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UKIP - The Good, The Bad And The Dumb

Politics / UK Politics Mar 10, 2013 - 03:40 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


After recently beating the leading party in UK's shaky coalition government, the Conservative party (called 'the Tories' in the 18th century) in a by-election triumph, and making even more solid gains in opinion poll scores, the UKIP party headed by Nigel Farage is succeeding its strategy to woo Britain's "rejectionist voters". These are voters who reject all existing Me Too parties, what the UKIP calls the Lib-Con-Lab alliance of the Liberal, Conservative and Labour parties, which have almost identikit mix-and-mingle, one size fits all policies for mitigating national debt, relaunching the economy, accelerating European integration, fighting climate change, raising immigration, building multiculturalism - and taxing average persons and smaller companies into the grave.

Until recent weeks, politicians of the No Alternative Lib-Con-Lab alliance imagined the takeoff in UKIP votes was like the earlier BNP (British National Party) flirt with popularity but not power, which quickly ebbed out of the polls and off the front pages: the party's policies were fuzzy-edged, and the BNP's attempts to get votes in what it calls "the Celtic fringe", meaning Scotland, Wales and Ulster were a flop. In all cases, these have nationalist parties offering a change from faraway London and irrelevant England. Curiously however, the attraction of even further away Brussels and the Strasbourg talkshop parliament is relatively stong among the nationalist parties of the "Celtic fringe". Previous to the UKIP, the BNP also seemed a little too overtly racist for its almost exclusively English voters who often said to pollsters they would vote BNP, but at elections did not.

For the No Alternative alliance, the UKIP was a second coming of the BNP: a refuse tip for Tired Tory voters, disgruntled or frankly paranoid Little Englanders with big ideas about the small nation, but with no ideas on how to organize or pay for those big ideas. Farage has outsmarted those predictions, turning the UKIP into the new Liberal Democratic party of England. Today, even rigorously pro-government, pro-system media outlets rooting for all things which fit the mold of politically correct, such as 'The Guardian' newspaper and BBC journalists are forced to admit that if UKIP continues mobilizing the English anti-politics vote like it has so far, it could make very fast progress indeed. In the coming 2014 European elections the UKIP could score impressive victories - enabling it to send more delegates to the Strasbourg talkshop parliament of the European Union that it wants the UK to quit, the same talkshop that counts one BNP parliament member!

What social profiles in England are moved to vote UKIP, and before this English nationalist party, the BNP? The conventional pollster analysis is that people from socially deprived and less well educated backgrounds are typical voters. Moving on from this basis, voters tend to be insecure national citizens who feel left behind amid rapid and destabilizing change. Before 2010 or 2011, when the BNP was the focus of government-friendly media attention, with the intention of destroying it, the profile of BNP voters was presented as ‘angry white men’, above average age, below average education, economically insecure, working-class in a de-industrializing economy, living in deprived regions of England.

This slice of the voting population unsurprisingly feels their social positions, even their identities are under threat from immigration, unemployment and rising erosion of traditional national culture. Interestingly enough, the BNP, like the UKIP has had few problems wheeling onstage "second generation" English, of Muslim and African immigrant-origin who argue for a new-and-reasonable approach to immigration: that is reduce it to almost nothing.  Sociologists say the rationale of these new Defend England militants is that they were among the first arrivals who scooped the jackpot, but latecomer arrivals only generate bad feeling, morphing to racism, among the white majority.

Unlike the UKIP, polls in England through the period 2005-2010 many times proved that as many as seven-out-of-ten voters would never consider voting BNP. It was 'ultra minority', prone to hysteria, with a brand image that was utterly toxic. Other factors also undermined this slim voter base for the BNP, notably the decline of terrorism as a major or constant voter concern. In 2005, the UK's 7 /7 terror attacks (of 7 July) featured coordinated London bombings by supposed young Muslim immigrant-origin persons, called "home grown terrorists", which killed a total of 52 persons as well as the 4 suicide bombers, leaving no first-hand operatives to talk about the event. This attack was quickly, or very quickly used by then-prime minister Tony Blair at his Gleneagles summit, to prove the UK was "onboard in the global fight against terror".

Like its lookalike rejectionist allies across Europe, which count parties such as the Austrian Freedom Party or the Vlaams Belang in Belgium and Jobbik in Hungary, and France's Front National, all of which today still take 20% or more of votes cast in European parliament, national or local elections, the BNP, in England seemed set to surf on the back of "organized terror". At the peak of the BNP’s popularity, around 2005-2007, conditions seemed almost ideal for it to move higher: apart from "Muslim terror" the voter mass seemed concerned about the costs of European integration, political sleaze at home, and the loss of national identity due to successive waves of not only immigrants from outside Europe, but also immigrant jobseekers from "new eastern Europe" member states.

