In many ways the good Lord Ashcroft is correct in his analysis. There are two stand out points he makes that suggest to us in UKIP that our rise in popular support is no flash in the pan.
Firstly we have yet to meet a single UKIP voter who does not agree with our basic desire to leave the European Union. As things stand the Conservative Party maintains itys belief that it can reform the unreformable. The fiasco of announcing all the changes that it was going to force through the ECHR in Brighton this week and having almost everything watered down by the colleagues shows how hard that will be. You can only march people up and down the hill of "changing Europe from the inside" before they understand that those ambitions are impossible to realise.
Next he recognises that UKIP haven't just sat around, banging on about Europe. But have developed a series of policies that appeal to the centre ground of the British population, but sound radical if viewed through the prism of Westminster. On education, law and ode, tax, benefits, international aid, environmental and energy policy, we now speak with a clear distinct voice that appeals to a cross party section of the public. A significant proportion of those moving to UKIP are not from the Conservative Party. It is no surprise to us, though it may be to the readers here, that our biggest growth area according to the polls is the Midlands and the North. After all who suffers most from the failure of the comprehensive schools system, a breakdown in Law and Order, the impact of mass migration. It isn't the middle classes.
His prescription for a revival of Tory fortunes and the attracting back those voters who have moved towards us in UKIP is rather despairing. After all if Lord Ashcroft is 'not sure where' the Conservative Party 'is heading' then that suggests that less than 20people in the country have a clue.
"IF they see a competent government with a grip on events, a plan for the economy, an understanding of public services, that knows what it wants to achieve, and can show that it is delivering on its promises on things like crime and immigration."
That is one hell of a big if.
He waves away the thought of waving through policies that might succeed in doing this, but then runs down a list of this that could or should be done,
"Changes to the Human Rights Act, which constrains what the government can do to uphold the law and protect our security, might be one theme. An emphasis on controlling people’s energy bills and living costs, rather than imposing higher prices through misguided environmental policies, might be another. Addressing the bloated international aid budget could be considered. There will be, and there is much more – but at a time when the party needs to show it is serious about law and order and understands people’s concerns in tough economic times, it may not be a bad place to start."
Looks very like UKIP without EU withdrawal to me, and some of these things would require us to leave the EU anyway, as they are driven by EU law and we cannot alter them without the EU's permission, which we will not receive.
Nope I would say that though UKIP will lose some supporters due to the harsh light of FPTP many more will be staying with us.
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