Bronze-level articleUnited Kingdom Independence Party

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The United Kingdom Independence Party (usually shortened to UKIP or Ukip, commonly pronounced "YOU-kip") is one of the UK's minor[1] political parties. As their name implies, they want Britain to leave the European Union, and their origins were as a single issue party dedicated to that goal (although precisely what they would replace it with and how the transition would be effected is not always apparent).

A significant cross section of the British population is antipathetic towards the EU, and a moderate party presenting a half-way sensible eurosceptic agenda might conceivably achieve some electoral success, but UKIP has to date avoided this trap by being careful not to convey any appearance of moderation or sensibility. Of conservative bent, they very effectively limit their appeal by espousing such things as global warming denialism, a flat tax and other policies of great concern to wealthy wingnuts and their astroturfed political movements. By this means they do manage to steal some votes from the Conservative Party (who are too mainstream and pro-European) and the BNP (who are too vulgar and working class, and perhaps also just a little bit too overtly racist).

UKIP did have a number of seats in the European Parliament, but they hardly ever showed up, let alone vote.[2] So that was useful, then. It will be interesting to see if this tendency will persist after the increase in their seats after the 2014 elections (see below). UKIP also has a number of councillors, winning a handful for the first time in 2013.

Dave Cameron described UKIP in 2006 as "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly."[3] Margaret Thatcher met with the leader of the party to give them tips, apparently finding the Conservative Party too pro-European in her later years. Seriously.[4]

Their support for nationalism, xenophobia and policies influenced by right-wing populism, along with their hardline social conservatism, essentially make them the British equivalent of the Tea Party, though operating as a separate party rather than joining the Conservatives and dragging them further right.

Contents

[edit] Policies

[edit] Science

They are more or less completely scientifically illiterate, as demonstrated by an interview published in The Guardian, in which Christopher Monckton, their science spokesman at the time (and former deputy leader), proposed that they would cut funding for climate science unless, as they see it, sufficient evidence should arise to change their mind on anthropogenic global warming, which he claims "large sums now squandered on addressing." In the same interview Monckton went on to say that health risks associated with excessive salt consumption are merely "unjustifiable fears" in regards to just one example. When asked on stem cell research, Monckton compared it to "the killing of very small children."[5]

The UKIP Policy Statement on Health from 2010 endorsed a number of alternative medicine practices including herbal medicine, homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine, and calls for the repeal of bans on herbal medicine. On homeopathy, the policy argues against the House of Commons Science and Technology select committee report which blasted homeopathy on the NHS as running counter to the practice of evidence-based medicine:[6]

UKIP rejects the recent House of Commons report on homeopathy as an unbalanced and short-sighted dismissal of a branch of medicine that last year treated 54,000 people on the NHS. UKIP endorses the remarks of the Chief Executive of the British Homeopathic Association who pointed out that "the [select committee] inquiry was too narrow in its remit, there is plenty of evidence to support homeopathy, with 100 randomised controlled trials, and many more on outcome measures, which reflect how patients say they feel." UKIP believes that homeopathy has much to offer patients and notes that in a recent survey carried out at England's NHS homeopathic hospitals, some 70 per cent of patients said they felt some improvement after undergoing treatment. UKIP will continue to support homeopathy through the NHS.

UKIP have responded to criticism of this policy by arguing that it is a 2010 statement, while the 2012 policy makes no mention of alternative medicine.[7][8]

[edit] Gay rights

Sensing an opportunity to attract the traditionalist wing of the Conservative Party over to UKIP, in 2012, Nigel Farage and co. decided to strongly oppose plans to implement equal marriage rights for same-sex partners.[9][10]

A number of UKIP members have expressed some rather homophobic views:

  • In 2004, Frank Maloney, a UKIP candidate for London mayor said he would not campaign in the borough of Camden because it had "too many gays," that gay people don't do a lot for society and said "there is a problem with gay parades."[11]
  • In the European Parliament, the UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom decided to call former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire "a queer."[12]
  • Winston McKenzie, UKIP candidate for Croydon North, saying gay adoption is "unhealthy,"[13] is a form of "child abuse"[14] and that children adopted by gay parents are "thrown away to the dogs."[15]
  • Another then-UKIP candidate — Julia Gasper — suggested that gay people should "stop complaining and start thanking straight people," because apparently gay people need to show a bit more gratitude for being born in the first place.[16]
  • In the run up to the 2013 local elections, candidate John Sullivan was found to have published on Facebook a post claiming that "Victorian" physical exercise regimes in schools would prevent people from being gay (completely oblivious to the 'gym bunny' stereotype in gay culture) and praising the Russian government for banning Pride marches.[17]
  • In January 2014 Henley on Thames UKIP councillor and Fred Phelps wannabe David Silvester was suspended from the party after writing a letter to the local paper laying the blame for the winter 2013/2014 floods in the UK on the legalisation of gay marriage.[18]

