Monday, May 26, 2014

UKIP – a populist appeal by bigots that strikes a chord with many who may not be.


Although I believe the leadership of UKIP to be opportunistic bigots and beyond the pale that does not mean that I tar all those who voted for them with the same brush. Some undoubtedly will be – indeed as is often the case they may have Party members who are much more extreme than the leaders are. But in the main I think that UKIP’s recent election performance has been driven by ignorance and frustration – and a wish to find scapegoats.

The key positioning of UKIP is anti Europe, Anti immigration and Anti the current established political class. Nigel Farage has utter contempt for this political class - especially David Cameron who said his party was full of “loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists” .  Cameron may regret this remark – he shouldn't, it was broadly true. But it seems that the more the establishment points out that UKIP’s leaders are pretty much precisely as Cameron described them it doesn't affect UKIP’s rise one bit! Try that for a paradox.

On Twitter I had an exchange with a someone who thought that I was calling UKIP’s supporters “Far Right”. I wasn't, I was calling the Party that – an important distinction. But look at the exchange:


Note the final tweet

“[UKIP voters] are fed up with what is going on. If you lived in some of the areas in question you may have a different perspective.”

Let’s try and decode this tweet. He may be referring to areas of high unemployment where people are frustrated by  perceived political failures. But I don't think that’s what he means. I think that he is referring to areas with a high concentration of non White Britons – British Asians for example. This is dodgy territory but remember Nigel Farage’s views on multiculturalism:

“We are rejecting the doctrine of a divided, multicultural society and telling ourselves and the world that we are really proud to be British”

he said in September 2012. Now there is a subtle but crucial difference between immigration and multiculturalism but all too often remarks like Farage’s reveal that there is deliberate confusion. So for Farage being Anti immigration, which of course he is, will be interpreted as being anti-multiculturalism, which he also is as it happens! 

Back to our UKIP voter. There may be many reasons to put your X against the UKIP candidate and obviously and especially in the EU elections being anti the UK in the EU is one of the main ones. But look at that tweet again. It probably means that he thinks if I lived in a multicultural area I may “have a different perspective”.  So Vote UKIP because their leader doesn't like multiculturalism, wants to stop immigration and perhaps can do something about that fact that I don't recognise my home town any more what with the Mosque and the Halal butcher and the… I am speculating here of course but doesn't it have the ring of truth about it?

So are the anti multicultural UKIP supporters racist  or just ignorant? As BNP support has fallen UKIP support has risen. The “closet racist” now has a respectable home to go to. Not all UKIP supporters are racist and I don't directly charge the UKIP leadership with being so. But you do wonder….


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