Tag Archives: Politics

The Privileged Feminists’ March

Trigger warning: mansplaining

In case you hadn’t heard, and how could you not have with the fawning mainstream media, there was a women’s march in America today and in other countries home to Lefties who love a good protest, but bizarrely, not voting.

They styled themselves as the Resistance, despite having spent eight years cheerleading the man who has just left the White House – very edgy. Anyway, a “women’s march”. What pressing issues facing women around the world could they possibly have tackled? Female genital mutilation (FGM)? Child marriages? The ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia because they may receive sexual gratification from the vibrations?

No, President Trump.

Strange, isn’t it? These are the women who love to bang on about “privilege”, specifically white, male, cisgender privilege. Yet in the midst of placard-waving self-righteousness, they forget their own first world privilege. Instead of fighting the real injustices their fellow gender faces around the globe, they’d rather whine about an elected president who threatens precisely zero of their constitutional rights.

So what are they moaning about? An incident involving the now-regularly correct Piers Morgan came a cropper to a privileged feminist who took umbrage at him referring to her and others as “ladies”. Emily Davison or Emmeline Pankhurst she most certainly isn’t.

One wonders what a woman in Riyadh or Somalia would think of a self-obsessed march focussing on what someone has said rather than done – it’s staggering ignorance and privilege. There is nothing brave or strong about the women marching in America, nor was there anything heroic about Meryl Streep’s anti-Donald Trump speech at the Golden Globes. It’s echo chamber – big echo chamber, granted, but still echo chamber – stuff from people crying to audiences they know will pacify them.

If these women were brave, they would be protesting the likes of FGM. Their “SlutWalks” would take place in the Middle East, not the middle of Los Angeles. That we could simply see their faces at the march is proof they aren’t that oppressed.

Another wildly inaccurate feminist line is that right-wingers only care about women’s rights when it presents a chance to bash Islam. Well, better to be accused of bashing Islam while caring about African and Middle Eastern women than not caring about them at all. And, with militant feminists being one of Christianity’s biggest critics, they can hardly claim to be the guardians of religious liberty.

All of this is even odder considering just a few weeks’ ago the same people were proclaiming how they were “citizens of the world”. To most of them, that means citizens of the predominantly white, liberal world, as they don’t give a jot as to what goes on outside of it. And in their world, the reality is Trump is of little to no danger.

In fact, despite pledging to defund Planned Parenthood – which Lefties, in a protest at Trump, amusingly proved could be privately-funded – the Republican president has praised parts of the organisation and is much more liberal than many in his party are and his former presidential candidates were on women’s healthcare, specifically on abortion. Trump stressed how important he felt it was for the government to fund women’s health issues. Agree or disagree, he’s hardly the enemy. Moreover, his daughter Ivanka is sure to nudge him in a liberal direction if the past 18 months are anything to go on.

Twelve years ago, Trump made filthy, derogatory comments about women, apologised for the words, denied the actions and hasn’t been prosecuted for anything. He has continued to be vulgar, crude and brash, yet on November 8 the New Yorker was elected President of the United States. The “Women’s March”, occurring one day after his inauguration, is a sulky protest at an election that didn’t go their way. Nothing more, nothing less.

Trump may not be a traditional role model, but were there protests against Barack Obama in 2008 when the former president won the White House while opposing same-sex marriage? Were shop windows smashed or conservative journalists pushed around? Of course not. But these protesters, despite the will of their nation (no, the popular vote doesn’t count) aren’t even willing to give the new guy an opportunity.

It’s further indication that the oh-so-tolerant liberals of the Left do not practice what they preach. Comedic talking head Sally Kohn mused before the election that Trump supporters would be violent if their man lost, while Hillary fans would simply be sad. Wrong, again.

