Yesterday the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has gained its second seat in Britain's House of Commons, the lower House of Parliament, with Mark Reckless elected in the Rochester and Strood constituency, in Kent. The victory was obtained through a comfortable, though not dramatic, majority of 2,930 votes over the Conservative runner-up Kelly Tolhurst, a majority which many say may easily be lost again at the May 2015 general election for the UK Parliament.
This, and especially UKIP's first Member of Parliament, Douglas Carswell, elected on 9 October 2014 in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, with a landslide of 60% of the vote, are historical events.
Both seats were won in by-elections necessitated when Mr Carswell and Mr Reckless, already MPs for those constituencies for the Conservative Party, defected to UKIP and left their seats, which they later regained with their new party.
For good or for bad, UKIP, for all its limitations, is changing the British political landscape forever.
Its limitations are a lack of long-term clarity about the objectives the party wants to achieve. "What does it stand for?" is a different question from "Whom does it stand for?".
The answer to the latter is obvious: the great number of British people of middle and working classes who have seen their country transformed beyond recognition in the relatively short time of a few decades, in the most evident way by unrestricted immigration with concomitant multiculturalism and Islamisation, but also in a less macroscopic way by other cultural developments introduced by the New Left, like same-sex marriage, sexualisation of children and what the press calls "political correctness gone mad".
In short, socio-communist agenda goals tacitly or overtly accepted and promoted by the misnamed Conservative Party as well as the most obvious culprits, Labour and LibDems.
The people who are worried by all these recent phenomena and even more scared by the main political parties' inaction at best and collusion at worst regarding them are absolutely right. What they don't necessarily have, after many years of media's and education system's propaganda, is a clear idea of what caused them and where to start if we want to stop, let alone reverse, these momentum-gathering trends.
To know that is the job of politicians. Hence, the question "what to stand for" needs to be answered. It's not enough to be against the EU, mass immigration and the LibLabCon.
Here the UKIP represents vast numbers of the electorate even too well. Like them, it senses the problems but doesn't grasp the solution.
Irish statesman and political thinker Edmund Burke (1729–1797), himself an MP in the House of Commons for many years, made an important distinction between representatives and delegates.
In his famous Speech to the Electors at Bristol at the Conclusion of the Poll of 1774, he explained that delegates exclusively carry out the instructions of those who elected them, therefore only reflecting the views and wishes of their constituents.
Representatives, on the other hands, are trustees. Voters have entrusted them to act in their best interest, which doesn't necessarily coincide with what the voters want. Moreover, the representative makes choices on the basis of the common interest, and not just of those who elected him. He considers his constituents' views but doesn't have to abide by their wishes. He follows his conscience. The representative, thus, having knowledge and experience that his constituents generally lack, uses his judgement to form an opinion on what's in the public interest, and acts accordingly.
MPs, Burke said, should be representatives and not delegates.
So, in Bristol he proclaimed (The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Volume I, London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854, pp. 446–8):
... it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion....In these days of rampant populism it's important to realise that the old clique of politicians, in Britain as elsewhere in the West, hasn't acted wrongly so much because it's gone against people's will as because it's gone against people's interest.
You choose a member, indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of Parliament. [Emphasis added]
In fact, in many cases the political class has given people what they wanted - an unsustainable welfare state - in its own interest, which was to get elected, but has gone against their interest by creating an unprecedented national debt of astronomic proportions that may bankrupt the state and will burden future generations.
UKIP doesn't seem to be different from the other parties in this respect. It doesn't like to tell people uncomfortable truths, as can be seen by the compromises it has already started making, for example by promising that millions of European immigrants can remain in Britain after an EU exit, by its soft stance on Islam, and similar.
UKIP wants to appear politically correct.
Its policies are fluid, constantly changed. Its representatives are often caught saying things against party policy. When put under scrutiny, they often don't know what to say.
All this is not unique to them, but can be found in other parties. But that's exactly it. Where is the difference? Where is a long-term plan for effective change? If UKIP knew the answer, it wouldn't have remained for a very long time without a manifesto, including during the 2014 European elections campaign.
In the end, leaving the European Union is not the ultimate solution. What will UKIP change after that? What about the Third World immigrants, who are an immensely greater problem than Bulgarians and Romanians? What about Islamisation of Britain? What about the erosion of Christian values? The ideological dominance of the Left?
UKIP is a breath of fresh air in the stagnant political situation of the UK, but air, though essential, is not the only necessity of life.