Opinion: Is UKIP a threat to community cohesion?

ukip-poster-manchesterMuch has been made of the rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party under Nigel Farage.  Watch any of Mr Farage’s rabble rousing appearances on Question Time and one might feel that here is a man who speaks common sense.  A man on your side – a party ready to change the three party system in this country.

Delve a bit deeper into UKIP and you’ll see a slightly sinister side more akin to the Far Right.  It was only 3 years ago that, at the invitation of Lord Pearson (then UKIP Leader), the Dutch Far Right politician Geert Wilders showed an anti-Islam film in the House of Lords.  Cheered on by the English Defence League, UKIP claimed that this was a victory for free speech and common sense.

It would be folly to suggest that UKIP is merely a Eurosceptic Party.  Let’s look at just some of their manifesto commitments from the last General Election.  One pledge stands out above all – a pledge to ‘…end the active promotion of the doctrine of multi-culturalism by local and national government and by all publicly funded bodies.’  This is a pledge that could come out of a dusty BNP handbook. Other pledges such as tighter border controls, removing benefits for immigrants, ending uncontrolled immigration etc. could be seen as a deliberate pitch to the far right.

Move on 3 years – have things changed? I would argue not.  One of the great things about our country is our tolerance of others.  It would be churlish not to acknowledge the benefits of immigration.  My family settled here in the 1950s from various parts of Ireland and they all worked their hands to the bone to make Manchester the city it is today.

Levenshulme, Manchester is home to the biggest Irish Community in the country outside London.  Indeed, it is one of the most multi-cultural communities in Britain.  In this cosmopolitan village nearly 50% of residents are classed as ‘Non-British’.  The community gets on just fine. It hosts one of Europe’s biggest community festivals, the Levenshulme Community Festival, which features song, dance and other cultural activities from the multi-cultural residents.  It also hosts one of Britain’s most multi-cultural radio stations, ALL FM, where programmes cater for the South Asian, African, Afro Carribbean, Polish and Irish Communities among others.  

I received an email on Sunday from a former constituent, who moved to the village from Scotland.  He bitterly complained about the UKIP billboard shown above which was planted right in the middle of the main street.

My former Scottish constituent told me: “UKIP have helpfully put an anti-immigration from EU hoarding slap bang in the middle of Levenshulme. Coming from an immigrant background and with an immigrant partner, I feel that this is out of order.  You wonder how much racism this will stoke up.”

He was absolutely correct in his assertion – why put this poster up in an area where community cohesion is a model for everyone to see?  Cohesion is about US not US AND THEM!  Carry on behaving like this and UKIP could be the biggest threat to community cohesion since the now busted efforts of the BNP!

Just as David Cameron and George Osborne were wholly wrong in using the Philpott case to illustrate welfare abuse, so UKIP are utterly, utterly irresponsible to use a small minority of immigration abuses to denigrate the great contribution that immigrants have made to our country.

Ironically, the UKIP poster was attached to wall of the Irish bookie ‘Paddy Power’.

 

* Dave Hennigan is a Lib Dem member in Macclesfield (formerly Levenshulme)

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94 Comments

  • Firstly ukip called for an ‘end the active promotion of the doctrine of multi-culturalism by local and national government and by all publicly funded bodies’ which has nothing to do with stopping local festivals or radio stations. The point being that state proposed multi-culturalism divides by labeling and pandering to groups rather than treating all citizens the same.

    As for the billboard it is not anti- immigrant. It is anti uncontrolled immigration, a very different point. Party policy is for a cap of 50,000 immigrants who come here to settle permanently, with temporary work visas additional to this to allow for temporary economic migration as required by the economy and tolerated by the population.

    I don’t agree with all of the policy, and certainly not all the rhetoric currently being used, but don’t try and bend what ukip is saying.

  • “Delve a bit deeper into UKIP and you’ll see a slightly sinister side more akin to the Far Right.”

    Can we stop this please? UKIP is a far right racist party whose members and supporters are far right racists. OK?

    It wants to create a Britain fit only for mad old bigoted white men who only leave their houses to take balls away from passing children.

  • Robert Eggleston 10th Apr '13 - 9:40am

    No-one has to bend what UKIP says as they make their position quite clear. They believe in “Uniculturalism” – whatever that can possibly mean or portend in a culturally diverse Britain. The implication is, however, clear and frightful. When you then add the toxic policy of wanting to scrap the Equality Act for SMEs,repeal of the HRA and their general bleats about “political correctnes” the conclusion is clear. For all its pretence UKIP is a nasty far right party.

  • Phil Johnson 10th Apr '13 - 10:45am

    It seems that some see Multiculturalism as compulsary in society & those that disagree are to be Vilified, that is very bigoted stance & not at all democratic coming from someone that claims to be a democrat. I want to live in a Monocultural Society, I respect your right to your opinion so please respect my right & that of others to have an opinion that differs from yours, you will then be on the right path to being democratic…………………….

  • Ahh Lib Dems running scared because they are behind in the polls to UKIP. A weak party, with weak policies and even weaker leader.

  • Would agree with Harrys comment too. I myself am of mixed descent some of which comes under the non White British category. But the fact is I’m a ukip voter and agree with alot they have to say. The majority of Brits aren’t anti immigration, but a complete open door is irresponsible and dangerous, particularly when we have no control over eu migration. I also believe a reduction in asylum seekers is necessary too. People like my father came to this country in the 1970s, not with his hand held out but with a work ethic and grasp of the English language. You will find there are many well established immigrants and 2nd generation children of immigrants who are just as upset as the rest of the country. And like Harry I don’t agree with everything ukip says, but along with many others would never ever give my vote to the liblabcon again.

  • UKIP needs careful scrutiny, as does any political party (remember how the BNP stood up under that). There is a constituency for UKIP, at least south of the Severn, and in my area they and the Christian Right seem
    very close, but north of the Severn they will have to hope for protest votes – which will melt like sniw in summer if they are shown to be a rump of the tory right (which is what they are now).
    Let the scrutiny begin!

