Opinion: Kippers’ squeals show we are a more liberal country

UKIP logoPoor judgment: that’s the reason UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson has given for referring to a Thai-born supporter as “ting tong from somewhere”. I was “completely tired out”: that’s how Farage explained his statement during the European election campaign that he’d be concerned if Romanians moved in next door. Excuses, excuses.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever consider whether or not to use a racial epithet. I don’t think to myself, on balance I judge it right to refer to that person as “ting tong”. It’s not a question of judgment, poor or otherwise. It simply never occurs to me. Equally, I don’t start making sweeping statements about different nationalities when I get a bit tired.

I’m gay. I don’t believe my friends and colleagues abstain from throwing homophobic insults at me simply because they judge it to be ill-advised. I don’t believe they are one night’s disturbed sleep away from it either. I believe that they don’t throw homophobic abuse at me because they’re not homophobic; it just doesn’t occur to them.

I wonder if those who moan about political correctness – the “gay used to be such a happy word” brigade – believe we all think the way they do. I wonder if they think we are cowed by the PC police into biting our tongues when really we want to be throwing insults at people because of, say, their race, sex or disability.

Perhaps it would be a revelation to them that many of us are perfectly at ease with the fact that no longer do we have to squeeze ourselves into a ‘one size fits all’ model of how we should live our lives. Thankfully, however, those of us that want to see a more liberal Britain are winning; even the Telegraph dutifully refers to “former boxing promoter Kellie Malone”. Those who would prefer Britain to return to the grey social blancmange of the 1950s have lost.

In fact, maybe the existence of UKIP is a positive sign. The party represents the squeals of those who despise the fact that Britain is an increasingly diverse country. Yes, they are currently doing well in the polls, but poll ratings don’t put bums on green benches. One big roadblock to their electoral ambitions is the potential emergence of a new, anti-UKIP protest vote: Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative voters willing to come together to stymie a UKIP challenge. It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out in South Thanet.

So, whilst the utterances of Atkinson and Farage, whatever their intent, can make liberals and progressives feel like Britain is going backwards, we are in fact becoming a steadily more liberal country. The squeals of the Kippers prove it.

* Stuart Bonar was the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in Plymouth Moor View.

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31 Comments

  • It would seem that when you “are tired” you would more easily slip into a default method of doing or saying things. So presumably Janice Atkinson may naturally do that. I shouldn’t get too comfortable, Stuart. I would hope your friends aren’t homophobic, but among any group of colleagues you probably have one or two homophobes. I am sure tact, or even, “political correctness” – fear of disciplinary action, even, will prevent some sotto voce remarks!

  • Eddie Sammon 19th Aug '14 - 5:00pm

    I broadly agree, but it’s not the tone I would write it in. If it was me, I would write about UKIP as if I were speaking to them. I would explain that I am who I am and I shouldn’t have to fear people and for my rights because of it. People should express anger, but it needs to be with the objective of changing the minds of the other side, rather than rallying your own.

    At worst, this leads to the disastrous anti-UKIP May elections we had, were senior Lib Dems tried to resort to scare mongering about them. It wasn’t nice, and UKIP won the televised debates and the European elections.

    We should speak to people directly, rather than laughing at the other side and emphasising differences.

    Humour and light heartedness has a place, but it shouldn’t be the focus point of an article on a sensitive topic, otherwise it begins to look like disdain for a lot of people, when many of the differences could probably be ironed out if the sides talked to each other more.

    Regards

  • daft ha'p'orth 19th Aug '14 - 5:13pm

    “I don’t start making sweeping statements about different nationalities when I get a bit tired.”
    Describing political parties as ‘squeal[ing] kippers’, on the other hand…

  • Phil Beesley 19th Aug '14 - 5:45pm

    “I wonder if those who moan about political correctness…”

    There is a great essay by Danny Finkelstein buried in The Times pay to read archive. The tale is about being a Jew in the Scouts, concluding that political correctness (the way that you or I might act) is just politeness.

