What impact have UKIP had on British Politics thus far and what impact are they likely to have on the 2015 British General election? Are they likely to suffer the same fate as the SDP?.
UKIP have been a political party since their formation in 1993, however in this essay I will be looking at their more recent success and how they have managed to grow into a majority party in the UK: how they have managed to unsettle the current parties and instil a certain 'fear' that they may be the party to take notice of in the upcoming election after their unprecedented success in the UK European election results. It is felt that they could possibly come to hold the balance of power in a hung parliament currently held by the Liberal Democrats. Nevertheless, the impact that they will have on the 2015 British General election may be far less than expected according to some and they may in fact fall to the same fate as the SDP. Despite strong showing in polls they appear to have certain image issues. They are also seen as a party based on a very limited manifesto – that of immigration and the UK's place in the EU (or out of it). I will look to evaluate these contradictory ideas below.
The rise of UKIP can be explained by a number of factors. Firstly, they have slowly broadened their appeal from simply being a protest party that is against the European Union which means people often dismiss it as a single issue party, unlikely to become a force in Westminster politics. However, they have adopted more policies that appeal to the disenfranchised voters of the 'big three'. Such as, the reopening of Grammar Schools, aiming to reduce fuel duty, abolition of inheritance tax, and of course reducing immigration (UKIP, 2014). I say 'of course' because the promise of reducing immigration and leaving the EU are the main issues that UKIP were founded on. So why is it that this one issue protest party has become so popular and enabled them to become a party that is listed as 'major' party by Ofcom (Ofcom, 2014).