The party that seems to collectively think that the AC/DC song ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ is about Polish plumbers was carried through media hype to its first seats in Westminster in 2014. The year also saw the members and supporters of Ukip told not to use Twitter or Facebook, which only shows how scared the party leadership is of its cover being blown from the inside, as at best questionable causalities and ignorant statements have become the trademark of the right-wing movement.

2014 was indeed a year of racial slur and other remarks for Ukip, and its members saved the best for last. The party’s energy spokesman Roger Helmer claimed the impact of CO2 levels on global temperature to be ‘hugely open to question’[1]. Perhaps in a similar manner that evolution theory is ‘open to question’, or how the theory of gravity is just a theory, we will never know. Likewise, only days before Mr Helmer’s academic argument, another member of Ukip, Trevor Shonk from Kent, stated that Britain has become racist due to the amount of immigrants[2]. Admittedly, a lot of things are easy to blame on foreigners, but of course the UK could also be racist just plainly because of racists. It could be fairly well argued that it is only Nigel Farage’s and not the migrants’ problem if he feels awkward when he sometimes cannot hear English being spoken on the trains he uses. The ringmaster of the bigot circus probably feels threatened even when his own wife speaks German around the house.

Unfortunately for the Ukip leadership, these ‘rough diamonds’ were of plenty. The Times’ Briton of the Year, whom Winston McKenzie likened to Jesus, had a busy December dealing with the consequences of Rozanne Duncan’s as of yet undisclosed statement that led to her expulsion from the party and Natasha Bolter’s intraparty sexual harassment accusations against Roger Bird, as well as defending Kerry Smith’s use of the word ‘chinky'[3], among other instances. In the Smith case, Nigel Farage, not surprisingly, held that it was acceptable to use derogatory terms when referring to homosexuals and women of Asian ethnicity, because according to him a lot of people raised in council houses do so, while Mr Smith himself excused the use of distasteful terminology by declaring that he was under the influence of heavy morphine-based medication at the time. Both statements are equally terrible justifications for using language with racist connotations, and only drift the discussion away from the actual issue of racial prejudice. Also, if painkillers cause racism, pharmaceutical companies may want to add that tiny detail to the list of side effects.

On the subject LGBT rights (or ‘poofters’ as Kerry Smith called the minority), former Ukip Oxford branch chair Julia Gasper linked homosexuality to both bestiality and paedophilia, while UKIP Councillor David Silvester preached that same-sex marriage caused floods[4]. This past December, when confronted by the issue of homosexuality’s association with bestiality, Ukip parliamentary candidate John Rees-Evans displayed no logic by telling a tale about how his horse was nearly raped by a gay donkey[5]. Needless to say, these sorts of remarks should have no place in civilised discourse anywhere. It is utterly mesmerising how, still in this time and age, people with views like these are able to gather enough supporters to become councillors, for instance.

To be fair, however, Ukip has taken action against some of its many bad apples. For instance, earlier this year Ukip council candidate William Henwood was made to resign after tweeting that comedian Lenny Henry should emigrate to ‘a black country’. (Although coincidentally Mr Henry happens to be from Dudley, the Black Country.) Kerry Smith resigned from the party and is now going to run for office as an independent candidate from Essex after having been made to withdraw as a Ukip candidate. Nonetheless, Nigel Farage tried to cover what he could by accusing his political opponents of mudslinging over the Henwood case and then blaming Kerry Smith’s background on his choice of words. He also defended Dr Gasper by saying that her views were only an issue because she was a member of Ukip. The focus is always on something else than his fellow party member’s narrow-mindedness. Together with overflowing closet racism, plain ignorance and contradicting statements, inability to face the music is clearly one of the key elements of Nigel Farage’s politics.

Certainly, on victimhood and ignorance, the Ukip leader has led the way: the Sheik of South Thanet managed to somehow blame immigration for a rush hour on the M4 after he arrived late to an event on immigration in Port Talbot, Wales[6]. However, it remains yet to be answered whether Mr Farage felt as threatened by the Welsh-speaking people as he does by the people speaking Romanian. Furthermore, the party leader has demonstrated his elitist conservatism by, for example, suggesting that an insurance-based system should be considered on the issue of health care, only to later deny this statement when confronted by the media. Similarly, he embraced his 1930s worldview by claiming that women are worth less to their employers than men, which Farage again stated he never meant by arguing that it was all Ed Miliband’s ‘mudslinging’ over UKIP just ahead of Rochester and Strood by-election[7]. Indeed, he has proven to be excellent at dodging questions and playing the blame game, if nothing else.

Yet, somehow this tragicomedy of errors has reached the status of the third largest party in polls with support as high as 16 per cent, around five months before the general election. The question that arises for 2015 then is: how many incidents of racism and sexism, for example, can be swept under the rug by claiming they were isolated incidents or caused by something else than narrow-minded discrimination? Sooner or later Ukip must get caught, as it is a party that promotes prejudice and ignorance over knowledge.

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ukip-green-policy-climate-change-is-open-to-question-says-energy-spokesman-roger-helmer-9949125.html

[2] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/immigrants-make-uk-racist-says-ukip-councillor-trevor-shonk-9945905.html

[3] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/nigel-farage-defends-kerry-smith-c-comment-if-you-are-going-for-a-chinese-what-do-you-say-youre-going-for-9935284.html

[4] http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/01/24/nigel-farage-the-media-only-cares-if-someone-compares-homosexuality-to-bestiality-when-its-ukip/

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0jn66WypaM

[6] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/dec/07/nigel-farage-blames-immigration-m4-traffic-ukip-reception

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06_KYZOPuCs