I find it quite amusing that only a short time ago UKIP leader Nigel Farage said that "UKIP is a free-thinking, egalitarian party opposed to racism, sectarianism and extremism” following the rather embarrassing turn of events at the UKIP Conference; as all that has happened seems to contradict Farage’s statement. Its effects certainly weren’t contained – even grabbing the attention of celebrities like Ricky Gervais, who branded UKIP a “parody party” on Twitter. But when one puts the parody aside – it raises some serious and concerning questions. Should a party that accommodates individuals who brand female candidates ‘sluts’ seriously be considered to represent the British people in Parliament come 2015? Are they, considering the events of the UKIP conference, fit for power?
In my last article on UKIP ‘Don’t be fooled: UKIP aren’t our saviours’ I raised the issue of the rather authoritarian practices of Young Independence when they sacked their former leader, Olly Neville for raising an issue on the Libertarian blog The Backbencher. Going back to this event – is a libertarian party, or indeed a party that as Farage claims embraces ‘free-thinking’ one that removes a youth figure for… free-thinking? One would shudder if similar events happened in the likes of Conservative Future, Young Labour or Liberal Youth.
But it was this year’s Conference that also raised some serious questions. How could a serving MEP, Godfrey Bloom, brand women as ‘sluts’ and hit a journalist? This man represents a large amount of people on the international stage, what must it look like to the international world? I do think that Nigel Farage’s removal of Bloom from the position of UKIP Whip to be a decision that is very appropriate – but then another MEP, Roger Helmer, appeared on screen to try and calm the situation. Helmer however is just as bungling as Bloom. Helmer called for looters for instance to be ‘shot on sight’ and who believers rape victims are partly responsible for what happens to them. Ludicrous – can you imagine such comments from serving MP’s – it would rightly cause uproar.
But even outside the strange bubble that is the UKIP Conference, they don’t exactly look appealing to the public. Their councillors in many former Conservative areas for instance are just as strange as their MEP comrades. One for instance is currently being investigated by the police for violations of the Localism Act, this same councillor was only being investigated a short while before for allegedly making racist comments on Facebook (although the investigation was dropped). But who could forget other events such as former UKIP councillor Alex Wood making a fascist salute to a camera – or when another former UKIP councillor, Geoffrey Clarke called for an NHS review on the possibility of forcibly aborting foetuses affected with the likes of Down’s Syndrome or spina bifida. This isn’t the case of a few fruitcakes or ‘eccentrics’ – the party is infested with these pathetic excuses for elected officials.
I do know a great deal of ‘Kippers’ as they are known who are extremely good people, and many who actually deserve to be labelled as libertarians. But the voice of these moderates is pushed aside due to the ludicrous statements made by many, not just a few, high profile party members or elected officials. Nigel Farage needs to cull his party of these embarrassments – much like Neil Kinnock dumped the Trotskyists of Militant Tendency from the Labour Party, to ensure his party is viable for government. His party, without a doubt, will earn some seats in 2015 – but if his party still accommodates sexists, racists or fascists, it will raise serious concerns about us as a fair, free-thinking, democratic nation.
By Rory Claydon