  • “It would be churlish not to acknowledge the benefits of immigration”- indeed certain periods of immigration have been beneficial in some aspects of British Society. I point to the Polish who have come here in very large numbers and generally been a great economic benefit and I would argue a benefit socially too (to a certain extent). However this was confined to the boom years of the economy when we needed workers. Now we are in a period of economic hardship with high unemployment and a youth unemployment rate nearing 25%. To continue an open door border policy at this time would be a foolish thing to do and we also have to watch where the immigration is coming from (of which Bulgaria and Romania are not particularly desirable given their high crime rates among other things),

  • The underlying “principle” behind UKIP policies is “Stop the World, I want to get off”. Their supporters think they would like to live in the 1950s. This sort of thinking is a constant part of most Right Wing (& a lot of Left Wing) thought.
    My advice to anyone who finds one of these posters near them is to write on it & tear the edges, responding to billboards is also Free Speech.

  • Gary Robinson 10th Apr '13 - 12:34pm

    Firstly, in recent years Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg has called for cash deposits of more than £1,000 for some migrants, and has repeatedly agreed with the migrant cap.

    By your logic, these could also be seen as a “deliberate pitch to the far right” could it not?

    Secondly, it is true our *former* leader did invite Geert Wilders (an elected official lets not forget!) to Britain along with Baroness Cox to show his film Fitna. The Film describes a threat from militant Islam. Given 9/11, 7/7, The Madrid bombings etc surely it was only wise to investigate possible security threats to this nation? The British public does believe in tighter border controls and stronger emphasis on national security, which is why UKIP have been consistently polling well of late and why our membership is rapidly increasing. As for migration, there is no doubt that some is needed and desirable. UKIP have always supported skilled immigration but not uncontrolled Mass immigration

  • I’ll be voting UKIP.

  • Dave Hennigan 10th Apr '13 - 12:44pm

    My point was clear Harry – these type of posters do nothing to promote rational debate. The very place this billboard was mounted was in a very sensitive area – the demographics could tell you that alone. Our country is richer because of its multi-culturism and Levenshulme is definately a good example of that!

  • “Watch any of Mr Farage’s rabble rousing appearances on Question Time and one might feel that here is a man who speaks common sense. A man on your side – a party ready to change the three party system in this country.”
    Spot on!

  • Dave, could you please direct me to the statistical evidence that shows that the UK is “richer because of its multi-culturism?” Last time I looked GDP per capita on an inflation adjusted basis has fallen over the past decade. It’s interesting to note that homogeneous countries like South Korea and Finland continue to outperform our own rainbow nation. I also fail to understand why you insist on lumping all immigrants into the same group. Surely a country with limited resources is better off hand picking a small group of highly skilled immigrants to come into its country instead of encouraging uncontrolled access.
    The multi-culturalism agenda has two purposes: 1) to drive down labour costs and boost profit margins at large firms, forcing tax payers to subsidise “working tax credits” which is a form of corporate welfare, and, 2) to provide a never ending stream of renters (many of these immigrants will never get a mortgage) for the buy-to-let brigade which props up house prices for wealthy land owners.

  • Paul Barker’s advocates at 12.29pm : ‘My advice to anyone who finds one of these posters near them is to write on it & tear the edges, responding to billboards is also Free Speech’. The subscriptions and donations of ordinary people who have well-founded concerns about uncontrolled mass immigration have helped to pay for these UKIP posters, and his silly advice is likely to prove counter-productive. Might his suggestion also be interpreted as incitement to criminal damage?

  • Steve Morgan 10th Apr '13 - 1:18pm

    it’s always the lefties that want to through in the rascism card, and emotinally blackmail people into not dealing with the real issues of today; which in uncontrolled immigration.

    Its alllso very easy to pass the buck and blame Thatcher for the housing shortage of today. Why dont we blame Blair for allowing uncontrolled immiration in the first place. the problem will just keep getting worse and worse, unless we act very soon…

    Wake up and lets put the “Great” back in Britian; and not let these lefties emotinally black mail us. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

  • Alexander Balkan 10th Apr '13 - 1:23pm

    There’s a difference between multicultural Britain and melting-pot Britain; the melting-pot is embraced by Ukip , whilst seeing multicultural Britain has the driving force of dividing British society – to isolated pockets of societies. Diversity has been a major contribution to the British economy for piles of decades, particularly that contribution descending from the Commonwealth community. The Ukip message is clear on the Commonwealth, they are our true allies; who we have been consistency neglected because of our hopeless infatuation with the EU, and we must establish free trade with this realm; alongside Europe – a Europe which should be shifted towards the EFTA. Ultimately, this opinion which the three failed old parties possess of Ukip will only send them declining further in the polls, as 38% of people already consider Ukip a credible option in an election, according to opinion polls.

  • Andrew Shanks 10th Apr '13 - 1:30pm

    The longer the Lib Dems stay out of touch with reality and with majority opinion on mass immigration the better it will be for UKIP. I joined UKIP precisely because of the dangers of a BNP revival, I didn’t want a racist party to be the only party opposing our membership of the EU and calling for an end to uncontrolled immigration. My wife is an immigrant, the Pastor of my previous church was a recent immigrant from India, and before that the leader of the church was ethnically Jamaican. I have friends from Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, India, South Korea, China. I like immigrants often more than English people, but that does not mean the UK can afford to have uncontrolled immigration.

    2011 is the last year for which official figures are available: immigration was over 500,000 people. That is too many, we cannot cope with that level any longer.

  • @Anthony Hook –

    1) 50,000 per year (permanent settlement). Plus temporary (<2yrs) work permits for economic migrants.

    2)As tolerated by the population meaning the cap and work permit criteria would eb set by parliament. MPs flex to the national mood.

