Is UKIP the Answer?

Brendan Rogers, American Renaissance, May 23, 2014

No.

Britain has gone to the polls for the European Parliamentary elections, and UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party, can expect a strong showing when official results come in on Sunday. Polls suggest it could win more seats than any other party, and take just over one third of the British contingent. With a similar portion of the vote in a British general election UKIP could form a government.

A lot of American nationalists are very excited about UKIP’s rise in the polls. Some seem to think a UKIP success will bring about a profound change. Some bloggers say UKIP is challenging the liberal and phony-conservative establishment while others are equating UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage with Vladimir Putin as a defender of the West. There seems to be a sense that the British media are panicking over UKIP’s popularity and attacking it. The Council of Conservative Citizens published an article titled “BBC Losing it Over UKIP” that attracted comments such as “Maybe there is hope for the British yet.”

The media certainly have described the party and Mr. Farage as being far right, controversial, and wanting to scapegoat migrants for social problems, but they have not used strong terms; no media outlets say they are odious or loathsome or supremacist. The media may say that “some people think UKIP has racist policies,” but they typically don’t just declare that to be the case.

In fact, the BBC has been promoting Mr. Farage. Over the past four years, he has appeared on the BBC’s flagship political program “Question Time” no fewer than 15 times, which is more often than anyone else. Normally, it is only people from one of the main political parties with seats in the British Parliament (UKIP has none at the moment) or a high-profile journalist, economist or other celebrity who gets more than one or two appearances in four years. In addition, Mr. Farage recently participated in two prime-time televised debates against deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. After one of the debates, the Telegraph, a major British newspaper, hosted an hour-long special video conference called “Phone Farage.”

At around seven minutes into the program, a caller points out that UKIP is so much a one-man party that its other candidates cannot even articulate the party’s positions. Mr. Farage basically accepts the allegation but goes on to say he has “cut back” on media and is now “more selective” about where he appears. He insists that other representatives of UKIP are now making more appearances, and cites several examples. Politicians would love to be in a position to “cut back” on media.

It also worth noting that when Nigel Farage makes an appearance, there is no feigned public condemnation to report, no Searchlight (a left-wing attack group) protests, no thugs with iron bars, and no debates about whether other candidates should share a podium with him. He is running an Islamic candidate in London, Ummer Farooq, and disciplines anyone who violates racial taboos.

The effect of the media frenzy against UKIP is to provide sympathy, to make Mr. Farage into a David fighting the establishment Goliath. The British Democratic Party and the British National Party are lucky to get any media at all. Interviews are very short and hostile. Media attention on UKIP diverts support away from these parties.

Nigel Farage is really just a Thatcherite conservative. He left the Conservative Party in 1992 in protest over Prime Minister John Major’s signing of the Maastricht treaty; he is or at least was a Eurosceptic, and for this we praise him, but he is not a nationalist. He is pro-corporation and big business, he is anti-environment and anti-animal welfare. His opposition to immigration is vastly overrated.

The BBC also quotes Mr. Farage on immigration: “And at the moment we have turned our backs on talent from India and New Zealand because of an open door to Romania and Bulgaria. And that doesn’t make any sense.”

The BBC article also says that “he wanted a policy allowing 30,000 to 50,000 people a year into the UK instead, so that those with the most useful skills could benefit the economy.” There are already hundreds of thousands of skilled Brits with technical backgrounds who stack shelves or collect a welfare check. Amazingly, some of these people will be voting for UKIP, exercising their ignorance to exacerbate their misfortune.

Back to the numbers: If there are 50,000 skilled people entering every year, then there could be up to 50,000 spouses entering with them and perhaps 100,000 children, either now or down the line. That’s 200,000 people a year, and that doesn’t include illegal immigrants or asylum seekers. In American terms, given your five-times larger population, that is the equivalent of a million people a year. And where are these skilled workers going to come from? What percentage will actually come from New Zealand?

One danger of UKIP is that many people who have an inkling that something is wrong and feel the country needs profound changes, will switch off if the party is successful. They will think UKIP will fix things. Of course, this election is for the European Parliament, where UKIP will form only a small contingent. Not much will change. The real test for UKIP will be the next British general election, which will come within the next 12 months.

The media have certainly promoted UKIP, and may have created a problem for the mainstream parties. It is unlikely that the ruling class will want to fragment what is really a two or perhaps a two-and-a-half (if you count the Liberal Democrats) party system, and the media promotion of UKIP could well decrease abruptly. However, with enough momentum from the Euro-elections, UKIP could well win some seats in the British Parliament next year. If there is no clear majority and Parliament is hung again–as it is now–with the conservatives as the largest party, and UKIP has enough seats to tip the balance in favor of the Conservatives, then Nigel Farage would take a seat in the cabinet.

However, if there is a clear winner in Parliament, which is the usual situation, UKIP will have no leverage. It will be obsolete, and will probably lose ground going forward. Whatever happens, UKIP’s role has been to deflect attention away from genuinely nationalist groups, to absorb their votes, to demoralize their supporters, and to give potentially rebellious segments of the electorate a safe option at the ballot box.

No one will lose his job for being photographed at a UKIP rally.

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Brendan Rogers
Mr. Rogers lives in Great Britain.
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