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?
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.
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.
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”.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.