    3) "Will UKIP give an absolute and unequivocal renunciation of racism? Will UKIP say “race should never play a part in immigration policy”? Of course UKIP won’t do that. We know why. You’re a disgrace." << This is a disgrace. UKIP has said, repeatedly, that it is about numbers and not race or any such thing. The 2010 General Election immigration policy stated this clearly – "UKIP believes the immigration is not about disliking foreigners, or being anti
    immigration per se, but is about unsustainable numbers: about ‘Space not Race’". This has been repeated, lots, by Nigel Farage and others in the party.

    Indeed, Nigel's wife is German, Godfrey Bloom's wife is Polish, Gerard Batten's wife is Phillipino. UKIP has been at pains to say, for a number of years now, that it is about numbers and the impact on communities and services, nothing to do with the migrants themselves.

  • For all those who think we should have an open door on immigration, I hope that you also practise this in your personal life, given that your home is just a microcosm of the country…

  • @Harry

    UKIP are hugely in favour of deregulating every economic aspect of life, because they believe the market knows best how to distribute resources.

    This ideological fervour extends to all aspects of life, with one notable exception. The sole single thing the market doesn’t know best about, apparently, is the distribution of labour across borders, for which the central state authority must set targets and make a five year plan in a command-control legislative structure.

    This inconsistency is very telling and reveals truths regardless of what Nigel Farage and his cronies might say about their motives.

    UKIP as a party uses thinly veiled racism to attract support from the people who stand to lose the most from the rest of their ideas for policy. Whether Nigel and his inner circle are racist or not, they most certainly are radical right extremists who are only too ready to play on people’s fears to achieve their ends.

  • UKIP ‘tells it as it is’. Opposing mass uncontrolled immigration is a common-sense policy which opinion polls show is approved of by a significant majority of the population. For too long, the views of ordinary people have been ignored by the other three main political parties who have tried to suppress debate on this issue. As a supporter of UKIP I have taken to wearing a UKIP rosette whenever I go out shopping, and it’s quite amazing how many people stop me to talk about the party’s policies; even better, it’s becoming increasingly clear from what they say that a vote for UKIP is no longer usually seen as a wasted vote.

  • Yorkshire Guidon 10th Apr '13 - 3:22pm

    Farage’s wife is German! So he looked all over the UK amongst the 25 million plus women to see who could take on the role of Mrs. Farage and found nobody suitable. So he recruited from abroad. Try telling me UKIP is nothing more than a ragbag of contradictions…

  • Anthony Hook asks: ‘Why do the UKIP supporters pre-dominantly give only their forename? Are they by any chance related?’ I don’t give my surname because there are too many people who throw the unwarranted insult of ‘racist’ at ordinary people who object to uncontrolled mass immigration, and in my own profession – teaching – there are people who might try to make life difficult for those with whom they disagree.

  • Paul McKeown 10th Apr '13 - 5:50pm

    @judy beatrix

    “Geert leads a populist-right dutch party, not a far right party.”

    Is totale kolder, of anders gezegd, pure onzin.

    The PVV is by any sensible definition a party of the far right. It might be “populist”, but it is in no sense at all a moderate or centre right party. Its platform seeks a return to a pure national culture, by whatever means are necessary to achieve that end.

    I am afraid that despite your attribution of cobblers to postings by others, it is your posted that could best be so attributed.

  • Antony, you state: ‘You say you where a UKIP rosette whenever you go out shopping but you also say you don’t give your name here because you fear harrassment at work if you are identified!’ I can understand why you might find this contradictory, but I live well over 100 miles away from where I work, and it’s not a case of fearing harassment from those colleagues with whom I work and who know what my views are, but from others from elsewhere!

  • Eddie Sammon 10th Apr '13 - 7:12pm

    Mass immigration is also a threat to community cohesion.

  • I think this article shows, quite clearly, the busted flush that is the “racism” insult. Frankly, it makes me think that racism simply can’t exist any more as a problem – because if it a word to describe someone’s legitimate concern about immigration and all of the associated social and economic cost, then there is no stigma attached to it whatsoever. UKIP, by the way, hold a global outlook towards trade and a much richer view of equality, that offers it to all people (rather than carving up people who are white and not white, and disingenuously treating the latter as defacto victims, often without the capacity to make their own judgements and decisions, for which they must subsequently be excused with special treatment.). Quite unlike the Lib-dems, who are part of the simplistic state labelling of citizens and a project to create one EU State, with a singular culture. Simply, I don’t believe the author can be sincere.

  • Paul Noonan 10th Apr '13 - 8:02pm

    Dave Hennigan-a question, if I may.

    You say a policy to end multiculturalism is “a pledge that could come out of a dusty BNP handbook”

    Are you aware that Trevor Phillips, Director of the Commision for Equality and Human Rights, has condemned state-promoted multicultural policies as fragmenting social cohesion? Is he a supporter of the BNP?

    He called for Britain to scrap multiculturalism, arguing that it was a fragmentary force”legitimised separateness” and that true equality between communities could only come when we assert a common “core of Britishness”.

    As Mr Phillips in the Guardian (28th May 2004): “”newcomers do have to change. The language barrier is a real obstacle to work, friendship and democratic participation….”

    Would Mr Hennigan like to withdraw his disgusting comparison between UKIP and the BNP, because of a policy supported by Trevor Phillips of the ECHR?

  • Daniel Jones 11th Apr '13 - 9:04am

    I was talking with a UKIP candidate, one of their new converts, the other day. What struck me was the naïveté shown by members about their own party – their fervent belief there is no racist element to UKIP despite the views of not just politicians but also academics. These are dismissed as some left wing conspiracy, the same rhetoric used by the EDL and their ilk.

    They do have elements that appeal to liberals, but then this is the same rhetoric used by various groups over the years – from Mosley through to Griffin. They appeal to this notion of a natural free born Englishman, his freedoms and rights, his heritage.

