I do worry that members of my family will vote for the stridently anti-immigrant Ukip tomorrow, despite the fact that my girlfriend is an immigrant. Even if they did, I know this doesn’t mean they dislike like my girlfriend or want her to leave the country. I know they like her a lot, just as they like all the other immigrants they are friends with.
But I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people I know, like many others across the country (such as Ukip’s leader, Nigel Farage, who loves his German wife despite claiming he feels “uncomfortable” in the presence of other foreign-speaking people), have blindly accepted this vague idea that there are ‘good’ immigrants and ‘bad’ immigrants.
This sounds like “common sense”. But I’ve always found it strange that the good immigrants happen to be those we know in real life while the bad immigrants are those we don’t.
“90% of White and minority residents feel that their local area is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together” – Policy Exchange, A Portrait of Modern Britain
Ukip love sharing their fear of the bad immigrants – faceless, nameless foreign villains threatening our very lives. It sure is effective. It’s certainly got me worried as this is pretty much the textbook definition of racist propaganda.
And yet, there’s been a weird reluctance to call Ukip out for being racist.
Well, Farage’s supporters claim to like ‘plain-speaking’, so hopefully they’ll appreciate this:
Ukip is racist party. Its representatives are small-minded, mean-spirited bigots and Nigel Farage is the worst of them all as he puts the most effort into hiding his true colours – presumably because he’s well aware how repellant people will find his undisguised, racist self.
Are all Ukip voters racist? I have no doubt a great many are. But most, perhaps, are simply being manipulated by the same cynical tactics used throughout history by racists, nationalists and fascists the world over in pursuit of power.
When society is experiencing rapid change and times are hard, people worry about the future. They look to politicians for answers they can understand.
Respectable politicians respond to this by attempting to unify and motivate.
Racist politicians divide and scare.
Ukip’s answer to all our problems (real or imagined) is to blame the nasty immigrants. This is racial scapegoating. This is fostering fear and distrust of a group of people, claiming that some outside force threatens our way of life and that only by removing this threat will things get better.
This is nakedly, shamelessly racist.
And this is the only answer they give. Education, health, unemployment, housing. Everything’s the fault of the immigrants. Get rid of the immigrants, get rid of the problem.
What’s even more revealing is that this ‘answer’ has been proven completely wrong time and time again. But that’s not important to Ukip because they are racist. They invent or corrupt facts to fit their racist beliefs. That’s what racists do. It’s a pretty fucking massive clue that they are, indeed, racist.
But they are getting away with it, because Nigel Farage isn’t saying he wouldn’t want to live next door to a group of Irish, Jews, Jamaicans, or Pakistanis.
He’s saying Romanians and that is somehow more acceptable.
“The paradox of racism is that at any given moment, the racism of the day seems reasonable and very possibly true, but the racism of the past always seems so ridiculous.” – Andrew Gelman, Slate
I’m sure Ukip will get a lot of support in tomorrow’s elections. I’m less sure how many people voting for them are truly aware that they’re voting for a party of racists.