How quickly this fell apart for the BNP is shown by its score in the 2009 European parliament elections where it took about 6.5% of votes cast. Today, voter profiling for the UKIP shows than about 75% think immigration is a major crisis for England, compared with close to 90% for BNP sympathizers - but UKIP votes in the same 2009 European elections were already at 16.5% of all votes cast in the UK.

The inventors of "the European thing" only have themselves to blame: they created a now 754-seat parliament (to be whittled back to 732 under the Nice Treaty), with three main and different methods of voting used for electing members, but today at least 200 of its members are from "non-traditional" or minority parties. A large number of these are either totally hostile to European integration - or the exact opposite. Many of these parties or movements have little, or even no parliamentary representation at all in their supposed "home countries". Like the BNP, UKIP and similar "rejectionist" parties totally opposed to "the European thing" their main or only platform is the Strasbourg parliament!

Explaining how the European parliament is supposed to operate, what its 400 amendments discussed in a single peak year like 2006 do mean or could mean, is far beyond the capacities of many MEPs (members of the parliament), for one reason because of the constant, frenetic pace of reform. If they miss even a few sessions, they are way behind in the talkathon! To be sure, the politically correct press and media in Europe is 100% pro-European parliament, and does all it can to encourage the supposedly harmless democratic fun and frolic talkathons. The UK's 'Financial Times' uses prose such as this:

"The European parliament has flourished..... the directly elected MEPs, in spite of their multitude of ideological, national and historical allegiances, have started to coalesce as a serious and effective EU institution, (but) enlargement has greatly complicated negotiations inside both the Council and Commission".

As we know, the "ideological allegiance" of the BNP or UKIP in England is "reverse enlargement" that is to withdraw the UK from the EU, cease all contact with the European parliament, and strike down all European directives that were voted at the parliament before being semi-automatically transposed to English and Scottish law. The rejectionist parties say with some credibility that the European parliament has no power and no legitimity. But they send their MEPs to the Strasbourg talkshop, and its Brussels part-time offshoot parliamentary assembly or "second chamber", to thunder this news, but at home the voters either yawn - or rage!

The schizoid tendencies go a lot further. With constant nudging from the government-friendly media, the rejectionist parties feel obliged to be openly racist. In the British case this is pushed down to caricature-level by media nudging. It ends with Little Englanders being able to openly say they dont like the smell of chapatis, and prefer chip-butties, and have now found politicians who say it too. Real arguments against mass immigration in Europe are lost; why a continent with 29 million jobless citizens needs to import jobseekers from outside Europe is hard to fathom: Noblesse Oblige, perhaps.

Despite parties like the BNP and UKIP raging at what they call "deliberate dumbing down" by the mainstream pro-European parties, and their tame media, the rejectionist parties, themselves, feel obliged to dumb down. This is despite decades of dumbing down being the rule, not the exception in Europe and across the Western world. Telling voters they must face "Blood, sweat and tears", as the one-line answer to "What do we do about the economy?", is firstly Me Tooism, and secondly rampant dumbing down: but the rejectionist parties do this. Doing more would be too much effort.

Pushing the line that "aspirations are dangerous", at least today and in "the medium-term", has been a major overt and undercover theme of the BNP in England, that the UKIP is evidently avoiding. Promoting the social segment which is "non aspirational" carries real dangers: nobody looks to people from that background for inspiration. People from other backgrounds, out of snobbishness or any other reason, do not want to be associated with them.

Here, the storyline in the politically media homes in on the Nazi-Fascist scarecrow: the rejectionist parties, the media screams, sooner rather than later will "go Fascist". Showing the total, dumbed down ignorance of politically correct journalists and editorialists, they only need to show their readers a few photos of what happened to Benito Mussolini and his wife in April 1945. That was a very popular lynch mob event! Fascism, like Nazism were two highly-popular European political movements, with strong "rejectionist" tendencies, but they both bit the dust in royal style and were totally disavowed.

Media posing on the subject starts by asking why the English or British extreme right has "historically failed" to match the success of its "continental cousins". The poseur-journalists ignore the historical facts, or are too lazy to even make a five-minute Wikipedia check. They also ignore the economic reality of the 1929 crash and Great Depression, let alone the fact that Britain’s fight against, and defeat of European Fascist-Nazi regimes was above all popular from start to finish. Immediately after World War II, Britain moved as far socialist as any other European country, maybe further. The welfare state was above all social democrat - not Fascist, Nazi or extreme right.

Brtish extreme right, and even more so fascist-type parties, face so many headwinds their potential for breaking out of a "niche electorate" is tiny: every country has its national myths that create and draw on patriotic elements of its history, society and culture. The Roman Empire, for example, sent armed immigrants to the future Britain, but they were rejected; Norman French armed immigrants were finally able to integrate with the Brits, even producing distant offspring such as Nigel Farage of UKIP!

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2013 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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