    Other people make stuff up about political correctness, but it is just made up. See Health and Safety.

    “I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever consider whether or not to use a racial epithet.”

    Of course you have rationally considered how to act in life. It’s also true that you have rationally shoved some words into the non-use closet

  • Jayne Mansfield 19th Aug '14 - 6:19pm

    Eddie Sammon
    Sorry Eddie, but I do feel disdain for people who make the sort of comment this woman made.

  • Eddie Sammon 19th Aug '14 - 6:26pm

    Hi Jayne, regardless of opinions on this particular woman, there is a problem with always highlighting the bad in the party and ignoring the good. UKIP have many libertarian instincts and are not a lost cause on many liberal issues.

  • ” Thankfully, however, those of us that want to see a more liberal Britain are winning; even the Telegraph dutifully refers to “former boxing promoter Kellie Malone”. Those who would prefer Britain to return to the grey social blancmange of the 1950s have lost.”

    Who would that be that wants a return to the 1950’s,?

    It would seem to me that a party without a single ethnic minority amongst its cohort of 58 MP’s and MEP’s and with only 13.5% women amongst an army of middle aged white men, would be well advised to take the telegraph pole out of its eye.
    Criticism of a party with 30% women amongst its 24 MEP’s, and a further 8.5% ethnic minorities, whilst your party has yet to reach the dizzy heights of the never mind the 1950’s, but probably the 1930’s when it comes to equality and diversity in the senior echelons of the party is hyperbole indeed.

    What on earth by the way is a grey social blancmange, sounds like the buffet at a LIbDem fundraising Celidh.

    As for the Ting Tong comment what can you say. The BBC in full attack mode on UKIP for using such an offensive remark. Let me think, where did the said offensive comment come from. Oh yes!! from the very politically incorrect BBC programme Little Britain.

    I don’t think you have a clue what UKIP are about hence your use of predictable stereotypes, might I suggest you attend the next meeting of the 2600 member Young Independence, where you might learn something. You might also consider why you support a party that seems to rarely practice what it preaches, paying little more than lip service to the concept of equality and diversity in its own ranks.

    Put your own house in order mate, before having a pop at others!!

  • Adam Robertson 19th Aug '14 - 9:51pm

    Of course, Janice Atkinson was wrong to use the phrase “ting tong” and should be reprimanded for the use of such an offensive phrase. It was just not appropriate to use this term of language and I think, Nigel Farage, done the correct action in apologizing to the women directly. Most political leaders, wouldn’t do that, perhaps apart from Nick Clegg.

    However, I am concerned at the tone of the article because it seems to represent that some views should be respected than others. I use this paragraph, as an example:

    “I wonder if those who moan about political correctness – the “gay used to be such a happy word” brigade – believe we all think the way they do. I wonder if they think we are cowed by the PC police into biting our tongues when really we want to be throwing insults at people because of, say, their race, sex or disability.”

    For example, my Grandad does not support gay marriage, this doesn’t mean he is against each individual being homosexual, far from it. What he disagrees with is that they should be allowed to married, as he believes that, a marriage is between a man and a women. Now I disagree with him on this, but because he holds this view, doesn’t make him a ‘bigot’. The political correctness drive in some instances, has seen, respectable older individuals being ridicule for their view. Because they are anti-immigration, does not make them a ‘racist’. I think calling UKIP supporters, ‘racist’ is dangerous and shows a lack of respect for their view on the subject.

    Also I take grievance at this aim:

    “Yes, they are currently doing well in the polls, but poll ratings don’t put bums on green benches.”

    It seems that, Stuart Bonar, takes great delight in the fact that UKIP, may get 15% of the vote but get no seats in the House of Commons. However, our party, may only get 8% and hold potentially 35 seats in the House of Commons. I think as a liberal, that would aghast me, despite UKIP , not being a liberal party, the fact that they have no representation would be immoral in my view. As a liberal party, which has been campaigning for Proportional Representation, to take great delight that another party has failed to take a seat, despite getting 15%, would be for me aghast for everything we stood for. I don’t like some of UKIP policies, but I respect them as a party.

