Voting UKIP Is Not a Protest, It’s an Own Goal

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Increased support for UKIP in recent local elections has been interpreted as a protest against the out of touch, carbon copy mainstream parties. For any voter seeking to protest our broken political system, voting UKIP is a huge own goal.  UKIP allow the mainstream parties to keep the conversation on immigrants and the EU, and off the major issues of our time.

Do You Know What You Are Voting For?

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Ethos

UKIP describes itself as a libertarian party.  UKIP, like the Tea Party in the US, seems to fundamentally misunderstand Libertarianism.  Libertarianism is about the smallest possible amount of government, with a focus on personal liberty and devolved power.  Both UKIP and the Tea Party, with their socially conservative attitudes, believe personal liberty extends only to people like them.

Immigration

UKIP would cap net immigration at 50,000 a year, this number would exclude work permits and students.  Students (282,833) and work permits (147,385) made up 430,218 of the immigration numbers last year.  That leaves only 78,190.  So UKIP are actually talking about reducing immigration by 28,000 people a year.  Hardly revolutionary.

Gay Marriage

UKIP don’t have a published policy on Education, but they have one on Gay Marriage.  UKIP oppose Gay Marriage as “There is, apart from a small but noisy minority within the gay community, no strong demand for this”.

Defence

The UKIP defence policy sounds very much like a conversation down the pub, with about the same level of consideration and evidence base.

UKIP would disestablish the Ministry of Defence and put decisions of war and peace in the hands of the armed forces. That is the definition of a military state. Who’s for a coup?

UKIP rail against the poor terms and conditions of serving and retired members of the armed forces, and Britain’s declining military power.  They make a vast range of promises around replacing Trident with “a new advanced stealthy cruise type missile”, priority healthcare for forces personnel, and all sorts of new kit, perks and housing, all on the 2010 military budget.

The UKIP policy platform is a messy series of un-evidenced, often contradictory sound bites – all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

UKIP are Omniphobic

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It would be futile to highlight UKIP as homophobic, transphobic or xenophobic – they are omniphobic.  They are appalled and terrified about pretty much everything which doesn’t look and sound like them.  They appeal to the darker angels of our nature which seek out and magnify superficial differences, whilst overlooking the vastness of our common humanity.

Racism

In 2010, the party suspended its Chairman for London, Paul Wiffen, after he made the following racist rant on an internet forum.

“You Left-wing scum are all the same, wanting to hand our birth right to Romanian gypsies who beat their wives and children into begging and stealing money they can gamble with, Muslim nutters who want to kill us and put us all under medieval Sharia law, the same Africans who sold their Afro-Caribbean brothers into a slavery that Britain was the first to abolish.”

More recently UKIP candidates were found to be posting pictures of themselves making Nazi salutes, and one candidate created the above picture of himself as one of Hitler’s henchmen using photoshop.

The following is a comment on the UKIP Facebook Page in response to the rise in the UKIP vote.

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There is also significant crossover in both candidates and supporters, from the British National Party (BNP) to UKIP.  UKIP are the polite face of the same old ‘loathe thy neighbour’ politics of hate and envy.

Homophobia

Recent discussions on the UKIP online member’s forum on homosexuality and gay marriage were particularly enlightening.

Former parliamentary candidate and branch chairman for Oxford, Dr Julia Gasper claimed “As for the links between homosexuality and paedophilia, there is so much evidence that even a full-length book could hardly do justice to the ­subject.”

UKIP member Jan Zolyniak posted: “The evidence is quite clear that the percentage of homosexuals who molest children is very high and cannot be dismissed.”

Douglas Denny from the Bognor Regis branch in West Sussex wrote: “What irritates me is they (sic) way they and their leftie, neo-Commie followers seem to want to force the rest of us to consider them as normal.”

A vote for UKIP, whether you like it nor not, is a vote for a party of afraid, angry, hateful people.

