Euroskeptic UKIP the UK's Favorite Party

Credit: Euro Realist Newsletter/wikimediaCredit: Euro Realist Newsletter/wikimediaAccording to a poll conducted by ComRes and published in the U.K.-based The Independent on Sunday, the euroskeptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is the U.K.’s favorite political party and its leader, Nigel Farage, is the second most popular leader of a major British political party (he follows Prime Minister David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party).

Ed Miliband, the less than awe-inspiring leader of the Labour Party, and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, who has had to deal with a lot of unfair criticism from ungrateful members of his own party, are the least favorable political leaders.

Breakdown of the poll results below:

Independent on SundayIndependent on Sunday

What’s interesting about the popularity of UKIP is that it could deny the two largest parties (the Conservatives and Labour) a majority at the next general election, leaving the U.K. with its second hung parliament in a row. In this May’s European elections UKIP could do very well by taking advantage of euroskepticism in the U.K.

While UKIP may be enjoying some popularity, it is important for British classical liberals to remember that the party is not, despite what its constitution says, a libertarian party. UKIP’s hostility to to free trade and capitalism was highlighted last year by Farage’s rhetoric surrounding Bulgarian and Romanian immigration.  

I have written before about how UKIP is not a libertarian party, but it is especially worth highlighting months away from European elections. The European Union is an institution that is worthy of the mockery and anger that Farage is known for (see clips below):

However, the hostility Farage and his UKIP colleagues have towards the undemocratic and regulation-obsessed European Union is not reason enough for those who calls themselves libertarians to support UKIP.

I don’t understand the appeal of politics, but if British libertarians do want to get involved in politics they should not forget that there are classical liberal or classical liberal-leaning politicians outside of UKIP. In the Conservative Party Steve Baker MP, Alan Duncan MP, Douglas Carswell MP, and Daniel Hannan MEP each have libertarian sympathies. Even in the Liberal Democrats, a party that is wrongly categorized by many in the U.S. and the U.K. as being part of “the left,” politicians like David Laws MP and other so-called Orange Bookers are sympathetic to competition and economic liberalism. The exception to this description of the Orange Bookers is Vince Cable MP, who contributed to The Orange Book but is more of a social democrat than a Gladstonian liberal.

May is still a few months away and recent news suggests that the British economy is improving, which may help the Conservatives and make some people more hesitant to support UKIP, which includes many disillusioned Conservatives.

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  • Invisible Finger||

    Is Labour making plans for Nigel?

  • Raston Bot||

    They only want what's best for him.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    despite what its constitution says, a libertarian party. UKIP’s hostility to to free trade and capitalism was highlighted last year by Farage’s rhetoric surrounding Bulgarian and Romanian immigration.

    Well that, and the fact that they are still a monarchist party and not a republican one. I mean, I admire the old Commonwealth men, and the UKIP are far from their heirs.

  • DJF||

    “”””UKIP’s hostility to to free trade and capitalism was highlighted last year by Farage’s rhetoric surrounding Bulgarian and Romanian immigration.””’

    What part of free trade or capitalism does allowing lots of people from poor countries to come to a richer country and claim taxpayer provided benefits?

  • ||

    Uh...freedom of movement? You can't be this obtuse.

  • DJF||

    Movement is not free. It is only done with the permission of the owner of property.

    Only socialist countries have the appearance of free movement.

  • Zeb||

    Apparently he can be this obtuse.

  • PapayaSF||

    Well, this is a regular point of contention around here. I contend that one can be libertarian without believing in open borders. I'll admit it's not a purist libertarian position, but I think it's perfectly valid, because I don't think national suicide is libertarian.

    (National suicide in at least three ways: bankruptcy via welfare payments, making a nation less libertarian by importing people less likely to be libertarian [as the US is doing with Latin Americans], and by disrupting social cohesion via mass immigration.)

    One interesting thing about these polls is that the UKIP is also the least unpopular party, which says a lot. I'd have thought they'd have been tarred as racist etc. by the left, but apparently that hasn't made much difference.

  • ||

    bankruptcy via welfare payments

    I tend to support open borders, but I agree that to be workable there'd need to be a large restructuring of the safety net.

    For the other two points, I think you'd see a marked uptick in cyclical immigration and not the same drive towards naturalization if we had a significantly more liberal immigration structure. (I know that's speculative, but I seem to recall reading in college that cyclical immigration was considerably more common before the nativist crackdowns in the 19th century and permanent immigration became much more common after, but it has been a long time since I've looked at the data).

