“Label the behaviour not the person”: why we shouldn’t call Ukip a racist party

ukip-poster-manchesterFor once I’m going to agree with Nigel Farage. Speaking at a rally this week, he pleaded with the media and public, “from this moment on please do not ever call us a racist party. We are not a racist party.”

As rallying cries go, it’s not the most ambitious. But, then, Ukip’s not an ambitious party. As Farage himself happily boasts, it has just two policies: withdrawal from the EU and bringing back grammar schools. It doesn’t really matter, though. Ukip is defined by what it’s against, not what it’s for, and a significant minority of voters like its unrepentantly chippy contrariness.

But to define Ukip as a racist party is both lazy and self-defeating. It is lazy because being against the UK’s membership of the European Union and being against unrestricted immigration within the EU are neither inherently racist positions. And it is self-defeating because the accusation of racism – dependent as it is on a category error – lacks all credibility.

Being anti-immigration is lots of other things… Deeply illiberal (the state telling citizens where they can’t live – and Farage claims he’s a libertarian!), economically flawed (immigrants are net contributors to the country), and utterly wrong-headed (the UK benefits massively from immigrants’ ambition, just as they benefit from the opportunities gained). But not racist.

For those of us who object to Ukip’s policies, it’s expedient, and probably comforting, to fling the racism charge around. It demonstrates to ourselves and others quite how fiercely we disagree with them. Maybe we hope too that it will taint Ukip, stigmatise the party in the eyes of their potential voters. It’s plausible. After all, the Tory brand was further toxified in the eyes of many by its 2005 poster campaign, ‘It’s not racist to impose limits on immigration’.

But, then, the Conservatives are a mainstream national party which needs to draw on votes across the country in order to win a majority. By contrast Ukip revel in their “we’re just telling it like it is” ersatz honesty, knowing it appeals to a limited but ultra-motivated segment of the population which feels disenfranchised. Ukip’s is the ultimate core vote strategy.

Claiming that Ukip’s policies are racist when they’re not, claiming that Ukip’s a racist party when it isn’t, plays into their hands. Ukip loves to play the victim, the brow-beaten, anti-establishment voice of the people stifled by a liberal elite that cries racism the moment immigration is criticised.

Actually, we’re quite lucky we have Nigel Farage. Seriously. Better Farage and Ukip than Marine le Pen and the National Front in France, or Golden Dawn in Greece, or Geert Wilders’ PVV in the Netherlands or Jobbik in Hungary. It’s partly thanks to Ukip that Nick Griffin’s BNP, a genuinely racist party, has disappeared without trace.

None of which is to say Ukip should be given an easy ride. Quite the reverse. Their anti-EU, anti-immigration policies inevitably attract people who are xenophobic and racist. Ukip may not itself be racist, but there are most definitely racists in Ukip, and not all of them are in the closet.

Whenever and wherever racist behaviour manifests itself it should be challenged – just as it has in recent weeks as it’s been revealed that Ukip candidates have, for instance, described Islam as “evil” and told Lenny Henry he should emigrate to a “black country”. As Sunder Katwala of British Future said in a speech to the University of Sussex yesterday:

It is precisely because UKIP is not considered a racist party that it makes sense to call on Nigel Farage to kick racists out of Ukip. Nobody has ever bothered to challenge Nick Griffin to kick racists out of the BNP. What would be the point? There would be nobody left. As the final, fatal demise of the BNP this month will exemplify, Nigel Farage knows that no party which does not accept that black and Asian citizens are equally British will get a heading in the Britain of 2014.

Nigel Farage has promised he’d clean up UKIP’s act. He’s expelled people who have been caught, but needs to do much more to keep his promise to properly vet his candidates so that he gets embarrassed less often. He should also take more responsibility for UKIP’s local campaigns that fall on the wrong side of any reasonable democratic debate. Its important we debate how to manage immigration effectively. But Nigel Farage should promise that there will be no more UKIP leaflets comparing British people to Native Americans who ‘didn’t worry about immigration and now live on a reservation’.

Nigel Farage needs to tell UKIP candidates and local parties that voicing extreme slogans like “no more mosques” is unacceptable. This falls on the wrong side of the British tradition of religious freedom. It also voices a prejudice which makes British Muslim integration harder to achieve too.

… UKIP has had to ditch and expel candidates who have made racist statements – because voicing such views is repulsive to all but the most extreme fringe of voters. At the same time, many potential Ukip voters agree with Nigel Farage’s claim that charges of racism have been used too loosely, too quickly, and too often to close down debate about immigration. It is important, therefore, to make clear that we must talk about immigration but that we should do so without prejudice or scaremongering. It is this which will help secure the broadest possible coalition for keeping racism out of the public debate.

In other words, we should label the behaviour not the person. It’s an important distinction. Don’t condemn Ukip as racist, but yes, absolutely, we should condemn racism within Ukip. And we should expect Nigel Farage to do the same. Every. Single. Time.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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107 Comments

  • Perhaps you want to make a distinction between xenophobia and racism, but what is abundantly clear is that UKIP in the voice of Farage and others panders to racist attitudes. What were the comments about non English speakers in a railway carriage all about? Why is UKIP putting more stress on immigration than on EU exit? UKIP used to protest how strongly free market they are which implies that they are using immigration as a means to court support rather than as an end in itself.

    Is it a surprise that UKIP attracts those with racist and xenophobic attitudes? I would suggest that it is not.

  • Chris Lloyd 10th May '14 - 9:20am

    “Being anti-immigration is lots of other things… (immigrants are net contributors to the country)“

    UKIP aren’t anti-immigration though are they?

    You know this don’t you?

    Are unskilled EU workers taking low paid (very close to minimum wage) net contributors?

    Are you purposely distorting the argument? Yes? Though so.

  • Very well said Stephen, and quite passionate too. We should note that Farage has made comments which, if not racist, certainly encourage racism. Telling us to be “wary” if there are Romanians in our street. Utterly disgusting. And even his line, repeated ad nauseam, that we are “opening our doors to 24 million Romanians and Bulgarians” is next door to the line on racism. At best, it’s alarmist, lazy and pig ignorant.

  • @Paul Walter – “At best, it’s alarmist”
    No it’s just your typical political sound-bite – the recent House of Lords report on fracking contains many alarmist statements that detract from the evidence and reduce the credibility of the report.

    What is interesting about the point Stephen and Sunder Katwala make, is that by calling on UKIP to clean p it’s act, is that it also forces their opponents to clean up their act and stop making alarmist statements…

  • If a party has as many councillors and meps resign over racism as ukip then it’s a racist party. It attracts and selects racists to stand for it.

    It’s in farrage’s power to do something about this and once he does ukip will not be a racist party. But right now it’s a perfectly fair description of the facts.

  • Graham Martin-Royle 10th May '14 - 10:27am

    Whenever and wherever racist behaviour manifests itself it should be challenged – just as it has in recent weeks as it’s been revealed that Ukip candidates have, for instance, described Islam as “evil”

    As islam is a religion and not a race, how can describing it as evil be racist? This is a criticism of islam, not those who follow it.

  • Charles Rothwell 10th May '14 - 11:18am

    @jedibeeftrix

    I think you are entirely right in pointing out how perceptions about immigration can differ widely according to the communities you ask and, in particular, as you say, it is very often the poorest, already hardest hit communities which often feel most disadvantaged when immigration “gets out of hand”. By definition, such groups are very often most dependent on social housing, state benefits, gaining short-term, low paid work of a precarious nature and if their community suddenly experiences an influx of hundreds/thousands of people speaking another language, eating different foods, of a different religion, dressing differently and the local schools suddenly start having lots of the children of these incomers appearing, while shops beginning to pop up selling the kinds of food they prefer etc etc (and all of this occurring without the local people having been consulted in the least), this is indeed practically bound to generate suspicion, fear, resentment and, if has to be said, lies (about social housing allocations, benefits etc) as well.

    Historically, of course, there is absolutely nothing new about this at all whatsoever and you only need to go back to study the arrival of the Huguenots (presumably where the Head Kipper gets his un-English name from?) in the 17th century, the Irish in the 19th, the Jews in the early 20th and blacks and Asians in the 1950s-70s to see exactly the same forces at work. As you also say, this makes it all the more inexplicable/inexcusable that “in the Labour years” (i.e. when ‘the People’s Party’) was in power), they made PRECISELY the same mistakes; totally ignoring the local indigenous population, totally underestimating the numbers of immigrants who would be coming (this time from the new EU-8 countries) and doing virtually nothing to address such key issues as HOUSING and education (while throwing away millions in ‘credits’ of all kinds (basically to subsidise employers paying sub-existence wages) and on such crackpot schemes as PFI)! To then come out and just try and brand people expressing their discontent and dissatisfaction with all of this as “racist” (as the stupid woman from Labour did on a recent ‘Newsnight’ debate with the Kippers’ Communications Director) is just plain wrong and a declaration of their own bankruptcy/total lack of ability to deal with such concerns (as Labour’s general silence over Europe also confirms 100%) . If you do not work WITH people at a local level and just treat them as voting fodder (or ignore them entirely and just focus on the A/B and, particularly, C1 voting blocks), do not be surprised if they want to tell you where to get off in time as well!) We (Lib Dems) need to LEARN from the Kippers if we are really to deal with them and the deep-rooted dissatisfaction they represent in the UK (and, in other manifestations, across very much now of the EU), not waste our time in trying to stick labels on them to try and put them ‘beyond the pale’. It will not wash and (as with Brown’s totally stupid denunciation of the lady in Rochdale as a ‘bigot’) will just make the people suffering/concerned feel even more isolated from, and abused by, “the political class” than ever.

    By the way, @jedbeeftrix, we do NOT all live in “leafy libdemshire”! (I’m in industrial Yorkshire).

