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How to tackle UKIP (and austerity)

enoch powell & nigle farageUKIP is the Teflon party in these European elections. However disorganised and anarchic they are, with no policies except a visceral hatred of the EU and immigrants, however vile the racist and sexist views of so many of its representatives, a significant section of the British electorate are quite prepared to ignore all that because they are not voting for UKIP but rather against the political Establishment which they perceive as having utterly failed them.

Indeed the more the three main political parties gang up together in attacking UKIP, the more Farage revels in it as confirming his status as the anti-Establishment candidate. The way to destroy UKIP is for a political party to respond effectively and positively to the prevailing political mood sweeping Britain which, more than anything else, is anti-austerity. That is only reinforced by the fact that the elections in a week’s time highlight the perception of the EU under Merkel’s hegemony as burying the whole European region in austerity.

What the people of Britain, as well as of Europe, are crying out for is an alternative to endless austerity. With Osborne, Merkel and Valls now all committed to the same policies of carrying on with cuts to 2020 (and maybe well beyond), the one party that has the capacity to defenestrate UKIP is Labour, but only if it dramatically changes course from the widespread perception as peddling the same continuing cuts policy as the Tories. There is a perverse and preposterous view in some sections of the Labour leadership that what the British electorate wants is a Labour party that shows it can really take tough decisions, so so it should keep on turning the screw. That is nonsense. The truth is that the electorate is fed up with being endlessly squeezed by prolonged deprivation, especially when they are well aware that they are being made the fall-guy victims of the scandalous recklessness of the bankers, almost none of who have been punished.

The bankers caused the crash, and Osborne gratuitously extended the pain by a deliberate policy of austerity in order to shrink the State and squeeze the public sector out of existence as much as he could. This is a wide-open goal for Labour to exploit both to win the 2015 elections outright without coalition as well as to drain UKIP of what alone keeps it going – the scapegoating of others, the EU and immigration – when the fundamental fault really lies with ourselves and the destructive economic policies (an over-powerful financial sector, the hollowing out of our industrial base, the privatisation of everything and vilification of the State, and a grotesque rich-poor divide) which have brought Britain low. Is Labour up to kicking the ball through an open goal?

2 Comments

  1. Zenobia van Dongen says:

    Years ago the British left embarked on an alliance with radical Muslims, in the expectation that this gambit would lead to electoral success. We have now trodden that path long enough to ascertain the results of this policy of alliances. One of the outcomes has been the flourishing of a right-wing, neoliberal and anti-environmental party, UKIP, largely on the strength of its opposition to militant Islam.

    Perhaps the time has now come for the Left to reconsider its attitude toward militant Islam.
    In order to elude sterile quibble, I must point out that when leftists say “alliance with Islam” what they really MEAN is “alliance with salafists and jihadis”.

    The British Left snubs moderate and secular Muslims because they are unorganised, and seeks the favour of Islamists because they are well-organised and committed. But committed to what? Certainly not committed to an egalitarian, democratic, free and harmonious society.

    Instead the utopia that floats before the eyes of these worthies is that of a society rigidly divided into separate castes, where unconditional and unjustified orders emanate from the representatives of an all-powerful but totally fictitious being. Now we see the results of this unprincipled and opportunistic policy. It’s the Hitler-Stalin pact all over again … but this time as farce.

  2. ShirleyKnott says:

    What has happened to BlueCollarBritons in Tory Austerity Britain? Frankly, the lowest end of our society has been forced to bear the brunt of the Conservative ‘austerity’ policies – those who caused the situation, the elites who crashed the economy, are living as high on the hog as ever. Labour’s (so far) failure to address this in terms of its manifesto for the future governance is the problem. BlueCollarBriton feels disenfranchised and betrayed, so the ‘divide and rule’ tactics of pitting us against the EU migrants (please note, there does not seem to have been increased racism against BME Britons from their white counterparts, this is anger and dismay about wide open doors to the EU – and the apparent ‘fashion’ for employing the newcomers rather than our – *all* our – kids) have pushed such people towards the Farage’s of the country. For over a decade, we’ve been hearing about jobs advertised only abroad, or the blatherati in our newspapers bragging about their Polish/whatever tradesmen, the Lithuanian domestic help, etc. What does this mean to us, those in the regions who would have traveled to the South East in times past, and lodged during the week, going home at weekends? What does this mean to the kids who might have been the nannies a couple of decades ago? What does this mean when a business in the SE relies on immigrant labour, when it might have seen fit to relocate in the past? What does this mean to London’s BME population, those who are British, whose kids have a helluva time trying to get jobs, whose rate of unemployment is much higher than average? It was getting bad under Blair/Brown, but hasn’t improved under Cam&Clegg. It is an issue that must be addressed, as must the so-called ‘austerity’ that seems only to affect the least well off. I hope Labour will.

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