Some thoughts on the state of UK’s politics in the light of the rise of UKIP as tweeted to @16bitheretic
UKIP’s stellar performance in the May 2014 council & EU elections is founded on populist & opportunistic support for UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Fifteen years ago concern grew about the cost of membership of the EU & the associated loss of sovereignty to the EU, especially the un-British decisions of the Courts at the Hague seemed alien to many.
In particular the EU’s stated aim of ‘ever closer political union’, suggesting the threat of the United States of Europe, proved unacceptable to the UK’s fierce independence. The UK pointedly refused to join the introduction of the Euro.
Withdrawal from the EU gained popularity particularly among the right wing of the Conservative (Tory) Party, redolent of the ‘Little Englanders’ of the late 1930s – isolation from the demonstrable & actual threat of Nazism. But Tory dithering – because there are benefits to the costly EU membership – nourished defiant anti-EU feeling & UKIP was born.
The 2008 ‘credit crunch’ and the ‘bearish’ economy ushered in nearly 10% unemployment – especially youth unemployment rose steeply – thus targeting the EU’s ‘open door’ immigration policy. Mass eastern European immigration, mainly from Poland, became the scapegoat for this rampant unemployment. Polish is said to be UK’s second language now, such was the flood. Being good workers the Poles thrived, being happy to do the work the indigenous population won’t do & working for ‘affordable’ wages.
Then the potential EU membership of ‘backward’ Romania & Bulgaria threatened ever more unlimited eastern European immigration. The (Labour) government put a temporary lid on immigration from Romania & Bulgaria but only to January 2014 because of detested EU regulations.
UKIP relished these immigration fears, beloved of the right-wing ‘red-top’ (populist) press, & their second main plank was born: immigration became no longer the taboo subject of political debate and fear of east European mass immigration stoked UKIP’s support. There is also a hated Moslem component in the Slavic populace.
Populist thought is irredeemably racist. Even the Metropolitan Police was accused of ‘Institutional Racism’.
As with the Russian Mafia, there is also a fear of east European criminality which reinforced UKIP’s anti-immigration stance, so, this is UKIP policy in a nutshell:
1 Pro-immediate withdrawal from the EU
2 Anti-immigration – ALL immigration – but especially the EU’s ‘open door’ policy
3 Fear of rise in ruthless east European Mafia-style criminality.
Nigel Farage, UKIP’s leader, cleverly distanced himself from the detested political establishment as a ‘man of the people’. Beer supping & accepting racist, sexist & homophobic candidates to the UKIP fold the scene was set for last weeks’ elections. The fact that UKIP had to expel a number of their members for unacceptable statements in the press seemed to have had zero effect upon its popularity. Indeed, just the opposite, it made the ‘party’ even more attractive to the latent racism, sexism & homophobia of the populace.
The Liberal-Democrat coalition with the Tories has decimated their support as they are now seen as part of the hated establishment and lackeys to the ‘nasty’ Tory party. Their back-tracking on student fees may never be forgiven, it will certainly not be forgotten.
Thoughtful centrist politics has crumbled under the onslaught of ignorant opportunist populist politics. Intellectualism or balanced thinking is the loser in the political stakes. Oddly, traditional Labour (left-wing) support – being itself essentially populist & non-intellectual – has rushed to support UKIP too.
Thus UKIP’s populism has damaged all sectors of the political establishment taking support from both right & left. However, UKIP’s populism neglects to observe that east European immigration has benefitted and boosted the UK’s overall economy. Immigrants are prepared to do the work shunned by the indigenous population. The ‘care’ industry, for example, would collapse without them.
The indigenous population had grown relatively fat on welfare payments, which had reached unsustainable levels under the psychologically questionable leadership of the egregious Gordon Brown, leading to necessary & essential ‘Tory cuts’ in order to bring some rectitude to the government’s finances.
The government cutbacks – Tory/Lib Dem – are deeply & understandably unpopular, thus feeding the idea of the Tories as the ‘nasty’ party, with its Cabinet of ‘millionaires’ which distances it from the ‘common man’.
The Labour Party leader – Ed Milliband – is seen as deeply flawed and ineffectual hence all three main parties are UKIP-vulnerable.
There you have it: UKIP’s meteoric rise based on detestation of the three main parties & with anti-intellectual, scapegoat, populist & opportunistic policies agitated by the right-wing populist press.
The scene is being set for 2015’s general election. UKIP can’t win but it can certainly throw a spanner into the establishment works.
Labour probably can’t win either because of its deeply flawed leadership – the ‘back-stabbing’ Ed Milliband (of his much admired brother David) & the egregious and oleaginous Ed Balls. The Labour Party is also tarred being the government at the time of the ‘credit crunch’ with its attendant virtual bankruptcy of the country’s fiscal standing.
The Liberal Democrats have been terminally scarred by association with the ‘nasty’ Tories and broken promises. It may take a generation to recoup; it may never recoup.
The Tories have a chance of further electoral success if they excise their right-wing & move firmly towards the centre. The Tory right wing is natural UKIP fodder.
All this is of course dependent upon September’s vote on Scottish independence. The ‘yes’ vote is gaining inexorably upon the ‘no’ camp. If ‘yes’ wins it will consign the Labour Party to the UK political wilderness as it traditionally relies on Scottish MPs to gain a majority at Westminster. If the ‘noes’ win then the outcome of the general election is less clear as Labour will have a chance to dislodge the Tories by their Scottish representation. The Tories are all but defunct in Scotland.
So there we have it – some thoughts on UKIP & the UK’s current political scene generally. I hope it makes some sort of sense.
The above is a barely edited version of the original series of tweets and as such may stand alone as a brief overview. It was intended to be read by a young American woman whose tweets are interesting and enjoyable and who knew little of the UK political scene. She was completely unaware of the Scottish independence plebiscite.
@philositect on twitter