Ukip takeover gains momentum

Last night former Conservative MP Mark Reckless won the Rochester by-election for Ukip. The victory marks an increase in popularity for Nigel Farage’s political party that places Ukip above their Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem counterparts.

Ukip secured the Rochester win with an overwhelming 42% majority of the votes. The landslide victory is a sign that the controversial party is gaining popularity in the political spectrum and Farage said the result proves voting Ukip will get the party into power.

The party was once a fringe anti-EU pressure group but it now has the support of almost 20% of voters, millions of pounds, a target list of 25 seats and a high-profile Tory defector as its first elected MP.

WNOL’s radio department spoke to Jack Duffin, Chairman of Independent Youth, youth wing of Ukip.  Duffin believes that most people’s perceptions of Ukip are, “very much ten years old. It is now a diverse and fantastic group”.

He charts 2012 as the turning point for party policy, as they developed from having two simple core ideas into having a fully fledged manifesto.

As a young Ukip supporter, you would expect Duffin to be part of an extreme minority but he argues that the younger generation are really starting to understand the party and support it’s ideas. “Young people very much come to Ukip for small state ideals. Education is a very big part in that”.

“We are the only party saying not every child should go to university. There has been this big idea that we’ll send everybody to university, you’ll get your degree and then you can get a great job afterwards. The fact is that there aren’t over 50% of jobs after university that are graduate jobs”.

“It’s disheartening but you don’t have to be academic in life to succeed”.

The ideas that Duffin speaks so passionately about are issues that young people are directly affected by – the inconsistencies in higher education, poor graduate job market and the importance of small state ideals.

The party is certainly adapting it’s manifesto to encourage a more diverse group of supporters and making an attempt to bridge the important generation gap.

The general elections are coming up in May 2015 and Farage’s Rochester win has left him hopeful of a successful result. But with records suggesting that only half the electorate voted in yesterdays poll, there is still a lot of work to be done by all parties.

Picture: Mark Reckless

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