3 intelligent things to say about... UKIP

The key points to make if you're trying to impress recruiters

If you're going to a business-related interview, careers event or networking opportunity in the next few weeks, what's happening with the increased high profile of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and their recent by-election successes in the UK could be a great thing to bring up in conversation.

Whatever your political persuasion, it's an interesting political, economic, business and social issue to look at, and one that's particularly high on the agenda at the moment.

Making sure that you can summarise some overall themes, understand what they mean in real world terms, and express your own opinions on this important issue is what will really impress an interviewer, recruiter or new contact.

To help you, here is a summary of three aspects of what's going on with UKIP at the moment that stand out to us - the relevant facts, our thoughts on them, and some pointers to help you form your own views.

"Did you know UKIP was founded by a left-wing LSE history professor?"

Hard to believe but true. UKIP was founded in 1993 by Alan Sked, a history academic and now Professor of International History at the London School of Economics (LSE), with other members of the Anti-Federalist League in order to campaign for the UK to withdraw from the EU. Sked led the party for four years, but resigned after the 1997 general election, stating that the party's membership had veered what he considered to be too far to the right.

Sked has continued to campaign on an anti-EU platform and to criticise UKIP. Last year, he founded a new left-wing anti-EU party, New Deal.

Add your own opinions

  • Do you think a left-wing anti-EU movement could become successful in today's UK?

"Could we be heading for a Tory-UKIP coalition in May 2015?"

It's looking unlikely that any single party will win an overall majority in the next general election, so at the moment it appears that a coalition of some kind is on the cards. With Lib Dem popularity with voters down signficantly since 2010 and anti-immigration and anti-EU feeling running high in some parts of the UK, the Tories might well choose to swing right instead of left.

Nigel Farage, UKIP's leader, has already said he'd be open to this option, though Tory leader and current prime minister David Cameron has not made any comparable statement, though has not yet ruled out a UKIP deal.

Add your own opinions

  • Do you think the Tories would accept a coalition with UKIP in order to stay in power?
  • How would the UK's political culture change if coalition government becomes the norm, as it is in many EU countries?

"You shouldn't pay that much attention to by-elections."

Many commentators have made much of recent UKIP by-election wins by Tory defectors Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless in Clacton and Rochester and Strood respectively, and some commentators have predicted that the party could win as many as 30 seats in the House of Commons in next year's general election.

But it's wise not to pay too much attention to by-elections as indicators of general election voting patterns - there's a long history of grumpy electors deviating from their normal party loyalties in these polls and making a protest vote.

Add your own opinions

  • How significant do you think the recent UKIP by-election victories are?
  • Do you think that UKIP can become a serious Westminster presence?