Voters do not like being told what to think

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Is there anything more harmful to mankind than complacency?

We have all been guilty at some point or another of burying our heads in the sand in the vain hope than a looming problem or source of irritation will go away.

Once you pretend that a problem doesn’t exist then it is more likely than not to get worse.

This is exactly what has happened to the political establishment and a significant chunk of electorate in recent times and has resulted in the extraordinary rise of the Nigel Farage Show, otherwise known as UKIP. It was believed that if they were dismissed as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” – David Cameron’s words not mine – then they would go back to whence they came and we could all go back to the neat two-party system, because let’s face it the Lib Dems have never really been in the game.

The results following last week’s elections for the European parliament left many people scratching their heads and asking ‘How did that happen?’.

Naturally some imaginative types have blamed the likes of me and my pals in the media for having the temerity of reporting that UKIP are actually quite popular.

The BBC has, unfairly in my view, had a clobbering from folk who believe that some political beliefs should not get any public airtime whatsoever and to do so is encouraging stupid people to put a cross next to the name of a politician they know very little about.

And that is the problem – the public is being patronised, which is almost as bad as the complacency which has led us to this point.

People don’t like to be told what they should or should not be worried about and the rise and rise of UKIP is largely down to the fact that until this election campaign anybody who raised immigration as a concern was regarded as a bigot.

I have yet to meet anybody who has been able to prove to me how immigration has negatively impacted upon their lives, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect their right to be heard, which is more than can be said for those who have traditionally held power in this country.

Next year really is the big one as it is UKIP’s best ever chance of having elected MPs in Westminster, something they have so far failed to do. But then again, I could be accused of perpetuating the complacency which has helped the party make politics interesting all of a sudden.