There has been a great deal of excitement lately about the success of the UK Independence Party in two recent by-elections. If you watch or read the reports closely enough, you will have noticed that both the men elected were previously representing the constituencies concerned. They simply resigned from the Conservative Party, then stood for re-election under a different banner, and a more extreme agenda. I will not speculate on their motives for doing this, though I suspect that there are others who may well follow their example.
UKIP leaders and officials make many claims about the reason for their success, whether in the local council elections, or the recent parliamentary ones. Perhaps the most offensive claim, is that they represent the true opinions of the working classes in this country. In reality, they reflect the least informed, most biased, and racist opinions of just some of the people in the UK, working class, or not. They appeal to the lowest common denominator at each end of the political spectrum here, yet the other parties, and the media, appear to be letting them get away with their outrageous claims.
Those of us concerned enough to be worried about the emergence of the Far Right into the daylight of political representation are correct to worry. There are so many throwaway lines, soundbites, and off-the-cuff comments that need a great deal more investigation. Repatriation of immigrants is casually mentioned. This is supposedly popular with the majority of people in this country, though there is little evidence to support this, outside of some spurious polls, and talking-head TV interviews. This is the same policy advocated by the National Front, The BNP, and other groups of the extreme Right.
Less taxation of the rich. Is this popular with everyone? I doubt that, but perhaps they read no further than the supposedly populist immigration policies. Part-privatisation of the NHS. (This is currently being ‘reviewed’ by UKIP, who may have realised the folly of stating this so blatantly) Have any of the predominantly white, working-class, UKIP supporters thought this through? Unlikely. They are the people most likely to need the service that UKIP would convert into a system similar to that in America. Treatment dependent on ability to pay, and health for the rich, at the expense of the poor. Abolition of inheritance tax, to ensure that the rich stay rich. Scrapping education targets that currently try to get at least half of school leavers into university. Free Schools will only be allowed to continue if they ‘uphold British values’, (Whatever they are…) and grammar schools will return, to further divide the young people of this country.
Any current energy policies will be mothballed or scrapped, with the emphasis on shale gas, fossil fuels, and a return to air-polluting power stations, as well as on-site power generation for any company that wants to use this method. There will be no subsidies for alternative or cleaner energy, and no further investigations into other ways to generate power. They will also ‘streamline’ the benefits system, and introduce a cap on the upper limit of benefit received. There are few specifics here, just the ominous use of the word ‘streamlined’. Members of parliament from constituencies outside of the borders of England will have no vote on issues considered to be important only in England. This is the first step towards an independent England, and a break-up of The Union. Perhaps they should be called EKIP? They will abolish the Human Rights Act, and withdraw from the European Court of Human Rights. This will be replaced with something yet to be detailed. In employment, rules governing Agency workers would be done away with, and employers would be allowed to discriminate in favour of British applicants, as well as disregarding many existing agreements with trade unions.
All of this, and much more, can be found on their official website, under the heading ‘Policies for People’. I haven’t made anything up.
They have two policies that I do actually agree with. Leaving the EU, and not going ahead with the unnecessary HS2 rail line. This is not enough to make me support them though, as the right-wing policies that dominate their thinking will surely be the tip of a dangerous iceberg, if they ever get into a position to implement them. They would take this country back to how it was before 1939, and see that as progress. Culture would suffer, the poor would ultimately pay an unacceptable price, and the working classes that supposedly support them would be returned to a place that they have fought their way up from over the last seventy years.
Given that they are unlikely to get any real power in the 2015 election, what am I worried about? I am worried that all other parties will continue to move to the Right, hoping to keep their own supporters, and stop them voting for UKIP. I am worried that the population will start to see right-wing and extremist policies as acceptable, and something to embrace. I am worried that they may hold the balance of power in a parliament where no major party has overall control, and that ‘deals with the devil’ will happen as a result. I am worried that the future of this country is for it to become a haven of Far Right thinking, regressive policies, and backward-thinking. And I am worried that the so-called voting masses will think that all of this is good.