McCann Enterprise takes a look at UKIP and asks, ‘How much risk can a rebel run?’
With UKIP we witness a constant struggle between the Hero and Rebel archetypes – arguably the two most exciting and romantic archetypes of all. Which goes in some way to explain the party’s appeal to voters who find the issues they care most about ignored and swept under the carpet by establishment parties.
The consequence is that those who have concerns about immigration, but feel they might be labeled racists, feel validated. So do those who are uncomfortable with gay marriage, but don’t want to be labeled homophobes.
All of which encourages UKIP to boldly go where other parties simply daren’t venture, and to legitimise taboo subjects.
But in opposing the prevailing establishment the party also flirts with the Rebel archetype. As such it deplores the EU, bureaucrats, gravy trains, multi-culturalism, the liberal media and much more besides.
This is the air from which UKIP uniquely breathes. Witness Farage lambasting the BBC for the reception he got from a ‘socialist’ audience at the final televised leaders’ debate. Or citing HIV infected migrants using the NHS in the first debate.
But whether Robin Hood or James Dean, all Rebels risk being seen as criminals. And this is the risk the party runs on a daily basis.
This is why Farage plays the Connector – genial, pint in hand, one of us, daring to say what we’re ‘really’ thinking. Because the appeal of UKIP lies in his ability to connect with ordinary people and provide a more attractive and legitimate persona for the party that allows them to be seen as Heroes, rather than unlawful, dishonourable and untrustworthy Rebels.
Tomorrow, the Liberal Democrats.