Not to mention, many of the “feminists” peddling these marches are as morally bankrupt as they perceive Trump to be. Take the insufferable Laurie Penny for example. During the inauguration, she felt the need to bring up her period on Twitter, claiming that it “started with a vengeance” during the speech. As well as filing that into the “Things that Never Happened” folder, Laurie shows that she’s not exactly a role model either.

It doesn’t matter how many turned up to the march. It doesn’t matter how many signed your stupid petition. It doesn’t matter how many snarky comments you make. It doesn’t matter how many times Trump is “absolutely destroyed by John Oliver”. It doesn’t matter that you’re wearing a silly-looking pink pussy hat. Nothing will matter until you leave your “the world is against me” bubble.

America hates women so much that it enabled one to become nominee for president – even one as useless as Hillary Clinton. Saudi Arabia hates women so much that they all have male guardians, only one in eight work and they are told how to dress.

But keep imploding about your new president who said mean things, you privileged cry-babies.

Donald Trump’s route to 270 is fiendish, but he only needs 269 – and here’s how he could do it

It’s no secret that Donald Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes is much tougher than Hillary Clinton’s. Simply nailing down Pennsylvania and one of Florida, North Carolina or Ohio would effectively block Trump’s route to the White House.

However, there’s one caveat hardly anyone seems to be considering, and it could just be pivotal. Trump doesn’t need a path to 270, just to 269 – and there’s a realistic set of states that can get him there.

A 269-269 tie would result in an electoral college deadlock, at which point the House of Representatives would pick the next president, while the Senate would choose the next vice president.

Let’s make two assumptions: one, that the House will still belong to the GOP after the election (a near certainty), and that two, that GOP House would make Trump president should they get the opportunity (yes, I know it’s 2016, but surely, surely they would).

Anyway, enough wonky politics and what-ifs, and into the mathematics.

Since Clinton’s route is so easy, it’s much more revealing to focus solely on how Trump could defeat her – well, tie it up. Providing nothing bizarre happens and The Donald keeps Texas, Georgia and Arizona (a state that’s in true toss-up territory but would likely go Trump’s way should he win the other states needed for this avenue) in the red column, he would have 191 electoral votes.

Iowa, the Hawkeye State, will perhaps be Trump’s easiest state to win that Romney failed to. Polls have consistently shown the GOP nominee leading and, although he has slipped, the slight movement back toward him late on should be enough to win here. That’s 197.

Head eastwards to the Buckeye State of Ohio and Trump has 18 electoral votes that have trended his way, narrowly, for a while. Despite not securing the support of the state’s Republican governor, John Kasich, he has eked out a small edge of around one or two points over Clinton. Flipping this Obama-won state seems more likely than not. That’s 215.

Down to the Panhandle and the Sunshine State of Florida. The prize? A mighty 29 electoral votes in the increasingly diverse state. A notorious election-decider, Florida has swayed back and forth intriguingly during this election cycle.

Both Trump and Clinton secured thumping wins in their respective primaries, and are now neck-and-neck in the polls seven days out. A recent New York Times/Siena College poll gave Trump a four-point lead, while an NBC/WSJ/Marist poll put Clinton one point up. If the FBI bombshell does indeed harm Clinton, Trump may reap the rewards. That’s 244.

North Carolina was won by Romney in 2012 by two percent, but it’s a state that Trump is having significant difficulty with. The early voting has given off blurry signals but the polling has hinted at a Clinton win (as of November 1, she has a 3.3-point advantage according to RealClearPolitics.

A big turnout for Trump on Election Day, and the Tar Heel State has a large number of independents which will likely determine it, and he, like Romney, could tip the Cinton-leaning scales post-early voting. Humour me and make this assumption, and that’s 259.

These scoops would still put Trump 10 short of the tie, taking his quest to Colorado, the 420 blaz… Centennial State, where nine more votes are up for grabs. The Clinton camp thought Colorado was in the bag months back and pulled advertising, allowing Trump to drastically close the gap.