  • Jayne Mansfield 20th Aug '14 - 6:09am

    @ Adam Robertson,
    So you don’t agree that the language we use is a reflection of what and how we think?

    I would not use such a n insulting racial epithet because tired or otherwise , I don’t hold such dismissively offensive views about people from other backgrounds. ( In truth, I have never heard the term before and I am in my late sixties).

    Tiredness or the mask slipping?

    Of course Nigel Farage would have apologised, he is politically astute enough to realise the damage caused.

  • Because UKIP attracts support from racists (see Nigel Farage’s comment about the former BNP vote), homophobes, and others with views that don’t reflect the current reality of our society, Liberal Democrats have tended to take a hostile and dismissive line towards the party. I think, like Eddie, that this is a mistake: if you talk to UKIP members and supporters, and read what they have been good enough to post on LibDem Voice, the subtext is, I believe, an anger about powerlessness. This is the very thing that we developed community politics to combat, and we should be worried that UKIP are reinventing it. My view is that while community politics still has its place, our focus on it as the central plank of what we were about has meant that we have ignored all the other things which have drained power away from communities and individuals: globalisation and the rise of multinational corporations; the decline of local authority power and the outsourcing of services to the multinationals; the sudden and massive waves of immigration of the past few years; the domestic consequences of Blair’s international adventurism; and so on. Community politics has become less and less effective as the power of communities to actually have any significant effect on what happens to them has been leached away, but we have been too fixated on the small stuff to notice. UKIP don’t have any coherent answers but they are dimly seeing some of the problems. We need to get the beam out of our own eyes before criticising the mote in theirs.

  • Adam Robertson 20th Aug '14 - 7:57am

    @Jayne Mansfield,

    To a point, I think language is important to how we are perceived. However, this should not just determine on how we think an individual acts, I think body language is also important. Sometimes we all say something, which we don’t mean. I would agree with you, in the case of Janice Atkinson, that her behaviour in several instances have been quite rude and obnoxious – which have been show consistently.

    However, to infer that the whole party is racist, is completely unfair in my view. I don’t judge the party, as a whole, but on how they deal with individuals, who have made racist comments. I think we have to be careful, that we don’t stifle debate because it is perceived to be seen as racist. UKIP are polling around 15%, so are we inferring that all these people are racists?

  • Jayne Mansfield 20th Aug '14 - 8:42am

    @ Adam Robertson,
    Kent online has an article about this story .

    Mr Munday, the husband of the woman insulted by the UKIP MEP, has known Nigel Farage for many years and has stated that he is not a racist.

    . My question is, does he question why his party attracts such people as the the woman who made the foul remarks? She is not someone who occupies a lowly position in the ranks. The report of Mr Munday’s assessment of her is worth reading.

    I think he and his wife should have the last word on this.

  • Adam Robertson 20th Aug '14 - 9:32am

    @Jayne Mansfield

    I don’t disagree with you about Janice Atkinson, I have said in a previous post, that her behavior consistently has been rude and offensive. As well, I believe sometimes she comes across aggressive.

    Jayne, all parties have trouble with racist elements to some degree. Pauline Pearce, has stated, that the Liberal Democrats, hold Neanderthal views and she views herself as a ‘tokenist’ gesture within the party. I think it is how each party handles the individual, making the comment at the time.

  • Stuart
    I am not sure how you come to the conclusion that Kippers want to return to a grey social blancmange. You don’t mention that ‘Ting Tong from Somewhere’ is a character invented by Matt Lucas and David Walliams, two people who embrace diversity. You mention the UKIP candidate (2004 and 2010) Kellie Maloney as an example, if she had been been elected for the party would they be stuck in the 1950s or more reflective of today’s society. Nikki Sinclaire was elected as an MEP for UKIP. There’ s more diversity in UKIP than the Lib Dems how do you suggest the Lib Dems move forward to becoming more representative of today’s society, it clearly isn’t happening at the moment as the Pauline Pearce situation proves.

