UKIP, diversity, the thorny issue of the far right and the Croydon North by-election

Throw in the towel, Winston, you’re toast

Yes, it’s another blog about UKIP!

UKIP tell us that they’re a mainstream party and perhaps they are. They are certainly a populist party that believes that they’ve tapped into latent Eurosceptic and Islamophobic feelings of the British people. There is most definitely a heavy streak of nationalism that suggests to me, at least, there’s a longing for the days of Empire. Is this the reason they have attracted so many supporters from the far-right along with many other self-styled libertarians and Europhobes?

Torygraph bloggers like Fred Ed West deny that UKIP is a far-right party but then, you see, West is an inadvertent fan of Francis Galton, who was Darwin’s cousin and the father of scientific racism. Earlier this year, West claimed in his blog that “there’s nothing extremist about rejecting ‘the benefits’ of diversity”. He goes on to say,

UKIP is something of a strange beast politically, a mixture of libertarians and social conservatives; aside from the Greens, it is the only party considering supporting the legalisation of cannabis. Economically it is the polar opposite of the BNP, but it’s true to say that like that party it draws much of its support from people alienated and repulsed by the new moral order. Social conservatives who overall feel happier with the values of pre-1968 Britain, whether it’s patriotism, their views on marriage, crime and punishment, or sexual mores; and libertarians who hate the way that the cultural revolution has brought a massively expanded state with an insatiable appetite for making new laws, New Labour’s era being a nadir. Both wings of the party have a particularly English opposition to the nanny state, telling them off and leeching their taxes, whether it’s in the name of “health inequality” or “promoting diversity” or any of the other mantras that the statist clergy repeat ad nauseam.

I could spend all day taking Fred’s poorly constructed arguments apart and the above passage is a classic but let’s just say that West is not a man for honesty. He describes UKIP as a “a mixture of libertarians and social conservatives” but this isn’t the whole story. UKIP attracts the racists who wouldn’t be seen dead in the BNP or National Front. Some current members hold views that are most certainly on the the far-right and more than a few of them are unquestionably sexist,  racist or xenophobic. Step forward, Godfrey Bloom! UKIP supporters may argue that other parties have their racists and sexists but that would be a deflection, especially since Bloom’s views are a matter of public record. Westie finishes his piece with this classic piece of analysis,

But that hardly makes it “far” anything, any more than Labour are extreme for attracting people who might otherwise vote for the extreme Left and for using the same language of equality and social justice. The irony is that this report seeks to address peoples’ alienation from mainstream politics, and then characterises them as extremists. Is it any wonder that people feel so disconnected?

What jaw-dropping dishonesty: anyone who normally votes for the “extreme left” as he puts it, do not vote for the Labour Party unless they happen to live, as I do, in a marginal constituency where the fight is between the Tories and Labour… in which case they don’t vote for the “extreme left” – thanks to the shitty voting system. Not even the Lib Dems can get a sniff here. West also seems to feel that there is something inherently evil in the concepts of social justice and equality.

UKIP’s leader, Nigel Farage is always at pains to point out that UKIP is not a racist party and will use Winston McKenzie (and Rusty Lee, yeah…) as an example of UKIP’s er, diversity. But look at UKIP’s membership and you’ll see that there aren’t many BME faces among them, which is something they share in common with the Lib Dems, by the way. In the 1980s McKenzie was a member of the Labour Party, he briefly became a Lib Dem, joined Kilroy-Silk’s vanity party, Veritas and he immediately challenged Kilroy for the leadership in a sort of repeat of Kilroy’s immediate challenge to Farage’s leadership. McKenzie left them to join UKIP in 2009.  McKenzie is something of a political journeyman… sort of.  Let’s just say that he’s always on the look-out for a party that will accommodate his ego. But political parties are full of egos. The competition is tough out there.

UKIP’s adoption of McKenzie as their candidate in the Croydon North by-election says a great deal about them as a political party too: they see Croydon North, a Labour safe seat, a place with a large multi-ethnic demographic just there for the taking, but in their naiveté  they believe that they have a vote magnet in McKenzie. They hope he will magically attract those, er, multi-cultural votes to UKIP and they will, at last, be able claim once and for all that they aren’t a racist or a homophobic party. But unfortunately for McKenzie he opened his gob and the world came pouring in. Let’s put it this way, he’s not going to get the LGBT vote.

Can he win?

You must be joking, but would you vote for RESPECT’s Lee Grasper instead? No, I wouldn’t either.

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Filed under Government & politics, Media, Racism, Sexism, Tory press, UKIP, Yellow journalism

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