An interesting post has appeared on Conservative Home, Comment, by Professors Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin, authors who proffer (sorry!) the suggestion that:
".... UKIP has now emerged as a potent competitor on two very different fronts. On the one hand, UKIP is tapping into widespread Conservative scepticism about Europe to win over large numbers of Tory voters at European Parliament elections. But in Westminster elections, UKIP is also attracting a very different following. The party is becoming an outlet for the frustrations of voters who are angry about rising immigration, anxious over the presence of ‘threatening’ Muslim communities, and cynical about mainstream politics...."
Like most political parties, the Conservative Party has within its family different factions - One Nation Conservatives; Free Market Conservatives and Traditional Conservatives - and it is those traditional Conservatives that probably fear most the apparent rise in UKIP's popularity, as their philosophy is based on the tenets of The Cornerstone Group:
"the Monarchy; traditional marriage; family and community duties; proper pride in our nation’s distinctive qualities; quality of life over soulless utility; social responsibility over personal selfishness; social justice as civic duty, not state dependency; compassion for those in need; reducing government waste; lower taxation and deregulation; our ancient liberties against politically correct censorship and a commitment to our democratically elected parliament."
Immigration and the faith issue are subjects which are controlled, in one way or another, by our membership of the European Union; two subjects on which many Conservative supporters have deep feelings - along with the electorate in general. So maybe the Conservative Party and others should be wary of UKIP in that we will be unable to rectify any of those two concerns until we have left the EU - and it may also just be that those two subjects could well spell the demise of the Conservative Party. Were there to be a serious drift of support from the Conservative Party to UKIP, that might also spell the end of Cameron - who knows?
The other factor highlighted by the two authors is that of cynicism with what they term "mainstream politics". Consider those MPs who are listed as members of The Cornerstone Group and their present positions within the Conservative Party:
Greg Hands: currently Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to George Osborne
John Hayes: currently Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.
David Burrowes: currently PPS to Frances Maude.
Owen Paterson: currently Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
David Jones: currently Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Welsh Office.
As a Ministers or PPS it is beholden on the MP concerned to support the government in all votes that may be required. One has to ask therefore, bearing in mind that members of The Cornerstone Group believe in, for example, lower taxation and a commitment to our democratically elected Parliament (which must also incorporate the idea that Parliament is sovereign); just how do they square their membership of The Cornerstone Group with the necessity to support the Government in all votes? Or is this yet another example of MPs foregoing principle of beliefs in favour of power and position?
Is it any wonder the public are cynical about mainstream politics? Is it any wonder that when informed an MP is "Eurosceptic" but then doesn't say "BOO (sorry, again!) to a goose", the public are cynical about mainstream politics? Is it any wonder that, presented with three parties, supported by their 'lackey' sheep and corralled by party Whips, who are all content to sell the soul of this nation to the EU, the support for UKIP and other 'so-called' minor parties increases?