Nick Lowles' blog

Opposing UKIP, we could but should we?

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 9 May 2013, 11:45

Last Thursday the British political landscape changed. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) eclipsed the BNP as the principle depository for right wing votes in this country. They polled 25% of all votes cast, gained 139 news councillors and came second in hundreds more.

UKIP is clearly not a fascist party and Nigel Farage is quite clearly not Nick Griffin. However, UKIP does taps into an English nationalism and xenophobia that was once mined by Enoch Powell. While the party is best known for its opposition to the European Union research shows that it is hostility to immigration and even multiculturalism that is driving its supporters.

Their vision of Britain is something quite different from ours, but is that enough for us to oppose them?

How can we really celebrate the decline of the BNP when UKIP run such strong anti-immigrant campaigns? How can we sit by when UKIP candidates are caught giving nazi salutes and blame Jews for the Holocaust? How can we not respond when some local UKIP leaflets which are worse than those put out by the BNP? Should we forget that the EDL leader recommended people vote UKIP?

I'm not sure we can. And I don't think you can either. When we asked you back in March what we should do, an astonishing 1,800 replied, of which almost 70% said we focus more on UKIP.

Whether you live in an area with a UKIP councillor or somewhere they are not currently active, we want to talk to you. Once we see who is interested then we will organise our meetings accordingly.

UKIP is not the BNP and we cannot deal with them in the same way. But they are adopting an increasingly anti-immigrant stance and the party seems to be becoming a home for hardline racists, fascists and antisemites.

Do we take them on or ignore them? Do we just put them under the same scrutiny as we have the BNP or do we simple create a positive anti-racist campaign that challenges their anti-immigrant rhetoric and offers an alternative set of values?

If you have any views on this then please register your interest in joining one of our discussions.

Over the next two months we are planning to hold dozens of meetings across the country to discuss our options. Sign up if you are interested in being part of our discussions.

Whether you live in an area with a UKIP councillor or somewhere they are not currently active, we want to talk to you. Once we see who is interested then we will organise our meetings accordingly.

 Posted: 9 May 2013 | There are 11 comments


Comment 1 | From: Leo H | Date: 9 May 2013, 12:01

UKIP are working to control racist/fascist elements. They should not be a target. It is lazy thinking to bundle them in with fascists.

Comment 2 | From: mark beaumont | Date: 9 May 2013, 12:48

The evidence that Ukip is unlike the BNP is getting tthinner and thinner. When in 2009 Ukip came second in the Euro Elections our horror was rightly focused on the two BNP Now with more racist Ukip leaflets and with the BNP deplweted. I thonk we shoyld deal with them in a cery similar way. And educate where Ukip hqve a strong supporrt.

Comment 3 | From: Ananda | Date: 9 May 2013, 13:28

100% agree with Leo. You have to be smart about the way you do this. By all means oppose individual racists who are trying to infiltrate UKIP. But don't run a campaign that tries to smear all UKIPers as racist. Such a campaign would be blatantly untrue and would just drive a wedge between ethnic minorities and non-racist UKIP supporters. Such a strategy would backfire enormously and allow the far-right to lay the victim card. Opposing UKIP carte blanche might please some people on the political far left but it won't actually help the cause of creating a colour-blind society. There is no more need to oppose UKIP as a holistic entity than there is to oppose the SNP as an entity - focus instead on rooting out individual Nazi infiltrators.

Comment 4 | From: Batman | Date: 9 May 2013, 15:16

Agree with Leo and Ananda. Out genuine UKIP racists, but do not go down the road of opposing UKIP. You will simply alienate an awful lot of people who would otherwise be sympathetic to your mesage. If you do go after UKIP, why stop there? The Conservatives play the immigration / race card. Are you going to go after them too?

Comment 5 | From: Mark Dragilocevic | Date: 9 May 2013, 18:03

Hope not Hate must be getting desperate when the ridiculous idea of opposing UKIP is clearly being seriously considered. Rather than campaign against a democratic party's right to exist, HNH should instead tackle the causes of xenophobia instead. It's all too easy to shout "fascist" without addressing why immigration continues to concern voters.

