Thursday, May 02, 2013

UK politics: why we vote UKIP

Surrey 002-bon.jpg

On the same day that William Hague was on the BBC urging Tory supporters not to "waste" their vote on UKIP, the Surrey Herald & News breaks the news of a "secret" deal brokered between Conservative Surrey County Council leader, David Hodge, and his chief executive, David McNulty, to pay a £100,000 bonus.

McNulty is already paid an over-generous salary of around £210,000, and his "retention package" also includes an additional £31,000 per year over the next five years - the equivalent of the employers' contribution for the CEO as a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme. Thus, this pampered public official will have an equally pampered and prosperous retirement – all at the Council Tax payers' expense. 

There can be nothing is more calculated to infuriate than the overpayment of local council management, and we are told that critics have been left "gobsmacked" that the county council agreed the bumper bonus at a time when services are being cut and taxes increased. 

Yet Cllr Hodge is entirely unrepentant. "Surrey's chief executive manages a budget of £1.8 billion and 26,000 staff", he says. "Due to the scale of this task there are few people who are able to successfully handle this while also guiding the organisation as it uncovered savings of £280 million … blah, blah, blah, blah".

Outside the bubble, there cannot be a single taxpayer who buys Cllr Hodge's message, yet this is the member of a party which has as its leader David Cameron. And it is the very same Mr Cameronwho vowed to eradicate council "waste and propaganda" during the launch of his party's local authority election campaign. 

This is precisely the "disconnect" which drives voters into the arms of UKIP – not for any intrinsic merits of Farage's creaking one-man band, but simply as a reflection of the loathing the average mortal has for the cant and hypocrisy of the political classes. 

As long as public service is now seen by its practitioners as a license to fill their boots at the public's expense, voting for UKIP will always seem attractive. It is currently seen as the only way – short of violent revolution - to bring the political classes to heel. And, whatever Mr Hague may think, that is never a waste of a vote.