I have watched few of the party political broadcasts - mainly the fringe ones, which are fun. But more by accident than design I did watch last night's UKIP broadcast. I thought it was well presented, and that Pearson and Farage came over as likeable; but beyond that, I was surprised to find that it addressed every single issue that I believe worries the general public, but which the major parties adamantly refuse to discuss.
Can you have unlimited immigration while preserving a comprehensive and free at the point of issue Welfare State? Clearly - if you care about the welfare of your citizens - you cannot, especially at a time when fiscal imperatives make it necessary to cut services drastically. Can you continue to insist that Britain's future lies in the EU, when it adds only costs and regulatory burdens to Britain's struggling economy? Clearly - if you care about the prosperity of your citizens - you cannot. Does a complicated tax code serve social justice? Absolutely not - it serves only those who can afford accountants and can structure their income to minimise tax. Does it at least maximise tax revenues? Very far from it - simple tax codes have increased revenues wherever in the world they have been adopted.
And so on. Yet the mainstream media and most of the blogosphere alike dismiss this party, which came second in the last elections to the European parliament, as an irrelevance. In a functional two-party system, where real issues divide the factions competing to spend public money, one or the other of the main parties would have moved to co-opt its supporters.
But that is not what we have. Instead we have two bunches of gadflies skating on the thinning miniscus of credibility lying over a deep pond of totally unrepresented popular sentiment. As an historian I am only too well aware that oligarchies can perpetuate their hold on power almost indefinitely - but they normally do so by not letting the gulf between their sectional self-interest and the general welfare become too great.
I wonder if our ruling oligarchy may not have finally over-reached itself. The proof may lie in a substantial vote for UKIP in the coming election, to which I shall contribute.