Tomorrow Britain may wake up to learn UKIP has gained a second seat in parliament. On the back of Douglas Carswell’s victory in gaining the party’s first Commons seat, now it is the turn of Mark Reckless to secure its second in Rochester and Strood.
Both men who are former Tories, triggered by-elections in their constituencies after defecting to UKIP and Reckless has said that more Tories could follow. Opinion polls have fluctuated recently, predicting as many as 12 seats could be won at the coming general election, but according to most recent figures from electionforecast.com UKIP will only gain 4 seats.
So is this really the political earthquake to British politics that Nigel Farage predicted?
‘A fragmented political climate’
One thing that is certain is that we are living in a fragmented political climate, with party partisanship being at an all time low and a growing irritation towards elite bureaucracies such as Westminster and the European Union.
This has been the perfect breeding ground for UKIP to emerge with their populist narrative. But if they were to win only 4 seats at the general election could they influence significant change?
Already we are seeing UKIP’s influence on the Conservatives and Labour as both have changed their stances on immigration. Ed Miliband who is fully aware that he gains support from migrants has said that “it’s not prejudice to be concerned about immigration”.
However in parliament, UKIP will have to face the structures of Westminster that restrict all parties, no matter how many MPs they have.
Opposition parties always have an easier ride in attacking the government, but what we could see is UKIP forming part of government, if the 2015 election causes another hung parliament.
UKIP would therefore be put under significant scrutiny to achieve their proposals: leave the EU and bring in an Australian point system of immigration. Failure to do so, could tarnish the party’s achievements that they have so far gained.
‘A Reckless time?’
This political time can certainly be regarded as reckless. People have lost trust in the main parties and many feel unrepresented by either and are now looking to parties that ‘supposedly’ represent them.
What is being deemed as common sense has created a narrowing of politics to limited policies areas. This however, could be fundamental in causing UKIP’s downfall. This is because when in office achieving ‘simple measures’ becomes much harder than it looks.
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