A calamitous early-to-mid October arrested Democrat concerns but the state isn’t a guarantee, with a CBS/YouGov poll putting Clinton just three points up in the sparsely-polled state. Recent Remington Research findings have her one point ahead, although this pollster is Republican aligned. Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac poll conducted more than a fortnight ago had Clinton’s lead at eight. In short, the polling is a mess, but points toward a small to medium HRC win, yet with limited confidence.

Ballots are already being mailed in and Trump has also been pressing hard recently there. Colorado is a tough task, but it looks far more viable than the Pennsylvania and Wisconsin paths being touted by talking heads. If he does complete the heist then that’s 268. One short.

They do things differently up in the Pine Tree State of Maine (and Nebraska too, for that matter). While two electoral votes are available for a statewide win, one additional vote is given to the winner of the state’s 1st and 2nd congressional districts. The limited polling indicates Trump is a good bet for the latter. Things have been volatile and his prospects are nowhere near as bright as in September, where he enjoyed double-digit leads, but it definitely looks doable. And if he does, that’s 269 and likely the presidency.

Fail that, and Nevada’s six electoral votes could nudge him north of 270.

trump-269

It’s a thin, treacherous tightrope and one Trump has a greater chance of falling off than walking across, but it offers a glimmer of hope that the proposed Rust Belt strategy doesn’t seem to. Barring a big polling error, foreseeable in these Brexit times of course, in Pennsylvania or Michigan (which missed Bernie Sanders’ primary win by 20 points), that route looks blocked for Trump.

Anyway, back to the original premise: the idea that 269 being enough for Trump could make all the difference. It’d be bizarre, wacky, unprecedented and bonkers. But has there been a more bizarre, wacky, unprecedented and bonkers election than 2016?

 

Why I’m backing Raheem Kassam for UKIP leader

The idea that UKIP is in the midst of an existential crisis is one very satisfying to the Establishment. There’s nothing they would like more than for the party that actually threatens them to wither and die – it’s why they push the viewpoint relentlessly.

Unfortunately, for once, the Establishment are correct. UKIP is in quite a mess. With Nigel Farage gone, Diane James in and out, and twice leadership favourite Steven Woolfe now departed from the party, UKIP lacks not only direction, but credibility. How can we, the salesmen, sell a party that doesn’t know what its stock is?

UKIP needs a fresh, passionate driving force that recognises our strength isn’t in the wishy-washy centre ground, but as the brash, bullish outsider that stands for no bullshit. We are witnessing a global revolt against Establishment politics, as seen here by Brexit, across the pond with Donald Trump and even as far as the Philippines with Rodrigo Duterte. UKIP must harness this frustration and cash in.

With this in mind, it’s clear to me that there is one definitive choice for leader: Raheem Kassam.

An accomplished media performer, Kassam has shown he is a fiery debater while maintaining the personality and likeability of Farage. Yes, he will be marmite too, but isn’t that the point? You can’t please everybody in politics, nor should you try to. UKIP’s potential is in speaking for the left behind.

I doubt there’s any single Ukipper universally liked by the party, so that Kassam has painted as a troublemaker is not only false, but a moot point too. However, what I have been seeing is a candidate who’s coming up with logical plans to clean up and grow the party.

UKIP has a strong, dedicated collection of activists – the problem is there aren’t enough of them. It’s a direct result of awful organisation and a party that’s too expensive and difficult to join.

Unless you’re eligible for concessions, membership is £30 a year and, once you’ve joined, you’re chucked in the ocean without armbands. Great, you get a card, but little information about how to become active in your area. That needs to change. If Labour can mobilise with a crap message, imagine what a well-oiled UKIP could achieve with a good one.

In the last two national elections, the party has won four million votes. If just one in 25 joined the party, we would have 100,000 members. At that point, we would also have a ground game.

UKIP has been British politics’ best pressure group, and we need to keep that pressure up to ensure no Brexit backsliding. More than 17 million people voted to leave the European Union, and that’s a huge market to tap into if Theresa May’s government lets them down.

