March 26, 2015
Small surprise that the alliance of “cranks, gadflies and extremists“ (M. Howard, 2004) and “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists“ (D. Cameron, 2006) has come under ever greater bombardment from the big parties, as well as the sniffers-out of the Left. UKIP is not the only small party which may have a disproportionate influence in the next parliament, but it is the only one eliciting real hatred. They do not help themselves. Too many activists log onto Twitter late at night, and policies and personnel are constantly being churned. Even Farage has come unstuck recently on the National Health Service and immigration, seemingly conflating private views with party policy.
Its basic policy, exiting the European Union, is horrifying enough to the self-declared guardians of our good, but to add to their offensiveness UKIP has canalized other concerns long ignored, notably immigration, but also Islam, climate change, and homosexuality. It is the only major party whose members are automatically assumed to be morally malfeasant, and the only one whose meetings may be disrupted by violent protestors, as in Edinburgh and Rotherham. The other day in Kent, a “cabaret of diversity” sashayed into a pub to confront the lone party leader, his wife and their two children having a private lunch. As the organiser “explained”, in a beyond-satire display of ideological onanism – “UKIP are a con. They pretend to be anti-establishment but this couldn’t be further from the truth.” (How unlike the diversity storm-troupers, whose views we have not heard a billion times before.) Farage has requested police protection, and he may really need it.
Warg-riders prowl and howl all the time around UKIP’s edges, occasionally pulling down someone who has strayed ideologically too far even for UKIP, said or done something(s) seriously stupid, had a panic attack, or been accused of some crime. All parties contain buffoons, criminals, extremists and opportunists – Afzal Amin, who was Conservative candidate for Dudley North until last Monday, ambitiously attempted to combine buffoonery with opportunism by co-opting the English Defence League as allies – but UKIP has become sin-eater for a whole class, and a strong showing on May 7th will compel the whole country to reexamine its sick self. For that reason, even if for no other, all who value substance over style should wish the battered omnibus bon voyage.