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Thursday, 4 September 2014

The UKIP revolt

If we are to believe certain oracles of crafty political views, a little revolt is desirable from the point of view of power. System: revolt strengthens those governments which it does not overthrow. It puts the army to the test; it consecrates the bourgeoisie, it draws out the muscles of the police; it demonstrates the force of the social framework. It is an exercise in gymnastics; it is almost hygiene. Power is in better health after a revolt, as a man is after a good rubbing down.

Victor Hugo - Les Mis√©rables (1862)

Of course Hugo was writing of far more dramatic revolts than anything UKIP is ever likely to achieve. He was writing of death and destruction at the barricades on the streets of Paris in the nineteenth century. Even so his words sound a note of caution for those of us who hope UKIP might at least rock the political boat.

Can we really see the future of UKIP in the words of a nineteenth century French writer? Unless the UK electorate suddenly turns radical I think we can. Not clearly and not in any detail, but the establishment is likely to absorb and make use of UKIP as it absorbed and made use of socialism.

When UKIP is absorbed, then Hugo's point will apply. Effective UK opposition to the EU will not only have been neutralised, but the only viable vehicle for that opposition will be gone. A few UKIP MPs on the green benches will probably help the process of absorption rather than hinder it.

Power is in better health after a revolt. 

3 comments:

Archibald Wildberry said...

It was Voltaire who said "It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong"

This is why UKIP attracts so much abuse from the establishment – and, sad to say, from many who should know better.

Scrobs... said...

UKIP are awakening a generation of people of a certain age - mine mainly.

I well remember the Holy David Owen, Shirl the girl, etc being all pious and sanctimonious, and leaving the Lab lot, and then, after failing miserably pretty early on, joining with the Libs, who were also sinking near to extinction.

Somehow, the Scrobs generation like to say a timeable 'Sod off' to their normal votees - in my case the Conservatives, because the two largest parties are just not making any difference and spending all the taxes we've paid over the last forty years on toss-pot issues, and also never taking any notice of what we want anyway.

I have about ten more years of active service in this old frame, so I don't mind giving the landlords a bloody nose, and voting UKIP is the way to do it!

A K Haart said...

Archibald - and the abuse will increase if UKIP becomes more of a threat. It will be effective too.

Scrobs - I'll vote UKIP too, but unless voters become more radical my vote may well be wasted.