Revolt on the Right

30 May 2014

Who will stay loyal to Farage in 2015?

Over at The Guardian Comment Is Free we have drawn on some of the new British Election Study data to look at who is planning to stay loyal to Ukip at the 2015 general election and who is planning to defect to another party. Take a look.... here.

27 May 2014

What Labour's been reading ....

Ed Miliband has given a speech today on immigration -inevitable given Ukip's growing support and their results at the weekend. It is a notoriously difficult issue for Labour but one that they will have to move on before the 2015 general election, not least because by then it is likely to be the most important issue for voters as concerns over the economy continue (?) to subside. Anyway, amidst the coverage of the speech we stumbled upon this...

Three pieces on Ukip you should read right now...

Inevitably, Ukips' 'earthquake' at the local and European Parliament elections has breathed new life into the debate about the party and its support. Some have even made a list of books that Westminster commentators who are puzzled by the rise of Ukip should read. Oddly, the list does not include the one book that has examined support for the party in detail. Anyway, here are three pieces about Ukip that are based on actual research....

1. An initial analysis of Ukip's local election results- Dr Steve Fisher at the University of Oxford. The piece directly challenges the long held assumption that Ukip's rise is only hitting the centre right and provides some new evidence that Farage is widening their appeal.

2. Drawing on data in our book and some new mapping of the latest election results, Robert Ford and Ian Warren outline in the Telegraph how Ukip is significantly impacting on party politics.

3. And -surprise, surprise - this essay by myself in the Guardian, drawing on a range of data to explain why support for Ukip is now unlikely to crash as it did following the European Parliament elections back in 2004 and 2009.

Ignore the hype, enjoy the actual evidence....


4. This piece by Tom Clark (also in the Guardian) is another good, evidence-based summary


26 May 2014

Top 10 Ukip hotspots in the European Parliament elections

A very 'quick and dirty' look at the Top 10 hotspots for Ukip in both Conservative and Labour areas at the 2014 European Parliament elections (my thanks to Michael Thrasher for some of these data). This is by no means perfect given boundary issues but it gives readers a sense and also a pattern that regular readers of the blog will be familiar with. Lots more analysis to come..... 

25 May 2014

The idea that UKIP is not hitting Labour is political fantasy

'Like most small insurgencies UKIP may be hot air'. Those were the words of journalist Michael White. Ten years ago. As a political force UKIP has long been dismissed. Yet albeit with some stutters its revolt against the established parties has trundled onwards, attracting new voters, some 38,000 members and an increasingly intense debate. This week the European Parliament and local elections are providing us with the latest opportunity to examine the evolution of this revolt on the right. We have already outlined the challenges that faced UKIP in these elections, and mapped their local candidates. Now, let's take a look at the results of the local elections and why -contrary to conventional wisdom- UKIP is not just hitting David Cameron and the Conservatives.

24 May 2014

An MP and the Ukip database

Today, at the spring conference of Conservative Home, I found myself in a room with a handful of people who share an intimate knowledge of UKIP. Lord Ashcroft had just released his new polls from the most marginal seats in the country, which indicate that UKIP could win as much as 18-20% of the vote in these crucial seats (more on that later). Also present was Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP for Clacton -a constituency in the East Coast region of the country that we already identified as ripe territory for a UKIP incursion.

16 May 2014

Ukip has divided the left, cutting Labour off from its old base

This blog originally appeared in Ukip Matters, over at Comment Is Free.
According to conventional wisdom, Ukip has "divided the right". By targeting Europe, immigration and politicians in Westminster, Nigel Farage is tearing off a section of the Conservative base that David Cameron desperately needs if he is to triumph in 2015.
But while it is true that Ukip is currently winning over most of its support from people who voted Conservative in 2010, this actually tells us less than commentators often claim.

10 May 2014

Is Britain's electoral system Farage's biggest challenge?

An interesting blog here from Jim Pickard over at the FT:

It is the Lib Dems who complain most vociferously about Britain’s first-past-the-post voting system.
If Britain had PR (proportional representation) the yellow party would have had 150 MPs in the current Parliament. Instead, they picked up 57 seats.
That may explain why Lib Dems are apostles of electoral reform.
But in 2015 they may appear beneficiaries of the voting system – at least in comparison with Ukip.

9 May 2014

Looking at Ukip from New York

The New York Times have covered the Ukip revolt this week, to which I contributed. The relevant section is below but the article -Populist Party Gaining Muscle to Push Britain to the Right'- can be found here.

For his party, Mr. Farage declared, the “days of mockery are over.”

8 May 2014

How Ukip hopes to change Britain's political map

This blog originally appeared over at Comment Is Free.
At the European parliament elections on 22 May, Nigel Farage and Ukip look on course to generate the earthquake they have promised. But on the same day, Ukip will also be fighting local elections up and down the country, hoping to build strongholds that will be essential for success at the 2015 general election.
Having collected data from all of these local councils for the first time, today we can take a unique look at Ukip's growing presence in local elections, their specific threat to Labour and the Conservatives and their targeting of areas being vacated by the moribund BNP and its local strongholds.

