Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Are UKIP the new Conservatives?

With the party divided over Europe, gay marriage and dealing with the economy, are we seeing the funeral march of the Tories? If we are, then will UKIP rise on its place?

The fact that these are dangerous times for the party is clear to see, as their attempt to take the political centre-ground has dissolved into a series of back bench rebellions and the clash of traditional and new ideas. The rank and file of the party are getting more and more concerned that they are being silenced in order to keep Cameron in power.

This could be the defining moment for this party, because, as it proudly stands as a house divided,  UKIP are providing a united front on government efficiency, Europe, and campaigning for less red tape and fuss. They are the traditional Tory's dream, representing the sort of party that many which the Conservatives could be.

Their rise is beginning to become more and more inevitable, especially as they become better coordinated and define their policies in a clear way. Soon it could be Labour versus UKIP.

However, this would not the first time the Tory party has split horrifically. It did so over catholic emancipation, and the repeal of the Corn Laws, in both cases bouncing back to being a convincing mainstream party again. The Conservatives have not gone down the route of total split, yet, so they still have great potential to survive. They can only do this in the same way that they survived before: by realizing that they can work past their differences and pursue policies that they are united on.

In addition, UKIP is still seen as a single issue party by many people, despite its attempts to shift this opinion. It is only the protest vote against the more questionable Tory policies, a way to make the government notice that they are losing their traditional voters. It does not  have the capability to lead a country or be a innovative and credible opposition party. However, as Conservatives abandon their party, UKIPs credibility will continue to increase.

There is the potential for a great shift in British politics, away from the sorts of parliaments that we have grown used to, but it is still only potential, not reality. The Conservatives must pull themselves together and pursue policies that work, or they will severely lose out. They are too strong to fade away completely, but need to take drastic action to retain any sort support from the public.

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