It has been reported that UKIP leader Nigel Farage supports Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, a Polish priest who has been described as both homophobic and anti-Semitic (note the irony when you look in the next section) and who said of the election of the first openly gay Polish MP "the sodomites are coming; this is a very serious matter."[19]

Despite Nigel Farage's claim that UKIP is a "party of freethinkers," in January 2013, UKIP fired Olly Neville, leader of UKIP youth organisation ('Young Independence') after he stated that he supported gay marriage.[20][21] Richard Lowe, UKIP candidate for Chester, also had to resign after he supported gay marriage.[22] Homophobia also occasionally seeps from the UKIP official forums.[23][24]

Perhaps to clean up their image following the parade of homophobic nutjobs (sorry "freethinkers") who have stood for election on the UKIP ticket, UKIP approved an 'LGBTQ in UKIP' group, who thus far seem to have done very little other than grumble about how there aren't enough sane people in UKIP.[25]

[edit] Race relations

The general attitude to foreigners and racial/ethnic minorities is summed up by this quote from Paul Wiffen, the now-former UKIP London chairman:[26]

You Left-wing scum are all the same, wanting to and our birthright to Romanian gypsies who beat their wives and children into begging and stealing money they can gamble with, Muslim nutters who want to kill us and put us all under medieval Sharia law, the same Africans who sold their Afro-Caribbean brothers into a slavery that Britain was the first to abolish.

Don't let UKIP critics fool you into thinking that the party is racist though. Consider this:[27][28][29]

Have you noticed that if you ­rearrange the letters in ‘illegal ­immigrants,’ and add just a few more letters, it spells, ‘Go home you free-loading, benefit-grabbing, resource-sucking, baby-making, non-English-speaking ********* and take those other hairy-faced, sandal-wearing, bomb-making, camel-riding, goat-fucking raghead ******** with you.

Upon reading this, you might think that the man whose Facebook account this appeared on — that of Chris Pain, UKIP leader of Lincolnshire council — is a raving racist nutjob. But obviously it's because his Facebook got hacked.

Disgraced TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk was elected as a UKIP MEP in 2004 (he later left the party); his comments on anyone who isn't English are particularly telling.[30]

There's also the 22-year-old UKIP candidate Alex Wood, who published a photo of himself which most people think of as a Nazi salute, but he claims is just his arm at a funny angle. And another photo of him with a hunting knife clenched between his teeth. A post on his Facebook suggesting that Africans all lived in mud huts and kill each other... is all down to hacking, he claims.[31] Therefore, Ukip are Not Racists. But are very bad at choosing passwords.

In a May 2014 interview Farage claimed that he would feel "concerned" if Romanian people moved next door to him. When asked what the difference is between the Romanian people and his German national wife and children, he jokingly answered "you know the difference."[32] The day after the interview, he expanded on this assertion, discussing the high crime rate in the Romanian community.[33] He then double tracked on both of these assertions, claiming his mistake was due to tiredness.[34]

[edit] Disability

Geoffrey Clark, UKIP candidate for Kent County Council has some intriguing plans to help the disabled:[35]

Other items for review: ceasing all free IVF treatment on the NHS; cutting unecessary waste e.g the destruction of drugs in care homes when residents move on to the next care home or the next world; the pregnancy abortion time limit; compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, Spina Bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, could render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family.

After the revelation of Clark's mandatory-abortions-for-disabled-foetuses plan, he was promptly dropped as UKIP candidate. Good to see that the party rigorously checks the quality and sanity of their candidates before they stand for election.

[edit] Notable political activity

[edit] EU Parliament

UKIP's European Parliament members are often moderately entertaining, when they bother to show up. Highlights include:

  • Nigel Farage referring to Belgium as a "non-country" and telling EU President Herman Van Rompuy that he has "a loathing for the very concept of the existence of nation states" and stated that Van Rompuy had "the charisma of a damp rag."[36]
  • Godfrey Bloom interrupting a German politician to shout "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer."[37]

[edit] 2010 UK General Election

  • Having a candidate, John Boakes, die too close to the election, forcing a by-election at a later date.[38]
  • Farage being flown around in a light aircraft towing a banner on election day: the plane crashed injuring pilot and passenger.
  • Nicking enough votes from the Tories' troglodyte wing to significantly reduce the number of seats the Tories won — possibly depriving them of a clear majority — thus driving Dave into Nick's arms.[39]

[edit] 2014 EU Parliament Election

UKIP won the largest share of the votes (27.5%) in the election, followed by the Labour (25.4%) and the Conservative party (23.9%)[citation needed]. This increased the number of their MEPs to 24. It will also, unfortunately, force people to take them more seriously.

