How to beat UKIP without calling them racist

Attacking UKIP as racist appears to have backfired. But don't despair - exposing UKIP policy can be effective too.

Attacking UKIP as racist appears to have backfired. But don’t despair – exposing UKIP policy can be effective too

Ed Miliband has refrained from labelling UKIP leader Nigel Farage a racist. Instead he has tried, sometimes in vain, to offer policy solutions to the issues leading to the apparent surge in the popularity of the Eurosceptic party.

And yet many have taken a different view as a matter of principle: three senior Labour figures – David Lammy, Yvette Cooper and Diane Abbott – have all condemned recent comments by Nigel Farage as racist; and it’s hard to argue that Farage’s recent comments – that he didn’t want to live next door to Romanians – were at the very least xenophobic.

But regardless of the rights or wrongs of labelling UKIP as racist/xenophobic/fascist, does name calling actually damage the party’s image?

Not if the polls are anything to go by.

Indeed, today’s polls actually show that UKIP is on course to win tomorrow’s European Elections. According to YouGov in the Sun, among those certain to vote the parties are polling as follows: C21 L25 LD11 UKIP30 Green7. A Survation poll for the Mirror also has UKIP on top: C23 L27 LD9 UKIP32 Other9.

As a piece by Patrick Wintour in the Guardian puts it, “telephone polling and focus groups have said that the attacks have raised Farage’s profile and confirmed him as the anti-establishment candidate…One source said: ‘Calling people names does not work. It confirms the old politics'”.

So what, then, to do about the rise of UKIP?

Well how about Ed Miliband’s much criticised approach of refraining from name-calling and instead focusing on the incoherence of UKIP policy? It may not offer as much satisfaction as holding up a placard condemning the UKIP leader as ‘fascist’, but if the polls are anything to go by it’s more likely to yield actual results. The public appears to have already decided that Farage is not a racist, therefore the portrayal of him as such is likely to entrench his position as the ‘anti-establishment’ candidate.

Don’t panic, though, for a policy-based approach to UKIP should bear fruit; it isn’t as if the party has a reasonable or attractive set of pledges or anything.

Charging NHS patients to jump waiting lists

Back in July of last year, UKIP’s ‘health spokesperson’ John Stanley penned an article arguing that people requiring urgent NHS treatment should be seen within two hours – a reasonable enough proposition. He added, however, that those requiring non-urgent treatment should be given the option of paying to jump the queue:

“We should accept that if a triaging clinician feels we don’t need treating within two hours required for standard cases then we be either willing to pay or willing to wait longer so cases most deserving are treated best. People should pay a higher charge if they haven’t registered with a GP as being directed back to primary care avoids unnecessary A&E visits.”

Stanley also endorsed GPs charging to see patients.

Banning all teaching of climate change in schools

IN it’s 2010 manifesto, admittedly since dismissed by Farage as “drivel”, UKIP promised to ban the teaching of climate change in schools. This despite the fact that there is a 97 per cent consensus among climate scientists supporting global warming and the fact that human emissions are responsible.

In January UKIP education spokesman MEP Derek Clark told Index on Censorship:

“We will still ban Al Gore’s video for use in schools if I’ve got anything to do with it. I will not have much opposition within the party. It is, of course, not just this video which needs banning; all teaching of global warming being caused in any way by carbon dioxide emissions must also be banned. It just is not happening.”

Lazy MEPs that are on the take

Thinking of voting UKIP to ‘stick it to the bureaucrats in Europe? Perhaps you ought to consider that UKIP’s MEPs hardly even bother to turn up to sessions of the European Parliament – not that it stops them picking up their expenses, of course.

UKIP’s attendance record in the European Parliament is worse than their counterparts from the three major British parties. UKIP’s nine MEPs missed around a third of the votes in the European Parliament between 2009 and October 2013. UKIP has also lost 45 per cent of the MEPs that were elected in 2009: Nikki Sinclaire (expelled), David Campbell-Bannerman (defected to the Tories), Mike Nattrass (de-selected and then resigned), Trevor Coleman (quit UKIP’s European grouping) and Marta Andreasen (defected to the Tories). HT: Lib Dem Voice.

