An opinion poll in yesterday’s Sunday Mirror shows that 3% of the voters are likely to vote for the BNP and 2% for UKIP. Although the margin for error is high - it is unlikely that all of the parties wishing to take the UK out of the EU, together, will total 10%.
This coupled to the fact Bob Ainsworth apparently let it slip that the General Election is planned for the 6th May, whether this is true or not, a general election must be held within little more than four months, and if Ainsworth’s slip was true - little more than three.
Since none of the eurosceptic parties have any chance of making an impact at this election and because they are so infrequent, would it not be a good idea if there were some agreement between them to maximise, and not split, the anti EU vote?
In the past UKIP had wanted to distinguish itself from the BNP by avoiding any reference to immigration - with its racial overtones. However, the ‘ban the burkha’ campaign has removed such considerations, immigration has to be confronted because it is now the second most important issue to the electorate - after the economy.
A simple agreement to share the constituencies between the two parties and, including the English Democrats alliance if possible, is likely to produce support of 5% and perhaps even close to 10%. The danger is, if a significant number do not support our leaving the EU at the election, the issue could sink without trace afterwards, unless there is a clear demonstration of the people’s wish for this issue, coupled to a desire to get immigration under control, to be addressed.
It can be argued that the eurosceptic vote will not be increased by this step - so why do it? However to see one of these parties featuring in the election results with between 5 - 10%, it does remind the public that this issue has not gone away just because the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified and is now in force. Fighting the election as the UKIP/BNP Alliance would make this even clearer, because the 5 - 10% would then show as a national result, not just in constituencies.
Given, it must now be acknowledged that none of the anti EU parties are going to do well in the sense that they will be challenging the Lib/Dems for the place of the third most popular party - is there any point of any of these parties having policies beyond the two issues, most important to the electorate - our EU membership and the immigration? If Direct Democracy were added, as previously argued, so that the many other issues the parties favour could, effectively, be included - would not the vote increase? For unless any other policy was particularly popular, these policies are likely to decrease support, because individual voters may dislike some or all of these.
The real problem, to such an alliance, is UKIP’s strategy of wishing to achieve change through acting as a Tory pressure group, hoping to change their policy to one of eurosceptic and this to be demonstrated by offering an in/out referendum on our membership. Clearly this would be a decisive change if the party did make the absolute commitment to becoming a mainstream party. A change, which, had it been made some years ago, would probably have seen the party challenging the Lib/Dems on its own account, instead of having to rely on an alliance with the BNP to to make a lesser impact.