Extremist Islam will continue to be a sensitive yet must-tackle topic, and it’s vital UKIP strikes the right chord and balance here – you can’t go making policy up on the hoof. It’s also essential that “security measures” to “protect” western civilisation don’t breach the freedoms that western civilisation is meant to offer. Kassam’s keenness to take on Shariah courts in the UK is, however, encouraging.

And hey, anything that’ll make it harder for the media to shout “racist” or “Islamophobe” must be a good thing, right?

Recapturing our economic roots is also important, with Conservatives and Labour often being indistinguishable. Pressing home on the failures of big government as part of the anti-Establishment drive, and highlighting the benefits of allowing people to keep more of their money thanks to a lower and flatter tax system are forgotten stances in British politics. Kassam and Bill Etheridge, who finished a solid third last time, are both strong on this issue.

The internet has given political parties the chance to be more accessible and transparent than ever, but they aren’t taking advantage. Italy’s Five Star Movement is perhaps the sole prominent example of a party doing it, while Arron Banks’ Leave.EU movement – which has garnered over 200,000 more Facebook likes than the official Vote Leave campaign – has showcased the potential of online activism in the UK.

Being Editor at Breitbart London, Kassam knows what works on the internet, as has been demonstrated by the early stages of his Make UKIP Great Again campaign. His regular live streams are a great way of connecting with party members and recruiting new ones, and addressing their concerns. It’s something I would be keen to see continue if he becomes leader. With the right steps, UKIP can transform itself from the most technologically inept party to the most advanced.

UKIP succeeds by different, and Raheem Kassam is offering something different. We’ll get smeared. So what, we already are. The Establishment will mock us. So what? They already do.

But do you know what? There will be a hell of a lot of people who agree with us. And as their old, broken parties continue to let them down, they’ll keep looking for alternative. It’s our job to offer that alternative, and Kassam is the man to do it.

Think tank calls for “Transgender PM”

A first transgender prime minister would greatly benefit Britain, according to a left-wing think tank.

The suggestion was made at the annual conference of Liberals4UK – a group who claims to draw attention to “major social issues which don’t actually exist”.

The organisation’s president, Les Smith – who would not confirm their gender – said: “We’ve had centuries of white, middle-aged men running the country, along with one women who looked like one.

“Instead of having a male or a female, who would of course prioritise their own gender’s demands, we believe that by endorsing a transgender candidate, neutrality can be achieved once and for all in Westminster.”

The idea has been slammed by realists who considered it “barmy”, while others complained about “wanting their country back” and hoped that a transgender PM “wouldn’t be an immigrant”.

A Pie in the Sky News reporter questioned Smith on the feasibility of the concept who commented: “It’s simply untrue to claim that a transgender can’t attract votes across the political spectrum.

“In 1998 Dana International stormed to victory for Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest, while bearded-lady Conchita Wurst cemented a triumph for Austria at the most recent edition of the event.

“There is no reason why this can’t translate into parliamentary elections,” said Smith.

Cornish Talks failed in their efforts to contact Labour leader Ed Miliband – an intern at the party’s office claimed he was “still trying to cover the evidence from stabbing his own brother in the back.

We did however speak to Ed Noballs, who could potentially be the country’s next chancellor. He said: “I completely agree with the claims made by Liberals4UK.

“Providing it is likely to win votes, Labour will enact a policy requiring all-transgender shortlists for prospective parliamentary candidates in constituencies scattered across the country.

“We will not however bother at our Scottish branch where it seems we are totally fucked.”

Liberals4UK also made headlines last year when they proposed that the long-standing green benches in the House of Commons should be replaced by a rainbow.

The UK’s next general election will take place next month on 7 May.

Disclaimer: For those lacking a sense of humour I can confirm that this story is a work of fiction. I cannot, however, confirm that it will not be true at a later date.

