Coffee House

Can UKIP become a serious political party?

21 September 2012

UKIP members are gathering for their annual conference in Birmingham today and frustratingly for the party, it remains a niche political event. Unlike the media explosion for the other three political gatherings, UKIP’s two day rally will have no wall-to-wall TV coverage and little in-depth analysis of the speeches.

But since Nigel Farage gathered his flock last year, Britain’s other party has seen its profile raised substantially. Martin Kettle admitted in the Guardian this week that UKIP are now a ‘force to be reckoned with’ who could become kingmakers that will ‘shape the 2015 election and the politics of Britain and Europe for a generation’.

Polling suggests they are indeed a significant political force. Looking at Ipsos MORI voting trackers, UKIP potential share of the vote  has risen steadily over the past year and occasionally challenged the Lib Dems for third place. You can highlight an area on the chart below to zoom in on how their vote share has changed: