As we are now in a run-up to an election, many politicians are declaring their distress at low turnouts and slow voter registration. The truth is that many people are disillusioned with politics full stop. No matter what politicians promise or say, some people feel it won’t make a difference.
I regularly speak at public meetings all across the North East and at every single one somebody will come up and thank UKIP for standing; saying that they haven’t voted in years and would not have voted this time if UKIP weren’t standing. This is something I am very proud of: UKIP may not be for everyone, but we have provided a voice and alternative option for many people who previously felt disenfranchised.
I’m living in the Easington constituency (one of the safest seats in England) and am standing for Parliament there. For many years no-one but Labour has really campaigned there. There are no no-go areas for UKIP, and – like many UKIP members standing in seats written off by the other parties – I hope to provide a real alternative choice in that area for the first time in decades.
The Scottish referendum showed how energised politics can be when people care about an issue and feel their vote matters. When many young people in England don’t care about political parties, the answer isn’t more party politics but more direct democracy.
Giving power back to the people is core to UKIP’s beliefs. We believe local people not just politicians should be able to contribute towards the big decisions that impact their area. Increased local democracy, referendums on key issues and a more representative voting system would all be positive steps to bring politics and power back to the people.