  • A Social Liberal 10th May '14 - 11:33am

    Graham Martin-Royle

    You are quite right, if pedantic. Perhaps UKIP is not a racist party but it is deeply bigoted in its views. So when Harry Perry and Andre Lampitt claim Islam is evil then they are exposing themselves as bigots. When Farage expresses the view that we should be wary of Romanians he is demonstrating his bigotry – and so it is with UKIP as a party. They target Eastern Europeans as being undesirable but say nothing of the millions of Canadians, Americans, Australians and white South Africans who come to the UK. They do not speak of blocking the millions of French men and women who have flocked to Britain in the last few years. In concentrating on one set of immigrants over another they show that they are bigoted.

    As for having having a photo shoot with black and ethnic minorities in attendance – I do not understand how this supposedly negates the charges of bigotry. Do our ethnic minority brothers and sisters not have bigots amongst them?

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 10th May '14 - 11:56am

    The criteria for defining what constitutes a race appears to include anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and social features.

    A defining characteristic of racism appears to be that members of different races are treated differently.

    If someone therefore says that 26 million people who are legally entitled to come to this country and work here should not be allowed to, does that satisfy the criteria for defining a rascist remark? Surely, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck then it’s a duck.

  • jedibeeftrix 10th May '14 - 12:08pm

    When it comes to defining what a word means, particularly in the case of the perjoratives of popular political discourse, i prefer to stick with the OED:

    “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. Hence: prejudice and antagonism towards people of other races, esp. those felt to be a threat to one’s cultural or racial integrity or economic well-being; the expression of such prejudice in words or actions.”

    It’s great for preventing people slinging words around like mud in the hope that some it of sticks, regardless of whether the meaning applies or otherwise.

    🙂

  • Sunder Katwala 10th May '14 - 12:12pm

    Mack

    You risk defining ‘we should leave the EU’ or ‘I would like to see free movement reformed or ended, within the EU’ as racist arguments. “We should not extend EU free movement to Turkey” is not a racist argument. It is a policy argument.

    One could go on to make racist arguments about Turks in order to justify it, but there would be many other arguments.

    You could argue against this, on the grounds of economic levels, or on the grounds of public consent. (Nick Clegg might take this position, certainly in terms of extending it now).

    You could argue that it needs to be changed so that Turkey could politically join the EU, because you think that matters (for foreign policy, or for whatever reason) and that it simply isn’t going to happen with current EU free movement and membership rules, as say the Centre for European Reform does, being pro-EU and pro-enlargement.

    A counter-argument could be that any argument for different EU free movement rules with Turkey is in the end an appeal to racism or xenophobia, because a majority Muslim applicant is facing different political and policy responses than Poland did.

    But I think it would be odd to claim that the only non-racist position was to admit Turkey to the EU with full free movement. It turns ‘don’t agree with position X’ into racism. That is particularly odd if it is a position which is held by, say, 5-10% of people.

    ***

    There is no logical difference in the Romania argument, other than it is

    ‘We should get the policy reversed, and if we can’t, we should leave the club’ is a policy idea we can disagree about.

    It is possible to make that argument for racist reasons. It is perfectly possible to hold it sincerely without being a racist.

    The danger of denying this is that ‘Only committed Europhile Liberal Democrats aren’t racist’ mistakes a general norm which should underpin our democratic discourse (from the Eurosceptic trade union left across all the major parties) into a claim that all other political and policy preferences simply aren’t legitimate.

  • Little Jackie Paper 10th May '14 - 12:13pm

    OK Mr Tall, I am quite sure that there is a good deal of truth here, but I just wonder if racism has started to become something that is talked about almost as if going through the motions. Every political movement in history has had some undesirable elements in it. But with racism as a focus, is the more basic point being missed – that is WHY UKIP has a core vote at all. I disagree with an earlier comment about social cohesion – I do not see cohesion and immigration as necessarily (stress, necessarily) exclusive. To my mind it is more a question of who the EU is for. And to my mind that is a question that cuts across racial lines.

    With the EU, mobile professionals can have more opportunity, granny can sell her bubble priced house and head to the costas, young Poles can head to London and Berlin and big agribusiness can buy land. And all that is well and good. But for an awful lot of others there is not a lot of reciprocity in this picture. If you are not in a position to take advantage, then all the EU is basically is rights for other people in other states. If you are the Romanian seeing loads of doctors upping and leaving or you are Spanish seeing large influxes of pensioners or you are on the wrong end of wage arbitrage or such like then the EU is not something that is obviously working in your interests.

    None of this is new perhaps. And of course the EU is far from the only supranational force shaping the modern world. However the gap between those for whom this is good and those for whom it is not is growing. And it is not on racial lines.

    The feeling that UKIP is exploiting is that for many people, not just in the UK, the EU is not a reciprocal relationship. It is not enough to simply point to bald stats about net immigration. If large numbers of young unemployed can not realistically head to Bucharest, Athens, Bratislava or Poznan then this is not a reciprocal relationship. Flows of people as well as capital need to be more symmetrical or this will not be perceived as a reciprocal union. It is that simple – why would people of any race give consent to a non-reciprocal union. Mr Tall may think of this as, ‘the state telling citizens where they can’t live,’ but the other way of putting that is, ‘the state preferring not to protect its own citizens from non-reciprocal large scale-people movement.’ Whose liberalism is this?

    It is I think true to say that the UK government has found it too easy to hide behind the EU. However the European ideal is something that is accessible to some in a way that it is not to others. I think that this is basically what UKIP says and it would appear that it resonates. None of this is to say that I necessarily think UKIP is right or that I think the UK would be better off out. However I find it hard to deny that to a great many people Europe at the moment is not a meaningfully reciprocal relationship. And it’s not racial as an argument.

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 10th May '14 - 12:15pm

    “Hence: prejudice and antagonism towards people of other races, esp. those felt to be a threat to one’s . . . . economic well-being.”

    Q.E.D. I think.

  • Is the Australian model of filtering its immigration needs, racist? , because that is the essence of Ukip thinking on how our borders need to be controlled?.

  • jedibeeftrix 10th May '14 - 12:36pm

    @ Mack – A fine demonstration of selectiviely quoting the bits you like, in order to make a word mean anything you want it to mean. Could I draw your attention back to this:

    “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

    @ LJP – excellent post, thank you.

  • And it is self-defeating because the accusation of racism – dependent as it is on a category error – lacks all credibility

    You have misused the term ‘category error’. It doesn’t simply mean to miscategorize. A person makes a category error when they ascribe a property to something which could not possibly have that property by virtue of it’s ontological kind or category e.g. – The number six weighs 12 pounds, the horse race was purple, Nick Clegg is a credible politician.

    Standards, Mr Tall, standards …

  • Stuart Mitchell 10th May '14 - 1:48pm

    I agree with Graham Martin-Royle. Saying that one hates Islam (or any other religion) is not, in itself, racist. Even the likes of the MCB have always made a clear distinction between criticism of Islam and criticism of Muslims. While the line can sometimes be difficult to place, where Stephen draws it here would seem to forbid any criticism of Islam as a concept at all.

    “Being anti-immigration is lots of other things… Deeply illiberal (the state telling citizens where they can’t live – and Farage claims he’s a libertarian!), economically flawed (immigrants are net contributors to the country), and utterly wrong-headed (the UK benefits massively from immigrants’ ambition, just as they benefit from the opportunities gained).”

    I take it then that you are opposed to any sort of controls on immigration whatsoever. No? So what exactly do you mean by “anti-immigration”?

    I think the whole immigration debate is rather phoney. Most people who mock the arguments against immigration do in fact support some degree of immigration control. Lib Dem policy makers certainly do. It seems to me strange to ridicule others for putting forward arguments which one tacitly accepts oneself. If Lib Dems do actually reject all the anti-immigration arguments, then why are Lib Dems not campaigning for 100% open-door immigration?

    There is very little difference in principle between UKIP and Lib Dem immigration policy. UKIP are not proposing to end immigration. They may be proposing more controls, and perhaps fewer numbers, but they are certainly not saying they will end it. The Lib Dems, for their part, are not proposing unrestricted immigration. They believe (according to their last manifesto) that there is good immigration and bad immigration, and that we should try to stop the bad stuff. So I see no difference in principle there, only a difference in emphasis.

    I suspect that most people – even UKIP – do in fact agree with the Lib Dem idea of good and bad immigration, and would like a system that reaps the benefits of good immigration without unleashing too much bad immigration. Until we can recognise that, and stop resorting to these lazy and phoney pro and anti labels, we’ll never have a sensible debate on immigration.

  • Tony Greaves 10th May '14 - 2:46pm

    Is anyone seriously suggesting that UKIP does not pander to racism? That it does not actively seek racist votes? That it is not very happily mopping up BNP support in many areas? Of course not all UKIP votes are racists, there are many motives for voting for them as for all other parties. There are different aspects to its unpleasant right-wing populism.

    But UKIP not flirting with racist opinion? Not trying to ride the racist tiger? Dream on.

    Tony

  • Tony Greaves 10th May '14 - 2:52pm

    The UKIP European election leaflet here in the North West says (front and back pages):

    Our politicians have allowed open-door immigration
    Only UKIP will take back control.
    4,000 people a week come to live in Britain from the EU.
    Help us to help you get your country back.

    In my view that is pretty overtly racist. The fourth line is a shocking threat to immigrants in this country. (That is how it was seen by a friend across the street from us – a naturalilsed UK citizen who grew up in Germany. His view is that there are too many similarities between Hitler and Farage).

    Tony

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 10th May '14 - 2:58pm

    I was attempting to define the terms by which an utterance or an activity might be classified as “rascist” and testing UKIP’s assertions about Europeans and EU membership against that definition. My conclusion was that by satisfying the established criteria of what constitutes rascism UKIP could technically be described as rascist.. However, whether such rascism is justified for the purposes of political, cultural or economic expediency is another matter altogether. I would suggest that one of the reasons UKIP is so popular, despite being technically rascist, is because on a hierarchy of priorities being technically rascist is of far less importance than the perceived economic and cultural effects of immigration. That’s why charges of rascism against UKIP do not diminish the party’s attractions for a large section of the population. Coalition austerity policies have exacerbated the economic conditions under which UKIP can flourish. If people have jobs, (not phoney jobs) , are well paid, with access to good public services they are not exercised by immigation, except in some abstract way. If the Tories are returned and embark on the savage programme of cuts and attacks on the state that they have promised, from 2015 onwards, the persuasiveness of UKIP’s arguments will only seem more authentic to those at the sharp end.