    But really, lets ignore racism and let’s look at claims they make on beng different – using the same language as the BNP Patriot leaflets of 2009, I might add. Their former leader was an expenses fiddling bigot who viewed his role in n government as a financial burden that put society in debt to him, UKIP betray their promises and don’t vote in key fisheries proposals before the EU parliament … Seems like just another political party to me. And let’s not get started on the chummy relationship with some unsavoury members of the Tory right and dodgy historians, shall we?

  • The question that needs to be asked, given UKIP’s actions todate where it holds office, is whether UKIP are serious about becoming more than an agent for change/pressure group?

    Obviously the easiest way to halt the growth of UKIP is for the major political parties (ie. Labour, LibDem, Conservative) to take on-board and be seen to take on-board the very real concerns of voters that they are articulating. In recent times we have seen this with the SDP and Green party, both gave voice to segments of the community and pushed for change , in the case of the SDP they merged with the Liberals to create a new “party of the middle”, the Green’s got all parties to have a green agenda and (whilst in government) to take steps towards ‘greening’ our economy, which resulted in a significant reduction in votes for the Green Party.

  • I think you’ll find UKIP did vote on every aspect of the CFP reform. You are very ill-informed.

    Just on immigration – Australia has a points system, you need a green card to work in USA, India has visas – if you think UKIP policy to have a points system and work permit scheme is racist, then you must think all these countries are racist too.

    I must also point out that the UK already has a points/work permit system in place with the rest of the world! (Which Labour brought in and now supported by the Tories and Lib Dems) So you are calling your own policy racist?

    The only difference is that UKIP would apply that system we have already have, to EU countries too (only around 27 more). Why should we favour Europeans when people from the rest of the world who have the same skills are discriminated against? THAT is racist – It shouldn’t matter what country someone is from – there should be one fair rule for anyone wanting to come to the UK. (I won’t even mention the xenophobic Lib Dem policy of assessing different countries in the world and making people from those countries have to pay arbitrary different amounts!!) Absolute hypocrites.

  • Matthew Huntbach 11th Apr '13 - 3:34pm

    Daniel Jones

    I was talking with a UKIP candidate, one of their new converts, the other day. What struck me was the naïveté shown by members about their own party

    I’ve found that on economics. UKIP supports economic policies which are even more extreme free market than the Conservatives’. Yet its members don’t seem to see the contradiction between this and their nostalgic wishes for a return to a sort of 1950s society. It is the effects of extreme free market policies and globalisation which has killed off that sort of society more than anything else. I find that if you question a UKIP member about it, they tend to fall back on a “poor little me, I don’t know much about economics, I’m just a patriotic Englishman” line. UKIP are VERY selective on what they regard as threats to UK independence.

  • Leekliberal 11th Apr '13 - 7:32pm

    My message to UKIP trolls is to go hence to your own party website and parade your unpleasant racist rubbish there!

  • Andrew Shanks 11th Apr '13 - 11:32pm

    Liberal Leek

    As I said before (April 10th, 1:30pm), you Lib Dems are out of touch with reality… long may it continue.

    Anyway, your name reminds me of a Spitting Image skit on Margaret Thatcher. (Doesn’t mean I’m against her, mind) Its on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPzzgE34YQY

    She and all her cabinet are in a restaurant and the waiter asks Mrs Thatcher: “Now what would you like to order, sir?”
    Mrs T: “Yes, I will have a steak.”
    Waiter: “How would you like it?”
    Mrs T: “Oh, raw please.”
    Waiter: “And what about the vegetables?”
    Mrs T: “Oh, they will have the same as me.”

  • Paul McKeown 12th Apr '13 - 12:55am

    “You know I have often here asked the same question……… About the libdem.”

    Strangely enough, I thought they were in government, taking some very difficult decisions. Getting some right, getting some wrong. But there you are, Judy B. has shown me it was all an illusion, they’re actually on the opposition benches. No, they’re like rancid kippers, not even on the breakfast plate at all. How could I get it so wrong?

  • “Just on immigration – Australia has a points system, you need a green card to work in USA, India has visas – if you think UKIP policy to have a points system and work permit scheme is racist, then you must think all these countries are racist too.”

    The USA system of immigration is by its own people and the first of the world considered one of the worst, most inefficient and, yes, racist (well, at least in the manner in which it is enforced) systems in the world. This is why just about every country in the world puts respiratory measures against US passports; something which has had a massively detrimental effect on their tourism and business industries.

    The Australian system has some things to be said for it, but I must ask, do you have any idea how the Australian system works? You see, the Australian system is a lot more liberal and open than our own, so by all rights, if UKIP want tighter controls, them promoting the Australian system seems somewhat counterproductive to their aims.

    “I must also point out that the UK already has a points/work permit system in place with the rest of the world! (Which Labour brought in and now supported by the Tories and Lib Dems) So you are calling your own policy racist?”

    No, I call the UKBA racist, which most of its representatives, sadly, are.

    “The only difference is that UKIP would apply that system we have already have, to EU countries too (only around 27 more). Why should we favour Europeans when people from the rest of the world who have the same skills are discriminated against? THAT is racist – It shouldn’t matter what country someone is from – there should be one fair rule for anyone wanting to come to the UK. (I won’t even mention the xenophobic Lib Dem policy of assessing different countries in the world and making people from those countries have to pay arbitrary different amounts!!) Absolute hypocrites.”

    You do realise that we are the 6th highest country for immigration in Europe, so you would be dooming millions of British people to lose their immigration status with this reckless and ill-thought-out policy. You also realise that we have very close economic and social ties with Europe, which mean that the most effective way for us to work in unity and make uniformed, cohesive and efficient Europe is by opening our borders. You do realise that the vaste majoirty of those Romanians and Bulgarians that your party has done a nice hatchet job on , do not actually plan to come to the UK?

