If you were to listen to and take seriously some of the more ridiculous claims made about UKIP and its leader Nigel Farage by some of their political opponents, you could be forgiven for thinking that they represent a modern day reincarnation of Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Genghis Khan and all their supporters rolled into one. If you believed some of the same type of nonsense written about both individual UKIP voters and Mr Farage himself, they are not only racist, fascistic and homophobic, but xenophobic as well and are fully prepared to destroy the country's entire economic well-being, as well as their own financial futures, in order to ensure that not a single "Johnny Foreigner" gets to remain in good old Blighty. After all, it's worth recalling that UKIP members and their leaders still think there'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover; and that Nightingales still sing in Berkeley Square, well, at least according to their critics anyway!
Of course, according to some of the more insane ramblings of UKIP's opponents there is a much more sinister and serious side to UKIP, other than its longing to be transported back to those heady days of the 1950's, when things like rationing were fashionable. Some of the party's more seriously deluded adversaries would have British voters believe that on taking office a UKIP government would instantly announce a pogrom against anyone who happens to be black, brown, Irish, or otherwise foreign-looking. Don't speak English? Out you go! Don't have a Union Jack indelibly emblazoned on your forehead? You'll be out as well! Don't know the words to Rule Britannia? Better start packing now then!
Clearly, it goes without saying, according to these same opponents, that UKIP and its leadership are so economically incoherent that although throwing out all of the foreign born investors, doctors, nurses, dentists, scientists, cleaners and nannies might have a marginal effect on the economy, at least the country that they will be left with will be almost entirely white and British, so things will be fine! No doubt according to these same anti-UKIP sources, Mr Farage and Co are already planning to hire a fleet of ships to transport these millions of unwanted foreigners back across the Channel, just before he has England's coastal waters mined and orders the Royal Navy to conduct regular live fire anti-smuggling drills along the length of the South coast, specifically targeting any French owned ferries that might have the temerity to bring foreign tourists for a day out to England.
Needless to say, if you believe a word uttered or written by UKIPs opposition, especially in the forms of Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, then foreign owned companies will automatically up-sticks and sod off back to the country that they came from, leaving behind three million mostly white, English speaking Britons without a job. However, looking on the bright side, most of those could probably be employed doing the jobs that were previously held by those millions of recently deported foreigners? Obviously, it goes without saying that virtually every country in the world whose citizens had been deported from the UK would be extremely cross with the new UKIP government, but hey-ho! like they say, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. More seriously though, the likes of Spain and Portugal would almost certainly retaliate by forcibly deporting all of those "squillions" of British ex-pats who have relocated to their countries in search of a peaceful retirement, bringing with them their often extensive pension savings. But clearly the Spanish and Portuguese governments would spit in the face of these much needed foreign revenues, because after all, who needs valuable foreign residents, or highly skilled migrants in this day and age?
Obviously for most of UKIP's opponents, the worst and most dangerous thing about the party is its leader, Nigel Farage. For them it is inconceivable that he is what he purports to be, a normal everyday bloke, who likes a drink, a fag, likes to go fishing; and likes to get on with people. How dare he be so normal? So from the opposition's point of view, there has to be an unseen angle, something about Farage that is nasty, dangerous, or worrying, a dark side that he has somehow managed to hide from the British public for the past twenty-odd years; and despite having spent most of it in front of the cameras. Maybe he has a nice doppelganger that he parades in front of the public, while the real nasty Farage kicks the shit out of kittens and small kiddies in the privacy of his own home? Maybe he stands in front of the bedroom mirror at night throwing Nazi salutes at his own reflection? Maybe he's a foreign plant, paid by the EU to severely disappoint and confuse the British people? After all, he's got a foreign sounding name, so for some of his opponents and critics that would be fairly conclusive evidence of wrongdoing!
It's just not right for some of UKIP opponents, that a guy who has been privately educated, smokes, drinks, who has held down a regular job, who has admitted publicly that he admires Margaret Thatcher; and who thinks Britain deserves better than simply being a region of an unrepresentative, overarching socialist United States of Europe, should be so popular with a large section of the British public! How dare he? God forbid that someone normal like Nigel Farage should seriously challenge the well established duopoly of the Conservative and Labour, which have helped to fatally undermine daft ideas about British sovereignty, culture, history and all of those other apparently quaint ideas that nation states are supposed to value and cling to.
Doubtless there are any number of groundless, bizarre and frankly quite ludicrous charges that will and would be levelled against the UKIP party and its leader Nigel Farage, including of course the old chestnuts of it being a single issue party, a one-man band, its divisive policies, or the purported damage that it causes to Britain's reputation abroad, most of which have no real substance when looked at with real cold logic.
Firstly, if one accepts that the European Union is a fully functioning international government, bringing together the various functions of 28 separate member states; and incorporating common issues such as trade, tax, transport, immigration, welfare, law, defence, policing, international affairs, etc. then the EU per se cannot ever be regarded as a single issue topic, simply because all of those various areas of national competency are subject to EU intervention at some point and some level. It is blatantly absurd for anyone to suggest that our UK membership of the EU is a single issue, when our immigration, transport, energy, welfare, defence, policing and tax policies are directly affected by decisions that are taken by what is after all a foreign parliament. So that is a lie! Our membership of the EU is and never was a single issue topic.
