I know, I know…this has nothing to do with London toddlerness. But I live in London and I’m damned if my toddlers are going to grow up under the thumb of Farage. How will my poor son-of-Israel boy be able to wander Walthamstow if the Neo-Nazis are holding hate rallies outside Waltham Forest Town Hall? (And trust me, the Town Hall is the ideal base for a fascist party. It really lends itself to extremism)
But UKIP won’t get in the next election, will they? After all, they’re a pretty minority party still. True, the National Socialists were in the minority too, but this is 21st Century Britain and we don’t fall for the wholesome old “Kinder, Kirche, Kuche”, fresh air and exercise, fascism-is-your-friend routine do we? Oh, except that apparently UKIP are now a “major party” who will be allowed to take part in TV debates in the run up to the election, a privilege the poor Green Party have never been offered.
And that, to me, is the real danger. The media are letting Farage speak. And what he says is pretty darn ugly.
People diss political correctness, but it has moved our society on at an unprecedented rate. It was only 40 years ago that “Love Thy Neighbour” was prime-time telly – as Wikipedia describes it, it was about a “suburban white working class couple in Twickenham attempting to come to terms with having a black couple as next-door neighbours”. Attempting to come to terms with it. That’s brave of them. Political correctness isn’t about not calling coffee “black” or making children sing about rainbow sheep. It’s about not using language as a weapon against people who are in some superficial way different to you.
Of course, Farage is too clever to start spouting off about “darkies” and “poofters” but his rhetoric is consistently one of division and blame. Take his response to the horrific events in Paris, which apparently were the fault of “multiculturalism”. They weren’t. They were the work of people who were unhinged. And those, my friend, you get in even the most Aryan of cultures. But taking the opportunity to rile up anti-Muslim feeling is not only grossly inappropriate, but also hugely insensitive to the family of Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim police officer who was shot at point-blank range while begging for mercy. Yes, Muslims are victims of terror too. It pays to remember that sometimes. And I have little time for anyone who curses religion in general for these killings – but that’s a whole other subject. General rule of thumb – if God is telling you to kill a load of people, that probably makes you a psychopath rather than a zealot. Hope that helps.
But back to topic in hand. Farage has often tried to distance himself from the more extreme elements of his party – the ones who trivialise rape and blame gay marriage for the floods – but you have to wonder why these extremists are attracted to his party in the first place. Simple – encouraging division empowers the already-prejudiced. Do you have racist, homophobic or bigoted views that you’ve tried to repress throughout these achingly liberal times? Well, UKIP is here to give you license to express them. Giving views like this a platform in the media makes it once again acceptable to have these views. Does that explain why UKIP’s website says “No to Political Correctness – it stifles free speech”? They aren’t interested in free speech. They’re interested in rolling integration and acceptance back half a century.
And that naturally lends itself to the other policies on the website – increased immigration controls, making migrants “ pay into the pot before they take out of it” etc etc etc. It’s policy that’s been disproved time and time again – with stats on how British emigration balances European immigration, reports on how immigrant workers are basically propping up the NHS and good old anecdotal evidence how multiculturalism – especially in London – actually makes life more interesting. I bought some Turkish biscuits just yesterday. But UKIP were handed some gifts last year – the murder of Alice Gross by a Latvian immigrant with a criminal record (allegedly), the flights to Syria taken by radicalised schoolgirls – and all of this has whipped up hysteria that a canny politician can capitalise on.
He’s not proposing to round up all the immigrants and put them in concentration camps, along with the Jews and the Gays and the Communists but this constant repetition of “Them vs Us” is seeping into the public consciousness and that’s terrifying. It appeals to the nice, normal family-orientated people who worry about the state of the country. It appeals to the thugs who are baying for a fight. It appeals to the Jihadists who just need one more push to make them take revenge. Words are powerful. To go back to religion for a minute – what is that built on, if not words? And look at the sway that religion has. Don’t let Farage’s slogans become gospel.
I don’t have a solution to this country’s woes. If I did, I’d go into politics and make millions claiming back duck houses. But I don’t. All I know is that if anyone is offering an easy solution, you shouldn’t trust them. Farage will not fix this country. But he has the power to break it. And that is the danger of UKIP.