As a young UKIP supporter, I always get asked why I support a party that is supposedly comprised of a bunch of retired old men. Simply, this is far from the truth about Britain’s only truly Eurosceptic party. UKIP is a party for everybody, something it is increasingly determined to prove.
I began my allegiance with UKIP about a year ago, at the age of sixteen. Since then, I have noticed more and more young people becoming interested in the party. As an A-level politics student, I have studied the reasons behind voter disenchantment, especially amongst younger voters. The general perception of UKIP is that it is a party for the older generation, and that its policies do not suit Generation Y.
However, immigration is an issue which disproportionately affects the young. Britain’s immigration policy is completely bonkers considering the current housing shortage, long waiting times in the NHS and scarcity of primary school places. UKIP’s stance on the EU and immigration appeals to the younger generation as their job opportunities have been cut short by a mass influx of foreign labour. Unsustainable immigration has led to wage compression and young people feeling as though they are at the back of the queue for job opportunities.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore foreign cultures and the people who follow them. It’s not about race, it’s about space. Britain is a small island and our infrastructure cannot cope with the current levels of immigration. A common sense immigration policy similar to that of Australia’s, which is UKIP policy, would suffice.
Increasing numbers of young people in Britain have turned to UKIP as a way of expressing their political leanings as well as venting their frustrations at being badly betrayed by governments past and present. UKIP is truly a party for everyone, especially the young. All UKIP need to do now is develop compelling educational and economic policies in their 2015 general election manifesto. This will ensure that UKIP retains the support of young voters, something the Liberal Democrats have failed to do.
There is an increasing pressure to discuss the European Union due to UKIP. Being the largest British party in the European Parliament, UKIP has been responsible for changing the stances of the major political parties on the European Union. It is reasonable to say that Nigel Farage’s UKIP has influenced the Conservative Party to promise a referendum on the European Union by 2017. The televised debates between Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg showed the differing views of the two sides of the argument. The opinion polls showed that Farage won the debates (57% compared to Clegg’s 36% - 7% said they did not know). This was a blow to the political establishment as Nick Clegg did not just represent the Liberal Democrats; he also represented the Europhiles of the Labour and Conservative parties. These debates captured the public's attention on the issue of the European Union, something that had not been discussed in depth for over 20 years.
A large reason for successive British governments being reluctant to fully integrate the UK into the European Union is because of opposition from UKIP and other Eurosceptic organisations. There are an increasing number of questions to be asked from the British electorate on the topic of the European Union, and the outcome of a referendum depends on the competency of the Europhilic parties to present a strong case to remain IN. UKIP has changed the debate on the European Union, and it may well be pivotal to its ultimate outcome.
UKIP is a party on the rise, something fostered by new, young, exuberant faces in its ranks. The membership of UKIP's youth wing 'Young Independence' doubled between the New Year and the end of July 2014.
UKIP is seen as a strong alternative to the main three parties, and a political movement that is growing at an extraordinary rate. UKIP is showing it is a party for everybody.
By Alex Brammer