6 May 2014

BNP defeat in the European Parliament elections

The Guardian's Matthew Taylor has written a piece on the dire prospects facing the extreme right-wing British National Party (BNP) at the 2014 European Parliament elections.

"Matthew Goodwin, from the University of Nottingham and co-author of Revolt on the Right, said the party's demise was in large part down to Griffin's "catastrophic leadership".

"British politics is on the verge of being free of BNP representation for the first time in a decade," said Goodwin. "The party is currently polling between 0% and 1% which is well below its position in 2009 when Griffin and Brons were elected. They are almost certain to lose both these seats and that would effectively be the end of the party as we know it."

The BNP's implosion began with Griffin's disastrous appearance on BBC Question Time after his election in 2009. It was followed by a series of costly legal battles, including a case taken by the Equalities Commission which challenged the party's allegedly racist membership rules.

As the party's finances worsened, lack of discipline, heightened by personal rivalries and concerted campaigning by opponents, led to several key activists either being sacked or leaving to join smaller far-right groups. In 2012 even Brons quit the party to form his own organisation – the British Democratic party.

"Griffin has managed to alienate pretty much everyone who is anyone on the far right in the UK and we are seeing the results of that," said Goodwin.

The financial turmoil facing the party was underlined earlier this year when Griffin was declared bankrupt following a dispute with a firm of solicitors over outstanding debts of £120,000.

Now even in its former strongholds of Yorkshire, the Midlands and east London it is struggling to field candidates or run effective campaigns.

"We are also seeing the BNP's collapse at the local level in areas like Burnley, Barking and Dagenham and Barnsley where the number of candidates is massively down on 2010."

The party's two remaining borough councillors are in Pendle in Lancashire and Charnwood in the Midlands. Only one of them, Pendle councillor Brian Parker, is up for re-election later this month".

Three questions Ukip should answer in May

This post originally appeared over at The Guardian Comment Is Free.
Depending on your political persuasion, the next month in British politics will either be increasingly exciting or deeply depressing. The European and local elections will provide a snapshot of the fortunes of our political parties as well as Ukip's ability to fulfil its promise of "causing an earthquake".

2 May 2014

What's wrong with the Ukip debate?

How should a mature and multicultural society like Britain respond to the rise of a party like Ukip? This is the debate that has gripped our politics and been met with a consensus that Ukip should be condemned, ridiculed and dismissed. Ukip, our media proclaims, is a racist, extreme and even dangerous party that is packed with bigots and homophobes. If only we drag these strange creatures out from the wilderness and put them under the spotlight then voters will see the true nature of Ukip and abandon this hideous experiment in populist politics.

29 April 2014

Why Newark can still be good for Ukip

A few months ago we sat down with Nigel Farage to talk about Ukip's fortunes. The party was riding high in the polls, could look back on an impressive set of results at the 2013 local elections and was dominating Britain's political debate. But aside from all of this, we asked him: what exactly would Ukip need to achieve the goal that has proved so elusive – a seat in Westminster? Farage paused, stared out of the window for a moment and then replied: "Things like the local and European parliament elections are important in showing our strength. But we also need that bit of luck. Like a byelection."

25 April 2014

Mark Pack reviews Revolt on the Right

The influential Liberal Democrat blogger Mark Pack has reviewed Revolt on the Right
"Using an all too rare combination of interviews and equations, mixing face-to-face research with number crunching of large datasets, Ford and Goodwin argue that UKIP’s support comes predominantly from a white working class vote which feels it has been left behind by social changes and neglected by all the mainstream parties. Older, less skilled, less educated and uncomfortable with the way in which British society is changing – that’s the core of the UKIP appeal, they argue, and what gives UKIP’s support a distinct base which isn’t just about Euro-scepticism"

Read the full review here

23 April 2014

Why attacking UKIP's 'racist' campaign is counter-productive

This post originally appeared over at Comment Is Free.

And so we're off. Yesterday saw the launch of the UK Independence party's campaign for the European parliamentary elections, to be held less than a month from now, on 22 May. Ukip is widely expected to finish above the incumbent Conservatives, piling pressure on David Cameron and bolstering his backbench critics who (mistakenly) think that lurching further to the radical right on Europe and immigration will fend off the growing Ukip rebellion. But it is also firmly in the realm of possibility that Ukip will win the European parliament elections outright, raising awkward questions for the main party of opposition and its leader, Ed Miliband. It is still too early to predict the result; while recent polls suggest a very strong result for Ukip, don't forget that in both 2004 and 2009 Ukip actually did not surge until late on, during the final weeks of the campaign when voters began to notice there was an election.

14 April 2014

What's the difference between UKIP and BNP voters?

This post originally appeared over at Comment Is Free.

Ever since it was formed in 1993, Ukip has faced regular accusations of sharing space with the far right and attracting the same types of voters. This question surfaced again at the launch of our new book Revolt on the Right at the thinktank Chatham House, where Nigel Farage addressed it directly: "We are saying to BNP voters, if you are voting BNP because you are frustrated, upset with the change in your community, but you are doing it holding your nose, because you don't agree with their racist agenda, come and vote for us."