The Real Issues

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While UKIP have lots to say on matters such as two people of the same sex loving each other, or reducing the number of immigrants each year by 28,000, or withdrawing from the European Union – they have absolutely nothing to say about the real issues which are impacting people.

Wages and the Cost of Living

The three most expensive benefit payments in the UK are Tax Credits, Housing Benefit and Child Benefit, totalling £56.4bn a year.  These are not ‘out of work’ benefits, meaning 65% of the total spent on working age benefits, is going to people in work.

These payments have been set up and used mostly by people in work, but whose wages are below subsistence levels.  In the last five years, wages have increased by just 10%.  Inflation according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 17% during the same period.  This means a real terms wage drop of 7%.

However, CPI figures represent a wide range of purchases which many average or below average earners do not buy.  The UK Essentials Index which focuses on the kinds of everyday items which the UK’s working and non-working poor buy showed an inflation rate of 33%.

UKIP have not a single word to say on this matter, except to blame it all on immigration.

Austerity

Austerity is not necessary, it is ideological.  There is no Austerity for corporations, they have seen their taxes cut.  There is no Austerity for high earners, they received a tax cut of £100,000 a year in the last budget. There is no Austerity for FTSE Executives whose average pay topped £3m each last year.  There is no Austerity for MPs who called for a 32% pay raise for themselves.

No, Austerity is class based.  This government has plunged 200,000 children into poverty with just one of its austerity policies, the benefit cap. The Bedroom Tax has hit 660,000 households, two thirds of which contain a disabled person.  Disabled and physically and mentally ill people are being hounded off their benefits by ATOS assessors – 1,300 died after being assessed as fit to work, 2,200 died before the process was completed, and 7,100 died after being deemed too ill to work but having their last weeks of life blighted by this assessment process.

UKIP have nothing to say about this.

Corruption

Our political system has become endemically corrupt.  In just the last two weeks, we have discovered the HMRC (our tax collecting agency) not only made ‘sweetheart deals’ which let tax evaders off paying billions of pounds in taxes, but pursued an unlawful criminal investigation into a whistle-blower who sought to highlight the issue.

The Chief Executive of npower, one of the UK’s biggest tax avoiders, has now been appointed to the HMRC.

It has been uncovered that one in four of the UKs top companies no longer pays any tax at all, while receiving billions from the public purse in tax credits.

Last week, MPs and the House of Lords voted through legislation which makes the NHS legally obliged to open up all but a minority of its services to competitive tender with private providers.  As 206 MPs, 142 Lords and 124 cross bench Peers have direct financial interests in private health care companies – this amounted to a vote for their own pay rises.

UKIP have nothing to say about this.  In fact, UKIP used half a million pounds of tax payer money to fund their own party, and has seen two of their own MEPS jailed for fraud.

Democratic Deficit

As all three major political parties have adopted the same neoliberal policies, have all signed up to Austerity and have all played a part and continue to play a part in this nightmare – we have a democratic deficit.  We have no parliamentary advocates, no organised political expression of our dissent.  Parliament has become utterly removed from the changing landscape of political opinion outside its own walls, and deaf to requests for change.

This might make UKIP attractive to some as a ‘breath of fresh air’.  But they are simply the same suits, funded by the same people who fund the Tory party, with their ties loosened.

If people feel disillusioned by the issues outlined above, UKIP are not the party to vote for.  UKIP is not a protest vote. It is a vote directly in the interests of the establishment. Now all mainstream parties can continue to persecute minorities, disabled people, the working poor, the physically and mentally ill, students, the elderly and the unemployed and argue they are responding to public concern. UKIP are the embodiment of a dumbed down electorate, fed by a corporate media to express their discontent at the victims, not the instigators, of our crisis.  Voting for UKIP is not a protest, it is a tremendous own goal.

Take Action
There are ways to vote which could send a clear signal dissent from the status quo.
None of The Above – join a growing movement.
The Green Party – the only party with a sitting MP who explicitly challenge the neoliberal consensus.
Occupy London – take part in discussions with others on alternative economic, social and political models that could transform our world, and take to the streets to push for them.
Become an Independent MP – be your own representative.

