Monday, 1 February 2016

What is UKIPs appeal?

Published in the Llanelli Herald on January 29th

I was asked this week why I thought people voted UKIP?

The new party has been in disarray this week, and have failed to agree which candidates to put forward for May’s Assembly elections as a result of deep splits.

But I’m not sure any of that impacts on UKIPs vote. In fact the more chaotic they are the more they seem to appeal to some voters.

Why? Well, I think there are a number of reasons why they did so well in Llanelli in last year’s General Election.

Historically populist parties of the right flourish in times of economic slump. When the economy declines people like to find someone to blame, and this time it is immigrants and the EU who are the bogey men. It is a simple answer to a complex range of issues.

On top of all that trust in politics, and politicians, is at all time low. The expenses scandal confirmed many people's worst prejudices about those who rule over us. Against this backdrop Farage is seen as a 'breath of fresh air' with his blokey persona who 'tells things like they are' - unlike most politicians who dodge questions and speak in a political code few understand.

What is rarely mentioned of course is that Nigel Farage has said the NHS should be replaced by a private insurance model, and UKIP’s candidate in Llanelli was behind moves to sell off Parc Howard to private developers.

But it seems UKIPs policies are largely irrelevant, as is the quality of the candidates they put up, people vote for them because they are angry and fed up.

The academic researchers who have studied UKIP say their key constituency are those who live in 'left behind towns', and Llanelli is a classic area where they thrive. Our economy has been declining for decades, and people feel we have been forgotten about. And to a considerable extent they are right.

I think the way to tackle UKIP, is not to outbid them but to offer an alternative. They pray on despair, and we need to show there is hope. Llanelli may be suffering, but it doesn't have to be that way. We need to come together to set out a plan for how our area can thrive once again.

There are no quick and easy answers, but there are answers. What we need is ambition for our area, determination to follow it through, and a willingness to work together, across party divides, to secure a more prosperous future for Llanelli.

When I was growing up the attitude was ‘if you want to get on, you’ve got to get out’. I want to put an end to that. That’s the reason I’m standing. And as much as I understand the frustration of those who put their faith in UKIP, I think there is a better way.

Lee Waters is Welsh Labour’s candidate in Llanelli

1 comment:

Marcus Rose said...

The appeal of UKIP for me has nothing to do with the Welsh Assembly. There is one burning issue, especially for people like myself. I want to be able to vote out of the EU that I never ever wanted, along with the 48% that voted against in 1975. This has been denied the British public by several governments that think they know best and cannot trust us to do the right thing. I voted against going into the Common Market. We were not sold the EU at that time. I hated the fact that we were letting down the Commonwealth and the brave people who stood and died along side our soldiers in WW2 to keep the UK free. We went through so much to keep our freedom and our Parliament. Germany Italy and France knew what it was to be conquered and needed unity to stop it happening again. We in the UK didn't. If we want political change in the UK we can vote for it. With 28 countries in the EU we are outvoted. I want my country to be able to make its own laws and trade deals. There was an £89 billion trade deficit with the EU last year and £56 the year before. We sell much more to the world. We are the biggest export market for Germany in the world. We are the worlds 5th largest economy. America has been able to put up tariffs against Chinese steel dumping that are effective. Wales is going to lose its steel industry because the EU are so weak on this issue. We have restricted fishing around our own shores because it is open to the whole of the EU. Our Fishing industry is all but destroyed by this. Wales going begging for cash off the EU is a deep humiliation. When we get the cash we build walls on roundabouts that we cannot see. Nigel Farage crashes through PC and tells it as he sees it and that is a major thing for me.