Saturday, 25th April 2015

by Joshua Gaskell

UKIP claims to be a new and radical alternative to business as usual, but reading The Oxford Companion to British History it occurs to me that the people’s army might, as its critics claim, be stuck in the past; specifically the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Below is a lightly amended version of the Companion’s entry on the ‘country party’, which advocated the interests and claims of the country as a whole in opposition to the court party at Westminster:

The term ‘[UKIP]’ [has] obvious advantages. It [is] much broader than Tory or church party and avoid[s] the divisive names of [Labour] and Tory at a time when many [are] combining to overthrow [Cameron]. It hint[s] at massive support in the nation at large: ‘[UKIP] and [the Westminster elite]’, wrote one [blogger] in [2015], ‘distinguish the friends and enemies of the people.’ It call[s] to mind a golden past when squire and countryman […] lived in harmony before the new moneyed interest bore everything down. ‘[Labour and Tory]’, on the other hand, [suggest] a clique subservient to the [EU], wallowing in patronage and corruption. The basic [UKIP] programme [is] a reduction in the number of placemen in Parliament and repeal of the [Treaty of Rome] to […] return power to the people. The [older parties retort] that [UKIP] members [are] either [fruitcakes, loonies, closet racists,] or self-seeking careerists, making trouble for their own ends.