My changing relationship with UKIP

I was first drawn to UKIP around six years ago when they out-polled Labour to finish second in the 2009 European Elections. Early in my teens and perhaps slightly naive, I soon found myself parroting out party lines as the forthcoming general election approached – the actions no doubt of someone who enjoyed attention and had an unhealthy fetish for statistics.

A quick vacation to YouTube bore fruits of a Nigel Farage who refused to be barrage in the European Parliament. The now infamous “damp rag” defamation of Herman van Rompuy travelled between my friends who would listen in a way I imagine a porno mag would have 20 years earlier. They do say public schools are different.

As across the country, something of a Farage cult was growing amongst those who were aware of a third Brown, Gordon, instead of just Wes and Chris. In truth, it was in retrospect a chance to look half intelligent rather than a genuine concern of the damages of our European Union membership – damages I still firmly believe in.

Anyway, election day came and the school’s intentions to do something worthwhile for those not of voting age were perhaps well meant, but in my mind an insult to democracy. The mock vote had boxes for CON, LAB, and LIB but not one for UKIP – it wasn’t a font issue I assure you. Intent on sabotage, I scrawled down UKIP on the ballot along with the customary phallus, keen to either make a point or be a git, probably both. Unfortunately the actual happenings on polling day saw UKIP make the news, but for Farage’s horrific plane crash, not the arrival of any Westminster seats – in fact they polled a mere 3 per cent nationally.

Rose-tinted (I flipped a coin to decide whether to use ‘tinted’ or ‘coloured’, it’s easier when not live, John – plus, you can’t say ‘coloured’ nowadays) glasses now off, as I became more politically aware, a further hatred for the EU grew. Desperate to distance myself from socialism and the unfashionable Tory tag I became a libertarian, an apt choice since UKIP was my chosen lodge – or so I thought it was at the time.

Introductions to the bloomingly brilliant Godfrey Bloom and the States’ legendary Ron Paul, the concepts of personal liberty, low taxation and a non-intrusive government established themselves as the cornerstones of my politics. A preference of science over the arts is definitely the root of why calculations rules emotion in my mind.

Around this time, much to my delight, UKIP were beginning to gain traction in the opinion polls. Farage now had opportunities to broadcast his views to a national audience (the party was, to the credit of Russia Today, given fair airtime on their high-quality news network years before) and not just to those who had sought him out on the internet. It was enjoyable to see previously beige debates lit up as real issues were finally tackled.

Yet, sadly, it has been UKIP’s growth which has led to my increasing contempt for them. For the arguments of leaving the EU – my main bugbear – immigration has never been high on my list. Corruption, financial wastage, a declining trade bloc, anti-democracy, all are more potent worries. The free movement of people was the most libertarian thing the EU ever did, a bloated welfare state and lazy Brits are the causes of our whining – not immigrants. The claim that British people “won’t do certain jobs because they believe they are beneath them” is garbage, they won’t do those jobs because they believe work is beneath them. And indeed, why work for the finer things when you can enjoy them for free on the dole? Not to mention, a welfare state reserved for the truly needy would prevent any who we perceive to be coming here to exploit us from gaining anything – other than air miles that is.

I digress. My point is, that before immigration became a stickler for the public, Farage rarely mentioned it as a reason for an EU exit. His speeches from the EU Parliament indicate he is more than intellectual enough to debate on economic and democratic grounds. Moreover, he has admitted himself that he is reluctant to place immigration caps, I doubt he truly believes in his own rhetoric. But UKIP have become addicted to populism, and in their view, if the folks on the doorstep want something, why not just give it ’em? The National Health Service is another, the party “more Tory than the Tories” have pledged more cash to it than any of the others this election. Privatisation? Give over. A party so devoted to vote-grabbing would never consider such political suicide in a nation of devout socialists. Although, free market healthcare is exactly what libertarians should endorse. If it’s good enough for the Swiss, it’s good enough for me.