  • Paul in Twickenham 10th May '14 - 3:11pm

    Kasper Holten -The Danish artistic director of the Royal Opera House – recently tweeted that he had received the UKIP election communication with the “4000 people a week coming from the EU” headline that Tony Greaves mentions. He said “I apologise for being here”. https://mobile.twitter.com/kasperholten

    I sympathize with Kasper and wonder how other EU citizens living and working in the UK are feeling at the moment.

  • I think Stephen’s main point that UKIP cannot be considered a racist party in the way that we would automatically associate racism with the BNP is a fair one. Just as we would condemn racist views we also need to be careful not to fall into the trap of discriminating against or ostracising individuals on the basis of political opinions.

    Although this has not heretofore been part of British law, a new provision for ‘automatic unfair dismissal’ where an employee has been dismissed on the basis of ‘political opinion or affiliation has been introduced to UK law following the decision of the ECHR in Redfearn v UK 2013. The case involved a bus driver who was dismissed following his election as a BNP councillor.

    As Stephen says “we should label the behaviour not the person. It’s an important distinction. Don’t condemn Ukip as racist” and don’t condemn all UKIP supporters as racist – debate the issues on their merits and the individuals on their personal views.

    Free movement of ‘Labour’ within the EU does not mean open door immigration. The UK is not part of the Schengen area and the German proposals that “Jobless EU migrants seeking work in Germany, who have no means of supporting themselves and have limited job opportunities, should be given a limited window to find a job before being required to leave.” are a reflection of the straightened circumstances and employment conditions that many EU countries find themselves in.

    The arguments that Stuart Mitchell advances above re: the difference between UKIP and Lib Dem immigration policy are valid ones. In contrast to UKIP, I would present the argument for controlled immigration in a positive manner Amnesty for 120,000 illegal immigrants – it an argument for a points-based system of immigration control nonetheless.

    We need millions of new houses in the right places in this country. They cannot however be provided willy nilly concreting over green spaces and without proper planning and provision for supporting infrastructure and public services. The same principle applies with accommodating rapid and large increases in population. Immigration policy needs to factor in such resource planning and the impact on social cohesion if it is to be widely supported by the general public.

  • Mark Blackburn 10th May '14 - 3:31pm

    Campaigning in Bayswater I’m lucky to see a fantastic cross-section of the multi-cultural British public, and joyfully most of them like Europe and hate UKIP. The point here is not one of semantics (e.g. xenophobia vs racism) but one of emotion – it’s striking how much minority groups who have every right to be here and feel secure here actually greatly fear UKIP and the potential ramifications of success for them. For this reason, I advocate zero-tolerance – if it sounds racist, looks racist and feels racist, oppose it. Do not appease or accommodate UKIP, please.

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 10th May '14 - 3:34pm

    My above post was in response to Sunder Katwala.
    It was interrupted by a storm surge. I wished to end it by saying : That is why I pray for the return of a Labour government.

    Here is a further thought: Farage defends his party against the charge of racism by reminding us that there are many members of UKIP who come from ethnic minorities. Yet racism is not just the prerogative of the white British. If a political party has a large number of its members drawn from the ethnic minorities and yet still satisfies the criteria for being racist , i.e being prejudiced against Europeans on economic grounds, then the racial identities of its members are irrelevant and cannot absolve that party from a charge of racism. Racism is technically about the prejudice exhibited by one group towards another in terms of words and deeds.

  • Charles Rothwell 10th May '14 - 3:34pm

    Mark:

    I agree with you and this is what I was saying in my initial long posting. I think this trying to tar UKIP by sticking a ‘racist’ label on them will not work and is, frankly, not worth the effort. I cannot imagine that millions of potential Kippers are going to be deterred from voting for them in the least by this exercise. The KEY thing to do with UKIP is to understand how they have successfully managed to tune into the frustration, resentment and, frankly, hatred felt by their supporters towards “them” (the ones responsible for all of their perceived ills, anxieties and fears), how the established parties (Tories and Labour above all, but also the Lib Dems in many ways) have so seriously lost touch with such people and, above all, how they need radically to alter their approach and get in touch again. Depending (like everything else) on the economy (if you want a nightmare, just imagine what a war in Ukraine is going to do the European/world economy!), if recovery continues, the UKIP inflammation will subside, but it is vital that we learn from them (in exactly the same way as Farage (a virtually idea-free, but very impressive confidence trickster on the political stage) has made it abundantly clear that he has learnt an enormous amount from the “pavement politics” of our Party over the years.

  • Graham Martin-Royle 10th May '14 - 3:46pm

    @A Social Liberal: I’m not arguing that UKIP aren’t racist or bigoted. I dislike the authors contention that criticising islam is racist. As I said, islam is a religion, not a race, therefore criticising it cannot be racist and it’s lazy stereotyping to claim that it is. Indeed, I would go further, it’s actually racist itself. Whenever someone tries to conflate the two they are saying one of two things. Either all muslims are members of the BEM community (which will come as a surprise to the many who aren’t) or all members of the BEM community are muslims (which will again come as a surprise to the many who aren’t). Either statement is racist.

    Nor should any attempt be made to curtail any criticism of islam, like anything else it must be open to criticism. I see claims that that criticism is racist as attempts to close down any discussion on islam and I object to that. Please note that nothing I have said is a criticism of anything other than the authors claim that islam is a race.

  • roger roberts 10th May '14 - 3:59pm

    The member of Thursday’s Question Time audience was spot on when he responded to Farage –
    I’m old enough to have read about McCarthyism and I’m old enough to have read the Rivers of Blood speech.”

    “I’m also aware of what happens in elections where a climate of fear is caused amongst the electorate by the charismatic, the bombastic and, to me, the very dangerous,. “This has driven Europe to war in the past.”

    “I have no time for you sir, none.”

  • Charles Rothwell 10th May '14 - 4:01pm

    @LJP

    Good post. I spent years trying to promote “a Europe for all” by helping to gain EU funding (Leonardo, Lingua etc) to promote youth exchanges, work placements, school and college exchanges etc etc as well as trying to prove that learning a foreign language was not just for ‘brainy kids’ or those in the private education sector (which now has a virtual monopoly on top A Level Grades and means that Modern Languages Departments are becoming ever more restricted to Russell Group universities and places like Bradford and Salford Universities have closed down their MFL Departments entirely). The barrage of anti-EU myths and lies propagated by the likes of Murdoch (well known UK patriot with US nationality) did absolutely nothing to make the case for the “mobility of labour” at ALL levels of the workforce (as needs to be done).

  • Stuart Mitchell 10th May '14 - 4:02pm

    @Tony Greaves
    “Is anyone seriously suggesting that UKIP does not pander to racism? That it does not actively seek racist votes?”

    One might ask the same question about some of the anti-immigrant rhetoric used by Lib Dem candidates in the South at the last election. Some of the quotes in this article would be regarded as outrageous if a UKIP candidate had come out with them :-

    http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/politics/elections/election_2010/eastleigh/news/8102360.Huhne_calls_for_immigration_clampdown_in_the_south/

    Clegg and Cable have come out with plenty of this kind of stuff. Should they not have done so, simply because what they were saying was likely to press the right buttons for racist voters?

    @Paul in Twickenham
    “Kasper Holten -The Danish artistic director of the Royal Opera House – recently tweeted that he had received the UKIP election communication with the ‘4000 people a week coming from the EU’ headline that Tony Greaves mentions. He said “I apologise for being here”.

    Hmm, Denmark has a reputation for being one of the least immigrant-friendly countries in the EU. Perhaps that’s why Holten came here – to live in a more open and tolerant country.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12366676

    http://openeuropeblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/eu-migrants-access-to-benefits-in.html

  • Jayne Mansfield 10th May '14 - 4:13pm

    @ Tony Greaves,
    You have articulated my thoughts very succinctly.

    I have a deep sense of unease about Nigel Farage and his party.

  • jedibeeftrix 10th May '14 - 4:14pm

    Tony –

    “Our politicians have allowed open-door immigration Only UKIP will take back control. 4,000 people a week come to live in Britain from the EU. Help us to help you get your country back. In my view that is pretty overtly racist.”

    Meet OED –

    “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

  • “Is anyone seriously suggesting that UKIP does not pander to racism? That it does not actively seek racist votes?”

    Building on Start’s comment, one might and should ask the same question about some of the pro-immigration rhetoric used by various candidates, including Libdem’s …

    What people forget, because of mass net immigration, we now are encountering many problems that were totally avoidable if successive governments had remained focus on protecting its citizens rather than pandering to their delusions.

  • Stuart Mitchell 10th May '14 - 4:36pm

    Roger Roberts
    “The member of Thursday’s Question Time audience was spot on when he responded to Farage –
    I’m old enough to have read about McCarthyism and I’m old enough to have read the Rivers of Blood speech.”

    I didn’t see the programme, but if Farage had simply been saying the same kinds of things he’s said previously, then the audience member’s comments were extremely foolish.

    My own views on immigration are somewhat unconventional in that, while I am personally very enthusiastic about immigration, and will always argue in its favour, I have a serious problem with the way the very large number of people in this country who have always been in favour of reducing immigration have had their views routinely ignored by government after government. Even worse, they have been bullied in to silence by instant accusations of racism should any of them ever open their mouths. Some – or many – are certainly racists. But many of them are not. It seems that unless you’re a fully signed up member of the Lib Dems (see link in my previous post) you are not allowed to express any reservations about any aspect of immigration whatsoever.

    This isn’t on. Anybody who really believes in democracy, even when the outcome is not what they like, should be troubled by this.

    Farage, more than anyone else in the last 40 years, has given a voice to millions of people who felt they had been forced in to silence. That’s the secret of his popularity, at least as far as the immigration issue is concerned. He’s been able to do this because, in my view, he’s squeaky clean of any allegations of racism. The same cannot be said of many members of his party, and it’s right to draw attention to that.

