Archive for May, 2014

UKIP: 21st Century Brownshirts? Or the voice of common-sense?

27 May


Tory at school, commodity broker, professional politician pretending to be ordinary

Tory at school, commodity broker, professional politician pretending to be ordinary

(Brownshirts, obviously)

I haven’t written a blog for months (busy with a new job and getting up to speed with the fragmented, demoralised, under-funded labyrinth called ‘the NHS’) but delivering election leaflets in Witney, followed by a few chilled out days with friends in Spain and a fresh eye to cast over matters political has stimulated the brain.

Apologies in advance for the ranting which will inevitably follow…

I’m going to offer much-needed perspective about UKIP’s success and point the finger of blame at those cretins who have encouraged and nurtured them; contextualise the electoral success of the far right across the continent; and offer up a few whimsical ideas aimed at those other people aspiring to live in a better world- you know, rather than one the mired in the politics of hate and neo-liberal despair which the chattering classes favour?

So, terrible results for Labour, eh?

‘Only’ gaining 330+ new councillors, winning more than half the council seats that were up for grabs, controlling 12 councils they didn’t before, winning control in places they need to if we’re to win the 2015 General Election, like Cambridge, Croydon, Harrow, Crawley, Merton……………hang on.

Wasn’t this a bad night for Labour and Mr Miliband?

Didn’t I hear the highly impartial and scrupulously objective BBC tell me so?

This, sadly, is becoming a thorn in my paw. Yes, the BBC unflinchingly parrots the Establishment line and yes, that means it is profoundly reactionary. But how is it OK for the national broadcaster to act as cheerleader for a fringe far right party with not a single MP to its name and not a single council under its control?

Waking up in Cancelada last Friday morning was instructive: UKIP earthquake, politics will never be the same again… Sandra, Mary and I looked quizzically at each other listening to BBC Radio 4.

How bad could it be? As it turns out, not remotely as bad as Auntie Beeb said it was.

Here are a few facts. You may not recognise them and for that I can only apologise. Ask yourself why you haven’t heard them from the BBC or the Tory press.

UKIP won fewer seats than the utterly discredited Liberal Democrats: in 2013, UKIP’s local council vote was 22%: this year it was 17%. They got only 7% of the vote in London.

Of the 243 seats contested in Manchester, Liverpool and Preston, UKIP won none.

Of the 219 contested in Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland, UKIP won zero.

Zilch, nada, zip, f*ck all.

In the West Midlands cities (Brum, Coventry and Wolverhampton), 224 seats were contested, UKIP won one.

Earthquake my arse.

The Green Party has an MP, controls Brighton & Hove Council and has numerous councillors. The UKIP has no MPs, controls nothing and also has numerous councillors. Feel free to explain to me why one gets ignored and the other treated like royalty?

Anything to do with one being on the left and the other on the far right?

One challenging the insanity of modern capitalism and the other fearlessly standing up for landowners, bankers and bad employers?

I promised some finger-pointing, and here it is. UKIP is the Frankenstein creation of the toxic, morally bankrupt media that this country is unfortunate enough to have, the wart on the end of our national nose.

Not just the low-rent, low-brow hate-mongering of Sun, Star, Mail and Express, but j’accuse the leader writers and columnists of the Times, Telegraph and the Spectator: D’Ancona, Oborne, Hitchens, Phillips, Kavanagh, Littlejohn, … are responsible.

It is you who created the space for UKIP. Your 24/7 dialogue about immigrants, scroungers, Brussels bureaucrats and ‘red tape’, gave them a moral cloak. You opened the space for them to grow and flourish. You enabled the xenophobia. You lied about the European Union being some sort of Marxist plot, you pressurised the BBC via your tame politicians, you wrote all those cheeky chappie pieces about Nigel Farage, and you either ignored or trivialised the racism, the hatred of Islam, the homophobia…UKIP is your baby.

I’ll deal with the growth of other far right parties across Europe, the questions that raises for the Left and ask what the EU is for, another time.

For now, I’ll just sit back and remind myself not only that UKIP is a fringe party, but that the struggle against the politics of hate, whether it be dressed as fascism, racism or so-called populism has been waged since the 1920s and still goes on.

Hasta la victoria siempre, as a young Argentine doctor once said.

Stephen Smith: writer

Rants, rambles and other assorted thoughts

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