Prof Tim Bale, pundit, academic and slayer of political myths has taken it upon himself to take a pot shot at suggestions that UKIP are on the rise. Worse than on the rise that they threaten a Tory majority, or even relevance in UK political terms.
That sort of thinking for the good Professor is decidedly below the salt. Those who think otherwise are cogently described as, “a host of nerds and nutters”.
Fine. From my perspective keep up that complacency Prof. One of the key things a chap like him should do is to is to rid himself of some 20th Century ideal of politics. Where the graph of political support spreads conveniently along a straight line, or as he would say a left right bell curve.
Politics is today digital and Prof Bale seems to be happy to live in an analogue age.
What he forgets is that there is a vast difference between what is the centre of politically acceptable opinion and the opinion of the great majority of the people of this country. Where UKIP place themselves is at the centre of that, not of what Fleet Street and Islington define as what is acceptable.
So on issues such as the European union, where when forced to have forced to choose between in the EU and out YouGov Cambridge has 53% of the country saying out, UKIP are not weird, not out there, but smack bang at the centre of what people are thinking. On a whole host of issues, such as choice in Education, crime, taxation and so on, what is acceptable to the ivory tower, and what is acceptable to Fred down the Bull and Bush is a very different thing. Where UKIP score is that we don’t really care what he, or the psephologists in Victoria and Millbank think. We go with what we think.
Not being able to afford focus groups, nor really wanting to, we go with what we believe.
And weirdly that belief has a resonance with the public at large.
As a final thought, what I wondered idly are Professor Bale’s links with the European Union? After all he has talked about ‘facing down’ eurosceptics.
He is part of the University of Sussex’s European Institute, an institute which is part of the EU’s Monnet program of Centre’s of Excellence.
In the case of Sussex I do not know the precise details but, suffice to say they are funded by the EU.