June 15, 2004


There are at least two reasons to be thankful to the UK Independence Party. The first, and most obvious, is that they have stymied the Tory revival under Michael Howard. But more importantly, they have split the Far Right vote, and in quite a significant way. The BNP have put all their resources into emphasising immigration. Immigration and asylum were the only issues mentioned on the charming BNP leaflets we had delivered to our flats (thankfully they were left in the lobby downstairs, so no prizes for guessing where they ended up). (btw, I wasn't sure whether to be amused or appalled at the BNP's claim that the government is planning FIVE CITIES the SIZE OF BIRMINGHAM to accomodate the MASSIVE INFLUX of asylum seekers.) The re-emergent UKIP, on the other hand, has emphasised sovereignty and EU corruption. Now this means that two issues that are usually conflated in the racist imaginary - immigration and sovereignty - have actually been separated. This can only be a positive thing.

Posted by mark at June 15, 2004 06:12 PM | TrackBack

hear hear.

perhaps Big Ron could resurrect his career with the UKIP? can we foresee a Kilroy-Silk style Phoenix-like job...

Posted by: scott at June 15, 2004 06:32 PM

You clearly didn't see the letter in yesterday's Standard from prominent UKIP supporter Patrick Moore wherein he stated that the UKIP stood for "a sensible (not racist) policy on curbing immigration."

Posted by: Marcello Carlin at June 16, 2004 10:11 AM

the guardian on-line ran its monday story under a pic of grinning r.kilroy-silk w.demonic fangs bared and i spent the rest of the day worrying if the fact that everyone i know considers him a total buffoon = the fact that everyone in germany in the 30s tht this abt [GODWIN'S LAW ALERT] hitler also (ic. lots of the ppl who actually VOTED for AH) (eg they assumed that AH's self-destructive egocentric clownishness wd i. "send a message" to the political elite and ii. nevertheless limit any possible genuine damage by coming to pieces in office) (he did come to pieces in office of course, except he took the entire continent down w.him)

Posted by: mark s at June 16, 2004 10:41 AM

Marcello's right, I didn't see that piece, but a 'sensible (not racist)' immigration policy could describe that pursued by ALL the mainstream parties. In a sense, my point still stands because UKIP are perceived to be primarily abt Europe whereas the BNP are nailing all their colours to the immigration mast. The issues are different; I mean, I'm anti-Europe but pro-immigration. Incidentally, wouldn't it be great if there was a PRO-immigration party? Sfunny, all this stuff abt ppl working till they're 103 before getting a pension, all at a time where no-one dares to suggest that we might, like, NEED some young workers.

Mark, I'm not too worried abt UKIP taking power in a quasi-Nazi rise.... Their objections to Europe are actually pretty well-founded, however they're characterised in blimpish and jingoistic terms. Plus, while there's a well-established tradition of ppl sending messages to govts in mid-term elections, there's no evidence that they'll do the same when it comes to a general election. On the contrary, in fact.

Posted by: mark k-p at June 16, 2004 11:34 AM

yes yes but did you SEE THE GUARDIAN PICTURE? his teeth were all-but dripping w.fresh blood (in fact i think it was airbrushed out)

tom e. reminded me last week that at an ile-london FAP a couple of years back we encountered a bunch of avid u-kippers: they were not terribly menacing it is true - in fact they were bumblingly forgettable (their campaign literature = EVEN WORSE THAN RESPECT's) BUT i am by nature v.suspicious of the dismissiveness of the self-styled clever (= me) towards the manifestly absurd (= patrick moore for example)

Posted by: mark s at June 16, 2004 11:51 AM

now i don't agree with moore's (famous in journalistic circles - lot of things he has said off-the-record are horrendous, trust me) anti-immigration stance or his support of ukip (they are absurd but mark s is right, us "clever" people often think bad people and bad ideas stupid as opposed to just plain bad - it's a banality of evil thing writ slightly less large) but you can't say he's not clever. he knows shitloads about space, speaks greek and plays a mean xylophone.

Posted by: Stelfox at June 16, 2004 12:06 PM

No, I agree; absurdity is clearly no impediment to success (insert your own example here...)

One of the interesting things abt UKIP's success is that was replicated right across the continent, with most incumbent govts suffering heavy defeats and many voters - including those in the newly admitted E. European countries - registering anti-European votes. Which sets up the paradoxical prospect of a Europe-wide confederacy of anti-European politicians (prob the only GENUINE pan-European initiative that stands much chance of success).

I'm not worried about UKIP, I'm much more concerned abt the BNP, and thankfully the UKIP success seems to have eclipsed them...

Posted by: mark k-p at June 16, 2004 12:09 PM

Have a look at this, however. Are we that relieved?

More accurate comparison - Kilroy-Silk as 21st-century Mosley; right-wing Labour MP, pissed off about not being PM 15 years later, goes off and builds his own ambulance for gullible chasers.

Posted by: at June 16, 2004 01:12 PM

sorry, that was me!

Posted by: Marcello Carlin at June 16, 2004 01:13 PM

Marcello, OK - yeh, the Aaronovitch piece is actually disturbing and does piss on my chips more than a little...

The 'not race but space' argument is SO utterly without foundation... We need more young people, who's going to stand up and admit it?

One of the ironies of the Aaronovitch piece is that the one thing the Govt AREN'T lying about is immigration. Just the opposite. Their defence of it isn't half vigorous enough. It's as Zizek says, there's a complicity between the post-political social democratic mainstream and the populist right, i.e. 'The Right are clearly going too far in their policies on race and immigration, but their concerns do need to be addressed.' They absolutely DO NOT need to be addressed except to be completely repudiated.

The Mosley comparison is valid, but UKIP, unlike the thirties blackshirts, doesn't have much support amongst the young.

Posted by: mark k-p at June 16, 2004 01:55 PM

And the Independent's cover story on UKIP yesterday is also worth a read:

Posted by: mark k-p at June 16, 2004 02:05 PM