The big two didn’t see UKIP creeping up behind them

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The recent upsurge in UKIP’s popularity has led me to reflect on other related and at the time, surprising catch-ups.

The traditional big two, Tory and Labour have become parties to vote against rather than for.

A decade or so ago there was an, albeit lesser upsurge in popularity, for the Greens. The big two partially overcame this threat by adopting “green” policies.

It now seems that the big two are leaning the UKIP way policy-wise. But they didn’t see them coming. Blind eye or ignorance of popular opinion? I suspect the latter.

Numerous other surprises for incumbent number ones occur to me...

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic/budget airlines, BBC Radio 3 (the full symphony) and Classic FM (just the good bits!) BBC and Sky, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Lidl, Kodak and digital photography, bitter and lager.

The painful realisation too that in teaching the world how to play soccer, rugby, cricket, ping pong, tennis and tiddlywinks, amongst others, we now often struggle to compete. But I suppose if we hadn’t taught them we’d have had nobody to play against.

In Sheffield there was Davy United making rolling mills. The steel produced went into UK ship building and construction. The firm ran out of British locations for rolling mills, so they opened markets in the Far East and the sub-continent. We taught them how to make steel and helped create their shipbuilding and other steel-based industries.

Many of these catch-ups are due to complacency, poor management and sales effort.

Their demise is often caused by the owner-directors who have concentrated more on self-advancement and gongs than keeping their eye on the ball.

I wonder if Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon have ordered their rear-view mirrors?

Jeremy Biggin

Upperthorpe, Sheffield S6