The recent LBC interview with Nick Farage, described and coined as the ‘car crash’ interview with radio presenter, James O’Brien successfully drew apart the threads of the Ukip leader’s argument and policy, revealing the crucial racial implications to the listener. It ended with the party’s director of communications trying to halt the exchange.

‘You know what the difference is’

O’Brian summed up the issue of Farage’s comments on saying that people would not want to live next door to Romanians by explaining his inability to understand why, ‘you use words like Romanian when describing who you would and would not want to live next door to, I don’t understand why you’re uncomfortable listening to foreign languages when your own wife and children speak them, and I don’t understand why you talk about problems in primary schools that are caused by children like your own.’

Exposing the hypocrisy of Farage’s own statements, one crucial point in the interview occurred when discussing the difference between Germans and Romanians. O’Brian asked Farage what about if a group of German children moved in: ‘what’s the difference?’ In response, Farage stated that: ‘you know what the difference is…We want an immigration system based on controlling not only quantity but quality as well.’ This was an uncomfortable response, which surely questions the validity of Farage’s assurance that his party is not a racist one, as such a sentence clearly comments on the differing quality between Romanian and German people. Farage’s discussion of how the ‘open door’ to immigration has been an open invitation to traffickers further raised a fair point from O’Brian: ‘I asked you a question about Romanians and you started talking about people traffickers.’

O’Brian picked up on a number of questionable comments Farage has made, including his comment of feeling awkward on a train when other passengers were not speaking English, despite the fact that his wife and daughters speak German.  He further quizzed him on the two stories involving Ukip candidates: the party’s small business spokesman, Amjad Bashir, who confirmed that four workers at his family’s curry house in Manchester were arrested for immigration offences, and council candidate John Lyndon Sullivan, who apparently posted on Facebook: ‘I rather often wonder if we shot one ‘poofter’ (LGBT whatever) whether the next 99 would decide on balance, that they weren’t after-all?’ He then continued to say ‘We might then conclude that it’s not a matter of genetics but rather more a matter of education.’ Farage hit back with a complaint that there is never a conversation about the idiots in the Labour party and O’Brien’s response is that people aren’t worried that the Conservative party or the Labour party are spreading racist propaganda, ‘there is simply not the avalanche of bigotry emerging from other parties that emerges from yours.’

It is right to consider that the Ukip party has made some shocking statements. These ‘idiots’ that Farage notes them as, for example include, William Henwood, a Ukip candidate that called for Lenny Henry to go back to a black country, and the fallout resulted in his resignation as well as two other members of the party being suspended following more ‘colourful’ statements. Ukip financier and Greek shipping tycoon, Demetri Marchessini said he didn’t believe rape could take place in a marriage because ‘when a woman accepts, she accepts’. He also said gay people couldn’t be in a loving relationship, as they are sexual predators incapable of fidelity. Ukip do not just raise general concerns about immigration; they target and stigmatise individual national groups such as the Poles, Romanians, Bulgarians and Albanians which Nigel Farage himself has said is fine because they represent national, not racial stereotypes.

Though it might be a sweeping statement to argue that the Ukip party is a racist one, it has to be realised that a great amount of bigotry, racism, hatred and anger pour from this party, spilling from some of its candidates, its members and their leader. Farage has notably said. ‘I am really sorry that millions of people who have decided to vote UKIP next month now find themselves accused by the political establishment of supporting racism,’ and he’s partly right: it would be wrong and disingenuous to brand the party racist. In doing so, it harms the people that have decided to vote, not out of hatred and bigotry, but out of frustration with the Lib-Lab-Con parties and from a desire to be heard over the issues that people feel concerning the current immigration policy. It stems not from racism, but a concern over the lack of control over immigration.

But the ugly face of Ukip cannot be brushed aside or ignored. The constant and continuous bombardments in the papers of Ukip’s racism, homophobia and sexism are revealed on a daily basis up until now. And it is not a new occurrence. Back in January 2013, The Sunday Mirror exposed an official online ‘members’ forum’ which was used to express extremist and offensive opinions on gay marriage and paedophilia.

