United 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 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 does have a number of seats in the European Parliament, but hardly ever show up, let alone vote.[1] So that was useful, then. They also have a number of councillors. Quite how Britain's membership of the EU is to be undermined by having a UKIP member elected unopposed to Much-Dogging-in-the-Woods Parish Council has never been publicly explained.

Dave Cameron described Ukip in 2006 as "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly."[2] With the Conservative Party having being too pro-European in her later years, it seems Margaret Thatcher had been meeting with the leader of the party to give them tips. Seriously.[3]

Their support for nationalism and policies influenced by right-wing populism, along with their hardline social conservatism, essentially make them the British equivalent of the United States Republican Party.

Contents

[edit] Policies

[edit] Science

They are scientifically illiterate, as demonstrated by an interview published in the Guardian, in which Christopher Monckton, their science spokesman (and now 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."[4]

The UKIP Policy Statement on Health from 2010 endorses 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:

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.[5]

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.[6][7]

[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.[8][9][10]

A number of UKIP candidates have expressed some rather homophobic views, with Winston McKenzie, UKIP candidate for Croydon North, saying gay adoption is "unhealthy,"[11] is a form of "child abuse"[12] and that children adopted by gay parents are "thrown away to the dogs."[13] Another UKIP candidate has 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.[14]

In the European Parliament, the UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom decided to call former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire "a queer."[15]

It has been reported that UKIP leader Nigel Farage supports Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, a Polish priest who has been described as both homophobic and antisemitic (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."[16][17]

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.[18][19] Richard Lowe, UKIP candidate for Chester, also had to resign after he supported gay marriage.[20] Homophobia also occasionally seeps from the UKIP official forums.[21]

UKIP have had a few other candidates who have homophobia issues: 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."[22]

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.[23]

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.[24]

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.[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:

You Left-wing scum are all the same, wanting to hand 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.[26]

(Note: Spain, Poland, Japan, Russia, Portugal, Mexico, Central America, Greece, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, and many American States abolished slavery before Britain.)

Don't let UKIP critics fool you into thinking that the party is racist though. I mean, consider this:

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.[27][28][29]

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.

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.[30]

Therefore, Ukip are Not Racists. But are very bad at choosing passwords.

[edit] Disability

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

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.[31]

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] Parliamentary activity

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".[32]
  • Godfrey Bloom interrupting a German politician to shout a Nazi slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer".[33]

The combination of charisma, euroscepticism, and use of the English language has lead to some of Nigel Farage's speeches in the European Parliament making their way on to Youtube and from there to various audiences around Europe. Given the setting, Farage seldom, if ever, makes any reference to the party's domestic policy (particularly its controversial immigration policy). This sometimes leads to foreigners getting the impression that UKIP's main focus is on democratic accountability and subsidiarity, and therefore sympathising with the party. As a result, some Brits' use of the term "UKIP-supporter" as a by-word for "closet racist" can often cause confusion among people abroad. This sometimes leads to ironic situations where other Europeans will denounce the UKIP-counterpart in their own country as racists one moment, only to then hail UKIP as champions of liberty and progressive values the next.

[edit] Politicians

  • Ashley Mote, former MEP for South East England. Falsely claimed £65,505 worth of benefits and went to prison for nine months. Despite this, remained an MEP (albeit not for UKIP). Farage condemned Mote for staying in Parliament despite his conviction saying: "if this man had a shred of decency or integrity left, he'd resign".[34]

[edit] UKIP's contributions to the 2010 UK General Election

  • Having a candidate die too close to the election, forcing a by-election at a later date.
  • 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.[35]

[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. At least UKIP aren't racists by policy (just "passively by culture").[36] UKIP and BNP's stated policies are very similar,[37] the difference being that the BNP are Nazi chancers and UKIP are horribly sincere about everything.

[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.[38]

In 2012 the council of Rotherham decided to take two children away from their foster parents on the grounds that the latter belonged to a racist party - in actuality, UKIP. The move was condemned on both left and right.[39]

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[40] can cause temporary blindness.