Comment 6 | From: Joan Lockwood | Date: 10 May 2013, 02:42

This is from a distant perspective: I’m a Yorkshire woman of 68, and have lived in Queensland Australia for 34 years, having left the UK the year Thatcher was elected (NOT a coincidence). I was a member of a group that successfully defeated a racist MP, Pauline Hanson – she never again achieved electoral victory. I do know that not all her supporters were racist: some were decent people shaken by changes to our society caused by immigration. Strangely enough, many were negative towards Aborigines, the only people here not of immigrant stock, but again, they were shaken by negative press reports about aboriginal crime. We have our own right wing press, topped by the dreadful Murdoch. One problem we did have, was getting non-white immigrants to work with us – they preferred, understandably, to keep a low profile, but when they did join us, they were a terrific help. Quite a few Aborigines were with us, and I learned an awful lot from them. For instance, there is an outback town were Afghans, Aborigines and European Australians have lived in harmony for generations. Few people know about this place. Finally, joining the fight had an effect that I never guessed: my son is now engaged to a Cantonese/Vietnamese/Australian woman: she is beautiful, clever, hardworking and a terrific, kind person. She has no doubts about being fully accepted into our family as she knows that we and her fiancé, our son, were all active in antiracism long before we met her. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Here are my ideas, though I’m pretty sure you have all these same ideas already. You should get as many people of diverse ethnicity into the group as possible – I hope you find it easier than we did. I think you have to address the fears of UKIP voters, while spelling out the appalling effects a UKIP led government would cause. I don’t think any of them have thought through what they wish for. For instance, on the micro level, the fear of a Muslim family moving in next door is ridiculous – they are far more likely to be quiet neighbours than anyone. But a BNP family moving in next door would be far more likely to cause noise and trouble. On the macro level, an isolationist government would cause economic disaster, through a collapse in trade and investment . The fear of their children going to a multi-ethnic school is unfounded. Better to let their children pick up other languages if possible, as bi or multilingualism has a positive effect on brain function. If I had small children again, I would want someone from a different language to be their day care provider, and let them pick up the language. Write and perform a play, preferably a comedy, showing immigrants in a positive light. It is easier than you think writing a play – I’ve done one myself, though not on this subject. Draw from Willie Russell. In fact try to recruit him!!! When interacting with UKIP people, don’t be too earnest. Share a laugh and find common ground, then slip in a few doubts. After all, they have chosen UKIP over BNP, presumably because they are too decent for the BNP. Our common ground is that we all want a better future, better working conditions, our kids to afford to buy a house etc. Immigration creates more jobs than it takes, usually: find the stats, print them out, shout them from the rooftops, ‘cos the right wing press won’t ! Same with public housing – find the stats, and prove that locals are not sleeping rough because immigrants have got ‘their’ council houses. Get the stats on welfare recipients and debunk the Daily Mail rubbish. Don’t spout left-wing rhetoric or religion when talking to people: I’m an atheist and a leftie myself, but I try to engage with people of all political views and beliefs, because my own views don’t matter. I was once talking to a young lass at work, brought up by racist parents and spouting hate rhetoric about Asian immigration. In a friendly, non-judgmental was, I asked her what she would like to see done. She said they should be deported. I pointed out that they would not want to go. She said they should be forced. I then painted a word picture of how forced deportations would work, drawing on my extensive reading of the Holocaust. She went quiet and tearful. The subject was never mentioned again. I have enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned with you, and hope it is of help. Joan

Comment 7 | From: B31 Antifascist | Date: 10 May 2013, 08:51

Remember just who UKIP chooses to sit with in Europe. Nazis. Mr.Farage would learn so much about his own party from looking at some of HnH's exposes into their members' activities, which is why we need to continue to highlight racism and other hatred within UKIP. Also remember that many of their friends in the EDL will now attempt to infiltrate UKIP as a political outlet for its violent antics whether Mr.Farage likes it or not (he's a libertarian so chances are his opposition will be nothing but lip service), and that at the end of the day the populist right rule by what is rumoured and not what is known. EDUCATE!!!