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Milton Friedman regularly commented on the incongruence of open boarders and the welfare state. Open boarders are only practical in a minimalist welfare state. Cart or horse?

  • PapayaSF||

    Yes, when libertarians reject Milton Friedman as impure, I think it shows they've gone too far.

    The thing is, it's politically impossible to simply dismantle the entire welfare state, even as it applies to immigrants, at least anytime soon. So the common retort of "Well, just dismantle the welfare state" is a non-starter. No, first secure the borders.

  • robc||

    Cart or horse?

    Both, preferably at the same time, but I will take either order.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Sorry. You can't be libertarian and say that I should not be allowed to invite ANYONE I want to visit my own property or work in my own business (even those stinking Irish).

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Yeah, but what if you don't issue an invitation and guests show up anyways? They'd like to set up camp on your driveway. Okay with you?

  • PapayaSF||

    Can I be libertarian and object to paying taxes to support poor illegal immigrants? Can I object to immigration by gangsters, drunk drivers, child molesters, and people with contagious diseases?

  • robc||

    Can I be libertarian and object to paying taxes to support poor illegal immigrants?

    Yes.

    But you cant object to me hiring them or renting a room to them.

  • Zeb||

    I'm not saying that everyone who is not for open borders is an idiot or a racist. But it is definitely not a libertarian position, though I can see how you might see it as necessary to move to a slightly more libertarian society.

    The people who are idiots and/or bigots are the people who make the property rights argument against immigration. The whole country is not collectively owned, nor is it owned by the government. You have every right to forbid immigrants from your property. But by the same token, I absolutely have the right to have immigrants use my property.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I concur with robc and Zeb. So let it be written. So let it be done.

  • PapayaSF||

    But it is definitely not a libertarian position, though I can see how you might see it as necessary to move to a slightly more libertarian society.

    This is very telling. If I advocate something that makes society more libertarian, and you advocate something that does the opposite, why am I "less libertarian" than you? Personally, I think results trump ideology purity. (No, that would not include murdering all non-libertarians, but I just don't think national borders and immigration controls are inherently non-libertarian.)

    If all illegal immigration consisted of was individual immigrants being invited to work at specific jobs or live in specific (non-taxpayer-supported) dwellings, that would be a different issue. But that's not what open borders, or our current system, is.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "leaving the U.K. with its second hung parliament in a row"

    Making it the third hung Parliament overall, counting the Long Parliament with all the regicides in it. (get it - hung for regicide?)

    Alternate joke: Uh, I'm drawing a blank for the other possible "hung" pun. Maybe something about Henry VIII?

  • Irish||

    What’s interesting about the popularity of UKIP is that it could deny the two largest parties (the Conservatives and Labour) a majority at the next general election, leaving the U.K. with its second hung parliament in a row.

    OBSTRUCTIONIST UKIP!

  • DJF||

    The British have not had any single party get a majority of the vote since 1930.

  • Zeb||

    Majority of seats, not popular vote.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Look, I'm not saying UKIP is perfect, but to use an old English proverb, "sometimes, old chap, it is necessary to strike the mule a blow with a two by four so as to get its attention."

    Keep voting for the old parties, keep getting the same old crap. Scare the old parties a bit by voting UKIP, knock some sense into them.

  • PapayaSF||

    Oh, yes.

  • Raston Bot||

    Venezuela!

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....R020140128

    ...finding basics such as flour, milk or chicken - all scarce, in large part, because of currency and price controls - requires making repeated trips to markets and harassing providers.

    But without broad economic reforms to ease state control over the economy and boost importers' access to dollars, food shortages may worsen...

    Like nearly all those interviewed, he spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the government or stepped-up inspections by state agencies.

    Bakers often seek to protect themselves from wheat flour shortages by building up stocks to meet holiday demand for breads and cakes. If they get inspected, however, they risk accusations of hoarding.

  • BakedPenguin||

    They should get Obama to revamp their food system.

  • PapayaSF||

    Obviously food is more important than health insurance, so we need a system of federal ObamaGroceries to feed the hungry. Of course, people will have to pay different amounts for items depending on their income, gender, age, etc., so the registers will have to be linked to the IRS and HHS and etc., so checkout lines are a bitch.

  • ||

    I love Venezuela. Putting proggie/fascist policies into action for all the world to see.

  • Zeb||

    I only hope that the world sees it for what it really is.

  • ||

    If Venezuela flames out (when they flame out, I should say), it'll be blamed on covert CIA ops to undermine the perfect socialist Utopia.