It's also probably worth some serious thought that UKIP is an anti-EU party, with seats in the EU Parliament. It may very well be the case that UKIP is just a bunch of hipster trolls.

In 2010, Lord Pearson, then a UKIP leader, told voters in Somerset to avoid UKIP candidates and vote for Conservatives instead. It's quite a feat when your own Lords are telling people not to vote for you...[41]

[edit] Footnotes

  1. http://www.leftfootforward.org/2013/11/ukip-meps-laziest-in-europe/
  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/oct/07/theresa-may-cat-ukip-leader
  3. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/alexsingleton/100068746/exclusive-thatcher-advised-ukip-on-party-morale/
  4. UKIP answers questions about its science policy
  5. UKIP Policy Statement: Health
  6. Vote_UKIP on Twitter
  7. Health: UKIP Policy
  8. Gay marriage row: Ukip plans to derail David Cameron, The Guardian, 12 December 2012
  9. UK Independence Party aims to exploit Tory equal marriage divide, PinkNews
  10. ‘No intention to support same-sex marriage’ says UKIP, PinkNews
  11. UKIP By-election candidate: Gay people should not be allowed to adopt, PinkNews
  12. UKIP Culture Spokesman: Same-sex adoption is ‘child abuse’, PinkNews
  13. UKIP's McKenzie says gay adoption is like throwing kids to 'dogs', GayStarNews
  14. UKIP candidate suggested gays ‘stop complaining and start thanking straight people’, PinkNews
  15. EU parliament investigates alleged 'homophobic attack' on MEP, TheParliament.com
  16. Nigel Farage heads for row over Ukip's anti-gay allies, The Guardian, 15 December 2012
  17. And reporting of this led to UKIP members going all out in a homophobic rage on forums. See this screenshot, for instance.
  18. Ukip youth leader Olly Neville sacked for supporting gay marriage, The Independent
  19. So much for the libertarians! How Ukip sacked me after I said I support equal marriage, The Independent
  20. UKIP Parliamentary candidate forced to resign for supporting gay equality, Pink News
  21. Users of official UKIP website compare homosexuality to bestiality and paedeophlia, PinkNews
  22. UKIP candidate sparks gay anger, BBC News
  23. Physical excercise prevents you becoming gay, claims UK councillor candidate, Gay Star News
  24. UKIP LGBT group: ‘We really need more candidates from the socially liberal side of society’, Pink News
  25. “Since the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, the nation has been beset by serious storms and floods, Henley on Thames News
  26. London chairman of Ukip suspended over racist remarks, Evening Standard
  27. What a load of tosh, Hope Not Hate
  28. More Ukip horror as investigation exposes racist abuse, politics.co.uk
  29. UKIP councillors' racist rants: More of Nigel Farage's troops exposed as bigots, Daily Mirror
  30. 'I'm not racist', says UKIP candidate: Election hopeful, 22, caught on camera making alleged Nazi salute, Daily Mail
  31. Mencap slam UKIP candidate who called for "compulsory abortion" of disabled people, New Statesman
  32. Farage defiant after calling Belgium 'a non-country', BBC News
  33. UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom ejected over Nazi jibe, BBC News
  34. MEP is jailed for benefit fraud, BBC News
  35. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/ukip/7693877/General-Election-2010-Ukip-challenge-cost-Tories-a-Commons-majority.html
  36. However, note how Robert Kilroy-Silk was elected as a UKIP MEP in 2004 (he later left the party). Yes, that Robert Kilroy-Silk.
  37. UKIP and the BNP - What's the difference? (Symon Hill, Ekklesia, 25 Mar 2010)
  38. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/26/ukip-founder-alan-sked-morally-dodgy_n_2190987.html
  39. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20476654
  40. In this example they invoke the spirit of Winston Churchill, who is famous for going into Europe.
  41. UKIP asks voters in Somerset to back the Tories, BBC News
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