Comment 8 | From: Lilian Black | Date: 11 May 2013, 08:04

If we allow UKIP anti-immigration rhetoric to become 'normalised' then we have not learned the lessons of the Holocaust. We are a nation of 'immigrants'- who does not have 'foreign' roots on this island. Having just received their leaflet targeting Bulgarians and Romanians I believe we must act now and not later.It is a long slippery slope............

Comment 9 | From: john murray | Date: 16 May 2013, 11:35 For those claiming that UKIP is racist because of the actions of the few, you are NO better than those claiming all Muslims are bad because of the actions of the few. If you're going to stigmatise and challenge circa 18% of the electorate as being racist because they support UKIPs policies, then you'll find it has the opposite effect of what you're trying to achieve (which in my opinion is political anyway). Anyway, unlike Labour (who have ex-BNP members) and the Tories and Libdems (who stand by their anti-semites), UKIP does not.

Comment 10 | From: Philip Cole | Date: 21 May 2013, 06:41

I speak as an Englishman who legally emigrated to Australia many years ago, jumping thru the many required hoops, and who has recently returned to the UK. Australia has unquestionable benefited from being a multi-cultural society. However, I feel it is not only the right, but the responsibility, of ANY country, to regulate immigration to its shores, and to deeply consider the impact it will have on the people already living there. (Some Aboriginal Australians have strong views on this!) It is not racist to strictly regulate immigration unless some applicants are rejected, and others accepted, on the basis of their race (I don't think UKip are proposing this?). Of course, UKip will attract right wing nutters as these nutters have nowhere else to go. Farage will have a challenge dealing with them (my old university supervisor used to teach a course of the history of nazism, and you should see some of the nutters that course attracted! In the meantime, many men and women in the street have concerns about the level of immigation and are drawn to policitical groups that are sympathetic Not all of their concerns are unjustified, and they are entitled to have them intelegently addressed, rather than be condemned by default, as racist

Comment 11 | From: D. E Mocracy | Date: 24 May 2013, 16:35

Australia, the US and Canada all have strict immigration policies. For years, people in the UK have said these countries are sensible and we should do the same. The minute a party comes along who says they want to put stricter controls on immigration (like Australia), you call them xenophobic and racist!? I just don't get it. I've never heard UKIP talk about skin colour, race or religion once. The only people talking about that are you guys. Decent honest people have stood as UKIP candidates and many have been elected. UKIP state they are libertarians - There are black, white, gay, straight candidates/councillors with various religious beliefs, who have stood/been elected because they feel the UK should have an EU referendum, re-negotiate its relationship with the EU and have proper border controls, for very simple ECONOMIC reasons. To go out and campaign deliberately against UKIP, whilst ignoring the likes of BNP & EDL, contradicts your cause and would be a huge disservice to decent honest people - regardless of race, colour or creed - who want the best for this country. It would be stifling democracy and would be a direct attack on 23% of the population who voted UKIP. When the welfare bill is bursting at the seams, the NHS is buckling under strain, and there is a massive shortage of jobs and housing, being worried about open door immigration is not racist - it's common sense. Is Australia, the US or Canada racist? Simple economics should not be confused with racism and it's about time UKIP were represented fairly. They are the only party that bans ex members of BNP and EDL from joining - it's there to see in all of their party material. They've also suspended a few rogue candidates who slipped through the net - no different to any other party, but what more can they do? Labour has sitting councillors who were BNP members and none of the other 3 parties have the same policy as UKIP. This, in my mind makes UKIP better. To the "Hope not Hate" campaign, open your eyes to what's happening - look at your sponsors. I would say do not be sucked in by the "party loyal" press, media and other politicians who are running around so desperately that they have engaged you to manipulate the public, to help them hold on to power by quashing a rising democratic party which threatens them. The racist stuff is unfounded. Allowing yourselves to become "government puppets", attacking the public and detracting from the real hate issues, will result in you losing public support. Resorting to lies or overly contrived stories to prevent a democracy is everything "Hope not Hate" would campaign against. Many good, honest, ordinary people who are disaffected with the main 3 parties have put themselves forward to stand for UKIP in order to bring the power back to the people - to attack them would be to attack your own.

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