Yes, it’s another one of those anti-UKIP blog posts telling you all the same stuff again. No doubt it’ll either be ignored (written, as it is, on a blog which has fewer readers than the Lib Dems now have voters), ridiculed or the subject of a police complaint.
I want to start with a bit of background, though. If there’s one thing UKIP are good at it is pointing the finger at it critics and saying that they are clearly art of the “liberal elite establishment” and are “out of touch with the British public” (or if, like me, they live in Scotland, they are “dangerous Scottish nationalists”).
Here’s why I am none of those things.
I was born in an RAF hospital in, what was then, West Germany, to parents who both proudly served with the RAF (and I am also proud of them for doing so). From the ages of 2-11 I lived in East Tilbury, a small town in the parliamentary constituency of Thurrock, one of UKIP’s main targets and the place they chose to launch their manifesto. My parents did rather well during the Thatcher era and even took advantage of her right to buy scheme with the council house we lived in. I went to a boys’ grammar school, something UKIP are keen to bring back into the education system.
When I was 11 we moved to West Malling, in another UKIP target seat, Tonbridge and Malling. I moved on to a higher education college (which is now a university) in Canterbury where I met the woman I would marry and have three children with. Through her I also became another type of person UKIP rather like, a Christian.
Myself and my wife have worked hard through the years to raise a family and pay the bills. My longest period of unemployment in over 20 years is a week and I have had jobs such as washing dishes in a hotel kitchen, working in various shops, lab technician on an inland oilfield, trainee estate agent (I was awful) and have found my place now as a customer service coach at a wealth management company. I have worked some horrible jobs rather than go unemployed and have spent the last 12 years in the financial services industry, an industry Nigel Farage knows all about.
I, too, am thoroughly disaffected by the main three parties and, after being a Labour and Lib Dem member earlier in my life, have recently joined a party on the fringes, away from the establishment. The Scottish Greens. Yes, they campaigned for a yes vote in the independence referendum, but I didn’t. I have no strong views one way or the other on the matter and, being English, am certainly not a nationalist.
I now live, obviously in Scotland. Specifically, I live in UKIP’s main target north of the border, Falkirk, frequented by their larger than life MEP David Coburn.
The point of all of that life history? Well, it’s my way of saying that not only am I not a member of any liberal elite establishment, not only am I not totally out of touch with working people in Britain (with me being one), but I am virtually UKIP’s target audience. I’ve lived most of my life in three of their target seats, have worked hard all my life, I am a Christian and I am proud of my family’s ties to the armed forces.
Yet, I totally oppose almost everything they stand for.
You see, they say they are standing up for the working man and woman, but many of their leadership are from that same elite that they claim to oppose.
They have valid arguments about the EU. It is full of petty bureaucracy and unelected decision makers. However, it has also been a force for peace in a post WWII world, it has opened up trade between EU countries and the chance for all EU citizens, including Britons, to seek new opportunities in other countries. The EU badly needs to change, but to leave it rather than be central to its improvement is horrible short sighted and insular.
They say that they stand for Christian values, yet seem to be very muddled on what those values are. They talk about fighting people trafficking by, you’ve guessed it, leaving the EU. They talk about putting advisers into foodbanks with no clear strategy on actually ending the need for foodbanks. They talk about freedom to worship, yet I manage along to Church once or more a week totally unhindered (unlike millions around the world). They talk about breaking a dependency on benefits without addressing the issue of those who will always be dependent on them through no fault of their own.
Most importantly, for a party who claims to be proud of our Judeo-Christian heritage, they don’t speak of the one thing Jesus put at the heart of his teachings. The one thing Paul tells is is the most important gift. Love.
UKIP’s success is not built on love. It is not built on moving forward together, for the common good. It is not built on looking out for the weakest in society. It is not built on one body, working together for a common aim. No, their success is built on fear and hatred.
Their argument on the EU is concentrated on immigration. This is a cause for concern for many, but it’s been greatly caused by the type of rhetoric and language used by UKIP in their campaigning. They talk about immigrants coming over for benefits, despite migrants claiming less in benefits per head than UK citizens. They talk about health tourism, something there is no evidence for. They talk about a strain on public services, services their taxes go towards paying for. They put up posters with fingers pointing at you, telling you that migrants are after your job. They claim to have nothing against migrants themselves, but attract people to the party who want to “send them all home”. Fear of the unknown, tribalism and xenophobia are the staple of UKIP’s tactics.
They find different groups and demonise them, attack them, ridicule them, tell anyone who’ll listen that they are the enemy, the cause of all our ills. Migrants (especially Eastern Europeans), lefties, the BBC, the EU, asylum seekers, Muslims, Scotland (especially the SNP), Greens, pollsters are all out to curb our freedoms, steal our money, shut down debate. Only UKIP can save us!
Divide and conquer. It’s worked well for many and now UKIP are taking advantage. All the while they act as the plucky outsiders, anti-establishment figures (run by ex bankers and ex Tories, and bankrolled by the likes of news magnate and pornographer Richard Desmond) who are scorned by all. They complain, formally, about any slight, bullying people and organisations into compliance. It’s frightening.
I agree with them on the odd point; scrapping the bedroom tax and bringing in voting reform are good policies. However, their fearmongering, paranoia, neo-liberal, xenophobic, insular, populist, empty policies and language are a genuine danger to this country. They are not for the working person, they are for themselves; they are not Christian, they are cynical impostors; they are not patriotic, they are separatist and elitist. And they must be stopped.
Please, whoever you vote for next week, listen to this plea from a man who UKIP see as their type of person (except the whole leftie thin get); don’t make it UKIP. For all their promises and patriotic words they will tear this country apart. Don’t let them.