  • Jayne Mansfield writes :
    “I have a deep sense of unease about Nigel Farage and his party.”
    For what it’s worth Jayne, so do I, but I will still vote Ukip because we have to ‘tug the democratic leash’, on the arrogant out of touch ‘metropolis’, who have formed themselves into a two decade, three party ‘cabal’, treating the genuine fears and real concerns of voters with utter contempt.
    Is Farage the answer? Probably not, but if your only tool for much needed change is a sledgehammer,.. then a sledgehammer is the tool you pick up.

  • Stuart Mitchell
    You can see the man on QT here —
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAJhdZYkKqA

    The man is Charlie Bloom, a former Liberal Democrat councillor in Kingston. A fact we here take some pride in. 🙂

  • I agree with Tony Greaves, Simon Shaw, roger roberts and Charlie Bloom (the man at the back in the audience for Question Time).

    I also like the comment from Paul in Twickenham, as I usually do.

  • John Roffey 10th May '14 - 5:30pm

    Based on the number of articles which relate to Ukip there is clearly a recognition that they may well be the Party’s nemesis – simply because it is clear that a high proportion of the electorate do not like having open borders. It does not matter if they are racist or not – some will be – but there is nothing intrinsically wrong with those who want to be able to control the numbers settling here.

    Ukip have taken the majority of the protest vote and that is lost to the Party because it is now condemned with the Tories as the Party of government [although getting little credit for any achievements].

    The NC v NF debates were a disaster for the Party – the only hope, I can see – of turning around an almost impossible situation – is to revise the existing EU policy and ‘in recognition of the clear desire for a referendum’ follow Cameron’s lead with support for a referendum during the life of the next parliament.

    This will give the Party the chance of a fresh start and a possible advantage over Labour and UKIP with the left of centre vote.

  • Jayne Mansfield 10th May '14 - 6:26pm

    @ John Dunn,
    I could never vote for UKIP. I find Nigel Farage both clever and dangerous.

    As far as I know, ( you can correct me on this if need be) polls have shown that a majority of people are in favour of staying in the EU. My own experience and the experience of my friends and acquaintances ( not a scientific sample) has been that it is not a subject that looms large in their minds.

    The genius of Farage and Co., if I may call it that, is that in my opinion, they have played to fears and anxiety about immigration, ( I don’t dismiss these fears and anxieties)., so that electors overlook what the party really stands for.The rhetoric and the billboards are examples of this playing to people’s fears.

    In my opinion, if you want to ‘soften someone up to accept nonsense play on their fears and anxieties.Fear and anxiety makes people act in unreasonable ways. How else can one explain some actually believe that Nigel Farage is an anti -establishment, straight -talking man of the people, when to me, he seems anything but?

    At some point, Nigel Farage is going to have to square the circle and come clean about how a libertarian free market party can also be opposed to economic migration. He is going to have to explain what a flat tax means in reality. He is going to have to give his opinion on workers rights. He is going to have to explain what his party will do to the institutions that British people cherish, the NHS etc. and how they will be funded.

    As far as I am concerned, beer swilling Nige is no joke.

  • Now you have sorted out UKIP according to your values, perhaps we can have a balancing essay looking at the decades long history of paedophilia, sexual predation, sexual perversion in the Liberal and Lib Dem parties, and of course not forgetting misogyny in the objectification and exploitation of young women by senior elected members of the party.
    This has been endemic in the party and its Liberal predecessor all the way back to Jeremy Thorpe, and who knows how much further, so are we to assume that the failure to clean your stables in preference to throwing some clean straw over the crap to hide it, is indicative of a party comfortable with its paedophilia and sexual predation.

    How can you with a straight face moralise about other parties , when you have made no attempt to seriously come to terms, or to deal with what is an endemic and persistent problem in your party.

    Moralising about others, whilst up to your neck in a sewer… What chutzpah!!

  • Jayne Mansfield 10th May '14 - 6:36pm

    @ John Tilley,
    Hats off to that man. He would get my vote.

  • Meral Hussein Ece 10th May '14 - 6:46pm

    I am finding it hard to see how a party with candidates, and elected representatives who constantly spout views such as “Lenny Henry should go back to Africa” and we don’t want Romanians living in your street” and Islam is a religion of rape, is not racist. I’m sorry but this attitude lets them off the hook. I grew up in an immigrant family in London before the Race Relations Act, where my family were subjected to bricks through windows, car being scratched with racist slogans, and we were called a ‘wog family’ etc. I can tell you I recognise racism when I see it, all too well. And I see it in UKIP. Please stop making excuses for racism.

  • Little Jackie Paper 10th May '14 - 7:02pm

    Charles Rothwell – I see the point you are getting at (and certainly the decline in language schools is sad). However I don’t think that MFL really is the issue here. My feeling, and I stress here it is just a feeling – I claim no evidence, is that freedom of movement is fitting some well but not others. If you have access to a support network like family or wealth then this is great. Similarly if you have a job in a big multinational. For the rest that free movement is a bit theoretical. It is not just about language teaching as such, it is about meaningful opportunity and it is meaningful opportunity that is lacking. I ask again, how many unemployed young people can head to Eastern Europe. That is the key point here. It runs a bit deeper than mobile bankers, propertied grannies and au pairs.

    Similarly, I have no wish to reopen the fees can of worms however I think it is legitimate to observe that those carrying tuition debts have their opportunities further restricted relative to those not similarly indebted.

    For those that can make it work, free movement is great – but for those that can not make it work it is difficult to see free movement as opportunity cost-free. Someone else refers to a Danish Theatre Director – I assume that that director will not be in the market for entry level employment or a small flat any time soon.

    Perhaps of course we should celebrate what we have in the sense that many have seen the benefit. And those with the wherewithal and opportunity should not be held back – I get that. I don’t know what the answer is, but a lot of people have seen the rough end of the free for all and I think too many pro-EU people have been rather quick to dismiss them. I do stress that none of these arguments or concerns are new as such. Just they are rather more visible now.

    In 25 years time of course we may well have real time translation technology and transport improvements that will open up Europe in a much more meaningful way. Technology, not treaty, will bring about ever closer union. Google Translate already is well on the way, and it is free of charge. However for the moment at least simply saying that EU free movement is a two way street is glib.

  • Meral Hussein Ece 10th May '14 - 7:04pm

    Please read this excellent article by Musa Okwonga which eloquently sets out racism behaviour in UKIP
    http://www.okwonga.com/?p=1044

  • Little Jackie Paper 10th May '14 - 7:53pm

    jedibeeftrix – I agree. My uncle was on the German bricksites in the 1970s – there is nothing new per se about this. There have always people moving for things like tech start-ups and there have always been cross-border networks.

    I don’t want this to become all-or-nothing on language because there is more going on here. The point simply is that the movement flows have to be something vaguely symmetrical for a union to be real – we simply don’t have that at the moment. At the moment it is basically asking for people to give consent to open-ended rights for people in other countries with nothing meaningful in the other direction.

    I would love, dearly love, for large numbers of economically dislocated people to be able to head East and to make their future there. But it is not happening in anything like the numbers necessary to be seen as meaningful. I don’t know what the answer is here, and in the future things may be different. But I just don’t think it is enough at the moment to say that it is working for some, therefore everything’s OK.

  • Jayne writes :
    “I could never vote for UKIP.”
    And I respect that perfectly admirable position. But I ask you Jayne, what if the present Westminster system is effectively ‘constipated’ with a group of people at the top, effectively looking after themselves and their corporate mates, at the expense of all else? How do you deal with that?
    I guess you first have to acknowledge that the present system does not work for huge numbers in the UK, ( LJP’s comment of 12.13pm highlights this very point). So given that we have evolved a system that doesn’t work, how else do we remove the blockage of this ‘faux representative democracy’, and resume some semblance of true public consent in political policy?
    If you have a better option to Ukip, I am truly all ears.

  • Sunder Katwala 10th May '14 - 8:06pm

    “Meral Hussein Ece – Please read this excellent article by Musa Okwonga which eloquently sets out racism behaviour in UKIP http://www.okwonga.com/?p=1044

    I thought it was an excellent article about the Jeremy Clarkson controversy. It mentions Godfrey Bloom’s ‘Bongo Bongo Land’ remarks briefly. Bloom was criticised; he resigned the UKIP whip. I am not sure this speaks to the ‘racist party’ claim.

    ‘Please stop excusing racism’ risks simply ignoring the fact that this is a debate about where the boundaries of racism are, and how it is challenged. Clearly, there are different views about that. LibDems and those in other major parties disagree. It doesn’t seem to me credible to claim that those who take a different view do so from a position of seeking to excuse racism. My own argument was very clearly based on an analysis of what extends anti-prejudice norms. Disagreement is legitimate, of course, but ‘stop excusing racism’ is an assertion, rather than an argument.

    My main

    (1) It makes sense to call on a party to kick racists out, unless it is a racist party.

    This is why people challenge UKIP, in a way we don’t bother with the BNP.

    (2) Most importantly, anti-prejudice *norms* need to be protected in a way that commands majority sense: otherwise one is not protecting broad social norms at all … The speech sets out an argument as to why using ‘racist’ for cases recognised

    Given general attitudes in Britain in 2014 (where anti-racist norms are as strong or stronger than in any European country, and quite probably have few rivals – perhaps Canada – globally), it is a challenge for the anti-racist side if claims about ‘racism’ are only commanding the support of around 1 in 4. The main potential explanations are
    (A) that the broad majority of the society is racist; the majority of citizens tolerate racism
    OR
    (B) that the charge is not a convincing one to most people who do support anti-racist norms

    The charge that Ukip is a racist party looks to me a clear case of (B). The challenge that UKIP has to do more to deal properly with racism and xenophobia in the party, by contrast, strikes most people as sensible, while the racist party charge does not.

  • Malcolm Todd 10th May '14 - 11:34pm

    Jedietc.

