With the general elections drawing ever closer, Britain’s parties are naturally being increasingly scrutinised. However, due to the political agendas of Britain’s media, the militant acts of ‘progressive liberal’ protest groups, Ukip and its leader have been criticised far more than the other parties. One of the points raised by this is whether the party exists beyond Nigel Farage. And the answer to this is undeniable. It most certainly does.
Many would argue that Ukip is based around Nigel Farage purely because he is the only ‘face’ of the party. But this is not the case. Ukip remains to be a new force in British politics, much like the Green Party. How many people can name a prominent Green party politician other than Natalie Bennett? My guess is very few. And this is the same reason why many people cannot name another prominent Ukip politician; for neither party has had the time to establish themselves.
The three main parties have had decades to establish their politicians and members via Parliament and cabinet ministers. Ukip, as of yet, has not been able to do so to the same degree, so Nigel Farage is naturally at the forefront of the party, being its leader.
In his role as leader, he has been establishing the party within Britain’s political environment through his appearance on televised debates and interviews along with coverage in the press. And it is this that has seen Ukip’s popularity rise, along with the rising role of other Ukip politicians.
People have also failed to take into account that Ukip does in fact have two well-known politicians in the light of the party gaining its first two MPs: Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell, a UEA alumnus. The media coverage surrounding this at the end of 2014 is evidence of this. Now that Ukip is making advancements politically, new faces are joining Mr Farage as Ukip’s popularity has increased.
The involvement of the two MPs supporting Ukip via the political establishment and the media is further proof that the party is no longer based entirely around Nigel Farage. Indeed, Nigel Farage himself is not currently an MP, so in this sense Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless are playing a role just as crucial as that of their leader, if not more so.
The 2015 general election will see Ukip move away from being the party of Nigel Farage.
With the inevitable victories Ukip will have in at the very least several constituencies, more faces will join Nigel Farage by acting as well known representatives of the party. Admittedly, there was a stage when Ukip was a single policy party, which was viewed as being a party run by one man.
When I met Nigel Farage at a lecture in a modestly sized lecture theatre at UCL over four years ago, this was certainly the case – Ukip was a party in the wilderness.
However, that is something which the party certainly cannot be accused of now. Following the party’s victory at the European elections in 2014 where they recieved the largest share of the vote and after the result of the general election on 7th May, I am certain that Ukip will prove that there is more than just Nigel Farage in its political arsenal.