  • KDN||

    We would have been successful if not for the economic coup by those damn American Jew bankers.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And their dog...

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Heh, hen, "unfavorable opinion" outpolls "favorable opinion" for all the parties.

    Oops, I mean "unfavourable" and "favourable."

  • BakedPenguin||

    Hannan is one of the few reasons I can muster any hope for Old Blighty.

  • ||

    The other is Rosie Jones.

  • ||

    In that second YT clip, it's a sad commentary that Farage's perfectly sensible comments about democracy and state control by unelected bureaucrats got so many boos.

  • Dweebston||

    This must drive my socialist/liberal British friend absolutely mental.

  • Dr. Frankenstien||

    I still say palimentary systems need to have a plurality of the votes (first past the post) system of choosing their prime minister/government.

  • Robert||

    That could come out extremely unrepresentative, just as plurality voting for the representatives does. In practice, though, say you had it...how would it work, when you still needed a majority to vote for any legislation or appointments? Would you also have plurality election of ministers and grant them great administrative powers? If so, then effectively you'd be allowing a possible small plurality of voters in some small number of districts effectively dictate policy.

  • PapayaSF||

    Farage also recently called for an end to the handgun ban.

  • ||

    Yeah. Not sure this is good for the UK or liberty from what I read about this party.

  • NL_||

    Although the EU is rife with bureaucracy, meddling, and interventionism, I just wanted to point out that the fundamental principles - and those points most likely to anger Europeans - are about creating a common internal market. The TFEU even establishes Four Fundamental Freedoms related to economic rights of EU citizens: free movement of goods, free movement of workers, freedom of establishment, and free movement of capital. So while the Europeans layer on all manner of regulations and rules, the bones of the EU are really about eliminating internal barriers to trade. The TFEU provides more explicit economic constitutional rights than the US Constitution does.

  • ||

    AND to counter American hegemony.

    That was a core reason for Europe uniting as well.

  • The Last American Hero||

    So if the right Top Men were in charge of the EU, it would work better?

    Whatever little gems exist in the TFEU, the problem is still a lack of accountability between EU officials and the average citizen and the idea that you can have a common currency but sovereign debt denoted in that currency without massive wealth transfer problems.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    While UKIP may be enjoying some popularity, it is important for British classical liberals to remember that the party is not, despite what its constitution says, a libertarian party. UKIP’s hostility to to free trade and capitalism was highlighted last year by Farage’s rhetoric surrounding Bulgarian and Romanian immigration.

    Ok, I'm tired of pointing out that even such foundational libertarians as Rothbard pointed out there's no such thing as a right to immigration. So I'll concede the point that UKIP is not a libertarian party. I'll simply state that UKIP is *better* than a libertarian party!

  • 21044||

    It will be interesting on how the UKIP fares after the upcoming Scottish Independence Vote. Scotland is over-represented at Westminster, which means Labour is over-represented. The Scottish Nationalist Party will almost always vote reflexively against the Tories.

    If the independence vote is Yes, then there will be fewer anti-Tory votes. If the vote is no and the status quo is retained, there will be an even stronger call for an English assembly. UKIP would do well in an English Assembly. The West Lothian question has never been answered. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Lothian_question

  • Cytotoxic||

    the Liberal Democrats, a party that is wrongly categorized by many in the U.S. and the U.K. as being part of “the left,”

    Holy shit that's a whopper. UKIP is not libertarian but to call it so is far less inaccurate that saing the LDs are not of the left. The LD is left of Labor. They hate fracking. UKIP is bad on immigration but still by far the best choice.

  • 21044||

    ^^This^^

    While I am not sure of the characterization that the LD Party is left of today's Labour Party, the "Democrat" in Liberal Democrat is a remnant from the Social Democrat Party. The SDP were the less left wing breakaway from the Labour Party. Though, Labour's "third-way" might have brought the LP to the right of the LDP, but I have a hard time beliving that. I know too many unrepentant British communists that vote Labour (and Scots Nats)

  • Robert||

    So basically for the libertarian, Anything But Labour. Since they have plurality elections, vote for whomever has the best chance of capturing a plurality in the district who is not a Labour nominee.

    Funny that although the headline couched things in terms of favorability, all the parties & politicians had more negatives than positives in the polling. Where UKIP has the advantage is that those who view them unfavorably are a considerably lower percentage than those who view anybody else unfavorably. So a more accurate headline: "Euroskeptic UKIP the UK's Best-Tolerated Political Party".

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