Many of the electorate are beginning to ask themselves the following question – What is the point of UKIP as we head towards a post-Brexit Britain?
Cross-party campaigning meant that UKIP could join forces with mainstream parties in order to provide a stronger case for Britain to leave the EU, however, those same parties are now hoping to eradicate UKIP on June 8 by asserting that after achieving their ultimate goal, the party is now finished.
Looking forward to speaking at this evening's GO Movement rally in Stoke-on-Trent. Working together to Leave EU. pic.twitter.com/IjIz86Q44Y
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) April 18, 2016
Manifesto Talking Points
What is most noticeable from reading UKIP’s manifesto is the fact that their position as the so-called “guard dogs of Brexit” is based on the assumption that the Prime Minister will not deliver the Brexit voted for by the British people. Therefore, if the government passes all six ‘Brexit Tests’ laid out in the UKIP manifesto, does this mean the party would cease to exist? Perhaps so. We cannot be certain where the party’s fate would lie should the government pass all six tests, although we can argue that such a stance once again sends out the message to voters that UKIP is the party of Brexit, and Brexit only.
As I delved further into this manifesto, I discovered policies which, to many, would suggest that the party has simply run out of ideas on how to attract voters. For example, UKIP have stated in their manifesto that they “will remove VAT from hot takeaway food such as fish and chips”. Sure this may sound appealing to those of you who enjoy a weekly trip to your local chip shop (like myself), but it is far from a deal breaker when looking to win votes. However, if you like the prospect of takeaway food that is quite literally ‘cheap as chips’, then UKIP could be the party for you.
UKIP have also made a pledge to ban the niqab and the burqa in public places, which has been met with controversy due to the reasoning behind the party’s plan to ban both items. UKIP believes that wearing both the niqab and burqa “prevents intake of essential vitamin D from sunlight”. Whilst I do not particularly object to this idea, highlighting the lack of vitamin D intake in an election manifesto not only discredits this policy, it will certainly alienate those who wear both items of clothing. Hardly a shrewd move by a party which needs as many votes as it can get.
One manifesto pledge which is popular with many ‘Kippers’ is the commitment to scrap hospital car parking charges in Britain. This was pledged by UKIP in their 2015 manifesto and the party have since renewed their commitment to this. This policy may appeal to you if you disagree with your loose change being robbed from you when taking a trip to A&E, or visiting a friend or relative in hospital. In fact, it has become so popular that even the Labour Party has made the same pledge in their 2017 manifesto.
Another policy that UKIP strongly advocates is the need for more grammar schools in our society. If UKIP MPs are elected to Westminster, they have promised to campaign for a grammar school to be built in every town in Britain. This pledge has also been renewed, due to their belief that grammar schools improve social mobility. If you’re considering placing your children in a private school in order to get the best education, but concerned about the prospect of Comrade Corbyn hitting you with additional VAT on top of the schooling fees, then perhaps a grammar school would be a suitable alternative in the worst case scenario.
It would be plausible to suggest that UKIP faces a monumental challenge on June 8. The party’s core policies may be enough for them to secure votes and survive the political storm, on the other hand, Brexit has taken centre stage in this general election, and after losing 145 seats in the local elections, many UKIP supporters have switched to the Conservatives, who have attracted UKIP supporters by taking a hard stance on Brexit.
I believe UKIP are at a political crossroads, and when looking beyond June 8, it needs to establish a clear identity. It needs to decide if UKIP is the true alternative to mainstream politics, with a credible plan to protect public services, or if it merely the party of Brexit. Until then, the party remains a gradually sinking ship, with many of its supporters willingly jumping overboard.