A couple of weeks ago pair of academics and an anti-racism campaigner told us that reflex accusations of racism against UKIP were not only counter-productive – opinion polls have shown a rise in support for UKIP since they were criticised for running a racist campaign – they also risked alienating those attracted to UKIP by belittling their concerns and stigmatizing them as racists by association.
On one hand it’s easy to disagree with these people because the boneheaded ideas of UKIP need to be challenged; on the other hand they have experience and knowledge in this area so they should know what they’re talking about. This tension leaves a problem; how are we to contend with the problem that UKIP present?
Thankfully there are several angles from which UKIP can be attacked.
1. The aesthetic angle
Here is their leader.
How can people consider handing proper political power to a person that appears to be middle England’s Patrick Bateman? We all know that there’s laughing and there’s “laughing”. UKIP politicians can also look like this;
Can we trust the judgment of an elected politician that leaves his house in an outfit that scream “Oh look at me, I’m a right character!!”? Let’s not forget that these people have to make important decisions.
2. The hypocrisy angle
UKIP claim to be the polar opposite of the traditional parties; a common sense anti-immigration party filled by ordinary people rather than a deluded, discredited and corrupt party filled by professionally polished career politicians.
The situation is not quite that simple. Farage may be the head of a proudly British anti-immigration party that claims to stand up for the British people but he also employs a German woman (his wife) as his secretary, you know like a British person isn’t good enough for the role.
Farage is so proud to be different from the corrupt and discredited parties he directly employs a family member in his staff, uses the media to sell his ideas at election time and refuses to have his expenses verified.
The ordinary hordes of UKIP members look like this;
With their nice business attire and smart haircuts these proudly non-professionally polished politicians look like…..professionally polished politicians.
3. The immigration angle
When UKIP insinuate that immigrants steal jobs you can almost taste their bilious internal logic;
“When it comes down do it, there will always be that one job but two candidates; one immigrant and one “normal” person. The employer will give the job to the person that can be paid the least. The immigrant will work for less so the immigrant will undercut the normal person and the employer will employ the immigrant. Immigrants are able to undercut wages because they’re from the Third Word and they’re used to not having much”
If things appear to be this simple in politics you’re not thinking properly. How would one of the least powerful groups in a society (immigrants) be able to limit the amount of jobs available or place a squeeze on wage levels?
If we want a satisfactory explanation for the lack of jobs and high wage levels we need to look more deeply at the social structure of the UK. The market economy seems to be the main cause of peoples’ economic woes so let’s start with that.
The market economy established the race to the bottom for wages. The market economy forces people to re-apply for jobs at lower rates of pay. The market economy makes useful people redundant. The market economy forces people to take jobs with zero hour contracts. The market economy forces people to do unpaid work for companies so they can continue to receive social security benefits. The market economy scares people in to accepting conformity. Immigrants don’t cause these problems because they’re not powerful enough to control the market economy.
Immigrants didn’t bankrupt our banking system. Immigrants don’t cause prices to rise at a higher rate than wages. Immigrants don’t create a society where some people become super rich whilst others have to choose between paying their heating bills or paying for food. The market economy has created this kind of society.
Rich people, rather than “immigrants”, created, control and justify the market economy. Craven politicians, rather than “immigrants”, allowed the market economy to dictate the agenda of public life. Farage knows all this because he was once a banker that profited from the market economy. Now he’s an opportunist he blames immigrants for our economic woes.
4. The philosophical angle
UKIP are guilty of disseminating a misguided US v THEM argument about Europe.
Their anti-intellectual view relies on a false reading of history. Britain’s relations with Europe have never been a simple case of US v THEM. Connections between Britain and Europe have ebbed and flowed throughout human history.
Our glorious British history – the history that UKIP would like to use to inculcate the “right sort” of values in our children – is the result of interactions between different cultures. Our medieval castles have direct links to the Norman invasion, our royal lineages have always needed the help of foreign royal families to continue, our great war victories have required various allies, even our language, the thing that differentiates us from animals, is the result of foreign interactions over time.
No modern culture developed in isolation; inventions, styles of clothing and cuisine are the result of interactions between different cultures and the culture of any country would be poorer without such interactions.
The UKIP view is also wrong from a social perspective. The workers of France, Britain, Germany, Greece, Spain et al have far more in common than with each other than do with discredited political classes, oligarchs or an ex-banker like Farage. What exactly does Farage know of the living conditions of a factory worker?
UKIP suggest that it’s better to be a rival with Europe rather than work with them. You don’t need to be much of a history student to realize what arose from European rivalry in the 20th century.
The European Union may need reforming, or even replacing, but this is a political problem. It’s a matter of creating something that better reflects the interests of the people, it’s a matter of reforming institutions, changing the focus and developing better policies. From a philosophical angle there is nothing wrong with the concept of a European Union. Internationalism is noble position and international co-operation is certainly better than war.
I could be wrong but I’m not sure that UKIP members shouting obscenities from the top of the white cliffs is the most efficient method for dealing with problems like air pollution.
