Does anybody want to bet that I’m wrong?
There’s a rather a desperate sounding piece in the Telegraph again this morning by Simon Heffer headed “Cameron mocks the ‘loonies and fruitcakes’ of UKIP at his peril” in which he tries to argue that the Tory leader is wrong not to take the UKIP threat seriously.
Heffer’s problem, like for all those on the right, is that Cameron has them over a barrel.
The Tory leader has gambled that he can almost take the party to the centre as much as he wants because the likes of Heffer and many of the daily visitors to CONtinuityIDS have nowhere else to go.
So Heffer needs to talk up UKIP just so he has a stick to beat the Tories with. Unfortunately the harsh reality is that although UKIP might have an impact at the Euro Elections it has almost zero chance of ever making any headway at a General Election.
The TV broadcasting rules make it hard for any minor party from ever getting a look in during a General Election campaign. For the main broadcasters are required to cover the parties in direct proportion to the number of official election broadcasts they are allocated – so the Tories and Labour come out top with the Lib Dems a little way behind.
The whole battle in the media is presented as a clash between the main parties with a bit on Plaid and the SNP in Wales and Scotland. Thatâ€™s it. Remember Jimmy Goldsmith and the Â£20m he spent on the Referendum Partyâ€™s 1997 campaign. It got him just over 2% of the vote.
An election that’s not a foregone conclusion will make it even tougher for small parties to get a look in.
Global warming denial and support for smoking, two of UKIP’s non-EU policy platforms, are not going to appeal to the mainstream. This is a recent quote from their leader Nigel Farage â€œOver time, and with our opposition to the political establishments preoccupation with scientific nonsense: global warming, passive smoking, etc – UKIP will increasingly be seen as the â€˜common senseâ€™ optionâ€.