My response to yesterday’s You Gov poll. Here’s the full text for those of you that don’t subscribe to The Times:
Why on earth would you vote UKIP if you didn’t want the UK to leave the European Union? Leaving the EU is UKIP’s raison d’être! Everyone I’ve ever met in the party is wholly united around a solid, unswerving determination to see Britain regain her independence. We’ve spent the last 23 years dedicated to attacking and exposing this dictatorial, spendthrift, bureaucratic, Brussels-based gravy train of an institution. So, how on earth could a You Gov poll for yesterday’s Times suggest 28% of UKIP supporters want to stay in?
This, I thought, must surely be the rogue poll to end all rogue polls, one easy to dismiss after dismally inaccurate GE2015 predictions. In fact, when asked on Twitter what I considered the real percentage to be, I replied without any hesitation: ‘zero!’
Then I reflected this poll could be a sign of UKIP’s growing success. After all, when writing the UKIP manifesto, I intended it to kill stone dead the lingering idea we are a single-issue party. Maybe this poll confirms our appeal does now go well beyond the anti-EU vote?
Our common-sense line on immigration may also be a factor. One third of the UK population thinks immigration is the most serious issue facing the country, yet we are the only sensible party speaking up for them. Our policy of introducing a points-based system for all migrants, as opposed to the current – and arguably discriminatory – policy giving priority to mostly European passport holders has huge appeal, even to those wishing to stay in the EU. Of course, controlling immigration is impossible unless we leave, but maybe this has yet to percolate the minds of all those who support our immigration policy?
We have also been vocal in our criticism of the huge foreign aid budget, pointing out the mindlessness of stripping the poorest in our society of essential benefits and then borrowing money to give to nations with their own space and nuclear programmes. Again, we are the only party united on this issue, and it’s an issue you don’t have to want to leave the EU to be furious about.
Also attracting those more favourable to the EU might be our position on HS2 (scrap it); our support for the armed forces (spend more and properly support our veterans); our position on foreign wars (keep out of those which don’t concern us); and of course we are quickly replacing Labour as the party that genuinely stands up for the working man and woman.
So, perhaps the poll has some truth in it, that there are those attracted by our wider policy portfolio not yet convinced by the arguments to leave. But a whopping 28%? Even if the real figure is less than half that, we must redouble our efforts to persuade them.