    I don’t think you understand dictionaries. When it says “Hence”, it means “from the definition just given, this further definition has arisen”. So you can’t insist that without the first part of the definition being satisfied the word is not apposite; and Mack’s highlighting of the subsequent, derived definition is entirely justified.

  • OK. once again, people are using hyperbole on this site to make points which simply do not stand up to reason.

    What is racism? Well, the literal (or dictionary meaning) is:

    “The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

    This ‘traditional’ view of racism is actually very narrow; however, the English language is one in constant evolution and so it is clear that the word has moved on since this narrow definition was dreamed up by one lexicon or another. The key point now is that racism no longer just means one believes they are superior to another, it is about believing things which are either negative, undermining or just ignorant of other ethnic (or racial) groups; the fact ethnic (using Ernest Gellner’s definition of the word) is more fitting to the modern usage than race says much about how society (and by extension, the word itself) have changed.

    So what is the difference between a belief of superiority and a negative conception of another? Well, simply put, the traditional skinhead stereotype from the 80s believed that White people are better than people of other skin colours; however, a negative view is something different – many people in Britain, today, probably do not overtly think of British culture as superior to other cultures, but when British people wilfully lump all people from the Middle East together as Muslims, even if they hold no particular negative emotions towards these people, it is a form of racism because they are showing wilful ignorance of another culture. Note: wilful ignorance is different to misconceptions or mistakes. Wilful ignorance was shown when one of my colleagues in financial world said “Oh, I hate XXXX Japanese Restaurant, Chinese food is awful.” To which I explained that ‘XXXX Japanese Restaurant serves Japanese food, not Chinese.” His wilfully ignorant response was “Well, they are all the same, ain’t they?” His wilful disregard for another culture was where his racism can be found in the modern sense of the word. Now, does this make him and a skinhead the same thing? No, of course not, but it does mean one can just allow him off the hook anyway. Being better than awful is not necessarily good.

    Are UKIP (as a collective of people) racist?

    Well, under the traditional view, it is debatable, but I, personally, would say yes because they often actively support ideas such as ‘Romanians living in our area is bad because they are Romanian.” My evidence is both anecdotal, having heard UKIP supporters (not their fanatics, but the masses they are currently pandering to) say things such as “Romanians are disgusting though, ain’t they?” It is also the fact that clearly UKIP believes an anti-ethnic rhetoric gains it support, otherwsie it would not use slogans like “We don’t want Romanians living in your street.”

    However, if someone takes an ultra-semantic view on this and believes only a skinhead or worse is a traditional racist (probably taking the line that racism has to be born from hate, not fear – an erroneous supposition), then I will say it does not matter because they are differently caught by the modern view of the word because many of their supporters do show a wilful ignorance and other very undermining (or possibly even negative) views towards ‘Johnny Foreigner’. Are they racists in the extreme sense, such as a skinhead? No, but as I said, being better than awful is not good.

    PS On the hyperbolic point that you cannot be racist towards Islamic groups, only Muslims.

    First, Muslims are not actually an ethnic group either, they are a group under the Islamic umbrella (think Catholics under the Christian umbrella).

    Secondly, it does not matter whether someone is disparaging Muslims only, or all the Islamic groups, it can still be racist, depending on the mind of the malicious party. The key thing to remember is that many people do not use the word ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islamic’ to mean to a religious faith, they use them to define a group of people by their cultural and physical characteristics. Many do not even realise that these words are religious based words, they think they are ethnic words. As such, even if the user is semantically wrong, if he is using the word to refer to the ethnic or cultural group as opposed to the religion (even if the religion is an included part of his meaning), then it is racist.

    As for saying a whole religion is evil; well, yes, I agree, that is different to racism, but I must flippantly respond is it much better? (Oh, and I say that as the most ultra-liberal, non-religious, atheist going).

  • Matt (Bristol) 11th May '14 - 12:50am

    UKIP doesn’t have to be explicitly racist to be attractive to racists

    It is not on the evidence so far seen to be currently a party that actively campaigns on an explicitly race-based platform or policy agenda. So it is not a ‘racist party’ in that sense.

    What it is, is isolationist and paranoid. That is what we need to skewer (which Nick Clegg tried to do in the TV debates and didn’t seem to quite manage to do so). Isolationism is (often) an attractive realm of policy to racists, not to mention the sort of nostalgia for an imagined past that UKIP also like to indulge in.

  • Two other points I should have noted:

    1 – Actually, highlighting the inherently racist aspects of the UKIP party is important for two reasons:

    a – it is the morally right thing to do because we, as liberals, cannot allow racism to go unchallenged, even if it makes us unpopular;

    b – whilst it may not be popular with UKIP supports (new and old alike), it does actually resonate very strongly with the younger, more outward facing/internationally minded members of our society – and we need to give these people who do not want backwards thinking to steal their forward thinking future from them;

    2 – just because UKIP has members from different ethnic backgrounds does not stop it being racist (amazingly, many ethnic groups besides the English can be quite racist, as well).

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th May '14 - 2:10am

    @ John Dunn,
    John, we recently had a referendum where people could vote for a new voting system. AV would not have been ideal but it would have been a move in the right direction, hopefully to a system of STV. The people of the is country chose to keep first past the post, it wasn’t what I would have wanted but the electorate had a choice and I accept the will of the people. Now people must live with the consequences of that choice.

    What makes you think that Nigel Farage and Co. will be any better than the politicians that we currently have? I don’t think that the signs are that hopeful. The hierarchy seem to me to be predominantly ex tories who took their bat and ball away when they couldn’t get their own way in the tory party. What is the background and the current and past leadership of UKIP? Who funds UKIP? Why should I have confidence that they will not serve their own interests and those of their corporate mates if they ever gained power?

    If I take one example, of people who might claim that the EU does not work for them. People in this country want affordable fruit and vegetables. Farmers want agricultural workers. Why are the indigenous British workers not prepared to take these jobs? If British jobs were filled by British workers, an enormous pull factor from low earning countries like like Romania and Bulgaria would disappear. What is UKIP going to do to ensure that these jobs will be filled by British workers? Details please.

    Why are we taking doctors from Romania? The last government opened new medical schools but it takes many years to train a doctors and it is expensive. Are Ukip going to open more medical schools and tax people at a level that will pay for us to train more British doctors? Same with nurses and other professionals. Just how is Ukip going to change the system? Details please.

    Before we vote whether to stay in or leave the EU, set out your stall so we can see how your figures on what Britain would save if we left the EU stack up given what little we know about UKIP plans to extend the armed forces and increase the number of prisons etc.

    Why should I change my voting behaviour when it might mean a jump from the frying pan into the fire? Change is not always for the better.

  • “The people of the country chose to keep first past the post”

    As a matter of outcomes that is correct, but the motives for the vote were quite various, and did not necessarily reflect a devotion to FPTP. It would be more accurate to say that “the people of the country chose not to accept AV” — that is, the vote was up/down on AV, not on FPTP.

  • David-1: the choice was binary: AV or FPTP; people can be answerable to their own motives, but they cannot run from the consequences.

    We could have an IN/OUT vote on the EU and motives could easily include a motive of giving X, Y, Z or everyone a good kicking, and if as a result, some might lose their job, their pension or savings, they will have to accept that at least they were able to stick two fingers up and that this was their priority at the time.

  • Meral Hussein Ece 11th May '14 - 10:19am

    Sunder Katwala – your analysis while interesting, risks over analysing the question of what is racism? UKIP haven’t confined themselves to attacking blacks, Romanians and Muslims, but gay people as well. Would we be questioning whether remarks directed at gay people are truly homophobic? I wouldn’t and don’t. If any MEPs/MPs/ councillors from any of the main political parties made these constant racist comments about people of other ethnic backgrounds, then they would be labelled as racist. Why are we soft peddling UKIP in this way? Racism, bigotry sexism, and xenophobia, are all ugly elements being played out almost in a daily basis by UKIP people. The excuse that they are simply ‘saying what many people think’ doesn’t wash.

  • @ Jayne
    The very valid questions on agricultural workers, and Romanian doctors would frankly take a new thread to flesh out. But for now, let’s just highlight some of the blockages to solving those issues, you mention.
    1. Agricultural workers. ~ A British worker picking lettuces at £6.70 per hour cannot realistically afford to take on a mortgage and purchase a home or any other of the basics that a growing family would need. However, a Polish worker picking lettuces at £6.70, and utilising (with several others), a House in Multiple Occupation for a period of two years, could afford to send back to Poland a sum of money sufficient to help purchase a house in Poland, which are at least a seventh of the equivalent price!. This,..at the same time the UK sends £55 million per day to the EU, a large portion of which goes to Poland!? (Why?). Indeed if we in the UK, didn’t have the obligation to send £55 million per day to the EU, that sum of money could be utilised in several creative ways to alleviate the affordable housing problems for the British agricultural worker?
    2. Romanian Doctors (why?) ~ A better question would be, why are we charging British medical students £9000 per year, when we are desperate for British trained doctors?? Is it beyond the wit of politicians to draft a list of much needed occupations here in the UK, and say to young British students,… if you train and graduate in a profession on this ‘UK Needs List’, we will give you total amnesty on your student debt ?
    Thank you Jayne. I hope this expands your debate, that could be opened up on a more appropriate thread?

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th May '14 - 12:04pm

    @ John,
    Thank you for your reply.
    Sorry, It was LJP ‘s post that you referred me to which is why I mentioned Romanian doctors ( Up at 2am because of need to communicate with Australia). In answer to LJP, since Ukip say they will still have immigration of workers with skills we need, UKIP isn’t the answer for countries who will still lose their skilled and expensively trained work force.

    The money that UKIP say we pay to the EU, the net figure which is disputed, seems to be able to cover a heck of a lot of things. The changes to the defence budget and to the building of new prisons alone would eat up an enormous amount of money. It seems like wishful thinking that UKIp would be able to carry out the changes on the basis of this one fund. AS I say Details please.