Secondly, although Nigel Farage is undoubtedly the man most closely associated with the UKIP brand, having steered it to its current position in the polls, why is that any different from associating David Cameron with the Conservatives, or Ed Miliband with Labour, they are after all leaders of their national parties. For anyone to suggest that UKIP lacks alternative spokesmen or women to speak on its behalf is ridiculous, given that the party contains any number of perfectly qualified individuals, including the likes of Suzanne Evans, Paul Nuttall, Diane James, Tim Aker, Jane Collins, David Coburn, Steven Woolfe, Patrick O'Flynn and many others who have appeared on various television and radio broadcasts. Based on making that simple link between media appearances and importance within the individual party might mean that Grant Schapps has now supplanted David Cameron as Conservative leader, or that Andy Burnham has replaced Ed Miliband as Labour leader, both of which suggestions are laughable!
Thirdly, part of the problem with UKIP's opponent's entire argument is that they seem to believe that modern Britain is one great big happy homogenised society where discord and distrust has been outlawed, largely for our own community good, which if it were true would make the UK almost unique in the world. In truth, all that the failed experiments of mass migration and multiculturalism has brought us is a highly divided patchwork of communities and neighbourhoods, more identifiable through their ethnicities, their languages, their cultures than through any form of commonality with the native white British population. Rather than being the cause of such problems, UKIP has simply acted as the identifier of these already underlying issues, bringing them into the mainstream debate, rather than leaving them on the margins, where the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats would rather they remain. Were it not for UKIP and Nigel Farage, it is impossible to imagine that mass migration, or the EU's free movement of people would have even been discussed in polite society, let alone forced a serving Conservative Prime Minister, or indeed a leader of the opposition to form policy around resolving the underlying issues. UKIP's opponents may choose to employ a lazy and by now well worn out tactic of shouting about latent racism, or even outright fascism, but the truth is that such community issues have been built up over the past 50 years and will need to be addressed at some point, sooner rather than later. Simply closing your eyes to the problem, sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting "tra-la-la" at the top of your voice is no longer a viable solution I'm afraid, unless of course you're happy to wake up one morning and find the entire country in ruins.
Finally, as for Britain's international reputation being damaged by the country having such open and honest debates regarding mass migration, our EU membership, the free movement of peoples, the inexorable loss of our national sovereignty to a foreign power, the obvious dangers posed by religious fundamentalist's who live amongst us, why shouldn't we have such national conversations; and why should we care how other nations perceive us because of it? The truth is that unrepresentative overarching organisations like the EU probably create much of the danger that they purport to prevent; and it's not as if the likes of Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Spain and others are not beginning to have similar conversations themselves, for the very same reasons as ourselves. Fundamentally, each of the EU member states will look out for their own national interests first and foremost; and they would not give any special consideration to the UK or to anyone else, if they believed that that would hurt their own narrow self interest, so the idea that Britain should somehow put aside its own best interests for the benefit of another foreign state is quite frankly ludicrous.
As for anything else, it's all pretty much "playground politics". Suggesting that just because an individual person who happens to be standing under the UKIP banner is a reflection of the entire party membership is a complete nonsense, a bit like saying that every Labour member is a cheat and a thief, or that every Conservative member is a complete nut-job, or that every Liberal Democrat member is a sex pest, a lazy generalisation made by lazy people. So what if one person somewhere says they don't like "negroes", I'm sure there will be a black person somewhere who still calls white people "honky" in an equally disparaging way, so f*cking what, who cares? If you don't like somebody's politics, don't vote for them!
So what if a potential representative of a political party calls someone a "poofter", or believes that their God has caused flooding to punish the legalisation of gay marriage? Who actually cares? If it's that much of a problem then doubtless that person is going to be unsuccessful at the public ballot, assuming of course that a majority of the electorate actually disagree or disapprove of their views. However, for the media, or indeed their political opponents to suggest that one person's opinion somehow reflect an entire party's views is just plain stupid.
But I guess therein lies part of the problem. Today, what with social media, online newspaper comments, sound-bites and the rest there is virtually no requirement to substantiate anything that one cares to write or say about individual politicians, or indeed their parties. One only has to look at the online "trash can" that is the Guardian newspaper to witness the level of personal bile, serial untruths and unfounded allegations that are regularly levelled, not just against UKIP the party, but pretty much anybody that might even consider offering them their electoral support. But then why wouldn't they when you have archaic political dinosaurs regularly being put up by the likes of the BBC to disparage and denounce UKIP and its policies, but without a shred of evidence being asked for or demanded by the broadcasters.
It is interesting though that for all that their supporters might denounce and denigrate UKIP on social media and in the various online forums, the two major English political parties, Labour and Conservative have found themselves being influenced by UKIP, whether they like it or not. Who would have imagined that both David Cameron and Ed Miliband would have found themselves compelled to move on the subject of immigration, not because they wanted to, but because they were driven to it by electoral pressures, initiated in large part by UKIP and its leadership. But then sometimes that's the problem with entirely lazy and wholly incorrect accusations, because they're so transparently and unbelievably wrong, people start to see through them!