By rabbi Ariel Abel
According to polls, the UK Independence Party, otherwise known as UKIP, is on course to win no less than 25 percent of vote at May’s General Election.
UKIP was at first – and still is – deeply mistrusted in parts of the Jewish community. There has been a fear that the party’s hardline right-wing stance vis-à-vis nationalism and Europe coincided with an ingrained anti-Semitism, although this has largely given way to a sense that the party is broadening out and is not a threat to any minority.
This phenomenon is typical of all new rising stars which threaten to topple established powers, because they are in the beginning seen as unknown quantities. In the Bible, when the young David was praised by the populace for being militarily more successful than Saul, David was perceived as a threat to the throne.
Eventually, the rancour Saul bore for David brought forward the day he wore his persecutor’s crown.
The means by which UKIP has started to make inroads into national politics was brought to the fore by Douglas Carswell. Mr Carswell was the elected Conservative MP for Clacton-on-Sea, but he resigning from his party, prompting a by-election which he won for UKIP. In the Bible, King Solomon, David’s heir, ruled over a united kingdom which split after his death.
Solomon’s son was approached and asked to reduce the tax burden on the people and responded arrogantly and with defiance. The result was a disaster for him and his future descendants, who lost the opportunity to reunite a torn kingdom. Although the prophet told Solomon his kingdom would be torn from him, it was the people who called time on the unacceptable situation.
In our times, the vote on Scottish secession may have failed but devolution means that regionalism is rising and the campaign to secure ‘independence’ from the EU will be likely to gain momentum.
Furthermore, many of the Lib Dem and Conservative electorate feel that not enough has been done to fulfil the policies they voted for. In this case, a redrawing of the political map is not only desirable, but a brave and necessary step to take.
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