    The only answer to low paid agricultural workers ( and agricultural workers have always been low paid) seems to me to be to ensure that low paid workers are paid a living wage. Ukip voters and the rest of us will just have to start paying the true cost of our food. If we stopped every Polish worker coming here tomorrow, the British worker still would not be able to afford a house and all the things you claim are beyond his or her means. By the way, house prices are rising in Poland as prosperity increases and Polish people can now afford to buy more of our goods.

    I would be very grateful if you would start a thread and fleshed out your arguments, In the meantime, the cynic in me assumes that Ukip have no economic answers and that they are being reckless in wanting to take us out of the EU without a fully worked out and costed programme for a Britain that is outside the EU.

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th May '14 - 12:56pm

    @ Sunder Katwala,

    Back to the topic of the thread.

    I agree with you, I too believe that it is (B.). In my opinion, no frankly racist party would succeed through the ballot box n modern bBritain.

    I also agree that Mr Farage must deal with people who join his party or stand as candidates and who do not behave within what we consider respectable anti prejudice norms.

    Today’s Daily Mail Online is running a story on the UKIp prospective candidate for New Grimsby and a Youtube Video is still available for all to see. As a current example, the electorate are free to read and watch to make up their own minds on whether Nigel Farage is dealing effectively with those who stand for office in his party or whether the press are mounting a witch hunt as claimed by many Ukip supporters.

    @ Meral Hussein Ecce
    I am truly sorry for the experiences that you and your family experienced. It makes me ashamed to be British. I hope that I am not being a Pollyanna when I say this, but I think that British society has moved on, and on the whole, the young seem so much nicer , so much more prepared to judge people on their character than on an immutable characteristic like the colour of their skin than my generation.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 11th May '14 - 1:29pm

    I appreciate that we are members of the Liberal Democrat Party which is all about fairness and equality, but why oh why as Meral Ece has highlighted do we constantly feel the need to make excuses for Ukip?

    How members members of a Party have to spout intolerance before the Party itself is deemed as bigoted?

    I am really sorry to have to highlight this to my fellow Liberal Democrat’s but racism, like sexism and homophobia are realities in society and parties such as Ukip exploit peoples naivety and promote these and other bigotries at every opportunity.

    Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera

    Liberal Democrat English Party Diversity Champion
    Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrat (EMLD) – Vice Chair
    Liberal Democrat South Central Region Executive – Diversity Officer

  • For years and years we’ve been spoon fed the idea that Racism was something that existed only amongst white working class and poor people. It was uncouth and uneducated and involved flinging the N word or P word around and would be ended by education. Meanwhile we let the educated classes off the hook by allowing them to fret about urban youth, ,inner city schools and the alleged erosion their cultural identity. Why for instance is racism something that needs tackling in comprehensive schools and football. but not in say in prep schools or dressage.

    UKiP are heavily promoted by a rightwing press in the hope that will drive the conservative party further to the right. The reason we have a problem calling them a racist party is because we won’t fess up about the reality of racism and general levels of bigotry

  • Simon Banks 11th May '14 - 3:07pm

    I don’t entirely agree with this, just partly. I do agree that there is little to be gained in flinging the racist charge at UKIP because insofar as the party is racist, so are most of its supporters. If the party is called racist it won’t put them off. I do agree that the term “racist” is very loosely used and it’s generally better to point out racially discriminatory policies, racially loaded attitudes, racial stereotyping and so on in organisations and individuals who are not properly speaking racist.

    However, there are exceptions to the rule of thumb about labelling the behaviour not the person, and in any case, we’re talking about an organisation here. If an individual or an organisation is based on systems or attitudes that depend on assumptions of racial superiority and inferiority, then it’s racist even if there are occasions when the actions are inconsistent with the ideology. It would be ridiculous, for example, to deny that Nazi theorists, including ethnographers, were racist.

    Now UKIP’s ideology is not as systematic and worked out, but it does seem to me to rest either on an assumption of superiority of the people they see as real Brits over sundry foreigners, or on an attitude that we should care about people like ourselves and not about others. Maybe that doesn’t quite amount to racism, but it’s not far off. Racism, after all, need not just be a matter of colour. It’s also clear to me that UKIP, while not actually attacking non-white Britons, exploits racist sentiment for votes.

    Unfortunately the term “chauvinistic”, coined in France to refer to extreme, narrow nationalism, has been co-opted in the cause of gender equality so it can’t now be used of narrow, suspicious, mean, ranting nationalists. That should not mean we should be embarrassed to say UKIP is founded on suspicion and hostility towards the rest of the world.

  • jedibeeftrix 11th May '14 - 9:12pm

    “Now UKIP’s ideology is not as systematic and worked out, but it does seem to me to rest either on an assumption of superiority of the people they see as real Brits over sundry foreigners, or on an attitude that we should care about people like ourselves and not about others.”

    If you are going to argue it is the former, and not the latter, you’d better have some very good reasons…

    Do tell.

  • In essence, UKIP supporters feel some patriotism. It is sad that such ideas are now not just scorned by ‘progressives’ but seen to deserve collective denunciation.

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th May '14 - 10:08pm

    @ Glen,
    It hasn’t passed my notice that many of UKip’s hierarchy and funders are public school educated refugees from the right wing of the tory party, ( what seems to me a disproportionate number of Etonians too given its size). This is why I find the idea of Ukip being an anti-establishment party so laughable.

    As I mentioned earlier, it will be interesting to see how Mr Farage deals with a report on today’s Mail Online. I wonder if we are going to be fobbed off with the , ‘Its a distraction’ strategy. In the light of Sunder Katwala’s post it will be an interesting test. Personally I think we should doggedly refuse to be distracted by Mr Farage’s distraction strategy and Ukip’s attempts to change the subject when they are confronted with uncomfortable questions that they don’t want to, or can’t answer.

    Originally, like Chris who posts on here, I thought that it was best to ignore Ukip, believing that a ‘Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves’ approach would be best. My opinion has changed over the course of reading the many arguments relating to Ukip, and a timely reference to the lessons of history. If one does believe that it is a racist party or one that panders to racism, it seems to me that the best approach is to continue to test its credibility by challenging what I see as its multiple hypocrisies. Simply calling it racist, whether one believes that or not, is not does not seem to be working.

  • Jayne Mansfield 11th May '14 - 10:16pm

    @ David,
    Don’t you dare go down that road you scoundrel.

    I didn’t vote in the 2009 European elections because I was celebrating our airborne attack on Pegasus bridge and the D day landings. Many brave Britons, amongst them our relatives, helped by commonwealth troops gave their lives to defend us against Nazism.

    True patriots are we Britons who continue to fight for the values that they gave their lives for.

  • @ Tony G

    “Is anyone seriously suggesting that UKIP does not pander to racism? That it does not actively seek racist votes? That it is not very happily mopping up BNP support in many areas?”

    A “racist” person, over the age of 18 has the right to vote in our democracy. Are you suggesting that they be de facto disenfranchised? ?

    Can I gently put it to you that it really isn’t down to you, or anyone else to decide who has the moral right to vote, and that you are being profoundly illiberal. Arguably worse, indeed than being “racist”. Whatever that word means, so debased has it become nowadays.

    If you deny potentially “extreme” (in your subjective opinion) people the right to exercise their democratic mandate to vote for a mainstream political party like UKIP then you will force them to a fascist one, like the BNP. Or worse, consider extra parliamentary action.

    The BNP got a lot of votes in the last Euro Elections, deal with it.

  • British soldiers didn’t die on D-Day beaches for a United States of Europe but to stop one.

  • @David: That is completely false, and the flippant equation of the EU with the Nazi Empire is both primâ facie absurd and an abuse of the memory of the Second World War.

  • One might, for instance, remember that in 1940 Mr Churchill attempted to negotiate a full union between the UK and France — something which would give UKIPpers fits if they could even comprehend it. And in 1950, Mr Churchill made the following remarks, arguing against Labour’s efforts, at the time, to isolate the UK from Europe:

    ” I will go further and say that for the sake of world organisation we would even run risks and make sacrifices. We fought alone against tyranny for a whole year, not purely from national motives. It is true that our lives depended upon our doing so, but we fought the better because we felt with conviction that it was not only our own cause but a world cause for which the Union Jack was kept flying in 1940 and 1941. The soldier who laid down his life, the mother who wept for her son, and the wife who lost her husband, got inspiration or comfort, and felt a sense of being linked with the universal and the eternal by the fact that we fought for what was precious not only for ourselves but for mankind. The Conservative and Liberal Parties declare that national sovereignty is not inviolable, and that it may be resolutely diminished for the sake of all the men in all the lands finding their way home together. “

  • E, DAVID DAVIDSON 12th May '14 - 10:29am

    There is nothing racist in restricting immigration and asylum seekers when we have difficulty looking after our own. For sure the UK issue work permits for specialists who have been given a contract to work in the UK. Some countries set a minimum wage for overseas workers so they do not under cut the wages of their ow n citizens. There is no harm in the UK considering the same.

  • MICHAEL PROCTOR 12th May '14 - 10:41am

    Is it just Farage’s job to get UKIP into power? If they then did get into power would he then be seen in the spotlight far less because then UKIP’S real agenda would come to the fore?

  • @ Tony G

    “The UKIP European election leaflet here in the North West says (front and back pages):

    Our politicians have allowed open-door immigration
    Only UKIP will take back control.
    4,000 people a week come to live in Britain from the EU.
    Help us to help you get your country back.”

    The first point is categorically true, and the voters know it. Try and muddy the waters with lies damned lies and statistics all you want. UKIP voters notice the pressure on housing, in schools, in the NHS.

    No-one voted for this demographic change, few want it, most are opposed. And they are sick of being called racists if they dare stick their head up over the PC parapet to complain.

    Maybe it IS racist? Who cares, it has got beyond that now, the argument in the country has moved on. The race card is out of the pack, let’s talk about the benefits and drawbacks of immigration and multiculturalism (the ideology, not the fact of the multi racial society) on empirical grounds.

    And let our political parties start being honest, and reflect the fact that this election, and UKIP has/have changed the game.

