An exceptional summary by politics.co.uk of the views of new UKIP leader Paul Nutall gives us a clear insight of how UKIP will look in the months and years to come.
No longer a party fixated upon Britain’s independence from Europe, the UK Independence Party is set to become, under Nutall’s leadership, a party for the ostracised reactionaries of British politics; a group to shelter those who have nowhere else to take their views in today’s supposedly politically-correct age.
Nutall himself is fixated over what he calls ‘the PC brigade’, and his straight-talking, conspiracy-busting rhetoric will no doubt attract the same kinds of people that Donald Trump’s campaign did in the USA.
A glance across his political ideas shows a kind of populism that will appeal to people who feel left behind by the recent wave of progress when it comes to gender identities and equality, ethnic diversity and environmentalism. For those to whom this ‘brave new world’ seems alien and hostile; who feel that their jokes are no longer laughed at and their values are no longer applauded, UKIP will provide a safe haven of casual sexism, racism and nationalistic pride.
All of the Trumpian themes are present in Nutall’s rhetoric: an outspoken internet personality, the sense of elite liberal conspiracy against the ‘common folk’, and an almost religious veneration of free speech, with the clear enemies being politically-correct ultra-liberals selling the nation out to foreign invaders.
Here Nutall has linked in UKIP’s previous rhetoric around the European Union. “If you’re a remainer, it doesn’t matter what colour you are, we are coming after you,” Nutall said in his first interview after securing the leadership.
It is quite likely that UKIP’s electoral and political strategy will mirror The Daily Mail in denouncing Remain voters as traitors to some degree. In this respect, there is a worrying validation of the kind of views which caused MP Jo Cox to be murdered in an act of political terrorism this year.
Already, rhetoric has come from the Leave side of the Brexit campaign that closely mirrors that of the “stab-in-the-back myth” of pre-Nazi Germany, which blamed unpatriotic elements of the country for the loss of World War I. To some, any economic disaster resulting from Brexit will be the result of Remainer disruption and a lack of confidence in the economy; if Brexit is blocked it will be due to an undemocratic conspiracy, while if it succeeds it will be in spite of such a conspiracy.
This distrust in the political system and sense of alienation will no doubt be exploited by Nutall’s UKIP. He will offer disenfranchised people a vision of England which could have succeeded if it were not for the unpatriotic ‘Bremoaners’. He will, no doubt, hearken to a bygone age when Britain ruled the world, and you could say whatever you like without fear of being reprimanded.
It is apparent following the US election that British politics should be afraid of a man like Paul Nutall. While Farage’s England was a land of country pubs and cricket-matches, Nutall’s would be one of stricter prison sentences, deportations and executions; Nutall supports bringing back the death penalty and like Trump, he also denies the existence of climate change. A once-praised UKIP policy was free hospital parking; now it has a leading figure who has openly called for the dismantling of the National Health Service. Like Trump, Nutall is openly intolerant of Islam, likening it to an invading culture facilitated by unfettered immigration.
So with a newfound urgency, we must begin to understand the forces which are enabling xenophobic views to flourish in the US, the UK and elsewhere. For many, time has moved far too rapidly over the past twenty years. With the emergence of Facebook, Wikipedia and Youtube, the world has been rapidly changing, allowing people across the globe to communicate and mingle in unprecedented ways.
Scientists have only recently coined the term “Anthropocene” to denote mankind’s influence over the environment, and the industrial attitude of the 1900’s; full of coal and oil and gas with an emphasis on production and profit, has been replaced with a new focus on sustainability and environmental protection.
For those who have been slower to adapt to the recent global changes, Nutall and Trump’s philosophy offers sanctuary and familiarity.
During the US elections, there was a clear racial divide between white America and an America made up of ethnic minorities. It is no secret that during the Brexit vote there was a clear age divide, with older voters preferring to leave the EU and young people preferring to remain. In both cases, there is a widening gap between a young liberal consensus which is more ethnically diverse, and older, primarily-white conservatives.
Addressing that divide is absolutely crucial if we are not to sit in paralysis while watching Nutall’s UKIP capitalise on the same kind of sentiment as Trump’s successful US campaign.
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