Then senior UKIP member Dr Julia Gasper branded gay rights a ‘lunatic’s charter’ and claimed some homosexuals prefer sex with animals. She added that ‘As for the links between homosexuality and paedophilia, there is so much evidence that even a full-length book could hardly do justice to the subject.’ UKIP member Jan Zolyniak also posted ‘The evidence is quite clear that the percentage of homosexuals who molest children is very high and cannot be dismissed.’ Another member complained about the impact of immigration on the NHS, writing that ‘I am informed by past media that Black Caribbean and not Black African have a higher instance of schizophrenia…I wonder if this is due to inbreeding on these small islands in slave times or is it due to ­smoking grass.’

At the time, David Cameron commented in response that Ukip members were ‘fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists.’ And now, currently in May 2014, Ukip was embroiled in another race row after it emerged that one of its local election candidates has described Islam as a ‘totalitarian ideology’ that is ‘against everything modern Britain stands for’. Candidate John Kearney standing in Basingstoke commented ‘I do not know about unnatural but I would say that anyone who does not fear Islam is a fool. No, Islam is a religion and the Catholic Church with the Lord on her side is the only countermeasure. But Catholics must know their Faith and they must be ready to die for it.’ In response to the ‘car crash’ interview, David Cameron described Mr Farage’s outburst as ‘pretty unpleasant’ and added ‘What UKIP represents is the politics of anger.

This begs the question as to how long can Farage continue to bat away such vindictive and offensive comments that continuously stem from his own party. What does it say about the party when it attracts figures like the ones quoted above? Are they just few and far between ‘fruitcakes’ that do not represent the ideology of Ukip or are they a part of the insidious beliefs that Ukip hold, where the leader himself makes a clear differentiation between the Romanians that one would not want to live next door to and the acceptable Germans which he himself has for a wife?

It cannot and shouldn’t be forgotten why there is a growing popularity for Ukip. The argument that they are racist will not work as a way of reducing support for Ukip and the strengthening of English identity should not be linked to racism or xenophobia. It can be argued that to some degree, the other main parties have contributed to the success of Ukip through their out of touch and unsympathetic views on Englishness, insincerity in their conviction to uphold regulation and control over immigration, and branding people racist over any comment on ‘England’ and ‘Englishness’, as well as the over-indulging of racial correctness.

People may have come away feeling that they have had to change to suit foreigners’ needs as opposed to foreigners coming to Britain to change to English customs. Discussions on the need to work together and how immigration is good for us ignore and alienate people who want to hear not its virtues but the issues surrounding it and the need for control. The racist mud thrown at Ukip does not stick. UKIP’s advance in the opinion polls has continued relentlessly and as predicted, it came top in the European Parliament elections with 27.5 percent of the vote.

However, the behaviour of Ukip, its frequent offensive comments, the barrage of hatred and anger cannot be ignored and the statements issued, the racist, sexist and homophobic remarks make it easy for the party to be stigmatized as similar to the BNP. The hypocrisy of Nigel Farage has been exposed on numerous occasions. Their anger, alienating and creating an ‘other’ that stands as a non-English Briton or immigrant has been emboldened in their bullying poster released in their election campaign, showing that great finger pointing outwards with the statement and question: ’26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?’

It is intimidating and certainly stands for all that Ukip believes in; the racial slurs and homophobic slips come as a side-line to their core beliefs. Mr Farage may argue that the posters are a hard-hitting reflection of reality but I believe its scaremongering which alienates and generates prejudice and fear. This declaration in a poster may not cry out racism – but it really doesn’t have to.

Sources

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/16/nigel-farage-lbc-interview-key-moments

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danhodges/100261889/ukip-are-now-a-racist-party/

http://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/she-said/2014/may/05/a-week-of-racist-words-from-jeremy-clarkson-and-ukip-just-another-day-for-many-british-muslims-women

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ukip-leader-nigel-farage-lbc-3550998

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/apr/29/ukip-wycherley-mo-farah-racism-row-facebook

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ugly-face-ukip-sunday-mirror-

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/15/ukip-islamophobia-row-john-kearney-catholic

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ukip-leader-nigel-farage-lbc-

http://www.economist.com/blogs/blighty/2014/05/ukip