Business Eye: UKIP machine is simple and compelling

Alex Pratt
Alex Pratt
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This weekend, my young nephew Max reminded me that I was the future once and that I am hoping his generation will prove better at taking the brave economic decisions than we have been.

Our conversation turned to the rise of UKIP. If politics were business then UKIP would be the new disruptive competitor on the block.

It is the Lidl, Ryanair or Amazon of its class.

In the 2010 General Election UKIP polled just 3% of the vote, but in the last nine by-elections they have won twice and been second every other time. In the local elections they averaged 20% in Conservative-held wards and 25% in Labour-held wards showing their appeal to be widespread, and locally UKIP is already the main opposition in the county council.

In the 2014 European elections, winning 24 of the 73 seats, they became the first party in a century other than Labour or the Tories to come first in a UK-wide election. I prefer not to take sides in politics as the answers to our many challenges do not seem to me to rest with one or other of the certain and simple answer sets of the different political dogmas. In taking a dispassionate apolitical view,

I find myself witnessing the established political class coming through the denial phase, and freezing like rabbits in the headlights in much the same way as can happen in business. When you lose the support of key customers the unwise will attack the competition or “poor customer”, or will call it a fluke instead of finding out why they walked. They might even tweet a picture of his home.

The issue might be as simple as the fact that the traditional parties are all selling the equivalent of highly complicated DVD players with far too many options and pricing models direct from the BT school of opaqueness.

Billions here; millions there. What’s more, their salesmen (MPs and councillors) seem only to believe in select benefits of their own product range, and are continually fighting over re-labelling the buttons.

There are just three huge buttons on the UKIP machine; EJECT (from Europe); STOP (HS2) and REWIND (Immigration) with all else kept below the radar.

They say, “We believe in Great Britain. If you want to leave Europe, stop HS2 and rewind immigration, boy have we got something for you.”

This is compelling for the many voters sick of the usual complicated machinery that never seems to work.