43 thoughts on “Voting UKIP Is Not a Protest, It’s an Own Goal

  1. UKIP certainly for myself is more a protest vote, but they do raise real issues that I strongly agree with. Do I agree with all their policies? no of course not.

    But it is a protest vote that can make a difference to mainstream politics, as otherwise its just a collection of no voters or voting other segregated independants.

    There is a real issue with the EU that a large proportion of people don’t like, didn’t vote for and to ignore this is simply un-democratic. Many people were happy to vote for the EU under the free trade in the 70s, but do not want a federal state controlling over parts of the country and infringing on their civil liberties.

    Again immigration is(or was) an issue as net migration from pre1997 was around 50,000 and this significantly went to over 100,000 until around 2004. Much of this was Labours secret open borders that was leaked from Jack straws adviser Andrew Neather. Now from 2004 onwards the border checks came back into place and it has hovered around the 80,000-100,000 since.

    Doesn’t sound massive but with significantly higher immigrants birth rates, this could be an issue with overall population size hitting 70 million in next couple of decade. This will have an impact on everyones lifestyle, not to mention a large change to British cultures and ways of ife.

    Perhaps this isn’t important to everyone on the left, but many people do still want some level of conservatism towards their British way of life.

    I wouldn’t want to see a massive shift to the right either, but at the same time I believe a massive shift to the left is just as damaging and has actually provoked much of the reactionary problems on the right.

    Constant thought policing, political correctness gone mad and the tendancy to label everyone racists is just condescending and tiresome to say the least and is very un-democratic. This labelling is a double standard as they are harassing people with names just like the so called racists do. Now the real racists perhaps deserve this, but many aren’t racist at all, they just fit into the views that some on the extreme left have.

    I don’t want to live in a country where people cant freely speak because of taboos where people are afraid to even open their mouth either.

    End of the day there isn’t a one size fits all for politics, and all you can hope to do is best represent the majority of beliefs, even if you don’t always agree with it.

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  3. Thank you so much for this timely and robust article. You’ve said everything I’ve been thinking and trying to tell people, but do much more convincingly than I could. I shall be sharing it on Facebook.

    Regards

    Roy

  4. “UKIP would disestablish the Ministry of Defence and put decisions of war and peace in the hands of the armed forces. That is the definition of a military state. Who’s for a coup?”

    No, it isn’t the definition of a military state. Nor would that be a coup.

    The use of the first picture is also pretty embarrassing.

    I dislike UKIP as much as the next guy but that sort of thing isn’t helping.

    • Your response isn’t strictly true, Oliver: if a new (or rogue) government overturns the military command in its country, substituting more senior officers with officers of lesser rank who are more likely to support the new government for a myriad of reasons (promotion, command, action – money…), and then allows that military force to “police the State”, that IS the definition of a “military state”. It happens in Africa regularly, and in the past has happened all around the world in what were second and third world countries, and in Greece (not a second or third world country) also!

      I think perhaps that our author is slightly tongue-in-cheek with this comment. However, you SHOULD re-read some of Farage’s rants when responding as an MEP to policy decisions and suggestions made at EU MEP gatherings. It’s where his links to the extreme right of politics break through, and perhaps why it’s no wonder that he finds reason NOT to admonish those in his party who give nazi salutes, or have themselves electronically inserted into photos with Hitler in the centre ground… Listening to Nigel maniacally ranting on the EU stage, I often wonder IF he has a well thumbed copy of Mein Kampf on his bookshelf at home! …And he would make a “good and caring” Prime Minister for the citizens of the United Kingdom..? Hmmmm.

  5. Invoking Godwins law is an instant fail in my book.

    I’ve come across the type of person who wrote that wildly inaccurate nonsense. When I was younger, I wanted to change the world, and when I met the kind of people I thought I wanted to meet, I was left gobsmacked at how cliquey, pretentious and snobby they were. Often middle class, who, like the Hipster, strive very hard to maintain the appearance of working class heritage, wouldn’t dream of hanging around with anyone working class.

