There has been the usual slight surge in political interest, in advance of the forthcoming local elections this week. Much is being written and said about the possible effect of UKIP, the UK Independence Party, and their recent showings at by-elections, and increasing popularity in ‘the polls’. They have policies which, at first glance, seem simplistically nationalistic, and completely harmless. Cleverly, they have a ‘something for everyone’ approach, meaning almost anyone can identify with at least one of their presented aims, or goals.
Even a hardened Lefty like myself, could find it easy to be wooed by their anti-European stance. They appear to have exactly the same issues with membership of the EU as I do, and like me, would get Britain out at the earliest opportunity. So, that ticked a box with me, and made me read further. Keep the Pound as a currency? I agree. No point going into the collapsing Euro, even a child could work that one out. Immigration? They must have a really right-wing position there, surely? Well, it is actually not unreasonable, when you look quickly. Given the removal from the EU, there would be provision for those settled here. Of course, new immigration would be tightly controlled, and those arriving would be expected to fend for themselves, without access to the state benefit system. Before you run around the room thinking this is outrageous, think of the immigration policies of Canada, The USA, Australia, and New Zealand. All of these places are considered to be humane democracies, yet all have much tougher policies than we have in the UK.
So far, so reasonable. Euro-tick. Pound-tick. Immigration-sort of- tick. Eu withdrawal-tick.
Then, I read some more.
Same sex marriage? No. Defence Policy? Still nuclear, with large standing armed forces, and increased Territorials. Aircraft carriers, Stealth aircraft, Cruise missiles, Navy to have a ‘global role’ to defend British Interests. NHS? They say it will remain under a UKIP administration. Read between the lines, and you will see it is significantly contracted out, part-privatised, and run primarily by local groups, without a national focus. They will also provide ‘more choice’, using various European models. In other words, better care if you can pay towards it. Not fooled by that one, Mr Farage. Reversal of hunting bans. It has taken my lifetime to see these barbaric and unnecessary sports outlawed. In one sweep, UKIP would allow them to be returned, dependent on local acceptance. This is no more than a sop to the rural communities, where they hope to take votes off the Tories. I could go on and on, relaying the numerous problems tucked away neatly inside the UKIP maifesto. This is just a flavour of what to expect if they ever get any real power. Taxation standardised, meaning less taxes for the rich, that is in there somewhere; as are increased Police powers, and more leeway for the Secret Services.
This is in the same document citing Norway and Switzerland as role models, for independent trading, and high standards of living. It seems that they fail to notice the irony in comparing their wish list to those two mostly docile, and non-belligerent nations. Nigel Farage is a compelling and convincing speaker, and an accomplished orator. He is undeniably intelligent and manipulative, and makes good use of incredibly effective propaganda. What we don’t see, is the extreme Right-Wing membership, the roots under his flourishing branches. This has been the natural bolt-hole for fascist and nationalist extremists since its foundation. The policies are all underpinned by racism, xenophobia, and the traditional British hatred of all foreigners. The real name of the party should be ‘White British First.’ Under the grey lounge suits, hide the black shirts of 1930’s politics.
If you sum it all up, it may start to sound familiar.
British first. Foreigners out. Strong Armed forces, protecting ‘British Interests.’ Restricted export markets, and control on imports. Strong Police and Security Services, and forced deportation of illegal immigrants and undesirables. A forceful leader, appealing to the rural community, the unemployed city dweller, and the disaffected youth.
Does that remind you of anywhere?