After months of attacking Conservative and Labour party policies but revealing little about the specifics of his own, Nigel Farage has trumpeted Ukip as a “state of mind” that would shake up the Establishment as he gave his first significant speech of 2015.
Clutching a tub of popcorn bearing the party's logo as he appeared at the Movie Star Cinema in Canvey Island, Essex, he vowed Ukip will be the "people's army" in the upcoming general election.
“Voting Ukip is a state of mind,” he claimed. “It is not a protest [vote] - it is a positive affirmation that we need different people in politics and different policies for this country.”
Farage last night insisted his party's supporters were more interested Ukip's overall ethos than on specific detailed policies.
Farage, who is running to be an MP in South Thanet, has said his party's policies would include taking those on the minimum wage out of tax, scrapping tuition fees for science and engineering students and stopping HS2, but failed to go into detail about these today.
His speech came weeks after Ukip’s policy chief Tim Aker stepped down, reportedly after he failed to complete a final draft of his party’s manifesto. The task of producing the document has since been handed over to deputy chairman Suzanne Evans.
Ukip's confusing policies
Ukip's confusing policies
1/6 Deport migrants
Ukip MP Mark Reckless suggested he would deport existing EU migrants, a policy Nigel Farage rejected out of hand.
2/6 US-style NHS
Farage was caught on film in 2012 saying healthcare headed towards insurance-based system, though he has since said he would keep it free at the point of use.
3/6 Handbag tax
Ukip Economy spokesman Patrick O'Flynn said he would introduce a tax on high-price items like shoes, Nigel Farage disowned this idea.
4/6 Same-sex couple adoption
Ukip candidate Winston McKenzie likened adoption by same-sex couples to "child abuse", but the party rejects that view.
5/6 Gay marriage?
In early 2014 Ukip released a statement saying it would review its gay marriage policy, but later said that was an error.
6/6 Sex education u-turn
Nigel Farage told Leaders Live that he backed sex education for under-11s but later admitted that is not Ukip policy.
The outspoken leader continued his mission to distinguish his party from the others by presenting it as the only one to represent “neglected, hard-up voters”, saying Ukip has “crossed the class barrier in British politics”.
Declaring himself as the leader of the only "national political party" to represent "all corners of the United Kingdom", he dismissed Labour as the regional party of the north of England and the Conservatives of the south.
Mr Farage said his party was digging in to "the ethnic community vote", adding that there would be "lots of Ukip candidates" from minorities in the general election campaign.
He told the crowd: "We have crossed the class barrier in British politics. That is a remarkable achievement for Ukip and we pick up support from across every social spectrum.
“We are re-engaging people who have not voted for anyone for 20 years," he added.
He also pledged to “redefine capitalism in a way that it will work for everyone”.
He dismissed the election campaign as "endlessly negative and incredibly boring" so far, accusing leaders of making predictable promises.
Farage promised a full costed manifesto in a comment piece for The Telegraph ahead of his speech, "which includes taking those on the minimum wage out of tax, reducing energy bills, and by ending our costly membership of the EU".
He also vowed to match Ed Miliband’s £2.5bn funding pledge to "save and transform" the NHS by 2020 with his own £3bn healthcare promise, which he says will be used to prioritise “innovation and research – not middle managers”.Reuse content