Subjective Objectivity – The Blog of The Reasonable Man

January 17, 2013

On the UK Independence Party

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikeshotgun @ 1:12 am

Or the Myth of UKIP decency

If the first couple of years following the US election were notable for anything in that nation’s politics, it was the rise of the so-called “Tea Party Patriots for America”. I’ll not go into a lengthy retelling on this movement, but suffice it to say that they be known to antiquity for two things – dominating the discourse of American politics for more years than history will deem reasonable and shifting the Republican party further towards essential fascism than they previously were. They – or more accurately the pernicious interests behind them – did this under the banner of FREEDOM and INDEPENDENCE and RIGHTS and LIBERTIES. These are all laudable concepts, and I support every one of them when applied to the appropriate cause and in the appropriate way.

Yet they are also used in the bugle call sounded by the self-interested oligarchs who see a portion of their power waning at any given time, and feel need to solidify their position by giving the illusion of popular support for it. Or to state the matter more accurately, popular support for a fictional concept upon which they can consolidate their power. All this is done while distracting the “movement” that has been created usually through social issues – or other issues that essentially boil down to the same – and fighting the forces of progress on ground that oughtn’t be contested, but nonetheless is.

This brings me onto UKIP. I don’t incline toward generalities, but I am comfortable in stating that UKIP is, for purpose if not particulars, this country’s version of the Tea Party. I state this because the interests that support UKIP’s rise are so similar in their relative position to their US cousins who support the Tea Party as to make them near interchangeable. I will variously refer to them in my writings in many ways – oligarchs, robber barons – but here I shall use the term the Bosses*.

Their concerns are not particularly rooted in an aggressive attitude against taxation. Their selling point is a near psychotic hatred of the European Union and indeed any institution that emanates from the Continent. In both cases, this is supposed to have noble intentions, but it belies an otherwise troubling agenda filled with the vague language of nativism and xenophobia, a support for individual liberties so far as they can protect those interests held by those behind the movement, or desired rank and file therein. Nowhere in their movement do they seek to rock the boat of privilege, mostly because they believe that they will soon be boarding it.

However, when a person, a movement, or institution opens with “we are against political correctness” then I start to discern a true set of motives within whoever says it. They have entered a sphere occupied (and perhaps ruled by) those who being many a politically motivated sentence with “I’m not racist but…”. There usually follows some thinly veiled argument against either the current position or potential advancement of some group that can be categorised into what I uncomfortably find myself having to call a “minority”. Immigrants and homosexuals do not find favour with these groups and often bandy statistics in scare quotes such as noting how many people in London weren’t born in this country*. Similarly, the obsession with cutting foreign aid – a relatively miniscule portion of GDP expenditure, when put against, say, military spending which they seek to buttress – is a constant theme of these subtle nativists. At this point the bugle becomes a dog whistle.

Another constant is a contempt for their country. At first this seems counterintuitive a suggestion, but in all of their writings they often express their distaste for what the country has become and sometimes let slip into talking about getting THEIR country back. For you see, despite proclamations of patriotism, they are really pining for some fictional utopia, usually with an invocation to a past that never actually existed, and supplying their mass of followers with a counterfeit nostalgia. I often wish interviewers would ask UKIP what they believed is RIGHT with the country. I suspect the Royal Family and the armed forces would be there, and perhaps some other institutions rooted in the wielding of power. If history tells us anything, it is that fetishisizing such institutions is the hobby of a fascist, or at the very least the worship of power of the ilk that would happily be ruled by fascists.

The genius of UKIP is that they are the middle class version of the BNP. And it is unfashionable among the decent people of all classes to be associated with such a movement, despite the fact that they wear suits on occasion. In walks Nigel Farage who unlike Nick Griffin, doesn’t look particularly suspect, at least not by comparison. Not least because he also provides you with a Leviathan to despise in the European Union. It’s a very technical hatred, but he doesn’t ask much of the casual bigot. While the true believers within UKIP believe the EU to be the source of all ills, the passive participant is content to see it as a mysterious enabler of their ills.

Yet if you look at where Mr Farage are targeting (the working class of the North) you see who they are attempting to take votes from – those disillusioned Labour votes who would otherwise find themselves casting their ballot for the British National Party – a party I prefer in a way, as I like my fascists honest, without the base alloy of hypocrisy – on grounds as near to racism as those that can be expressed. Instead, the slightly less ugly nativism of UKIP seems far more respectable as it has far more code words to deploy in the cause of obfuscation.

They are also adopting similar tactics to the Tea Party (as far as our system allows) in that they are threatening to field candidates that will – they say – lose Tory seats by the score. Thus, as happened with that intellectual bantamweight known as James Delingpole*** threatened, weakly as possible, to stand as a UKIP candidate a by-election to voice his strong opinions against windmills. This apparently caused the standing Conservative candidate to change his views on the matter.

