Since the remarkable success of UKIP in the English council elections this week, the cat really has been put in amongst the Tory pigeons next door.
We now have 50 shades of Tory… Red Tory, Yellow Tory, Blue Tory and LavaTory .
The Conservative and Lib Dems did as badly as we might expect, being at mid term in government. The Conservatives holding up fairly well,all things considered, the Lib Dems in danger of being an extinct party on both sides of the border.
It was very clear that UKIP were making the majority of their gains in Conservative areas, but they were also eating into the Labour vote in the North for the first time.
Labour although making gains as might be expected, performed to a far less scale than would give them hope of being clear favourites to form a government at the next general election.
The result of all this being that panic quickly spread in Conservative and Labour ranks, both having to travel further to the right in their political stance, in order to cut off UKIP popular support.
Already there has been talk of being even tougher on immigration, and it makes it a near certainty that the push to have a referendum to take Britain out of Europe will be more vigorously pursued.
I think as we look forward to the next general election we can see a distinct possibility of a Conservative pact with UKIP.
Those that were cheered by the BNPs misfortunes should think again…as It is becoming clear that their brand of nationalism along with the EDL is transferring itself over to the more acceptable face of UKIP.
In an ongoing joint study by Edinburgh and Cardiff universities point to a rise in English nationalist identity as being a major factor in this political shift.
“The 2011 Census found that 70 per cent of the English population identified themselves as either solely English or English in combination with some other national identity. Just 29 per cent of respondents identified themselves as feeling any sense of British national identity.
Without explicitly promoting themselves as an English party, UKIP appears to have become the key political beneficiary of this trend because the more English someone feels, the more likely they are to believe that England is getting a bad deal from its membership of both the European Union and the United Kingdom.
UKIP’s supporters express the strongest sense of English identity (55 per cent describe themselves as either ‘English not British’ or ‘More English than British’). And UKIP supporters are the most dissatisfied with the constitutional status quo in the United Kingdom (49 per cent agree that England should become an independent country compared to 36 per cent of Tories, 35 per cent of Lib Dems and 29 per cent of Labour supporters) while over 90 per cent want to withdraw from the EU.
When people were asked: ‘which party best stands up for English interests’, UKIP tops the list. ”
“Even more striking is the fact that UKIP’s support as the party that best stands up for England has more than doubled since 2011 – up from 9 per cent, and overtaking Lab (21 per cent ) and Con (20 per cent ) and none of the parties (23 per cent).”
“Nick Pearce, IPPR Director, said:
“There is an undercurrent of English national sentiment that has been growing in recent years and this appears to be propelling UKIP forward. Tories traditionally feel more confident that they are the patriotic party; but there are signs that complacency on their part is handing a gift to UKIP which is fast emerging – in the eyes of the English electorate – as the party which best stands up for English interests.
“If the Tories have been complacent about their natural position as England’s patriotic party, Labour has been consumed by fear. Fear that giving England more recognition in the union will inhibit its political interests by limiting the role of its Celtic fringe; fear that recognition of Englishness will simply lend credibility to the views of Little Englanders in respect of Europe and immigration. But fear breeds inertia, and inertia weakens Labour’s capacity to contest the politics of England.”
For those primarily interested in Scottish Independence, they might be tempted to shrug their shoulders and say ” So what? What has this all got to do with us? UKIP have absolutely no resonance in Scotland”
And there they would be wrong!
As Labour and the Tories shift their political ground ever rightwards to meet popular demand in the South of England..as the national media reflect an ever hardening of social attitudes, attacks on scroungers, immigrants, and Europe.. what we see is a clear ideological divide in the battle for Scottish Independence.
There is now a clear demarcation line on political ideological grounds and Social attitudes developing.
Those on the Left and Centre Left are in favour of Scottish Independence, and those against are increasingly on the hard Right. The Centre ground is where this battle will be lost and won, and where I suspect you will currently find the majority of those who are still unsure of what way they will vote.
All of which causes a huge headache for Labour party members in Scotland more than any others.
How can they resolve their long held social beliefs conflicting with their personal political identity, when they see their party leadership tearing up long held commitments to a fairer society for the working man and woman, and siding fully wit the Tories in Better Together?
As their leadership adopts Tory policies to end Universal benefits, charge for education, remove pensioners rights along with their bus passes and winter fuel allowance, and many of them investing in private health care companies hell bent on destroying the NHS for private gain.
How are these members going to vote, when they have no political home to go to?
We are seeing this angst and internal conflict manifesting itself in a very public way in social media particularly.
I am sure there will be plenty said about last nights twitter storm, where Ian Smart a prominent Labour activist, lawyer and Better Together supporter obliquely accused Scots of being racist while appearing to show his own racism in his language. A language more belonging to the BNP than Labour I would suggest.
“As white Christian and was born here.I am frightened of Nat agenda.You no doubt know better.I hope you’re right”
“Better 100 years of the Tories than the turn on the Poles and the Pakis that would follow independence failing to deliver.”
“Lots of WE ARE NOT RACISTS tweets from the cybernats tonight. Also lots of WE ARE NOT RACISTS tweets from the KKK in Alabama. LoL”
What’s more….Lord Jack McConnell came steaming into his defence….accusing Cybernats of being vindictive.. No word of condemnation for the language about Scots and Scotland which caused the outraged complaints.
I do seriously worry about the animosity that is being generated now….and I suspect that no matter which way the result eventually goes, there will have been a lot of damage done to personal relationships. One thing for sure….This is a Union Divided! And perhaps the best way forwards would be to recognise…that in marital terms as the Unionists like to scaremonger with…It is time to Separate!
To carry on this way will only cause much more grief and permanent animosity.
Or is this what the Media want???