    You do realise that Nick Clegg is not the Liberal Democrat party, right? He is, however, the DPM, and as the DPM he has to make Government announcements from time to time. A Coalition Government Policy is not necessarily a Lib Dem Policy, even if Nick is the one putting it forward. I have an e-mail from Nick Clegg’s researcher confirming for me that is not Liberal Democrat Policy. We also have the Liberal Democrat Immigration Policy Working Group, and they too, have expressly claimed that is not a policy they have agreed to, so it is not Lib Dem Policy. AKA That is not Lib Dem Policy. (It would really help UKIP if their supporters understood how our political process works.)

  • The thing all extremist party’s have to overcome is their tag as extremists; they need to become seen as just another party.

    Despite many years of hard-work and Nick Griffin’s iron-like rule, luckily, the BNP were never able to persuade the population that they were anything but extremists.

    It is, however, scary that UKIP have been able to achieve in a relevantly short time a level of acceptance which other extremist parties can only dream of; this is, of course, in part thanks to the economic climate, but I think it is still something all those in the Political sphere should not be competence about because already we are seeing that, in order to combat this rise, the moderate parties are allowing themselves to get sucked closer to the extremist views, rather than actually challenging the presumptions which breed such views.

  • I note that you didn’t pick up on the main point – which is you support controlled immigration for the rest of the world but no controls when it comes to EU countries – what’s the difference between a doctor from India and a doctor from Poland? Why should someone be discriminated against just because they don’t come from Europe?

    THAT’S discrimination because of where somewhere is from. If you are arguing we should have complete open borders as a principle, then that’s fine – but the argument must then be applied to the rest of the world too. (But of course you find your party in power supporting discrimination based on where someone is from) Your position on immigration just isn’t credible at all.

    The only credible positions are that there should be one fair rule for anyone coming to the UK, or none at all.
    If you are in the “none at all camp” why do you support controlled immigration for the rest of the world? Just come clean on your position and stop being hypocrites!

    We’re not talking about UKBA or American immigration services being racists – that’s a totally separate issue. We are talking about immigration policy set by central government/political parties.

    The great thing about the Australian points system is that it is flexible and that’s how we’d use it. If we have a skills shortage or there are jobs Brits won’t do, then fine we relax the rules, make it easier for those skills to come in and look aboard. However, if there is an over-supply in a certain skill or too many people looking for too few jobs of a certain type then the system tightens up and makes it a bit more difficult for that kind of skill to come in. Of course we have a different economic situation to Australia, so there would be slight differences in our approach, but the basic principle works.

  • “We’re not talking about UKBA or American immigration services being racists – that’s a totally separate issue. We are talking about immigration policy set by central government/political parties.”

    Who do you think sets the policies? Who do you think decides ‘how’ the policies are enforced? So saying they are a separate is issue wrong because they are the issue.

    As for Europe, I quite clearly answered why Europe is different for us; one thing UKIP members seem to forget quite often is that treating everyone exactly the same is generally the quickest way to treat people unjustly. Just as each individual has individual needs and responsibilities, so do the countries they come from.

    Every country in the world sets its immigration policies on a state by state basis, based on the relations and political unity between those countries. By your logic, commonwealth countries, despite their clear close ties to the UK, should be treated in the same manner as any country which has no ties to the UK any all. Simplistic blanket laws are always ineffective, bureaucratic and unfair on all concerned.

    As such, free movement of both people and goods is fundamental to the European Union’s economy (and by extension the UK’s economy), thus why the UK benefited so greatly from it in the 2000s and why Poland is now benefiting from it. Yes, Poland, that country the Right parties were only too happy to do their hatchet jobs on is now liberalising their immigration policy and openly expressing the benefits that it is having both socially and economically.

  • @JJ
    “what’s the difference between a doctor from India and a doctor from Poland? Why should someone be discriminated against just because they don’t come from Europe?”

    It may be discrimination, but it is permitted under the Human Rights convention, which recognised that sovereign nations control their own boarders and hence can broadly make any arrangements they see fit…

  • Dave Hennigan 12th Apr '13 - 12:53pm

    I’ve been away working for a few days so where do I start. First point, UKIP are very good at trolling sites like this – e-troopers is a good description. So…

    “Brian Boru 10th Apr ’13 – 1:05pm
    Dave, could you please direct me to the statistical evidence that shows that the UK is “richer because of its multi-culturism?” Last time I looked GDP per capita on an inflation adjusted basis has fallen over the past decade.”

    WELL… I’ll talk about what I know – the annual ‘EU, Immigrant’ Manchester Irish Festival brought in £2 million plus into Manchester’s economy this March. That’s a pretty good indicator I’d suggest Brian.

    “Paul 10th Apr ’13 – 1:11pm
    Paul Barker’s advocates at 12.29pm : ‘My advice to anyone who finds one of these posters near them is to write on it & tear the edges, responding to billboards is also Free Speech’. The subscriptions and donations of ordinary people who have well-founded concerns about uncontrolled mass immigration have helped to pay for these UKIP posters, and his silly advice is likely to prove counter-productive. Might his suggestion also be interpreted as incitement to criminal damage?”

    I would suggest that we leave them where they are as they soon cause disruption when the public see them.

    “Antony Hook 10th Apr ’13 – 5:51pm
    Paul,

    You say you where a UKIP rosette whenever you go out shopping but you also say you don’t give your name here because you fear harrassment at work if you are identified!

    You understand why I think you are all Nigel Farage posting under multiple names.”

    Anthony, they’ve got more faces than the Berlin Clock!

  • @Roland
    “It may be discrimination, but it is permitted under the Human Rights convention”
    So that makes it ok to discriminate against a set of people from one country, in favour of another? – So if an international convention told us to start rounding up people up, it would be ok?

    The people we elect in our country can’t decide immigration laws for EU countries…we are forced to keep them open to those countries because we are a member of the EU.

    @LiberalAL
    “treating everyone exactly the same is generally the quickest way to treat people unjustly.”