  • Jayne Mansfield 20th Aug '14 - 1:24pm

    I saw one episode of Little Britain and I found the stereotypes unfunny and insulting. I have lost count of the number of times someone has referred to overweight single mothers in leggings as Vicki Pollards.

    It was reassuring then today, when in response to someone pointing out that the term was coined in the programme to read an article on the internet about study undertaken at the LSE,’ “Little Britain filled with ‘figures of hatred’, not figures of fun says study of hit comedy show”

    Those of us of my age remember the Alf Garnett programmes. Although Warren Mitchell was Jewish he played an ranting anti-semite as well as a ranter of other racist bigotry. Unfortunately the satire was lost on some and they actually agreed with what the character was saying.

    The fact that the words were from a television programme is no defence. In my opinion, no respectable person would actually consider repeating the words when referring to a real person, and the apologists should take a leaf out of Nigel Farage’s book and stop digging.

  • Surely this will make you smile Jayne!
    https://twitter.com/SimonGosden/status/484715983631036416

  • When tonyhill says:
    “the subtext is, I believe, an anger about powerlessness.”
    It’s clear he gets the core point about Ukip. And here’s the thing. Believe it or not, we are very lucky to have Ukip as a ‘listening ear’, against the deaf three party cabal, that have treated voters with contempt for decades (and STILL do!)
    If however, Ukip fails, or does not get the traction needs for the democratically dispossessed ‘un-listened to’, that is the very time you really need to worry. But don’t take my word for it, listen to the words of Martin Luther King
    “These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.”

  • Jayne Mansfield 20th Aug '14 - 4:13pm

    @ tonyhill,
    It is always interesting to read what you have to say.

    For me, powerlessness takes many forms, there have always been those who have lacked economic and social power, but there are also those who have had power, perhaps more than their fair share, and their sense of powerlessness may stem from an objection to that power being more equally distributed.

    What do you think the Liberal Democrat response to the diverse reasons for a sense of powerlessness should take? How do you deal with perceived or real powerlessness on the doorstep now that you see the limitations of community politics?

    I realise that I am asking questions for which there is no simple answer, but I am interested to know where you feel some answers might lie.

  • Eddie Sammon 20th Aug '14 - 4:31pm

    Thanks Tony Hill, as you say, I think a feeling of lack of power and injustice is something to do with it and we should be talking to them. UKIP voters also have many left wing ideas based on dispersing power, some of which are very relevant to today, so it would be wrong to put them into a hate box and ridicule them. Of course, there are distasteful aspects, but they are not a lost cause for liberal values.

    I see too many politicians copying journalists. Journalists are good at writing articles, not getting elected.

    Now I know Stuart Bonar didn’t recommend hating UKIP, but we need to think about winning people over, not copying journalists who often simply want a lot of clicks.

  • Jayne – thank you for what you said. One of the reasons for the durability of community politics in the Liberal Party/Liberal Democrats has been its intellectual underpinning by people like Gordon Lishman and Bernard Greaves. I’m not much of a philosopher and I am unlikely to be able to come up with ideas that might change the thinking of the party. However, I do feel that globalisation is a point at which two fundamental liberal principles – free trade and opposition to the concentration of power – collide, and in as much as we have thought about the issues as a party it has tended to be the free trade principle that has been emphasised, whereas in my view the concentration of power in the hands of the few is far more important. One of the few people in the party who is thinking clearly about these issues at the moment is David Boyle.