Let us take them at their word that they are not racists****. They are, at the very least, nativists, and sound somewhat xenophobic in their rhetoric. Let us also accept that the type of person who is likely to vote for this party isn’t necessarily a racist either. However, to the extent that no one is colour blind and everyone has racism essentially coded into their social DNA, the sentiments expressed in their policies tickle that part of their brain that has a fear or distaste of the OTHER.

But it is the attack against the spectre of Political Correctness that looms large in their rhetoric. Lord Ashcroft, of Tory Party fame notes the results of recent poll:

“For voters attracted to UKIP, complaints about immigration or the EU are often part of a greater dissatisfaction with the way they see things going in Britain: They told us that schools can’t hold nativity plays any more; that you can’t fly a flag of St George any more; that you can’t call Christmas Christmas any more; that you won’t get social housing unless you’re an immigrant; and that you can’t speak up about these things because you’ll be called a racist – but the mainstream political parties, they believe, are too in thrall to the prevailing culture of political correctness to do anything about it.”

It is interesting that none of these beliefs is actually true. Indeed, in the DAILY TELEGRAPH, where I first noted the above quote, it is reported mere weeks ago that “Nativity Plays in Schools are Making a Comeback”. I need only walk half a mile around any council estate in Britain to see both non-immigrant social housing recipients and the George Cross flying. Indeed, I having lived in an estate for a number of years, I see one every day I leave. The reason you might be called racist for speaking up against these things, is because racists will often change the subject, and insist that racism against white people is the real problem.

And the final revealing trope is that support for UKIP is based on the fact that it will say what others are too afraid to say. I am not afraid to say that it is worrying that you cannot fly the George Cross anymore. I refrain from saying it because I would peddling a falsehood. So, if Lord Ashcroft’s analysis is to be believed, then support for UKIP is based on a lie. Each lie is predicated on a fear of some other culture, or alien person overtaking NATIVE concerns. It is an age-old pattern, and in darker times I fear it shall never be overcome, but at the very least it ought be acknowledged and aired when it occurs.

What conclusions, if any, are we to draw from all of this? Will UKIP be a dominant political force in the election two years hence? Our commentariat would have us believe so, though this would be the same gallery of clowns who saw some sustainable relevance in the BNP.

Perhaps the role of the Tea Party are instructive here. They were a useful tool for certain interests to re-establish the doctrine of the supply-side, oligarchical view of things. They became a Golem of sorts when national embarrassments such as Donald Trump rallied to their cause with the cry of a racism so thinly veiled as to be all but transparent. Then they succeeded in curbing potential gains of their sponsor party, the Republicans, in the latest American elections, which saw a majority of those voting endorse the Democratic Party platform, in every national race*****

The so-called Tea Party Caucus is no longer heard from, as the interests behind them abandoned them as to ugly and divisive. Ultimately I’m not certain what UKIP are even for. Their avowed purpose is not the sole source of appeal, as the intricacies of the EU Superstate are little more than a mythological basis upon which they seek to establish the blame of others for the perceived ills of society. Their effect seems to have been to ameliorate – and in some instances reverse – the so called “liberal revolution” within the Tory Party. It is debateable how sincere that particular endeavour ever was, but assuming that it was (and ascribing no reward or favour with that assumption, because it was plainly abandoned), then UKIP has succeeded and will continue to do so. I doubt that they can win a seat in Westminster, if only because they represent a sublimated essence of any body of human beings. Yet they assume with such conviction that they represent the true id of society. And they do so by the deployment the poorly defined tropes that will agitate enough among their base to make whatever deception seem irrelevant. It will not be scrutinised, but it will be reported.

Perhaps this is the point: They are the vocal minority, much as the Tea Party is. I believe that their popularity is transient, yet their impact will be sustained by virtue of media interest. Both the active promotion of the Telegraph, and the indulgence of the Guardian have left a gulf of sensible analysis. I do not expect them to win, but they will make a sporting effort at dragging our political discourse to the depths of reactionism.



*My distaste for the Bosses is thinly veiled, if at all. They don’t require my indifference or support or ignorance, and my open contempt won’t make a dent on their interests, so I’ll declare it here, though this will not be the only occasion.

**In the interests of disclosure I should note that I was not born in this country.

***I find myself convinced that he is in fact a fictional satire, invented by the left to spew the tired nonsense that those in the middle-class inteligentsia must imagine every Tory does. An alternative theory is that Mr Delingpole’s childhood pet was killed by a windmill, such is his unrelenting vitriol against the contraptions.

****I find it a refreshing intellectual exercise to accept such premises, if only because it saves time arguing a point that no one present will actually accept.

***** Though a GOP majority was returned to the House of Representatives, that particular august institution is so hopelessly Gerrymandered that more votes were cast for Democratic candidates in total across the House races than the Republicans, though the latter retained a fair majority.

Cross-posted at Something Quotable


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