Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the new manifesto from UKIP – Britain’s Tea Party – is the debt it owes to its most bitter ideological opponents, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.
From the simperingly centrist, faux-Tory Prime Minister, it has borrowed the technique of trying to wrong-foot its enemies on the left by trying to ape their language. Just as Cameron infamously urged Conservatives to “hug a hoodie”, panic about melting glaciers, and see the merit in the socialistic witterings of Guardian writer Polly Toynbee, so UKIP has shunned the right-wing press and chosen to soft-launch its avowedly “blue-collar” (ie working class) manifesto with an interview in the left-leaning Prospect magazine.
Furthermore, UKIP’s director of policy Tim Aker has made the dubious claim that the party has moved beyond the “left-right, libertarian-authoritarian” paradigm. No, it hasn’t. No party ever can or will: this is a statist fantasy akin to Tony Blair’s “Third Way”. Policies can only ever possibly be left or right, libertarian or authoritarian. The suggestion that there is some magical, sweetly reasonable parallel universe where none of these labels apply is the kind of cynical fudge one associates with the tired old, same old Westminster political class, not with crusading Tea Partiers determined to put an end to Big Government.
As for the Nick Clegg influence, this rotten smell can be detected in at least a couple of the new policies. One is in UKIP’s declared opposition to the “Bedroom Tax”; another is its insistence – despite deep concerns about the growing, indeed terrifying, pensions liability overhang – that UKIP has no plans to raise the retirement age.
Both are classic cases of what is known in the trade as “playing the Lib Dem” game. That is, saying whatever is necessary to get you the most votes, regardless of how badly it betrays your ideological principles. (The Liberal Democrats are notorious for this: if it’s a Muslim constituency, their candidate will tend to drape himself in the black flag of the Islamic State and demand the restoration of the Caliphate; if it’s in a seaside constituency full of pensioners, he’ll demand massive public subsidies for tea dances, bridge evenings and zimmer frames).
Read the rest at Breitbart London
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