Here at The Nopebook, we believe firmly in educating people about politics so that they can make free and informed political choices. This post is part of our Politics 101 series, where we aim to equip people with the information they need to make sound political decisions.
The UK Independence Party, colloquially known as UKIP, is a right-wing populist party. Currently there are no UKIP MPs in the House of Commons, and three representatives in the House of Lords. It does, however, have 20 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) which makes it joint largest UK party in this parliament.
A Brief History
UKIP was founded in 1993, with the primary objective of removing the United Kingdom from the European Union. Over the years the party has attracted a certain amount of controversy, branded by David Cameron in 2006 (then the leader of the Conservatives) as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly”. The party played a large part in campaigning for Brexit in the run up to the European referendum in 2016, led by then-leader Nigel Farage.
After Paul Nuttall stepped down as leader after the 2017 snap election, Steve Crowther became acting leader while a new party leader is elected. He has been a UKIP candidate for North Devon three times, but polled the second fewest votes in this year’s election with 2.1% of the votes. He is a retired trade journalist and writer, who previously ran an advertising agency in London.
According to UKIP’s local election manifesto for 2017, their priorities are to;
- Move government closer to the people by providing incentives to “encourage enterprise, attract jobs and reinvigorate town centres”.
- Continue the fight to “save our countryside and Green Spaces”.
- Prioritise “services for local people” by ending “benefit and health tourism, and give priority to local people for housing, education, health and social services.
- Fight “crime and rural crime”, by overhauling the system to “make sentences meaningful, rehabilitate offenders, deport foreign criminals, free up the police from excessive form-filling and tackle nuisance neighbors and anti-social behavior”
- Commit to “spending money at home” on care for the elderly and most vulnerable health services, policing and roads.
- Regain “control over development”, claiming that the UK’s housing, education, health and social services “cannot cope with constantly rising numbers of people coming to live and work here”.
- Support national heritage by “defending public libraries and developing a programme to protect buildings of local importance”.
- Previous leader Paul Nuttall has also said that their manifesto was to include a ban on full veils worn by some Muslim women, as they are a “barrier to integration and a security risk”.
Who They Appeal to
- Over the age of 45 and under the age of 24 (2% to 3% aged 45 to 65+ and 2% aged 18 to 24 versus 1% aged 25 to 44)
- More male than female (2% male versus 1% female voters)
- C1, C2 and DE social class (2% to 3% C1, C2 and DE versus 1% AB voters)
Demographics that voted for UKIP in the 2015 general election were typically;
- Over the age of 45 (between 14% and 17% aged 45 to 65+ voters, versus 8% to 10% aged 18 to 44 voters)
- Slightly more male than female (14% male and 12% female voters)
- Mixed home owners and renters (10% to 15% of voters own or mortgage their home, 11% to 18% of voters privately or socially rent their home)
- White (14% of voters versus 2% BME voters)
UKIP welcomed the snap election, with leader Paul Nuttall saying that it is an opportunity to “take UKIP’s positive message to the country”. He also stated that it would “provide a perfect opportunity for the 52% to vote for UKIP, the only party wholeheartedly committed to a clean quick and efficient Brexit.”