Monday, 25 March 2013

UKIP have made me break a resolution

Up to now I have done relatively well with my New Year resolutions.  I have been swearing less (although must still admit to resorting to to occasional 'damn', albeit mainly because it is 'jollyphonic', or 'fun to say').  My feelings towards Mr. Gove (notice that? I called him 'Mr.') have been reigned in to be manifested only in the occasional classroom analogy and occasionally re-tweeting the ever-increasing evidence of his narcissistic and unilaterally retrograde approach to educational policy.

And as for getting angry about politics?

Well, UKIP have just won some local elections in my area.  By a considerable margin.  In one sense this is no real surprise, given that the area I live in dances predominantly on the right wing of most elections - but it is a blow nonetheless.  What makes me particularly irate about this is that the UKIP campaign did not even try to work strategically on tapping into the sentiments of disaffected Conservative or Liberal voters.  Nope - they went straight for the jugular of tapping into people's instincts to simply blame all their woes on foreigners (i.e., 'people who talk funny').

Considering their heavy leaflet campaign, I can only conclude that UKIP won in my area because the majority of people in my area genuinely believe that a failing NHS is not their real problem.  Crime rates are not their real problem.  Debt is not their real problem.  The economic crisis created by greedy banks is not their real problem.  The vast complexities of a globalised economy are not their real problem.

Nope.  The real problem it seems is all these bloody Romanians coming into the country.  Which will 'increase crime rates', because obviously they are all a bunch of thieving bastards (and we don't breed that sort ourselves).

Romania was a nice pick for UKIP, because of course for many people who might vote UKIP the Romanian accent is likely to be pretty much indistinguishable from any 'East Europeans' - which leaves them free to be abusive towards all of them.  And they will.  Imagine, for a moment, that you had a Czech accent - how would you feel walking down a high street in an area controlled by UKIP?  Would you be surprised if you had muttered comments or disgusted glares targeted at you?

There is no nuance in this kind of political campaigning.  Just victims: Those who suffer from abuse, and those who have been distracted from the real issues shaping their lives in order to serve the interests of bigotry.

Let's be clear.  Picking on this issue is not about resolving an economic crisis or making any real difference to the quality of life for people in this country.  It is about providing people with a justification for xenophobic sentiments masquerading rational argument.  It is not about trying to improve society.  It is about giving space for hatred and intolerance.  It is not about solving problems.  It is about finding others to blame for them.

What is so mind-numbingly horrible about it, is UKIP are apparently pushing at an open door.  At least where I live, and it makes me wish I didn't.