The Times named Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party ‘Briton of the Year,’ calling him a game-changing politician who broke into and shaped the country’s politics in 2014. The decision prompted a storm of controversy in the media and on Twitter.
Farage has managed to lure many disillusioned voters away from the political establishment and has exploited every opportunity he can – which may mean his party will hold the balance of power in Westminster in the coming election.
This did not go unnoticed with the influential newspaper The Times, which announced its decision to honor Farage “for good and ill.”
Farage’s UKIP party would not exist without the mass immigration to Britain that has taken place over the past five decades; to blame everything on workers from abroad appeals to the instincts of many voters, writes an editorial in the Times.
Such views on immigration also made the party deeply unpopular among younger voters to the left of center who regard the party as racist, homophobic, and bigoted.
But whether you love UKIP, hate it, or are just indifferent, the nation’s established political groupings can no longer ignore the party or its leader.
Farage has won over Tory voters disillusioned with Cameron’s policies on Europe, gay marriage, and overseas aid, as well as Labour voters who don’t like Ed Milliband, and Liberal Democrat voters who think their party has sold out by getting into bed with the Tories.
UKIP MPs could feasibly hold the balance of power in Westminster at the next General Election. This would mean Cameron would not get another term in Downing Street, and the British public would paradoxically be denied the referendum on Europe for which UKIP was set up in the first place.
But a strong showing by the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) could mean that they, not UKIP, hold the balance of power in Westminster, in which case British politics will go in a very different direction, and the passing 2014 may turn out to be Farage’s highest point.
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