    This country is in a total mess, divided on race, class and faith grounds, with no sense of a common purpose. We are a nation state without a nationality.. We haven’t even been able to discuss that till now, it has been taboo to question the social and cultural construct and paradigm till UKIP broke the taboo.

    My word, didn’t that cause a lot of wailing and gnashing and teeth amongst the liberal establishment! They played the race card for all it was worth. And it hasn’t worked.

    This very thread is proof of that.

  • Matt (Bristol) 12th May '14 - 10:55am

    Simon Banks: “Unfortunately the term “chauvinistic”, coined in France to refer to extreme, narrow nationalism, has been co-opted in the cause of gender equality so it can’t now be used of narrow, suspicious, mean, ranting nationalists. That should not mean we should be embarrassed to say UKIP is founded on suspicion and hostility towards the rest of the world.”

    That is why I suggest the phrase ‘isolationist’; UKIP’s policy platform (to date) essentially wants the rest of the world to go away, whilst its members recreate some things that they believe were done better in the past of our country, and impose some other things that are complete aggressive, radical innovations, alien to British tradition but they hope don’t get noticed by the public (eg the flat tax).

    This is a policy platform that is attractive to those who want non-white or non-English speakers to go away, and it is an easy tool in the hands of bigots. Every time this tendency is shown in UKIP thinking, every time they seem to flirt with exploiting this aspect of their DNA, we need to point it out and oppose it raitonally. But that does not mean UKIP members or votes are (necesarily) bigots and racists.

    Does no-one remember the Vermin Club? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermin_Club I think it needs to be a key principle of modern politics that (even if justified) moral outrage at one’s opponents should be calm, sparing, focused and rational, to prevent it being co-opted as a badge of pride by one’s opponents.

  • At what point do chauvinism, xenophobia and bigotry merge into racism? In confronting the UKIPs of this world we should not get tied up with specific labels. It is the dog whistle tactics that get me. When Farage says he is “uncomfortable” to hear many fellow bus passengers speaking a language other than English (by the way does he not realise that if he deigned to speak to any of them they would be highly likely to reply in perfect English?) he knows very well that this legitimises his followers looking through different eyes at their neighbours of foreign and diverse ethnic origins and feeling “uncomfortable”. Discomfort can lead on to much worse. Coming from Northern Ireland I know only too well how distaste leading to fear and antagonism towards “the other” can end up with injury and death at its extreme – albeit involving nothing that could be described technically as racism. Beware of those who use such dark elements for their political ends.

  • Jayne Mansfield 12th May '14 - 2:05pm

    The surge in Ukip support has very little to do with the Eu, it is about trust, or to be more precise the lack of trust in mainstream politicians, and I can understand that.

    However, the question is, are the Ukip politicians any more trustworthy?

    Is the anti- racism, anti fascist group , Hope not hate in receipt of Government funding?

  • @ Denis

    “When Farage says he is “uncomfortable” to hear many fellow bus passengers speaking a language other than English (by the way does he not realise that if he deigned to speak to any of them they would be highly likely to reply in perfect English?) he knows very well that this legitimises his followers looking through different eyes at their neighbours of foreign and diverse ethnic origins and feeling “uncomfortable”.”

    Two things:

    First, I often feel “uncomfortable” on the train home from London to my home town, when (at certain times of the day) a majority of the carriage speaks a foreign language. Do you think I care whether you or anyone else thinks those feelings are “legitimate”? Who are you to make moral judgements on me or anyone else?

    I am not here pointing out the inefficacy of such sanctimonious holier than thou judgementalism. It goes without saying (as this thread says) that it is counter productive. What I am saying is you don’t have that right. How I feel is a matter of individual emotion and frankly none of your business, so long as I don’t behave in any unethical way.

    Second, behaving in an unethical way does not extend to voting for UKIP. Which does not advocate rounding people up of a different ethnicity or culture and putting them in gas chambers, but controlling immigration.

    Finally, when are you going to get that Farage is channelling something? He didn’t create it, it was latent, nor does he “legitimise” it. He gives it voice.

  • Matt (Bristol) 12th May '14 - 3:07pm

    QUOTE: “When Farage says he is “uncomfortable” to hear many fellow bus passengers speaking a language other than English (by the way does he not realise that if he deigned to speak to any of them they would be highly likely to reply in perfect English?) he knows very well that this legitimises his followers looking through different eyes at their neighbours of foreign and diverse ethnic origins and feeling “uncomfortable”. Discomfort can lead on to much worse.”

    Denis, I think the point you made articulately there speaks well enough for itself without you then adding a sentence, ‘so, therefore, Nigel Farage is racist and UKIP is a racist party’. Make the argument, get it heard, don’t wates time lobbing about the shorthand summary.

    UKIP’s policies, rhteoric and tactics risk causing (consiously or unconsciously) a resurgence of racism. I think that’s as storng as I would put it. Now let’s have the argument on its merits, as the UKIP-supporting individual upthread says they want, and if we don’t overdo the use of ‘racist’ until it’s abolutely a clear unarguable instaance, we can call them out on the lie that UKIP will put power back in the hands of voters. How can a party with no clear manifesto, with only the vaguest ideas about accountability of its elected representatives, with minimal grassroots community engagement lecture the other parties about accountability?

    There are open goals to be kicked at with this lot. Let’s go get them.

  • Matt (Bristol) 12th May '14 - 3:27pm

    Simon, I fear that the word is not ‘chanelling’. It is ‘exploiting’. Many of us on here feel that Farage is exploiting the feelings of people who feel like you do; I do not think that a country run by UKIP will be a less divided, friendly place where old ladies feel safe in their homes and you can walk down the street without fear of being mugged. It will be place where the divions in our communities are played up, not down, where less funding goes into schools, the NHS, housing, and where big, multinational business benefits, not the individual.

  • @ Sunder K

    Most importantly, anti-prejudice *norms* need to be protected in a way that commands majority sense: otherwise one is not protecting broad social norms at all … The speech sets out an argument as to why using ‘racist’ for cases recognised

    “Given general attitudes in Britain in 2014 (where anti-racist norms are as strong or stronger than in any European country, and quite probably have few rivals – perhaps Canada – globally), it is a challenge for the anti-racist side if claims about ‘racism’ are only commanding the support of around 1 in 4. The main potential explanations are
    (A) that the broad majority of the society is racist; the majority of citizens tolerate racism
    OR
    (B) that the charge is not a convincing one to most people who do support anti-racist norms

    The charge that Ukip is a racist party looks to me a clear case of (B). The challenge that UKIP has to do more to deal properly with racism and xenophobia in the party, by contrast, strikes most people as sensible, while the racist party charge does not.”

    You may or may not be right that the majority of the population do not tolerate “racism”, (as you define it) and that these “racist norms” you posit are inviolable. I don’t know about that, but what strikes me is that this election is having a profound impact on public perception of this whole subject.

    The question is, can you continue to attempt to enforce these “anti racist norms” in future? And that is what I suggest you and the liberal establishment are attempting to do. To enforce compliance in thought and feeling. Maybe you can continue to hold the fort, or maybe you can’t.

    By the way, as a spiteful aside, I do hope your side of the debate will start to focus a little more on “enforcing norms” with respect to the “Muslim community.”

    Because from where I am sitting, the most dreadful bigotry, racism, homophobia, sexism and even incitement to hatred and terrorism are accepted as cultural expressions, rather than challenged as the deep threat to social norms and cohesion they are.

    A great deal of the frustration that gives rise to the UKIP Spring arises from the failure of the liberal establishment to engage with what ought to be socially unacceptable behaviours from the Muslim “community.” And of course this is a European phenomenon, as a consequence of the Islamic Resurgence, although one is not supposed to say so. For fear of breaking one of Sunder’s “norms” I suppose.

  • @ Matt

    “Simon, I fear that the word is not ‘chanelling’. It is ‘exploiting’. Many of us on here feel that Farage is exploiting the feelings of people who feel like you do”

    UKIP isn’t going to form a Gov’t. It has no chance under the present FPP of getting more than a handful of MP’s. Something you with your decades long campaign for PRep ought to have some sympathy for, although I rather doubt it. So your comments about how any future UKIP administration will “exploit us” are totally off point and irrelevant, if you don’t mind my saying. 🙂

    We are a movement for change of a bankrupt failed political class, establishment and political culture. Maybe we will fail, you have to say the odds against prevailing over such overweening power are great, but at least we care enough for our country and society to try and effect change.

    Where is the passion, the commitment on your side of the debate?

  • Matt (Bristol) 12th May '14 - 4:26pm

    SImon, I do have sympathy for those in UKIP who desire to change the system and feel shut out from it, and I recognise that as a minor party they have an interest in constitutional reform. I just often fail to work out what UKIP thinks the UK constitution might look like. In my less charitable moments I feel this is because they don’t want to be pinned down.

    I think there is only so much you can argue that as a movement for broad change, we don’t need to imagine what a UIP government might look like, before continually complaining that other parties promised things they didn’t deliver. How can we test you by the same measure if you evade requests to clarify what you believe in beyond one or 2 vague aspirations.

    If you want to come and see the passion in the Liberal Democrat party, come and see my local councillors campaigning, advising and meeting with their ward residnets, their passion for their local community and getting the small things right day after day after day. Now show me that in UKIP, fromany of your elected representatives. Persuade me that your MEPs and councillors don’t see their constituents as anything but vote-fodder to only be communicated with during (negative) election campagns.

  • Matt (Bristol) 12th May '14 - 4:28pm

    “So your comments about how any future UKIP administration will “exploit us” are totally off point and irrelevant, if you don’t mind my saying.”

    So what does Nigel Farage’s ‘earthquake’ look like if there will be no breakthrough into any kind of power. Or are you wriggling on that one, too?

  • @ Matt

    No-one can say what will finally emerge in policy terms after Newark, but my guess is that it will be rechauffe Thatcherism. Call it post Thatcherism if you will.