[edit] Criticism

Amongst the party's current critics is its original founder Alan Sked, who called it "morally dodgy" and accused it of focusing too much on opposing Islam and immigration rather than on other issues such as the economy.[40]

UKIP is also one of the only parties to receive substantial criticism on aesthetic grounds, largely as a result of its unfortunate decision to pick fuchsia as an official colour. Reading their garish, multicoloured campaign material[41] can cause temporary blindness. It is also questionable that UKIP is an anti-EU party, with seats in the EU Parliament. This becomes doubly bizarre when you consider the possibility of them causing mischief with their far-right friends in the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group.

In 2010, Lord Pearson, then a UKIP leader, told voters in Somerset to avoid UKIP candidates and vote for Conservatives instead.[42] It's quite a feat when your own Lords are telling people not to vote for you...

In the run up to the elections in May 2014, UKIP released a leaflet which exploited D-Day war dead for their own political gain. This was in bad taste even by The Sun's standards.[43]

[edit] UKIP and the BNP

The BNP hate UKIP for stealing their anti-EU thunder and devoted considerable effort in UKIP's early days to messing them up. Fortunately, UKIP were sufficiently incompetent to do quite a good job all on their own. UKIP and BNP's stated policies are very similar,[44] the difference being that the BNP are Nazi chancers and UKIP are horribly sincere about everything.

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Although they did "win" the 2014 European Parliament election
  2. UKIP MEPs laziest in Europe
  3. Theresa May accused of lifting cat anecdote from Ukip leader, The Guardian
  4. Exclusive: Thatcher advised UKIP on party morale, The Telegraph
  5. Ukip answers questions about its science policy, The Guardian
  6. Thank you, Wayback Machine.
  7. Vote_UKIP on Twitter
  8. Health: UKIP Policy
  9. Gay marriage row: Ukip plans to derail David Cameron, The Guardian
  10. UK Independence Party aims to exploit Tory equal marriage divide
  11. UKIP candidate sparks gay anger, BBC News
  12. Nikki Sinclaire wins UKIP sex discrimination case, BBC News
  13. UKIP By-election candidate: Gay people should not be allowed to adopt
  14. UKIP Culture Spokesman: Same-sex adoption is ‘child abuse’
  15. UKIP's McKenzie says gay adoption is like throwing kids to 'dogs'
  16. UKIP candidate suggested gays ‘stop complaining and start thanking straight people’
  17. Physical excercise prevents you becoming gay, claims UK councillor candidate
  18. “Since the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, the nation has been beset by serious storms and floods"
  19. Nigel Farage heads for row over Ukip's anti-gay allies, The Guardian
  20. Ukip youth leader Olly Neville dropped in gay marriage row, Channel 4
  21. So much for the libertarians! How Ukip sacked me after I said I support equal marriage, The Independent
  22. UKIP Parliamentary candidate forced to resign for supporting gay equality
  23. Users of official UKIP website compare homosexuality to bestiality and paedeophlia
  24. We've singled out this screenshot.
  25. UKIP LGBT group: ‘We really need more candidates from the socially liberal side of society’
  26. London chairman of Ukip suspended over racist remarks, Evening Standard (Note that in fact, other nations banned slavery before Great Britain, notably revolutionary France (before reinstating it under Napoleon), some American colonies, and most especially Haiti after the slaves freed themselves.
  27. What a load of tosh, Hope Not Hate
  28. More Ukip horror as investigation exposes racist abuse
  29. UKIP councillors' racist rants: More of Nigel Farage's troops exposed as bigots, Daily Mirror
  30. Robert Kilroy-Silk's views about foreigners
  31. 'I'm not racist', says UKIP candidate: Election hopeful, 22, caught on camera making alleged Nazi salute, Daily Fail
  32. Ukip's Nigel Farage Tells LBC Radio: I Don't Want Romanians as my Neighbours, International Business Times
  33. UKIP leader stands by his assertion that people have a right to be concerned if a group of Romanians move in next door, the official UKIP website (not part of the 'vast media conspiracy')
  34. ‘Tired’ Nigel Farage regrets comments, BBC News
  35. Mencap slam UKIP candidate who called for "compulsory abortion" of disabled people, New Statesman
  36. Farage defiant after calling Belgium 'a non-country', BBC News
  37. UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom ejected over Nazi jibe, BBC News
  38. Funeral for UKIP election candidate John Boakes, BBC News
  39. General Election 2010: Ukip challenge 'cost Tories a Commons majority', The Telegraph
  40. Ukip Founder Alan Sked Says The Party Is 'Morally Dodgy' And 'Extraordinarily Right-Wing', Huffington Post
  41. In this example they invoke the spirit of Winston Churchill, who is famous for going into Europe.
  42. UKIP asks voters in Somerset to back the Tories, BBC News
  43. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/5639878/ukip-leaflet-exploiting-britains-war-dead-shows-french-graves.html
  44. UKIP and the BNP - What's the difference?
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