The way liberal-left opinion and much of the mainstream political class has turned its fire on the UK Independence Party (UKIP) over its latest poster campaign has been quite something to behold – and if I am not much mistaken it could play straight into UKIP’s hands.
Another UKIP poster to have appeared overnight has the simple statement ’26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?’ This juxtaposed to a finger pointing straight outwards at the reader (see LabourList editor Mark Ferguson’s tweet below - click on image if doesn't show fully).
THERE ARE TWENTY SIX MILLION PEOPLE AFTER YOUR JOB. This is not a spoof, this is the actual UKIP election poster. pic.twitter.com/Et1m8vmQhQ
— Mark Ferguson (@Markfergusonuk) April 21, 2014
No doubt, this one is particularly crass and takes a sledgehammer to any notion of accuracy or truth. But it is rather rich to see mainstream party figures ganging up with the voices of outrage against UKIP when this sort of mangling of the truth is a stock in trade for all parties in their generally vain attempts to find simple messages that resonate with the voters.
That is one of the reasons why these outbursts of outrage could play straight into UKIP’s hands. For the more that voters see that the mainstream parties and their supporters are being unreasonable, shrill and trying to fool them, the more sympathetic they will become to UKIP’s attempts to posit itself as a Voice of Reason against an out-of-touch political Establishment.
That message resonates, be in no doubt about it. Making UKIP look sensible and reasonable is not a good strategy from the main parties and mainstream political figures, but this is what they are doing rather too often for their own good.