    We seek to drag the whole of British politics to the right. We are a right wing party, duh! 🙂

    As for your passion, that is sweet and commendable in your nature and everything, but it hasn’t helped make this country anything more than what appears to us as a nation in terminal decline. Sorry to say. Your record in Govt has been lamentable.

    What it will look after the earthquake? Well, what does a settled community NORMALLY look like after an earthquake?

  • Jayne Mansfield 12th May '14 - 8:21pm

    @ simon,
    Ukiophas moved left on the economy.

    Try to keep up with Nigel.

  • @ Jayne

    Ha ha!

    Nige has always been a libertarian Thatcherite/Powellite. Don’t think he will be changing!

    Gotta live a party which runs its decision making along the lines of the medieval papacy… 🙂

  • Jayne Mansfield 13th May '14 - 1:37am

    @ Simon,
    I think you should read what the poster on the side of UKIP advertising van in the Wythenshawe by election about protecting benefits. I think you should check out his pronouncements on tax and zero hours too.

  • Matt (Bristol) 13th May '14 - 9:48am

    SImon, you asked a question about passion and then moved the point when I answered your question. You lambast other parties for doing things they didn’t promise to do in a manifesto and then openly laugh at the fact that your leader’s policy commitments are about as reliable as shifting sand. You seem to be a nihilist who just wnats the current system wrecked and doesn’t care about what replaces it.

  • Jayne Mansfield 13th May '14 - 1:58pm

    @ simon,
    Thank you for confirming that ‘Nigel Farage is a ‘Powellite.’

    @ matt ( Bristol),
    The leader of his party has taught him well!

  • @ Jayne and Matt

    You will have to wait until after Newark for the results of our policy review! I think you will like it and will ESPECIALLY enjoy getting all worked up into a right on, bien pensant, self appointed morally superior liberal lather at the unashamed, right wing populism. 🙂

    As I said, we aren’t going to form a Gov’t (although a Michael Gove led UKIP/Tory coalition with Nige as Foreign Secretary charged with negotiating our exit from the EU would be a delight wouldn’t it?) but I expect and hope we will drag both the Tories and Labour to the right. to counteract our appeal. If it leads one day to our exit from Europe and us getting off our knees as a nation, I would be happy with that.

    What I think you have to appreciate is that if Labour does win the next election, perhaps in coalition with you, it will not have a democratic mandate, and neither will you. We will have won few or no seats probably with a larger vote share, and Labour will have secured a majority despite a tiny proportion of the popular vote because of the rotten electoral system, that you propped up with your failure to conduct a boundary review.

    That will make us even stronger long term. Either at this election , or the next our ideas will eventually win out. We are the zeitgeist and the future.

  • Jayne Mansfield 13th May '14 - 3:56pm

    @ simon,
    I think you should look at Powell’s views on repatriation. I think you should also look at the appalling racists attacks that British citizens endured when he used intellectualised prejudice in an attempt to make racism respectable.

    Are you saying that ‘Nige’, as you call him is channelling Powell. You know, disloyalty to the conservative party, his belief in repatriation, his total disregard for the effect on his words on the lives of decent Britons of a different race or ethnicity?

    If so, thank you simon, you have cleared up a doubt in my mind.

  • @ Jayne

    I think Powell’s legacy was a complete disaster for our policy on integration and immigration, and exacerbated the problem he put his finger on, and I suspect Nige does too. His forecasts on immigrant numbers (savagely derided at the time) have proven to be true however, and we are now seeing a greater demographic change than even he thought possible.

    Powell was a Cassandra, and one with a highly malevolent impact, unfortunately. But his prescience is astonishing. He identified all the major political issues we have today. He was against devolution forecasting that it would lead to the break up of the UK. Check. He was against the EU, forecasting that it would lead to an intolerable loss of national sovereignty. Check. And we have already talked about what would be the impact of uncontrolled immigration.

  • Another day, another confected anti UKIP story.

    Five hundred people are joining UKIP every week (how are your membership numbers doing by comparison?) one person resigns, and it makes the national news, is picked up by every newspaper and TV outlet.

    She seems a nice enough person, is a little confused. For those who haven’t seen it and want to know something about her I recommend the below:

    http://www.channel4.com/news/do-non-white-britons-feel-more-english-or-british-video

  • Gotta love the BBC!

    45% of London now describes itself as “white British” down from 58% in a decade, and yet one quarter’s data on Romanian and Bulgarian immigration is desperately spun as a defeat for the UKIP view that immigration is out of control.

    “Apologise Mr Farage! You are wrong! Where is that Romanian influx?” 🙂

    Well the same data set shows the numbers up 29,000 year on year, and the total population 140,000. Equivalent to a city like Lincoln and then another half a Lincoln.

    The BBC can spin all it likes, but it can’t alter the reality of our country. The bigger question is how in an election when it is supposed, by rule, to demonstrate balance can it so distort a story against one political party?

    We Kippers DESPISE the BBC for its institutional political bias. A fair and balanced public service broadcaster? What a joke: it is our equivalent of Fox news…

  • Further to my last point, about the failure of the MSM to adequately report the campaign, the biggest danger to the UKIP percentage vote share has not been mentioned once. that it have seen anyway, it is only the UKIP samizdat which is aware of it. But it could be one of the big stories come election result day.

    As ever the mainstream media will be playing catch up.

    I am talking about the flagrant breach of the Registration of Political Parties Act 1998, which you will recall was brought in because Richard Huggett stood as a “Literal Democrat” in the 1994 Euro Election and got 10,000 votes.

    A breakaway party from UKIP with the phrase “UK Independence Now” will be standing in all but one of the English regions. It is top of the ballot form, and UKIP is bottom.

    In a close fought race for top percentage share, this could be the difference. Have you seen this story in the mainstream media? I wonder why not?

  • Less than a week till polling day, just over it (10pm on Sunday?) till the dawn of the UKIP spring. 🙂

    The focus of the MSM today? A double barrelled assault – continuing the MEP’s are buying seats angle, but adding a spicy twist of one candidate allegedly employing illegals.

    I think that at last might just work for you guys, I can see it trimming 15% of our vote on polling day. Because, after all, it entirely invalidates our two central propositions doesn’t it? First that the European Parliament is a gravy train and a complete waste of tax payer’s money and should be abolished (along with our membership). Second that the “policy” on illegal immigration is a total joke. Allow anybody to come who wants to, never deport anyone illegally here, , have hundreds of thousands working in the black economy not contributing to the tax take and using public services.

    Yeah, raise an issue which is a visceral hot button issue for our core support and bring it to the fore. That will totally work…

    The MSM and the political establishment continue to talk among and to themselves. You are all in denial. That is why the huge UKIP vote (which you know intellectually is going to happen, but still hope against hope won’t) is going to be such a shock.

    To you and the whole body politic.

  • I have tried before to post on your attack ad, but it didn’t make it past the LDV blue pencil brigade.

    Trying to contribute on here is like sending a message home from a POW camp in the Second World War. So much is cut out there are more holes in the postcard than actual words. I know it is your site, and you can run it how you want to, but I think you need to consider whether it is totally healthy just to talk amongst yourselves. And also. if you are so totally confident in the veracity and moral rectitude of your views, why do you find a dissident voice so threatening that it must be silenced??

    Anyway, one last try and then I will give it up. Your ad won’t work, and people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

    You know exactly what I mean!

  • @simon: When you’ve successfully posted five messages in a row, how can you complain about being silenced?

  • @ David

    You should see how many I tried to post. 🙂

    It is very strange. I can’t work out if sometimes the PC police are asleep on the job, or if there is some software which picks up on certain words of phrases. It seems totally arbitrary, but there must be some mechanism which causes some posts to be investigated and others not. But then, once investigated some get through and some are pulled.

    By trial and error, and avoiding certain words I am trying to get round it. I will say this so, LDV is ten times more liberal than the Guardian. Hardly anything I try to post gets online with them and I have given up. (Ironically my first job when I left college was working at the newspaper but that doesn’t seem to count, nowadays. 🙂 )

    Funny how the most avowedly liberal of media organisations, which enthusiastically supports Snowden and of course the oleaginous Glen Greenwald, is the most anxious to curtail debate which strays outside liberal norms and mores…

    So in fairness, and to pay you tribute, you aren’t bad once one works out the system.

  • Nothing to detain the tourist on the campaign today. Just the “car crash” interview which will have no effect whatsoever, as I have argued on another thread.

    British politics remains endlessly trivial, and shallow. The great issues of the day, our sovereignty as a nation, our diplomatic and economic future in this next century, the impact of immigration on national culture and social cohesion remain undiscussed, unexplored. And analysis is restricted to whether the fact that Farage is married to a German woman (who presumably speaks German!) automatically disqualifies him from raising the issue of the breathtaking pace of demographic and cultural change. Which he exemplified by the number of recent immigrants he heard speaking their own languages on a train he used recently.

    And you wonder why the electorate are disgusted with you, with all of you. Speak to the issues, confront them on their own terms and we might at last have a discussion and respect you. These are existential questions for us as a nation, the thing that appals us, is that they cannot be raised. So continue to attempt to close down the debate in such a transparent way, and what is left for us but to utterly despise you?

  • Jim Hardaker 17th May '14 - 9:09pm

    I think that their policy of ‘British workers first’ would have to be considered racist in the technical sense, since it suggests superiority (albeit in terms of rank when it comes to seeking work) on the part of the British. Oxford Dictionaries define racism as “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”.

    Reducing immigration is a matter of mathematics, and could really only be considered racist if they were to suggest that certain nationalities be allowed in and others not.

    Pulling out of the EU, while not something I agree with, is purely political and again really can’t be seen as racist.

    So I think they have at least one view which is racist, even if in a mild sense of the word, and I can well imagine that they probably attract racist individuals to them as members and supporters more so than the other three main parties, but on the whole I don’t think UKIP is a ‘racist party’.

  • Richard Dean 17th May '14 - 9:57pm

    There’s no British race, so “British Workers First” can’t possibly be racist.

    Anyway, it’s now called something entirely different. Vince Cable calls it “Reshoring Jobs and Supply Chains”. So it must be ok, mustn’t it?

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