Over the past few months, the UK Independence Party has dominated the news; rising in the polls and threatening to cause deep embarrassment for the major political parties in today's European and local council elections.
But, in recent days, the party and its esteemed leader Nigel Farage have come under exceedingly great pressure, stemming from Farage’s disastrous interview on LBC radio. However, this interview was just another in a long line of incidents that revealed Ukip as a disorganised, fanciful party with a hypocritical leader. As a result, I can’t begin to fathom why the party is appealing to so many people.
The immigration debate is (along with Britain’s membership of the EU) one of the primary selling points of Ukip. It is undeniable that immigration into Britain is currently at an unsustainable level, and that something needs to be done to reduce it to a more manageable amount. But the way Ukip goes about tackling it is rather absurd.
According to them, the problem is Romanians; specifically, Romanians. Bulgarians, Jamaicans, Americans, Germans and every other country’s population dissolve into insignificance. The impression is created that if Britain denies access to people from Romania then all the country’s problems will be solved: the economy will flourish; unemployment will dissipate; the NHS will be saved; and crime will end.
Indeed, during Farage’s infamous radio interview he made the comment that people would be right to be concerned if Romanians moved in next door to them. From my point of view, it’s difficult to see why; I mean, I’d much rather have a Romanian as a neighbour than Brian Blessed, for instance. Ukip campaigns make a great deal out of their discrimination, by playing on the misconception that immigration by Eastern Europeans into the UK is out of control. To me, that sounds racist – strange considering Farage strenuously denies at every given opportunity that Ukip is a racist party.
But the bombardment of racist and homophobic comments that have poured out of Ukip members is a fact that blows Farage’s defensive comments out of the water. Members of the party who stated that Lenny Henry should emigrate to a “black country” and that the devastating floods at the start of the year were caused by gay marriages are just a tiny proportion of the slur that has been published.
Admittedly, a few ‘bad apples’ slipping through the net was inevitable. But at the current rate at least one Ukip related scandal becomes publicised each day – and that’s just ludicrous. Perhaps this explains why Nigel Farage is the only person from the party who is ever seen in public – no one else can be trusted
However, Farage’s hypocrisy doesn’t help the party either. How can he justify campaigning against migrant workers who, he claims, take ‘British jobs’, when his German wife works as his secretary? There are 2.21 million unemployed people in Britain and, no matter how repulsive the man may be, I am sure there could be found someone else to be the Ukip leader’s secretary.
On the basis of these issues, it appears completely inexplicable why anyone could support Ukip, let alone vote for them. Even as a protest party, Ukip would be a waste of a vote; the big parties have already been scared into promising to deal with immigration and the EU. For people who actually live in 2014 and not in 1914, the policies and politicians of the party are provocative and simply nonsensical.
By James Morris