UKIP also leafleted me today.
The United Kingdom Independence Party is of course…mad.
They will be destroy the “United Kingdom” which means I want to support them.
Their entire raison d’etre is that they dont much care for the modern world…especially Europe. And Britains membership of the European Union.
To be fair successive national European Governments have delivered a “Europe” by stealth …a Europe that no national electorates would have endorsed had they known the full ramifications.
When Ireland, Denmark and Britain joined the original six (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany, and France)…in 1973, it was the Common Market…and it was about Free Trade.
Broadly these nine countries shared the same western European values.
Greece, Spain and Portugal joined …in part to bolster their democratic credentials, having suffered under Fascism until the 1970s.
The expansion to fifteen (Austria, Sweden and Finland) seemed to enhance Western European and Scandanavian values and Europe was moving closer to economic and political union.
Add in ten more. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia and their recent record of being part of totalitarianism….as well as a completely different economic level…and notwithstanding the democratic credentials of Cyprus and Malta….there was a slippery slope, amplified by the Global Economic Meltdown in 2008.
The European Project had over-reached itself.
And since then Europe has added Bulgaria and Romania.
Free movement of Jobs and Capital….Big Business and the Financial World love Europe.
Free movement of people? Hmmm.
A European citizen has the right to live and work anywhere in Europe.
A British person has the right to retire to Spain and Greece.
Poles, Lithuanians, Czechs etc have the right to work in Britain.
Racism raises its ugly head…and UKIP and indeed the French National Front capitalise on it.
There is …as always…a genuine concern.
That there is a loss of “British jobs”
That there is a loss of “service” (Health, Education etc)
That there is less control of the British Government about its own sovreignty.
With the three main British parties locked into the European Project, it has isolated them from mainstream British opinion…legitimate opinion.
UKIP with its nasty little agenda has moved onto that ground.
Legitimate concerns are as always stoked by those with a nasty little agenda.
Its a cliche but UKIP is essentially the right-wing xenophobic element of the British Conservative Party. They used to be held in check by vague Tory Leadership promises of a Referendum or “standing up for Britain” in Europe.
Its an odd fact that Britain doesnt like “foreigners”. After all, they have spent a few hundred years of their history, introducing themselves to Indians, Nigerians, South Africans and Irish at the point of a gun and at the point of a bayonet.
Every five years, the European Elections come around. And they are pretty meaningless in real terms.
They are effectively a means of kicking “Europe”.
Voter turn-out is traditionally low.
UKIP did well last time in 2009. Sending UKIP MEPs to Brussels does not affect the governance of Britain.
They are expected to do well next month.
But the voting system is largely proportional.
But UKIP is embedding itself into the British political system. Its not very likely that UKIP will actually win seats in the Westminster Election of 2015 but in the “first past the post” system, they will affect the result and cost Tories seats.
There is a genuine dilemna here.
There are genuine concerns. And there are stoked-up fears.
Senior UKIP figures …including Leader, Nigel Farage…look like relics from the 1950s…before “modern” Britain. Before Multi-Culturalism.
There are two distinct types of UKIP member. Famously there are the “blokes” such as Farage himself, who is the guy that men would like to have a pint down at The Red Lion. Farage himself doesnt strike me as a racist….just the embarrassing uncle that says the politically incorrect thing at a family occasion.
But there is a more sinister type person …the racist, the sexist, the homophobe.
And thats the great problem for UKIP…you can just about take the politically incorrect uncle but you get outright unacceptable.
And yet UKIP has never been the subject of scrutiny.
Its not just the unacceptable racism, sexism and homophobia. Its the Hypocrisy. Its the Amateurism.
When a senior member of the Party casually refers to women journalists as “sluts” then it is clearly unacceptable.
When another member believes that the recent floods in England were caused by the debate around Equal Marriage…then its beyond Ridicule.
When UKIP complain about the excessive expenses drawn by MEPs …then its almost amusing that UKIP MEPs are not shy about claiming the expenses.
When Farage talks about “foreigners” coming to Britain to take “British jobs”…and it emerges that his secretary is his German wife, then thats just Hypocrisy.
When a candidate in the upcoming Euro Elections….talks about Ed Milliband (Labour Leader) as being “Polish, not British” then thats just not true its border-line racist with just a hint of anti-semitism. When it emerges that the candidate was actually born in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) then thats that stupid. When the candidate talks about Nigerians being “criminal” and Islam being a “Satanic religion”….then thats just very very sinister.
When it transpires that the actor playing the part of an unemployed British worker in an Election broadcast (commercial) is actually Irish…then thats just shambolic.
Oddly the British right-wing media nurtured UKIP.
Even encouraged the narrative that they were harmless buffoons from a by-gone age.
And now almost daily …UKIP is subject to a degree of scrutiny.
The exposures range from outright racism (and sexism and homophobia) to hapless amateurism.
People say that the “political pool” should be widened but necessarily bringing new people into politics is bringing amateurs into politics.
The question arises as to why there much scrutiny now.
Did the right-wing media create a monster?
Are they genuinely concerned about the sinister underbelly of UKIP?
Are they more concerned that the UKIP needs to be pegged back because it is having a negative impact on the mainstream British Conservative party.
But how should an Irish nationalist view this?
Well…in a global sense, all the bad stuff…racism…its on the rise.
And I think its related to the end of the Cold War.
The Soviet Union thru its totalitarianism kept a lid on racial tensions within its borders.
The fall of the Iron Curtain all the old hatreds re-surfaced…from the Baltic, to the Steppes and thru to the Balkans…..and across the Mediterranean….and in the English Channel…to Paris, Berlin, London….to Dublin, to Belfast…to the smallest Irish village.
It all has to be stopped.
And that need to defeat the vilest of feelings is more important than being amused by the temporary discomfort of the British political class being undermined by the amateurism of UKIP and the feeble attempts of the British Establishment to deal with the out-working of its own Imperial Past.
The bottom line is that UKIP makes Politics ….toxic.