5. The manifesto angle
Here are their policies, let’s analyse them one at a time;
Proof of private health insurance must be a precondition for immigrants and tourists to enter the UK.
We can’t have foreigners being sick within our holy British borders, one of their nasty little ideas.
Save £55m a day in membership fees by leaving the EU and give British workers first crack at the 800,000 jobs we currently advertise to EU workers.
And where would these 800,000 spare jobs be found?
Enrol unemployed welfare claimants onto community schemes or retraining workfare programmes.
In other words “We’ll force unemployed people to do unpaid work for big companies so that big companies can save money” If there is work why can’t people earn the dignity of a living wage?
Scrap HS2, all green taxes and wind turbine subsidies.
Develop shale gas to reduce energy bills and free us from dependence on foreign oil and gas – place the tax revenues into a British Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Are we going to let the politically correct mafia ruin our economy with their sandals and lentil stews? Our generation’s alright, we won’t be affected, we have loads of coal and oil left and there’s no real evidence for man-made global warming. Sod the future if it costs ME money now.
UKIP will abolish inheritance tax. Inheritance tax brings in under £4bn – less than a third of what we spend on foreign aid. The super-rich avoid it, while modest property owners get caught by it. It hits people during a time of grief and UKIP will budget in its 2015 spending plans to completely abolish this unfair death tax.
Tax? What’s that good for?
Make cuts to foreign aid that are real and rigorous.
Another nasty little idea.
Prioritise social housing for people whose parents and grandparents were born locally.
I don’t care if you were born in this city 42 years ago. Your form tells us your parents were born in Dublin, get to the back of the line.
Allow the creation of new grammar schools.
If anything’s going to make Britain great again it’s a life path that’s set in stone when you’re eleven years of age.
Make welfare a safety net for the needy, not a bed for the lazy. Benefits only available to those who have lived here for over 5 years.
Why should feckless foreigners come over here and be given chauffeur driven Rolls Royces and bathrooms with gold –plated taps at OUR expense/
No to Political Correctness – it stifles free speech.
Teach children positive messages and pride in their country. We want to unite through better integration.
We must celebrate the Great British Spunk that made the world what it is now. Sod off back to Russia if you don’t agree.
UKIP is a patriotic party that believes in putting Britain first. Only UKIP will return self-government to the British people.
I’m full of British spunk, and sound slightly dodgy
6. The people angle
I’m not saying that UKIP attract a lot of morons…….but…… ahem,…. let’s have a look at some of their appearances in the media.
This list is hardly exhaustive yet it features nearly thirty incidents from the last year. It’s not just that they were caught out, it’s that they were caught ranting idiotic drivel. “Floods caused by gay marriage” I mean come on, the man that ranted that is an adult human being.
Can you trust the judgement of people that use social media in this way? Can you trust a party that attracts so many people who appear to be openly homophobic and misogynistic? Can you trust a party whose members believe in conspiracies or that a measure of gay equality caused floods? If you feel you can trust people like this with your vote you probably don’t deserve to have a vote.
The prospect of a UKIP victory brings Homer Simpson, Sanitation Commissioner to mind.
If you vote for UKIP this is how other people will view Britain.
Bollocks to the academics and the campaigner. If UKIP weren’t racist or xenophobic why have they chosen Europe and immigrants as their targets? If UKIP were “normal” why haven’t quite a few members of the proper political parties been caught ranting idiotic drivel by the media?
Why should our society take the views of idiotic ranters seriously, or pander to the prejudices of voters, without challenging what they say? Why should voters be allowed to turn their stupid prejudices in to political action without comment?
Why should we allow “journalists” like Carole Malone to pander to fears with their “I’m only telling it like it is!” schtick (Take last week’s Sunday Mirror article that covered a topic, immigration she’d written about previously.) without comment? Why should we let these people play to the gallery by “saying the unsayable“? Why should they be allowed to perpetuate a poisonous atmosphere that helps nasty opportunists peddle their prejudice without a challenge?
Most importantly why should we allow people to plant the wrong impression in the minds of the British electorate without a challenge? Why aren’t we allowed to challenge the voters that have the wrong impression of things? For example, UKIP claim that Britain is on the brink of being swamped by millions of Eastern European immigrants. In reality;
The moral case is clear, UKIP and their legitimisers should not have a free rein. They should be challenged. If a party’s founder tells the world he now he despises the party he founded……
…..the party in question should be challenged.
If this happens….
…..the party in question should be challenged.
If a party wants to end the pernicious influence of Political Correctness because it infringes free speech and then acts like this….
…..the party in question should be challenged.
UKIP must be challenged on every possible level.
In case I’ve missed anything here are The Guardian’s reasons not to vote for UKIP.
I’m sorry UKIP but we live in a democracy and in a democracy people are allowed to have different opinions. At election time you have to convince people to vote for you, you have to prove that you’re worthy of votes. UKIP please don’t be offended that I don’t share your opinions.