This is the fifth instalment of ‘My Vote, Our Election’. You can read the others here.
On May 7th, I will take great pleasure in walking to my local polling booth, and voting for UKIP at both national and local level. The latter will be on a personal basis; I am my ward’s local council candidate and I aim to break a very ineffective trio of Labour councillors who are there due to the colour of their rosette and nothing else, with not a single one even living in the ward they purport to represent. I hail from the Oldham East & Saddleworth constituency, historically a Labour and Lib-Dem battleground, with one Parliamentary victory coming down to just 103 votes in favour of Labour between the two.
Nationally speaking, I represent a growing number of young UKIP voters at only 21 years old; something I welcome having been a member since 2013 – ironically it was the compulsory European Union Law module of my law degree that inspired my hard line Euroscepticism. Whilst mildly ostracised by many of my peers, the status UKIP now holds as Britain’s 3rd biggest party was easily worth it; UKIP has more than fulfilled the potential I saw in it in 2013, with more to come.
So, why UKIP? There are many reasons, but the key factors are these; firstly this country and its citizens have a right to a say on our European Union membership. The institution itself suffers from a dramatic democratic deficit that goes all the way to the top, with a European Commission President who is appointed (not elected) in a secret ballot, where his name is the only choice on the ballot paper. Notwithstanding various other factors that come from our membership, not least effectively unlimited immigration from the other 27 member states. Added to a complete surrender of our legislative powers as a country – a definitive statement is required, and far sooner than 2017, which in itself is a fantasy based on a scenario that will not come to pass.
UKIP’s opponents will say that we’re still a single issue party, despite being the UK’s third biggest party based on all polling seen for quite some time now. The fact is, that itself is a ludicrous assertion (EU membership stretches into tax matters, energy policy and food tariffs alongside those mentioned above).
UKIP has dictated the agenda on several other issues outside of the European question – especially when linked to immigration which only the deluded would argue is not a major electoral issue. Examples of this include more stringent NHS requirements for both usage and workers, grammar school re-introduction, the elimination of income tax for minimum wage earners, the HS2 discussion and even tuition fees, where UKIP pledge to eliminate tuition fees altogether for both medical and STEM related degree courses.
As a UKIP voter, member, and fanatic, I imagine a Britain that doesn’t supposedly hark back to a 1950’s Britain (Farage himself was born in 1964), but one that breaks free of an outdated and unwanted United States of Europe project, which frighteningly has been revealed by those in the EU hierarchy. I believe in a Britain where immigration can realistically be at a net rate in the tens of thousands, where our own unemployed can no longer legitimately blame the never ending influx of cheap labour, but in fact determine their own destiny in a labour market that is fair. I visualise a Britain where our NHS is still sustained by workers both British and foreign alike – those who frequently retreat to the “our NHS would collapse without migrants” argument somehow always forget that such migrants would fall within the skilled migrant category of UKIP’s Australian inspired model.
I believe that Britain is better than what we have right now; that my compatriots deserve more than wage compression, ever rising house prices and a quickly declining National Health Service that has gradually become an International Health Service.
The reality is that neither David Cameron or Ed Miliband will achieve an outright majority in May. Outside of Scotland, this is primarily because of UKIP, who dare to say what the others cannot – and this very challenge to what is a two and a half party cartel is why UKIP is the true people’s party. A party whose appeal stretched as far as two prominent Conservative backbenchers, with another most likely on the way to turning purple.
Oldham East & Saddleworth in my view represents a fairly strong Labour seat, without being solid to the point of stronghold status. The Conservatives never really enter the picture here, whilst my local UKIP branch are looking to fully exploit a nationally evident Lib-Dem collapse, local Labour-leaning disappointment with an MP only there due to a 2011 by-election and of course, the allure of Tory voters in affluent Saddleworth looking to tactically vote and damage Labour. Oldham as a town, with two Parliamentary seats has a couple of nationally prominent angles very close to home; neighbouring Rochdale has the prominent Labour MP Simon Danczuk who has personally met with Farage alongside huge disproportionate asylum seeker pressure, whilst Heywood & Middleton is not much further and will again be very stressful for a Labour Party who quite simply can no longer connect with the working class, and only held the seat through sheer tribalism. Oldham East & Saddleworth interestingly was also one of UKIP’s first real efforts at national level – now Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall contested the 2011 by-election for the party and not only saved his deposit, but also came 4th out of 10 candidates.
In conclusion, I graduated last year from the University of Manchester with a degree in law; UKIP is no longer a party for disaffected Tories, or angry blue collars out of work, or closet racists – it is a party of young professionals like myself, of Oxford barrister-economist-MP Mark Reckless, of former history teacher turned Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall and of course, the legendary Nigel Farage who actually held a real job in trading before entering politics. We are now the main challenge to Labour in the north and Wales as well as the Tories in the south – and with recent futile attacks like 100 Days of UKIP and Meet The Ukippers – don’t their BBC friends know it. Most importantly, we are the only party that truly believes that Britain is far, far more than a star on somebody else’s flag.
By Nicholas Godleman, Junior Writer for Daily Political View.