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UKIP: The threat to the two-party system

ByLucy Shiels

Nov 4, 2014

The two main parties in British politics are in dire need of a wake up call. Their leaders are more concerned with taking chunks out of each other during Prime Minister’s Questions than actually maintaining, or gaining, voter support. However, now that UKIP and Nigel Farage are increasing their notoriety on a now daily basis, they are getting the shake up they need.

The 2010 general election was fought primarily on the basis of economic issues and Nick Clegg was able to claim title ‘Major Third Party Leader and Potential Conqueror of the Traditional Party System’. Now, with the 2015 general election looming on the horizon, the main topic of contention is immigration and Nigel is now the new ‘Major Third Party Leader and Potential Conqueror of the Traditional Party System’.

The Tory and Labour parties are shadows of their former selves. Their policies are formed on the basis of opposites and their leaders are desperately clinging onto the leadership with their fingertips; hoping that Nigel doesn’t kick them off in a re-enactment of The Lion King scene where Mufassa dies – except with fewer tears shed. As for the Liberal Democrats, their loveless marriage with the Nasty Party has been the kiss of death; after next May, Nick will predictably fade into the background never to be seen again until his memoirs are published.

Making himself more electable is not a hard task for Nigel. Both Dave and Ed are at a loss for coming up with new, exciting, vote-worthy promises and are essentially dancing to Nigel’s tune. For example, UKIP is touting a radical policy of immigration that will appease extreme right-wing Tory voters and those who believe that migrants to Britain are ‘stealing their jobs’. By means of retaliation Dave is set to outline his own stringent measures to tackle the Now Pressing Problem, and Ed is still trying to locate the missing piece of his conference speech.

If it were not for Nigel and his cronies, the run-up to next May would be rather dull. The lifeless Tory and Labour parties would simply be bouncing ideas off of each other and producing mindless, run of the mill policies. The suspense over who will be next to jump off either sinking ship into Nigel’s lifeboat is palpable, and exactly the kick up the posterior that the traditional parties need to put some life back into them.

The next seven months are crucial for Dave and Ed to work out exactly what they stand for and create vote-worthy manifestos. Both parties need to get a spring in their step because by April it will simply be too late. With Nigel hot on their tails, this should not be a hard task to achieve. Whilst it is still unlikely that UKIP will manage to win with an outright majority, it is no longer so questionable that we will see a coalition government featuring UKIP. There is still time for Dave and Ed to turn things around and stake a claim for victory – they need to both stop dancing to the tune of Nigel and come up with their own Number One. The traditional parties succeeded in preventing Nick from acting upon his title in 2010 and now it time for them to do the same again before politics in Britain gets a really bad shake up.

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