening to bring us all down with it. What attracted me even more to UKIP was that it wasn’t just a one trick pony. Definite policies on education, defence, public spending, wind farms and immigration made the party too appealing to ignore.
It was not just a party for the European elections. With policies that struck a resonance with my beliefs, I felt I had to become involved. No longer was I prepared to just vote for a party, I decided to join and in joining I felt empowered. In UKIP, I have found my “Arab Spring”. It was a cathartic moment. Soon I realised that UKIP has members ?from all backgrounds, faiths, sexualities and ethnic groups, committed to the cause of putting Britain back on its own two feet and growing as a nation. The UKIP candidates were not career politicians, but ordinary women and men who like me want to see a better country to live in. ?They are so unlike the monochrome Tories and Labour politicians as they actually have something interesting to say.
More surprising is that people from all walks of life are thinking about joining. Politics is coming alive again; in UKIP, people are finding a cause to support. To me, it is as if UKIP is no longer a protest vote, but a viable alternative to the three party system. In Yorkshire and the North East, it is fast becoming the party of opposition. It is also a party that is bringing life and real debate back into politics. It is engaging people with the big questions and giving them a voice. I am not an activist, just a member, but I am involved. I no longer whine and moan about the state of the country, I can now do something about it.
It has been hard not to vote for the party I had supported since my youth. Sadly, it had changed beyond recognition. No longer is it a party of the people. No longer is it a party of Yorkshire. Politicians appear to be out of touch with the needs of this county. We are expected to mindlessly return MPs to the Westminster gravy train without question and then have our county ignored for the rest of their term in office. It soon became clear that David Cameron was a man who cannot be trusted to do the right thing for Yorkshire people. He plays a very stupid game of pretence, saying he is a Eurosceptic whilst all the time dragging us deeper into the mire. Likewise, Ed Milliband is shackled to the will of the trade unions and with the Liberal Democrats slowly imploding; the only alternative for Yorkshire is UKIP.
Recent elections have shown that UKIP can make great advances at the ballot box. The only thing stopping them from winning is the doubtful postal votes that were brought in for convenience and have led to political connivance. It is now time for this to be stopped as it threatens democracy and undermines our faith in a political system. Again, I know UKIP will speak boldly on this issue and bring honourable and upstanding characteristics back into politics. Times certainly are changing. I feel excited that I am a very small part in a political party that wants to see Yorkshire thriving again. It was for that reason I got off the fence and signed on the dotted line.