    Now, I would put it them. Let’s say you live in a house share. And you discover that one of the tenants is paying their way. In fact they are paying for them. Fair enough, they MAY be willing to do this (doubtful given my experience of them).

    However, lets say one of those tenants has assaulted, or worse, raped, murdered another tenant. Wouldn’t they go to the landlord and demand them be evicted? Of course they would. Now imagine the landlord turned around and said “Actually, I’m going to hold you to your beliefs, and so no, we will not evict that tenant. Not only will we not evict them, but we are going to force you to continue paying for them, and if you bother me with this again, I will have YOU arrested and imprisoned for being “intolerant”.

    It’s easy to write the kind of crap on this blog. It’s easy to put up a picture of Hitler and use Godwins law. Not so easy for them to answer the above hypothetical situation, is it.

    Now, I ask you, if they wouldn’t put up with that tenant. Why should other people have to….

    • Oh dear, where to start?

      Firstly, you invoked Godwins Law, not me. The picture was made by a UKIP candidate, not me.

      Secondly, I don’t believe we’ve met so for you to make assumptions about my class and heritage speaks volumes for your requirement for evidence in forming your opinions.

      Finally, people who seek evidence based policy tend to work in facts not woefully leading analogy. So you’d do better to deal in the former if you seek any claim to credibility.

      • On the tenant issue the analogy is basically describing a double standard which I can sympathize with. The other stuff is not really required however.

        Secondly not everything is measureable in numbers but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. Birth rates, death rates etc can be given easily in numbers, but sometimes just someone being at a particular location in person and describing what they see is sufficient.

        It even happens in a court of law, its called a witness.

    • The reason why “they” would find it difficult to “answer the above hypothetical situation (sic)” is because firstly they would have to spend so much time trying to unravel what it means: there is no actual sensible beginning to your story, no understandable middle, and what the hell is the end all about..? I got lost around about, “Let’s say you live in a house share. And you discover that one of the tenants is paying their way…” Only one..?

      To put the cap on it, so to speak, I sense that your main objective is to disagree with the author of the piece, and state that you find Ukip’s policies and modus operandi to be much more to your liking than what we have currently. If so, WHY didn’t you just say that..?

      (Sorry that I jumped in in front of you, dear author, it just needed to be said – so I did…)

  6. Fantastic post which should be disseminated widely. However I feel the choice of header picture is poor as it implies you are celebrating physical harm. That probably isn’t the intent, but a pic of Farage looking gormless (of which there are many) might serve you better.

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  8. Obviously a very good piece and thanks.

    Clarification first : As a member of The Green Party I recognise that Respect and Plaid Cymru also have MPs and challenge the neoliberal consensus.

    What we are dealing with in terms of governments are psychopathic criminals. The EU play a part in that, they are neoliberal and anti democratic, riddled with corruption. It’s as well to recognise that the prime raison detre of UKIP is, of itself, not offensive or necessarily daft (whether one agrees or not)

    There is, in my opinion, sparse point going on and on about them being racist too much. Some clearly are, they are a pole of attraction for a far right in dissaray. But calling racists “racist” generally throws up the martyr smoke screen of “how dare you / closing down debate” and other such bollocks.

    There’s no need. For UKIP are a hoax in many other regards. Cheifly, they are beholden to failed right wing cult economics, the same (or worse) as the EU and the larger parties. Their whole schtick of being so different is utterly hollow, they are clearly more of the same.

    They do not believe in independence from the cult. They do not believe in independently run and public owned services like rail or energy (often owned by foreign corporations)

    They do not believe in UK food independence, with no credible plan for reducing our absurd and dangerous reliance on imports.

    They have a range of policies that have nothing to do with independence. e.g Independence from equal marriage? derp.

    It’s important to notice that they have been vitally boosted by endless press coverage. There was a time not so long ago when they and The Greens had similar kinds of opinion poll numbers. Why did the Greens not get as much coverage?