Ever since UKIP began poaching Old Labour voters, a shift towards meaningless centre-ground, or arguably leftist territory has ensued. It is no question that the lowest earners have suffered the most from an influx of unskilled migration, hence they flirt with going purple (it also adds fuel to the fire that immigration fears are as much a product of the Left than they are the Right). The promise of state-involvement and taxes on the pesky rich – the new economic spokesman Patrick O’Flynn even floated a ‘Luxury Goods tax’ at last year’s party conference – is for many a deal-maker. Those left in the cold? The libertarians: the ones who grafted to aid UKIP’s accession to a mainstream party.

The acquisition of former Conservative MP Douglas Carswell was a positive – a Gladstonian who will not be deterred by the party line, and someone who will continue to preach for the free market – but the outlook is bleak. Godfrey Bloom’s voice was lost following a bust-up at the 2013 Kipper conference, and many I have come across are switching to the non-voting column.

My cross will go in the UKIP box this time around, for they are the only ones I trust to bring forth our removal from the EU, but it is not beyond the realms a referendum could be lost because of them. Immigration polarises. Concentration on how the Commission are unelected, how we are unable to forge our own trade deals with India, Brazil and China – the new economic powerhouses – and education that we do not need political union to obtain the so-called “benefits of the EU” would not. The position of a brighter future outside is much more marketable than screaming of the perils we face if we stay in. It would also beat the scaremongering claims that without EU membership, we would be poorer, more isolated and subject to higher unemployment. All of which is nonsense. They sell us more than we sell them, hence they need us more than we need them, particularly when taking into account the Eurozone’s malaise. There will always be fervent European integrationists, but to win referenda, the undecided must be wooed. There is nothing to be gained from pursuing an ex who was lost long ago.

I hold out hope that UKIP will return to their roots and that the British public will once more be offered liberty and freedom in politics’ shop window, and that they will eventually be drawn to it, but that hope is waning – the party is attracting a proportion with negativity, but alienating more because of it. I doubt as to whether Paul Simon was thinking of the state of British politics in 50 years when he penned ‘The Sound of Silence’, but if he was, the lyrics “Hello darkness, my old friend” were chosen perfectly.

Will the Farage barrage continue in 2015?

You either love him or hate him. I happen to love him, if you hadn’t already guessed. Nigel Farage and the UK Independence Party offer the vision of a Britain outside of the European Union that doesn’t involve economic protectionism – unlike many of his anti-EU comrades on the continent.

UKIP’s rise in 2014 has been meteoric. It started with victory in May’s European elections, and culminated with two triumphant by-elections in Clacton and Rochester and Strood, as Conservative defectors Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless became the party’s first elected MPs in the House of Commons. They now regularly reach scores of 15% or higher in national opinion polls, and with a general election approaching, UKIP has the potential to secure a significant breakthrough. But will they?

The consensus of the Westminster politicos throughout the year was that the UKIP bubble would burst. Unfortunately for them, it hasn’t. The torrent of abuse that began when the prospect of victory in the European elections first became realistic, has continued without relent, yet it has had no effect. The swathes of purple voters across the land care not what Farage thinks about breastfeeding, nor whether some archived footage shows him wavering on his commitment to the National Health Service. They also see right through the efforts to twist his comments – the contortion of his remarks over female wages in the city springs to mind. From the strengthening poll numbers and the regular failure of media ambushes, we can conclude the now entrenched base of UKIP voters are extremely unlikely to switch their ballot allegiance in May. In fact, an increase in support seems far more likely than a collapse.

