As 2015 dawns we are bombarded by New Year messages on our television screens from the “main” political party leaders. Talk about “same old” – there wasn’t a single, unscripted, unpredictable message from any one of them, talking to you from the parochial backyard of Westminster.
It is becoming generally accepted now that the differences between Cameron, Clegg, and Miliband are barely noticeable. Their track records on the really big issues is pitiful.
Take an issue that is guaranteed to affect your life: energy prices.
They all thought that energy prices would go up, which led Chancellor George Osborne to guarantee a ridiculously high strike price to French and Chinese investors over the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point. Labour’s sort-of leader Ed Miliband wanted to freeze energy prices just before the oil price collapsed, which would have left us all with artificially inflated bills. And spare a thought for the economist Alex Salmond, who based the whole separation plan for Scotland on oil prices.
These are also the same three who supported air strikes in Libya, and were limbering up to back the “rebels” in Syria. Thank goodness they were stopped.
The collective world-view that they hold over everything, including the benefits of the euro for southern member states, comes from a group of people with no experience of the real world at all. None has really been in business, and certainly none has ever been involved in global trade.
Whatever imperfections may be seen in certain outspoken members of Ukip, one thing is for sure: we do not think like the others, and we want real change to happen in 2015.
This can only be achieved with the support of ordinary British voters who act on what election experts are recognising as a trend away from the “big” parties, towards parties that actually seem to campaign on issues that affect people.
Ukip is no longer seen as the “protest vote”, but rather as an opportunity to look outside the Westminster bubble for real solutions, devised by real people, with real life experience. We will fight the upcoming elections believing that our potential is still underestimated, and that the balance of power is within our grasp.
Ukip’s rising stars
Ukip’s rising stars
1/7 Suzanne Evans
A Tory defector who has only been in the party for a year. She was rapidly appointed national communities spokesman. A former BBC reporter who now runs a PR agency, she has won plaudits within the party for her confidence in front of the camera.
2/7 Steven Woolfe
A barrister from Manchester whose father was mixed-race and mother was white. He was invited to become financial services spokesman before he had even joined Ukip. Now an MEP, his ethnicity and northern upbringing are in strong contrast to the Ukip stereotype.
3/7 Margot Parker
A local businesswoman who impressed Ukip’s hierarchy with her spirited campaign in the Corby and East Northants by-election 18 months ago. She was elected as an MEP for the East Midlands last week. She has a no-nonsense style which party chiefs believe will be persuasive on the national stage.
4/7 Patrick O’Flynn
A former Daily Express journalist who became Ukip’s director of communications and was a strategist behind the Euro-elections campaign. An experienced performer on television who is close to Mr Farage. With his media background he could become a culture spokesman.
5/7 Amjid Bashir
A restaurateur of Pakistani lineage who is one three Ukip MEPs representing Yorkshire and the Humber and currently speaks for the party on small business. After his election he said: “Here I am... of Asian birth, of Asian parentage, Muslim, and I have been selected by this so-called racist party. It disproves that completely.”
6/7 Louise Bours
Until her combative appearance alongside Piers Morgan and Joey Barton on Question Time last Thursday, she was one of Ukip’s lesser-known faces. The new MEP for the north-west is a former actress whose full name is Louise van de Bours. Her northern credentials could come in handy in wooing Labour-leaning voters.
7/7 Paul Nuttall
Long serving activist from Merseyside who became Ukip’s chairman in 2008 and deputy leader two years later. He is a key weapon in the party’s attempts to broaden its appeal to working-class voters in the North of England.
Yes, we want our country back. Not because we dislike Europe, but because we believe that we can run our affairs better than a distant bureaucracy. We want proper border controls, not because we dislike foreigners, but because making sure Britain can actually cater for its population is the sensible, sustainable and ethical thing to do. The others may now dance to our tune in terms of rhetoric, but none offers a policy solution.
Much as I was mocked in May for how few Romanians and Bulgarians were coming to the UK, we now learn that there are 252,000 of them living here. The next time Dave, Ed or Nick tells you what should be done with the NHS or education, ask yourself: how can they predict anything when they have no idea how many people will be living in the UK in five years’ time?
None of these parties now represents the ordinary working man or woman, and I would go so far as to say that the major three parties have not only made people poorer, but taken social mobility to its lowest level for decades. We want to change all of that by taking minimum-wage earners out of tax, by giving their children the chance of selective education, and no university tuition fees if they study certain subjects. We want them to live in communities that deal with the real social problem of integration.
None of us can predict what will happen on 7 May, but what we can say with certainty is that this is the most open General Election in many decades, and that Ukip has shaken up the pack. If we fail in our objective it will not be for a lack of vision. Last year was enormously important for Ukip and with the support of the British public, we’ll try to convert that this year with an agenda for real, positive change.
I’ll raise a glass (of orange juice) to this resolution...
I thought I’d propose one more resolution to add to your list. In 2015, resolve to vote at the general election. Resolve to vote not for what “seems” like the right choice, but for what you actually believe in.
Resolve to look long and hard at what the parties really stand for, rather than what the media or others claim they do.
As for me? You’re going to love this one. It’s not a joke, I promise! My New Year’s resolution is... no beer in January! The next time you catch me on the campaign trail in a pub, I will have a glass of orange juice in my hand. How’s that for unpredictable?