    One key factor must be that UKIP are reactionary, populist and rather shallow – 3 characteristics a national press who are the biggest bullies in the land, happy to spy on murdered children and imply that claiming benefits will make you set fire to a house full of your own kids.

    This is not too much of a grip though – I believe elected UKIP representitives deserve a chance to do the job with a blank sheet. I’m sure some, maybe many, will be good local councillors. Drains, planning, school placements and a whole range of other things with no connection to Europe are often screwed up by larger parties, I’ve no special fear of UKIP members handling them much worse.

    In short, the proof will be in the eating this time around. The BNP nearly always screwed up at this level, the chances are smaller that UKIP will, but not so small per se.

  9. UKIP are saying what mainstream British folk have been saying for years: P
    oliticians we elected you to do our will not us do your will. Wake up ye cretins all and heed thy peoples’ call!

    • UKIP are saying what the mainstream media has been telling mainstream British folk to say for years.

      That’s what you meant, right?

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  11. Can you please run as an MP. I am sadly unable to literally stand up for my community being unable to stand for more than ten minutes without severe pain. I have Chronic Pain syndrome and have been off work for 2 years now with a bleak foreseeable future. I agree with everything you have said in this piece as I do with practically all of your blogs and I would personally love to lead the country back in to the future. First thing I would do is sack the current government and collapse the house of lords. They can all get jobs in a call centre, next I guess I would do what the country want and have David Cameron hanged for Treason based on his blatant lies that have sunk our country deeper into a cesspool of Tory muck. Osborne would be strung up in a cage so that everyone can throw stuff at him and Iain Duncan Smith will be placed in a workfare programme or burned at the stake, whichever he chooses. ;)

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  13. In times of economic hardship it is easy for outsiders to be vilified. The influx of EU migrants hardly got a mention before 2008. It is important to put the blame for the current situation firmly where it belongs, with bankers and politicians. The migrant issue is a smokescreen for the lack of political will to deal with the real problems in our economy. The Financial transaction tax, for bankers, and dealing with huge corporate profits sent to tax havens would be a starting point. There needs to be a political party or organisation that can start addressing these issues. The general public are understandably sceptical about our politicians after expenses scandals, austerity, paedophile scandals in establishment figures close to politicians and seeking “an alternative”. UKIP has unfortunately filled this space in the absence of a REAL alternative. A new political party which actually addresses these issues would dwarf UKIP in popularity but would be a threat to the established parties who appear to be growing so close together it is difficult to distinguish tory, labour or liberal policies anymore.

  14. There is of course a lot of truth to this article, and I enjoy the author’s posting very much, BUT the Left must still accept that calling people ‘racist’ because they are not jumping for joy at mass immigration (which happens at the behest of Big Business, in order to lower the cost of labour) is fundamentally undemocratic and is one reason why any political grouping to the left of Labour is ignored by the vast majority. Mass immigration HAS put pressure on local services and housing (my doctors’ surgery is always half full with people from other countries – I don’t blame them but it does impact on services for people who have lived in the UK all their lives), it HAS put pressure on the lowest earners because immigrants will often accept any terms on offer a) because they are new to the country and b) because many do not plan to stay for a long time. Low wage workers here cannot be expected to subsist on zero hours contracts, on the minimum wage ‘competing’ with Eastern European migrants who will live 5 or 6 to a room in order to save money.

    Think Tanks can produce reports saying that immigration has not impacted on indigenous employment until they are blue in the face. Try living in the real political economy – excess labour ALWAYS brings down wages, try looking at the motivations of New Labour – so desperate to please Big Business – when they allowed this to start, try talking to low wage workers themselves.

    Let’s be honest with ourselves, the Left is almost entirely Middle Class now, and I would hazard that were the jobs of those Middle Classes under pressure from migration, we would hear a very different tune. Working Class people aren’t stupid; they may not use technical terms and abstract concept but they understand implicitly what is going on. They don’t go to SWP, or SP or Respect meetings for a reason. Those groups, arguing about Angels on Pin Heads, don’t speak to them or their issues.