    So you don’t believe that everyone should be treated equally under the law? Some people have more rights than others?

    “By your logic, commonwealth countries, despite their clear close ties to the UK, should be treated in the same manner as any country which has no ties to the UK any all.”

    1. That happens under your policy now, in fact it is worse! – People from Commonwealth countries (that we have close ties to) are discriminated against, while countries we have no close ties to (many European countries) we have open borders. So that is rather hypocritical.

    2. How is it not perfectly fair to treat everyone the same who wants to come to work/settle/live to the UK? – Anything but that equality, is pure discrimination.

    If you want to have unrestricted immigration with every country around the world then fine, make that argument and we can have a proper debate about the rights and wrongs – but while you say you are for open borders but then happy to control immigration from the rest of the world – it really doesn’t make your arguments credible at all.

  • Simon Banks 12th Apr '13 - 6:37pm

    Goodness me, we seem to have a slight infection of UKIPpers!

    When UKIP has survived over the generations through several bad spells because of local strength and resilience and a living philosophy, it can claim to be weak as us.

    I don’t know how it can be liberal to respect someone’s wish to live in a monocultural society. To allow it to be expressed, yes. To respect it? This is not a matter of individual choice, because to live in a monocultural society in modern Britain, you would have to suppress other cultures around you.

    There is a legitimate point about the way some authorities, local and national, have interpreted multiculturalism, especially to foster divisions and to create client relationships. “Treating everyone the same”, however, is not treating everyone equally or fairly. That would suggest we would go back to a society which could convict a person who spoke very little English of a crime on evidence he couldn’t understand, or expect a disabled person to go up a flight of steps because other people had to do the same, or demand an observant Jew worked on a Saturday because other people did.

    This is not to suggest that all people who support UKIP do so because of the particularly illiberal parts of their programme; but the programme and campaigning are very similar to other European parties of the populist right and the same currents in society produce them.

  • JJ
    “The only credible positions are that there should be one fair rule for anyone coming to the UK, or none at all.”

    Nonsense. The only credible position is that rules should be consistent with existing commitments and designed to enhance our relationships.

    So, for example, and for perfectly respectable reasons, it is perfectly right that citizens of Hong Kong and China are not treated exactly the same.

    Please don’t make the mistake of abusing our wonderful language to make obtuse political points. Discrimination may imply unfairness, but it doesn’t necessitate it.

  • I did write a long piece answering your questions, but the site crashed and lost it; as it is now almost midnight, I am going to call it a night and answer tomorrow; however, in brief, as Simon said, ‘equality’ is not the same word as ‘same’ and from that very key principle onwards your whole theory collapses.

    According to your view even those who are born in the UK should be subject to immigration controls because otherwise, we are treating one group differently to everyone else? Who knows, may be there is something to be said for imposing immigration controls on UK citizens who wish to stay here, but something tells me that was not your point.

    As I said, I made this all a lot more eloquently prior to the site crush. 😛

  • Leaving aside the unsubstantiated nonsense about UKIP and racism, could it not be that UKIP supporters see something that Lib Dems simply do not yet grasp? Times have changed. The economy has shifted majorly into the negative, and the EU project is beginning to unravel. UKIP do not want to ‘lift the drawbridge’. They want a sound, trading relationship with the rest of our European friends. Pretty much as was voted for in 1975. Surely even staunch EU supporters can see that ‘the EU project’, is coming apart at the seams?
    There is absolutely no doubt, that freedom and self determination within individual Southern European nations, is hanging by fraying thread, and yet Lib Dems foolishly, want to sleep walk into ‘more Europe’. When in heavens name are LD’s going to get it?
    What the EU machine could not acquire with tanks, they will acquire with banks. The only sane choice is to vote UKIP, and put this monster out of its, (and our), misery.

  • @John Dunn, talking about UKIP in the third person when you are UKIP supporter does not make your point anymore valid.

    “What the EU machine could not acquire with tanks, they will acquire with banks. The only sane choice is to vote UKIP, and put this monster out of its, (and our), misery.”

    Thanks for writing this, it shows exactly why we should not vote UKIP; the people who support it, do some out of some irrational paranoia that greater unity and political cooperation between nations is an ‘invasion by the back door.’

  • Paul McKeown 13th Apr '13 - 12:30pm

    @Dun John
    “Surely even staunch EU supporters can see that ‘the EU project’, is coming apart at the seams?”

    No, I don’t see that at all. I see an EU doing what it must, albeit with difficulty caused by differences in national politics.

    “There is absolutely no doubt, that freedom and self determination within individual Southern European nations, is hanging by fraying thread”

    There is every doubt. There has been no revolution in Greece, nor does it appear likely.

  • Well it seems UKIP is getting more and more racist. When it threatens community cohesion, at what point does it become an issue of inciting hatred?

    Rebecca makes a good point that repatriation/closing down borders would mean UK pensioners having to leave the sunny southern countries, returning to the UK and putting huge extra pressure on the NHS and social services, while workers from the EU leave the UK. This sounds like the worst thing for everyone!

  • @Jedi, whether Rebecca’s point there is right or not, it is not an ad hominem. It is probably worth remembering that just because you are using Latin, that does not make your point anymore valid, especially if you do not actually know Latin.

    @Rebecca, good point about the practical implications of this situation. While I would never support a notion that just because something is difficult, that means it is wrong, that is not the point here; the problem here is that is will have massively negative repercussions for all involved and as yet, no UKIP member has put forward a persuasive, factual and evidence based argument for why we should do this,

  • Paul Noonan 13th Apr '13 - 6:54pm

    Dave Hennegan couldn’t even address my point that Trevor Philips of the ECHR opposes and has spoken out against, multiculturalism.

    State Multiculturalism is, as he points out in that speech, a racist doctrine-it institutionalises racial division, by segregating people on the basis of the racial community they are attached to.

