Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Could UKIP Be A Threat To Scottish Independence?
On my Facebook page I have several requests a week to become 'friends' with various UKIP members. I don't know these people from Adam or Eve so I often decline, but on occasion I say yes out of curiosity.
UKIP are certainly receiving a good press at present - possibly due to their success at the Eastleigh by-election, but will it continue and what's it to do with Scottish politics?
Whether its popularity has peaked or not is debatable, but it's certainly attracting 'forgotten' voters. The Tories should be worried and I suspect there's quite a bit of anxiety behind the doors of party HQ. Labour should be concerned too because a good chunk of their voters want out of the EU and may be prepared to support a party which agrees with them.
But are UKIP a threat to the Yes campaign for an independent Scotland? Could Nigel Farage be the catalyst who swings the vote towards No?
The answer is yes to both questions. UKIP has never been too interested in Scotland and vice versa, but if it was to put up a few candidates in selected areas, particularly cities such as Edinburgh and Aberdeen where there is still a strong Tory voting base, then those who want to leave the EU will have somewhere to place their cross. That would boost the No campaign because, of course, UKIP believes in a united kingdom.
The English local elections next month will be a test of UKIP's evolution, but can it be as relevant in the town halls as it can be in the European elections? If it is successful in the English local elections then it may feel brave enough to venture into serious Scottish politics.
More and more I hear people say we should leave the EU yet every party in mainstream Scottish politics supports Brussels. The SNP have shown in recent months that they're determined to be part of the European Union even though it's been suggested that they would have to join the Euro.