Special Guest Post by Martin Day.
This week, the UK Government unveiled its final Budget ahead of the national General Election on May 7th. With the UK economy stabilising (if not exactly booming), the Opposition Labour Party are left floundering around to find something (anything!) to attack the present Coalition Government of Prime Minister David Cameron with. Cameron’s Government are currently pretty pleased with themselves as their austerity policies of the last 5 years have been proved to have been the correct approach post- economic crash. That’s not to say that the reduction of UK Government spending is a success story under the present Government. At the last General Election in 2010, UK GDP Spending was at 35.9%. After 5 years of supposedly prudent fiscal measures, it now stands at… 36.0%. Ooops!
Which is why former UK political upstarts the UK Independence Party (UKIP), led by their charismatic Leader Nigel Farage, have continued to attract large numbers of disaffected former members of Cameron’s Conservative Party to their ranks. UKIP are now seen as the natural home for conservative voters across the UK and polling suggests that they could win as many as 5 Parliamentary Seats outright. To add to PM Cameron’s General Election woes, UKIP are predicted to LOSE Cameron’s Conservative Party up to a further 20 Parliamentary Seats by reducing their former majorities and allowing other Parties to snatch the Seat from the Conservatives.
Oddly enough, Nigel Farage recently visited the US after being invited by Dan Schneider, Executive Director of the American Conservative Union to speak at the CPAC2015 gathering. As Adam B Lerner reported in his subsequent Politico Magazine piece on Farage’s speech, “…UKIP has become precisely the sort of political nightmare that breakaway conservatives sometimes threaten to become for the GOP: It could soon cost the mainstream Conservative Party its majority coalition in Parliament.”, going on to say “In his speech, Farage delivered several pointed reminders of this very different agenda across the Atlantic, mentioning two Conservative members of Parliament that his party had persuaded to defect and making veiled references to [US Conservatives] creating an outside force to challenge the mainstream Republican party — though he refrained from advocating defection outright.”
Farage’s message to CPAC was, veiled or otherwise, ‘if your Party is drifting to the Left, start a new Party’. Quite how such a suggestion sits with TEA Party members or conservative-minded voters generally across the US is unclear. Perhaps it is too early in the cycle to contemplate such a move and memories of past failed attempts to establish a ‘3rd Political Party’ in America too recent. But as Farage’s UKIP has shown, where conservatives feel they are being ignored by their elected representatives in DC, there is a potential alternative…
Read Adam B Lerner’s full piece here: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/02/who-was-that-brit-at-cpac-115597.html#.VQmcf46sWSo
Martin Day is a former UK Government Press & Media Advisor who worked in Westminster under both the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown Premierships.