    Is he reading from a dusty BNP handbook, Mr Hennegan?

    Admit it. You simply don’t know anything about this subject.

  • “..the problem here is that is will have massively negative repercussions for all involved and as yet, no UKIP member has put forward a persuasive, factual and evidence based argument for why we should do this,”
    When you see the Brussels-Berlin Quad telling Greece, Cyprus Portugal etc., what they can and cannot do, within the policy decisions of their own country, you see all too clearly that sovereignty, and democracy is dead and buried, in the European periphery. And Lib Dems want a piece of this??
    Fact is, the EU has bloated way, way, beyond its remit set out by the referendum of 1975. Some might say that the EU has developed along a natural progression to this point. But the point remains, that the EU is nothing like the structure that was agreed in 1975. Even Nick Clegg has said that it is cowardly, not to give the under 50’s a say in the their future within Europe.
    So let’s take Cleggs advice, have a referendum.

  • You mean the Trevor Phillips who believes that criminals should not have access to Human Rights?

    Yes, he has some extreme views, but, ironically for you in the actual sense of the, he has never said what you are claiming he has said.

    He has embraced multiculturalism, and has has been very strongly in favour of positive discrimination (something, some Liberals would be against) in order to ensure equality of numbers in number stats. An exact quote from him is
    “The prevailing orthodoxy for 40 years was that we could not change the behaviour of the majority community until we changed its attitudes. Some of us now think differently. What matters is what people do rather than what they say they think. That is why the CRE is now focusing on delivery of race equality outcomes – measured in numbers of people employed and resources distributed – rather than on declarations of goodwill.”

    What he has refuted is tokenism, bribing compliance and multiculturalism where individuals say they open to others, but then allow their actions to tell a different story.

    Here is what he really thinks. Some of it I agree with, some of it I disagree with, some of it I think that more evidence is needed before we can make a final decision on it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2004/may/28/equality.raceintheuk

    So fundamentally, what you have is a misquote from one very strongly opinionated individual. Hardly compelling evidence for you to start casting stones about others not having a clue.

  • Stuart Mitchell 14th Apr '13 - 11:12am

    @Jedibeeftrix
    Thanks for the link to the UKIP manifesto, in which is stated :-

    “As a member of the EU, Britain has lost control of her borders… Former New Labour staff maintain that this policy has been a deliberate attempt to water down the British identity… [UKIP will] end the active promotion of the doctrine of multiculturalism by local and national government and all publicly funded bodies.”

    Later there’s a whole section on “restoring Britishness”.

    I’d agree with you that this is not “racist”, but it’s certainly not going to put xenophobes off from voting for them.

  • @Jedi:, the term ad hominem is short for argumentum ad hominem and means ‘to the man (person)’. In English, it basically means to make a personal attack against someone, rather than their point.

    While I can appreciate your point that Rebecca’s argument there was not a particularly strong one, it is not an ad hominem in my opinion because an ad hominem would be if someone said, “you are a racist, therefore your opinion on immigration is invalid.”

    What Rebecca said was, “Your party appeals to racists, therefore your party(‘s ideology) is racist.” Not a great argument, made worse by her loose use of words, but she is directing her argument at their party’s ideals and using the logic that ‘the party appeals to racists, therefore the party is racist.’ Not great logic I admit, but it is in the context of the debate (not a personal attack) and it does follow logic, just not very strong logic once one goes past the prima facie point it is making. Sorry, could not resist an egregious use of Latin, myself. 🙂

    In all seriousness, I can see where you are coming from and I did not need to be so pedantic as I do agree with you, whether what she did was an ad hominem or not, it certainly was not a strong point.

  • Stuart Mitchell 14th Apr '13 - 11:51am

    It’s disingenuous to dismiss Rebecca’s point as “tripe”. All parties down the years have peddled policies which are not explicitly racist themselves but have nevertheless appealed to racist voters. Why is it wrong to point this out? No surprises for guessing which party leader was the most open about this. From a World in Action interview in 1978 :-

    Margaret Thatcher: ” If we went on as we are then by the end of the century there would be four million people of the new Commonwealth or Pakistan here. Now, that is an awful lot and I think it means that people are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture…”

    Gordon Burns: “So, some of the support that the National Front has been attracting in recent by-elections you would hope to bring back behind the Tory party?”

    Thatcher: “Oh, very much back, certainly…”

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Apr '13 - 12:05pm

    Any Lib Dems calling UKIP racist will have the effect of turning voters away from the Lib Dems and onto UKIP. People can’t stand people who think they are better than others.

  • I don’t get what you’re doing there, Eddie — are you trying to protect UKIP from the consequences of its racism, are you trying to recruit people to join UKIP, or are you just trying to trash the Liberal Democrats for abiding by their principles?

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Apr '13 - 2:22pm

    David, I am voicing my disapproval of Lib Dem members, especially one of our MEPs, calling UKIP racist. If you are calling UKIP racist then you are also calling 15-17% of the population racist who vote for them, so be careful what you are doing. Talking about immigration is not racist, there are umpteen reasons to be against mass immigration without a single one being about race.

    I’m not getting into a debate with you about this.

  • sophie mcdonald 14th Apr '13 - 2:30pm

    Call me a troll if you wish but as a UKIP member I feel I should be allowed to comment when some lib dems members are arrogant enough to categorise me. You seem to think that we are all racist old men or extreme right wing but I’m not , I’m just an average mother of 2 who wants the best for my children. I work part time my husband has his own small business as do my parents. I believe in hard work and opportunity for all. What I don’t believe in is endless red tape and control from Brussels. Before I looked at UKIP policies I thought what is important to my family and what policies would I like to see and UKIP had them all. I have never been a member of a political party before but I felt inspired and engaged with politics and so joined there and then. Am I
    Racist- I don’t think so
    Old- 45 so to some yes to others no
    Man-No
    Extreme right wing- not extreme in anything.

  • Liberal Al.