    I lived in Poland for an academic year, and I was appalled at how difficult it was for me to access any kind of local service because I wasn’t Polish. The hypocrisy is staggering. So when I hear ‘leftists’ ranting about British xenophobia, I just switch off. We are an incredibly welcoming people, but that tolerance will be stretched to breaking point as living standards continue to be eroded.

    I’m disgusted that the ‘Left’ fails to examine ANY of this. Look at the abuse that was hurled at Milliband when he said people had a right to be concerned about immigration. When one sees that kind of reaction, one understands why the Right charges us with being the Thought Police. In case it’s escaped many on the Left’s attention, there is a thing called freedom of expression, and if the Left had all the answers we wouldn’t have had to suffer thirty odd years of Thatcherism.

    • I love living in a multi cultural society and I am all for immigration, I myself emigrated to America and lived there for over 10 years, but I am against open door immigration where anyone can move anywhere (in the EU) with no job to go to and can then claim benefits immediately. When I emigrated to America one of the stipulations was that my family would not claim anything from the American government, except free education for my children, for at least five years. I thought this was understandable and reasonable as no one should be able to take out of the system unless they have paid into that system, except for those unable to ever work due to sickness or disability of course. I welcome immigrants BUT only if they have jobs to come to and only if they are made to agree not to claim anything from this country until they have worked, full time, for a minimum of five years. This does not make me racist, I certainly am not, it makes me sensible and a thinking member of society. I want fairness for all and I want immigrants who are useful members of society to move here. It isn’t much to ask surely? And I would vote for the party that agrees with me, pay in or you can’t take out, I must add I would also make this a condition that British citizens had to adhere also when claiming benefits!

      • Simply saying “I am not a racist” does not cut it, I’m afraid.

        If resources are limited you quite naturally look for a reason.

        When you go looking for someone to blame you have a choice of whether you pick the filthy rich, for example, or the person who speaks with a funny accent or is, lets not mince words, black. You could reasonably create an argument that says: “the reason we can’t all have more benefits, more health care, more decent housing, more education is because the scoundrels in charge are taking from us our money (our work) to line their already bulging pockets”. Or you could say “it’s the immigrants’ fault”. Or, if you really don’t understand what I am talking about, substitute “Jew”.
        It frustrates me that people seem so blind to the historical context of rising racism (or antisemitism). When do parties like UKIP get the attention they crave? When do the tabloid papers fill with selected stories of immoral asians or benefit fraudsters ? When does the EEC get portrayed as a Franco-German plot against noble John Bull rather than a body controlling the free market? It is when people feel squeezed in times of downturn or depression. And did any of those cause the downturn? Did they hell!
        A racist is someone who decides that the salient characteristic about a person is their race (or country of origin) rather then something relevant, like whether they are an investment banker.
        So no: you can’t say “I am not a racist” when you evidently are a racist. And you can leave it to the rest of us to decide whether you are a “thinking member of society”.

      • “and then claim benefits immediately”

        you can’t just claim benefits immediately at all, you have to have worked in the country for 5 years first anyway

  15. very interesting to me a 50 year old student of the world situation out here in middle of the high desert…interesting and I share…Britain needs not worry as goes the US will go Britain…best allies. always will be so. (to the an worried of Britain’s declining military power…any problem Britain has is our problem too.

  16. This a very succinct, informative and incredibly well written piece. This should be read by everyone in the UK.

  17. I am sharing this article, because I think it says something that everyone, particularly those ‘converts’, who are voting for this party, needs to know. However, forgive me for saying, it would significantly enhance the credibility of this particular post, in a blog, which has produced some very good articles, if it were properly edited – several unnecessary typos and errors, which could so easily be eliminated. I apologise for having a go, but if you want to ensure the maximum chance of getting your point across, you don’t need mistyped words, often due to simply keyboard keying errors, interrupting the flow.

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