    John Dunn – I fear your Martin Luther King quote is apposite. UKIP are acting as a positive channel for inchoate anger at the moment, as the Liberals have in the past, but despite having a reasonable narrative in respect of Europe and immigration from Europe (albeit one that I profoundly disagree with) I can’t see that UKIP stands a chance of developing a set of practical policies that can satisfy its ideologically incoherent supporters.

  • tonyhill writes:
    “I can’t see that UKIP stands a chance of developing a set of practical policies that can satisfy its ideologically incoherent supporters.”
    That too, is my worry. The clamour of the ‘unheard’, are, many and extremely varied, and will struggle for a perfect ‘fit’ of policy. And I fear that Ukip is a fragile lifeboat for all of their voices?
    For sure tony….. nothing is sure? Very interesting times.

  • Jayne Mansfield 21st Aug '14 - 8:32am

    @ Sophie,
    Thank you for the post.

    It did make me smile because it was a piece of clever satire. The tables were turned and the person being mocked was the middle class politician for her crudity, something that some associate as a uniquely workng class phenomenon.

    Have you got any snippets of videos using satire to highlight the yes but no apologies given by some when they are caught out making offensive comments?

  • @ Tony Hill

    “UKIP don’t have any coherent answers but they are dimly seeing some of the problems…”

    We say what most people feel but have been intimidated into repressing for at least a couple of decades.

    As for a lack of coherent answers, that may be so, UKIP’s policy formulation is undoubtedly primitive, but the more important point is that we well know (and so do the electorate) that the Lib Dems DON’T have any answers. In Government you have utterly betrayed this country, it is as simple as that. Sadly.

  • @ Jayne Mansfield

    “For me, powerlessness takes many forms, there have always been those who have lacked economic and social power, but there are also those who have had power, perhaps more than their fair share, and their sense of powerlessness may stem from an objection to that power being more equally distributed.”

    Everyone who isn’t a member of the “Establishment” is powerless, and most of those who are even a part of it have a limited capacity to control events. But in generality those who have exercised political and economic power since the war have failed us as a nation. Actually you could argue that is true since the end of the FIRST war.

    We have been in long, slow, gradual but remorseless relative decline from the first country in the world to an also ran no longer in control of its own sovereignty as a nation, and with no centre, no sense of culture, no self confidence.

    The whole of western civilisation is in terminal decay I would posit, but of all the nations we are the farthest gone. Ask yourself this. Why was the man who so casually beheaded an innocent man, helpless and handcuffed, causing him unimaginable suffering the holder of a British passport? Why was it a British soldier run down and hacked to death on the streets of our capital city by fellow Britons? Why are the authorities openly terrified of more than a thousand hardened British Jihadists coming “home” to perpetrate hundreds of copy cat atrocities?

    Multiculturalism has failed. We weren’t consulted before it was introduced, there has been no democratic mandate, and now there is isn’t a Plan B.

    I guess you could say we are ALL powerless. Angry and powerless. Not a happy state of affairs, huh?

  • Can people stop trying to rationalise and defend every racist action of the UKIP party and its elected representatives. UKIP is not the voice of the powerless, it is the voice of the discounted – there is a difference.

    First, not all UKIP supporters are racist, that can be accepted as a presumption; however, those that UKIP selects to be it representatives have being saying quite racist things. If its representatives are saying racist things, then it can be defined as a racist party. However, should you not accept that fact and say that these are just many different isolated incidents, the point still stands that what these representatives are doing when representing their party is unacceptable and we are allowed to call them out on these incidents.

    There seems to be a presumption among some Lib Dems that saying racially abusive and / or offensive things is an expression of one’s freedom of speech. It is not. Even Mills accepted that things said which can incite violence cannot be accepted. When put into practice, it turns out that there are quire a number of things which can violate that principle and we have to qualify the right to expression quite carefully.

    Why?