    I’m simply not going to let you misrepresent Mr Philips oft-repeated views on multiculturalism-he has many times said he opposes state multiculturalism, a view for which he has been attacked by Left-wing extremists like Ken Livingstone.

    The notion of state-backed multiculturalism, as he rightly argues, is based on a fundamentally racist concept-the belief that people of different ethnic backgrounds cannot integrate into the same culture, so they must remain culturally distinct.

    Here’s what Mr Phillips actually believes (all of which is exactly what UKIP have always said). outlined in a 2008 speech to the ECHR called “A Tide Of Hope”

    Powellites believed that we are all prisoners of our race, our heritage or our religious beliefs.”

    ” the Powellite attack on integration… so scared lazy officialdom that they colluded with old-guard ethnic leaders to warp a progressive and very British recognition of diversity in the early nineteen eighties, into a bureaucratic version of multiculturalism which today keeps many communities closed and separate””

    “”people who want to scale the cultural walls that separate them, are blocked by institutions which insist on pigeonholing them by their race, colour and religion.””

    “”we have seen the emergence of a kind of cold war in some parts of the country, …where very separate communities exist side by side,…with poor communication across racial or religious lines”

  • So you have quotes where he only once mentions multiculturalism, and then it is ‘bureaucratic multiculturalism’. I have a whole article which he wrote with the expressed intention of clarifying his position on multiculturalism, and his point was simple, you overcome racism by positive action and not word. In that article, he quite clearly states his support for affirmative state intervention, so long as it is not ‘tokenism’. So, yes, if their is a scale by which evidence can be judged, I think you just lost the game.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 16th Apr '13 - 7:38am

    To many people Ukip is merely the middle class relative of the BNP. It preaches intolerance and is sowing the seeds of hatred.

    When will people wake up and realise what they are being sucked into? For ‘Good’ people are being won over by Ukip that is playing on their fears, that in turn is further exploited by the media and unscrupulous politicians from ALL parties. The model that Ukip is using is not new, it was used rather well in the 1920’s and 30’s and resulted in the rise of some particularly unsavoury movements in Europe.

    Of course it does not help when members of our own Party seem to wish to don the cloak of the Right and use conveniently obscure language that apparently panders to the bigots on issues such as immigration, whilst also destroying the equalities legislation.

    Surely as the Party that is committed to the development of a “Fairer Britain” in an equalities, rather than a pigmentation sense, we need to be countering the diatribe that Ukip and others are churning out about Europe, immigration, the unemployed, etc? This is especially true at a time of economic decline, when it is all to easy for blame for ones woes to be placed on others.

    On cohesion, as a former co-author of national guidance on the topic, I would suggest that we drop once and for all the belief that the word tolerant is anything other than negative in its meaning. Being tolerant merely means “putting up with”. We will never develop the cohesive society that we hear so often spoken of, if we merely tolerate others.

  • UKIP; xenophobic, racist, homophobic, misogynist. The perfect party for the Daily Mail/Sun axis.

  • “Levenshulme, Manchester is home to the biggest Irish Community in the country outside London.”

    You been to Kilburn recently? There’s no Irish community left except for a layer of elderly. I expect that’s true in Levenshulme too.

    Funny how that works eh? Why do multi-cultural areas turn into mono-cultural areas if everyone prefers multi-culturalism apart from a small minority of evil white xenophobes?

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 17th Apr '13 - 9:18pm

    @jedibeeftrix, I will carry on fretting because “a growing proportion of the electorate” are being fed a tirade of hate filled misinformation that fits in with a very unsavoury Right Wing agenda.

    The time is overdue to stand up to the pedlars of hate in order to educate the population into realising just how beneficial migration is to the economy and culture of this country.

    I restate what I said before “‘Good’ people are being won over by Ukip that is playing on their fears, that in turn is further exploited by the media and unscrupulous politicians from ALL parties”. This is a never ending cycle is not a game, and needs to be stopped before people are genuinely hurt.

  • @R Uduwerage-Perera

    I think you’re going way over the top on your attacks on ukip who don’t promote a far right agenda. You may find it “unsavoury” but they could just as easily say that this is because it conflicts with your hard left agenda (after all, it’s so easy to throw labels around).

    So would you care to expand on why you think controlling borders and allowing in only those who may benefit our society (e.g. those who have skills we need, artists etc) is so bad? Perhaps you’ve laid out your reason in the document you refer to at “On cohesion, as a former co-author of national guidance on the topic ….”, is that available online or a LibDem only thing? I assume that this guidance document also lays out your reasons for banning the word “Tolerate” which you seem to feel has negative connotations (a view that I find incredibly strange, if someone is willing to “put up with” something, why would you feel that is negative).

  • Paul Noonan 18th Apr '13 - 3:16am

    Liberal Al.

    If you can’t tell the difference between multiculturalism as a state policy (which is what UKIP’s manifesto refers to, and what Phillips was criticising) and multiculturalism as an experience, you need to read about it.

    Bureaucratic multiculturalism (or state multiculturalism) is what UKIP are opposed to-and so is Trevor Phillips.

    Affirmative action has nothing at all to do with multiculturalism-your confusing multi-racialism with multiculturalism.

    I thought you knew the difference-my apologies.

  • Firstly, in recent years Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg has called for cash deposits of more than £1,000 for some migrants, and has repeatedly agreed with the migrant cap.

    BUT the EU pay migrants 1000 euro to take a job in the UK and also a 1000 euro to the firm that employs them.

    What about OUR OWN KIDS dont they deserve the “right” to a job.

  • nuclear cockroach 29th Jul '13 - 11:26am

    @Dane clouston

    “Thank goodness for the EU-sceptic Liberal Party”

    Haha, best joke of the day. How many parliamentarians has the so-called “Liberal Party” returned, since it stole a greatly respected historical party’s title? It shall be known by the company it keeps, TUSC, UKIP, Respect,…

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