“UKIP is a patriotic party that promotes independence: from the EU, and from government interference. We believe in free trade, lower taxes, personal freedom and responsibility”
Who are they?
Commonly known as UKIP, the UK Independence Party is a right-wing political party, founded in 1993 by members of the Anti-Federalist League with the primary objective of securing the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The party is widely regarded as Eurosceptic and has faced allegations of racism. A vote for UKIP is essentially a vote to leave the EU.
UKIP is led by Nigel Farage, with Paul Nuttall as deputy leader. The party currently has a mere 2 seats in Parliament. However, it also has 3 representatives in the House of Lords and twenty-four Members of the European Parliament making it, ironically, the largest UK party in the European Parliament. According to research, most of UKIP’s supporters are older, male ex-Tory voters.
What are their values?
UKIP describes itself as a ‘patriotic’ party that promotes independence, both from the EU and from government interference. Key to UKIP’s values is the limiting of the number of migrants and ‘keeping out those without the skills or aptitudes to be of benefit to the nation’. By leaving the EU, UKIP believes the UK will have its power restored to it, its borders protected and its prosperity rebuilt. Other important, and perhaps controversial, values of UKIP include safeguarding against crime in a manner which does not necessitate the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, the tightening of benefits, and the loosening of political correctness as they believe it stifles free speech.
What are their proposals for the upcoming election?
The highlights of UKIP’s policy announcements are as followed:
Repairing the UK economy
- By leaving the EU, UKIP estimate we will save at least £8bn per annum in net contributions
- The foreign aid budget will be cut by £9bn per annum, prioritising disaster relief schemes which provide water and inoculation against preventable diseases
- Inheritance tax will be abolished
Prioritising Education and Skills
- UKIP will scrap the target of 50% of school leavers going to university
- Students from the EU will pay the same student fee rates as international students
- UKIP propose to remove tuition fees for students taking approved degrees in science, medicine, technology, engineering, maths on the condition that they live, work and pay tax in the UK for five years after the completion of their degrees
- UKIP will ensure the NHS is free at the point of delivery and time of need for all UK residents
- UKIP will ensure that visitors to the UK and migrants, until they have paid National Insurance for five years, have NHS-approved private health insurance as a condition of entry to the UK, supposedly saving the NHS £2bn per annum
Controlling and managing our borders
- UKIP will leave the EU and take back control of our borders, entitling work permits only to fill skills gaps in the UK jobs market
- UKIP insist that those coming to work in the UK must have a job to go to, must speak English, must have accommodation agreed prior to their arrival, and must have NHS-approved health insurance
- Migrants will only be eligible for benefits when they have been paying tax and National Insurance for five years and will only be eligible for permanent residence after ten years
- UKIP will not offer an amnesty for illegal immigrants or those gaining British passports through fraud
Welfare and childcare
- UKIP opposes the bedroom tax because it operates unfairly
- Child benefit is only to be paid to children permanently resident in the UK and future child benefit to be limited to the first two children only
- UKIP will also ensure there is an initial presumption of 50/50 shared parenting in child custody matters
Law and Order
- UKIP will withdraw from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights
- UKIP will not give prisoners the vote
- The Party propose to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a new British Bill of Rights
- UKIP recognises and values an overarching British culture, open and inclusive to anyone who wishes to identify with Britain and British values, regardless of their ethnic or religious background
- UKIP will ensure that the law is rigorously enforced in relation to ‘cultural’ practices which are illegal in Britain, such as FGM and so-called ‘honour killings’
- The Party will amend the smoking ban to give pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms properly ventilated and separated from non-smoking areas
Could they be successful?
Recent research has revealed that UKIP could steal three seats from the Conservatives and threaten Tory chances of winning in 100 key seats next election. The research by the Fabian Society also showed that Labour too is losing votes to UKIP, albeit to a lesser extent, with the party being damaged in 83 seats. Interestingly, Nigel Farage is most popular in areas where immigration is lowest, in the coastal towns in England and areas such as Heywood and Middleton. However, in London, where immigration is most heavily concentrated, 54 per cent said immigrants were positive for the economy-against 28 per cent elsewhere in Britain. This means that where an area is more diverse it is likely to be more accepting of immigration and thus far less likely to vote UKIP in the upcoming election. According to the Guardian, UKIP is likely to win five seats in May. This means, whilst support for the Party is clearly rising, it is extremely unlikely that they will win the election altogether.