    Simple, because freedom of expression is about enabling debate (with the presumption being that if one says something one, the well-thought out debate will show this), the problem is that saying things such as ‘ting tong from somewhere’ is not a thing which needs to be debated because it is both factually wrong and and can only cause offense. If people in elected positions are seen to be allowed to say such things (i.e. things which not wrong and just offensive), then that enables people with equally or even more extreme views to think that there views are acceptable and you will only start to hear more offensive views being expressed and raise in racism, which leads to violence.

    This is why people who holds such views (i.e. that ‘johnny foreigner is bad and it is OK to insult/kick off our shores) have basically been frozen out of the debate. Yes, everyone is allowed their opinion, but not all opinions are equal and many do not need to be respected. I have no respect for the expression ‘ting tong from somewhere’, nor the individual using it.

    As our system has limited resources, it cannot waste its time debating every individual ill-informed and wrong view, so those that just wrong by definition have been ignored so that views which may have some contribution to the debate can be concentrated on – this is to maxamise the use of our resources.

    Now, this has disimpowered the kind of people who support individuals, such as the one reference in this article, but that does make UKIP the voice of the voiceless!

    Much of society still considers UKIP to be a joke at best and happily ignores them. It is when we start putting them on the same footing as the Deputy Prime Minister or saying their non-contributory, but very offensive, opinions are perfectly OK to be said that we legitimatise them, which is a dangerous thing indeed.

  • @ Liberal Al

    “As our system has limited resources, it cannot waste its time debating every individual ill-informed and wrong view, so those that just wrong by definition have been ignored so that views which may have some contribution to the debate can be concentrated on – this is to maxamise the use of our resources.”

    Can I ask you something in perfect seriousness. Are you for real?

    Nigel has had some further “ill informed and wrong views” recently. Obviously you will ignore them as they are wrong “by definition”, and have “no contribution to the debate” but perhaps others might be interested.

    He has argued that British citizens who go out to fight for IS should be stripped of their UK citizenship. An opinion poll in the Sunday Times indicates over 60% support from the electorate.

    What do you think the Lib Dem position on this is/will be? Not hard to guess, but do tell me.

    And you wonder why no-one wants to vote for you any more…

  • Further to my point above about IS terrorists being denied citizenship, I was discussing this with my brother in law who is a barrister and he (a dripping wet liberal) was saying it would be very difficult to enforce from a legal point of view.

    But let us look at this politically. Nigel has made a fantastically simplistic proposition which is wildly popular. Check out the online discussion of this, it is full of “I don’t normally agree with Nigel Farage but…” He articulates the national zeitgeist in a way that you ought to find alarming.

    The Tories will scramble to catch up. They are already working on this, and it is hard. They will be terrified of being blindsided by UKIP, but are in Gov’t and won’t be able to come up with anything which will match the popular mood.

    You guys will come out against it because that is who you are . You can’t do otherwise. The Tories will pin the blame on the failure to take effective action on you.

    You will fall still farther in the polls or continue to flat line.

  • Yes, Simon, because Nigel putting forward a policy – which has already been put forward by the Tories in Government – is clearly the same thing as defining people from Thailand as ‘Ting Tong from somewhere’. However, actually this does feed into my point, we have moved the focus of the debate to such a ridiculous point that a policy like that gets serious concentration by the Government, whilst other issues which really need the Government’s focus get neglected. This is because the Government and the media can only select to focus on debating a select few issues at any one time, so whatever they pick to debate is what they are legitimising as the serious issue. If they choose to just dismiss UKIP, then most people would never even have heard of them and those who did would probably think either ‘that is stupid’ or ‘I think that makes sense, but no one will ever listen to them, so no point voting them’.

    Ignoring the fact that you have just ignored everything I have said just to make fun of me and just defined a liberal (as a dipping wet liberal), somewhat raising questions as to your own biases, the point is that no matter how scientific a website the one you mention may be, the truth is that UKIP are a small party of limited appeal (before you say it, I am not saying the Lib Dems are a big party either). Most people – even those who may have sympathised with a moderate version of their ideals – did not take them seriously.

