Thanks to single-minded anti-immigration and anti-EU voters, combined with the total lack of efficacy in the three main political parties, voters in Clacton have shifted to the far-right and elected the UK’s first ever UKIP MP, Douglas Carswell.
Are they so narrow minded, that they would rather vote for a practically single-issue party that can appeal to their prejudices and fears, than put their trust in a party which can deliver real and effective change, such as the Greens?
Looking at the demographics of Clacton, it’s no surprise the voters have opted for right-wing extremism. 26% of people are retired, 39% outright own their home, 35% are over the age of 54 and 65% are Christians (Source). This is a 1950’s seat if ever there was one, so one cannot feign shock at this result. But where before there were Tories, now there are UKIP-pers. Clacton has gone from being on the middle-right, to the far-right.
Looking at Heywood & Middleton, and the results are only somewhat more surprising. H&M is made up of overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly Christian, ageing home-owners (Source). But for a usually Labour voting constituency, the amount of UKIP votes, and the closeness of the by-election, proves that Labour is in as much danger as the Conservatives are, in some areas.
Clacton, and and nearly 40% of H&M voters, have voted for a party which uses lies, prejudices and misinformation in order to make people frightened and angry in equal measure. The three main political parties have been useless in helping the working class and the poorest among us, especially the Tories. So the correct response to that political stagnation is to, what? Vote for a party that the Tories think are too extreme? Vote for a party full of single-issue voters and ex-BNP voters? That’s a great idea, can’t possibly go wrong.
Although the blame for these results has to lie with the ignorant, prejudiced BNP-in-suits voters, some blame has to be with the Conservatives and Labour. For as long as living memory, these two parties have moved in and out of 10 Downing Street on a revolving door, neither party really making radical promises or delivering real change, and safe in the knowledge that at some point, they’ll be back in power. The results of this have been astonishing – stagnating wages, unchecked prejudices in the electorate, an increasingly privatized NHS, and the most vulnerable people being completely left behind no matter who’s in power.
The Liberal Democrats had the chance to change all of that in 2010, and they failed to deliver, just like Labour and the Tories. So now a new party rises through the ranks and threatens to disrupt the two-party system. UKIP. A party which thinks the Tories aren’t extreme enough. Neo-Thatcherite policies of David Cameron have been disastrous for the working class. Nigel Farage is even further to the right than Cameron. Think on that.
Election graphics via the BBC.