UKIP’s biggest barrier to making a major breakthrough in 2015 could be the electoral system. Despite recent success under the first-past-the-post format, the nuances of it don’t lend themselves to an insurgent party. Their support is thickening, but it is spread pretty evenly across the country – except in London, where they perform poorly. UKIP have not created their own heartlands yet. Therefore, they may achieve an array of strong seconds, but returning more than a handful of MPs to the green benches will be much tougher. Farage has already stated that their strategy – much like the Liberal Democrats in the past – will be to select seats they believe they can win, and bombard them with campaigning. A strong day and who knows? Possibly 20 seats and wielding the balance of power? It may seem unlikely now, but did you envisage UKIP winning a national election, and picking up two by-election scalps 12 months ago? Perhaps the first, but I most certainly did not foresee the second. However, a poor day – say anything fewer than five or 10 seats – and their Westminster position will remain one of irrelevance rather than influence.

“If we fail, then the party will pick someone better than me, but we won’t.” – Nigel Farage

Much will of course depend on the result in Thanet South – the Kent constituency where Farage is standing. A Lord Ashcroft poll in July gave him a slight advantage but another in November had him lagging 5% behind Conservative candidate – and former UKIP deputy leader – Craig Mackinlay. For all of the party’s progress, Farage is the undeniable lynch pin of their success. His resignation would seem certain if he doesn’t become an MP – in August he said: “If we fail, then the party will pick someone better than me, but we won’t.” His confidence in that quote undoubtedly stemmed from his knowledge of Carswell’s imminent defection, which came the very next day.

I am expecting a close battle in Thanet, but one which Farage will ultimately win. He has four months to get it right, and now the by-elections are out of the way, UKIP can put all hands on deck there in a way the other parties cannot – Labour and the Conservatives have bigger priorities than trying to prevent Farage’s election, as much as they might like to.

A strong manifesto is also essential. Misconceptions and a lack of clarity on policy have been major issues this year, and the incident which saw Patrick O’Flynn’s proposed “luxury tax” scrapped within 48 hours of his conference speech was an embarrassment. The NHS will be a key battleground, fears the party plan to privatise the health service have been rife, despite them being consistently rubbished. To woo floating voters a manifesto of conviction is paramount. Anything less and the media will waste no time in looking to ridicule.

Abandoning some libertarian ideology, UKIP has searched to exploit the disaffected old Labour vote, where they have gained considerable ground, as October’s Heywood and Middleton by-election showed – UKIP candidate John Bickley came within 600 votes of taking the seat. Pleasing voters from across the political spectrum is fiendishly difficult. UKIP’s tactic to play politics as a battle between Westminster and the people, over the more traditional Left vs Right has proven profitable so far, expect them to ply similar tactics in the coming campaign.

The third party often gets squeezed in a general election as the Lib Dems found out in 2010. Nick Clegg shone in the television debates while David Cameron and Gordon Brown bickered, but his party ended up with less MPs than in 2005.

But UKIP’s threat is much different. Discontent amongst the electorate is far higher now than it has been in my lifetime and whatever you think of Farage and his party, they are offering a clear alternative to the status quo. Those keen on leaving the EU and controlling immigration are unlikely to be swayed by the promises of the mainstream parties they deem to have deceived them once too often. I feel inclined to point out that whilst the two issues are intertwined, immigration is not the sole reason UKIP wish to leave the EU, as the media generally fail to recognise. Mind, it’s hardly surprising organisations such as the BBC don’t recognise them considering the EU’s history of bankrolling them!

Not a clairvoyant, I can’t predict what will happen in May. But what I have seen from this year is the divide between politicians and the public grow even wider. As a result, UKIP have swelled and solidified instead of whimpering away. If Labour and the Conservatives malaise continues in 2015, more of the same could be in order.

First-past-the-post has always been UKIP’s main obstacle – nearly a million votes at the last general election translated into zero seats. The two by-election triumphs have allowed them to proclaim: “If you vote UKIP, you get UKIP.” How they project that message will be key to the level of success they can achieve.

This political year has belonged to Nigel Farage – as The Times confirmed by awarding him Briton of the Year this week. Succeeding again will be tougher but if 2014 has taught anything it is to underestimate UKIP at your peril, for they have thrived on it. Strap in folks, we’re in for a bumpy ride.