    It was when we started responding to the stupid comments of the UKIP party – such as ‘hearing foreign languages on buses being uncomfortable’ – as a serious set of issues that needed debating that we legitimatised their viewpoints as serious issues to be debated. Once you legitimatise the most ill-informed of viewpoints as if they are they raising issues that needs resolving, you create a narrative to those with other ill-informed and invalid viewpoints that these are the issues you are willing to focus on. This empowers those people (and worse, dis-empowers those wishing to debate actual issues of substance) to start wanting all their issues to be debated because they know you will engage with this issue as if it is a real problem making them believe they must be talking about a real problem. This is because they are seeing a politician being treated seriously when saying comments like that, then it naturally shifts the political dialogue to one where these sorts of views are not considered resolved by almost everyone, bar a few, to ones which are being considered the serious issues to be debated. As we lack the time and resources to debate everything, so we can only choose to concentrate debating a limited number of things at any time, which means those wanting to debate and discuss other, probably more important issues are now ignored and dis-empowered. This means that you lose the ability to have any real debate over the issues of substance because the debate’s focus has been shifted away from those issues, which only fuels more debates on those kinds of issues and stops debates on issues more substance from happening.

  • People who go to fight for insurgencies in other countries should face criminal charges on their return. But there is no mechanism under law to render someone stateless under any circumstances, to do so would be to fly in the face of every legal obligation this country has, and destroy its status still further.

    People like simon tell us that Western civilisation is in decline. They don’t realise that their ideas, their plans to restore it by giving in to populist angry demands to suspend the rule of law and abandon our long-held tradition of liberty, are in fact the primary threat to it. The language of national decline, of betrayal and of the abandonment of traditional values by the ‘liberal elite’ is very familiar, it is the rhetoric deployed by Vladimir Putin’s people in Russia to great, and terrible effect.

    I hope the original article is correct and the kippers are losing and fading into the past. But I doubt it. Every time I return to England, I find them more numerous and more vocal, polling at higher rates with opinions more extreme. The BNP man perhaps put it best (admittedly facing the question from the direct opposite side that I do) when he complained about how well UKIP were doing in the European elections, despite having the same policies that had made the BNP a figure of derision for the vast majority.

    The valid point raised by simon was that the British state is now suffering from a massive legitimacy problem. He thinks its because of ‘multiculturalism’, but regardless of that, too many people have too little influence and aren’t listened to, and for too long too many special interest groups have been perceived as getting special treatment, with nothing done to correct that perception. In my mind, the best solution is to try and lance the boil by having the great big debate, open the national conversation to everyone, decide what sort of country we want to have and build a new state that is fit for the challenges of today, from the ground up.

    Its so unrealistic an idea that it would take a massive disruption to the status-quo for it to even be a possibility – that’s why I’ll be voting Yes in a few weeks time. Scotland would have that process happen automatically, and the event would give England the best chance to do likewise at the same time. Regardless, its in everyone’s interest that it does happen, or we’ll see increasing normalisation of the UKIP attitude and a steady assimilation of mainstream politics to their ideology. Before long we’ll wake up to see Nigel’s face gurning at us from in front of a television camera as a senior government minister, carrying out a lovely Putin-esque programme of national revival. And by then, it might be too late.

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Aug '14 - 10:26pm

    @ Liberal Al,
    I am four -square behind you on this. Liberal Al.

  • I love how diverse our country is. Meeting people with other perspectives or cultures is wonderful.
    How sad it must be to live your life resenting people who are different, insulting them or trying to ban them from Britain.
    It must be like hiding in a box, always afraid to lift the lid, look out and grow…

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  • Nonconformistradical
    @John Marriott "My love affair with hydrogen is based on the fact that the product of its burning is water" Water vapour - another greenhouse gas. "Mind yo...
  • Fiona
    Properly built, well insulated homes require less heating and are less likely to have ice on the inside, and I'd say the costs of not facing the reality of the ...