“Our true nationality is mankind.” ― H.G. Wells
UKIP is thrown around everywhere at the moment, what with their apparent emergence as a third party. Many oppose the party on the basis that they are racist placing them in the same category as the British National Party (BNP).But before we address the controversies surrounding the party we must first ask what the party is. UKIP stands for ‘UK Independence Party’, on their website they state that ‘‘UKIP is a patriotic party that believes in putting Britain first. Only UKIP will give the power to the British people to regain self-government’’. UKIP are insistent that they are not a racist party, but that they wish to leave the European Union on the basis that it is detrimental to the UK as a whole. Whether or not UKIP is racist does not have a simple yes or no answer, but in exploring their aims, I shall attempt to paint a clearer picture of the party.
I have only selected two of their aims to focus on in this article as they are rather extensive. “Restoring Self Government & Democracy” is their first aim. UKIP supporters believe that in joining and remaining in the EU then sovereignity and independence is undermined as the UK Government have to answer to the EU.UKIP claim that we are unable to vote for the law makers of the EU, implying that they are unaccountable and possibly an illegitimate source of authority. It appears that this a modification of the truth as European Parliament elections do take place, in which everybody who is eligible to vote-British citizens over the age of 18 can take part in these elections. Whilst input into the EU is minimised as it is distributed between 27 countries it does still exist. Another suggestion UKIP make is a referendum on whether or not to remain in the EU, voter turnout in 2010 was 65.1% across the UK, meaning that almost a third of people did not vote. Whilst voting is not compulsory it is highly possible that a referendum would not be an accurate representation of the UK’s opinion, which significantly devalues it.
One of the reasons that UKIP are perceived to be racist is the perception that they seem to hold of the UK as being ‘white’. Multiculturalism is an unavoidable element of today’s modern society; it encourages tolerance and encourages the education of those who would not otherwise be educated. UKIP however call to “Protect Our Borders & Defend Our Country”-the question is not whether it is right to protect borders, of course the borders of the UK and any country for that matter should be protected. Although it is more the use of ‘our’ that is questionable, it suggests that the country belongs to a certain group of people and that it should not have to be shared with anyone else. Such inflammatory ideas are often what feeds the perception of UKIP as a racist party. Whilst they state that job opportunities and wages have decreased as a result of EU immigration, they fail to acknowledge that the UK economy largely depends on such labour to survive. Such job opportunities often remain opportunities as people in the UK do not wish to undertake those jobs. In addition UKIP requests that immigrants must be fluent in English with a certain standard of education and be financially independent. Again they fail to address the fact of the number of Britons who move abroad every year, a popular location being Spain without being able to speak the language. This is a problem, without even touching on the issue of asylum seekers. In viewing other cultures as a threat it is limiting and will only have a negative impact in the long run.
Whilst UKIP may not be an inherently racist party, it is clear that they have some racist perceptions. Multiculturalism is a part of 21st century life and should be embraced, by improving links and relations between countries and cultures then society can only serve to be enhanced. Political correctness is a part of today’s world and so it should be, freedom of speech is widely practised in the UK, but when such rights are taken for granted, abusing the freedom and safety of others it becomes a problem. Multiculturalism is a part of daily life and with that should come tolerance and sensitivity too. UKIP may not be racist but they are certainly not ‘equalist’.I’ll leave you with a question on possession. Who does the country belong to? Surely it belongs to those who live there and those who contribute positively to a society should have a right to become and remain a part of it. On this I think UKIP would disagree, does this make the party racist? Well that’s a question without a simple answer that I’ll leave you to decide.
*All information sourced from the UKIP website.
BY: Yasmin Levy-Miller