UKIP attendance graph-JPEG

A party that don’t want the rich to pay their fare share

Just 2.6 per cent of those who die every year pay inheritance tax. The average taxpaying estate is worth £875,000, according to HMRC. Inheritance tax raises £2.9bn a year for the Treasury from some of the wealthiest people in the country, while estates worth less than £325,000 don’t pay a penny.

Yet UKIP wants to abolish it completely. So much for their representing the ‘common man’.

Their mates are on the nasty European far-right

If you want to get to know a person, get to know their friends as well. I’ve always thought this quite a sound rule, and I think it’s just as sound when applied to UKIP, so let’s take a look at who Farage’s pals in Europe are.

UKIP is part of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group in the European Parliament (EFD). The EFD is comprised of 10 parties and one independent MEP. These include the anti-immigrant Movement for France, the ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party and True Finns. EFD was in fact founded by Umberto Bossi, who once said that illegal immigrants should be shot.

Not that he’s the only, shall we say, problematic character amongst UKIP’s chums on the Continent.

The leader of the Slovak National Party has said the best policy for dealing with the Roma is “a long whip in a small yard”. In December 2011, an opinion poll of True Finn voters (another UKIP ally) revealed that 51 per cent agreed with the statement “People of certain races are unsuited for life in a modern society”.

All of this is apparently fine with UKIP, though. Indeed, anyone objecting to such alliances is liable to face severe repercussions – in 2010 UKIP expelled MEP Nikki Sinclaire after she objected to working with the “extreme views” of UKIP’s political allies.

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

91 Responses to “How to beat UKIP without calling them racist”

  1. Daley

    Not according to Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, in fact Smith took the opposite view.

  2. Lawrence Newman

    Well Adam Smith was wrong. Fancy that.

  3. sharon

    what a waste of a vote Alan59, Nigel is a plastic patriot, talks c**p, and pretends he is all for the ‘working class’. How on earth are the working class going to be able to afford to pay to go the hospital? its the NHS, its hard enough to get an apt, without having ppl ‘jumping the queue’! British ppl would be seen alot sooner if it stopped pandering to the immigrants in this country!! It is quickly becoming the INTERNATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE!!! UKIP are only doing well because the BBC (British Brainwashing Corporation) gave UKIP far too much credit, NOTHING patriotic about Nigel!! Where were UKIP when Lee Rigby was brutally attacked and had his head cut off by these SAVAGES? Well they weren’t at the Old Bailey crying out for justice (like the BNP were). Lee Rigby fought our TREACHEROUS governments war, to return home to be SLAUGHTERED on his home soil!! Our soldiers fight for our freedom, as did our forefathers, to give us FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Nigel and his policies are as bent as he is! BNP is the only way to go. Nick speaks the TRUTH!!

  4. sharon

    UKIP are just a stepping stone for the BNP!! Ppl are spineless in this country, ‘too afraid to speak out, in case they are labelled racist. this PC rubbish has gone too far, bring back freedom of speach, BNP are the ONLY party that speak the truth!

  5. Mark Scarborough

    I’m a far right winger? I’m a member of the Labour Party who’s trying to understand why the recent media onslaught against UKIP hasn’t in any way dinimished their votes.

  6. Mark Scarborough

    Indeed, I look forward to seeing what the 2015 manifesto will contain for UKIP. Your economic spokesperson last night hinted at deeper cuts than the Tories, so I’m content that at least on the ‘slashing the state’ front UKIP will maintain that policy and this wont be popular with ordinary voters.

  7. ymbhweorfnes

    I hope to see a manifesto that gives sensible, or indeed, creative solutions for the country as a whole, including properly targeted welfare, a stronger NHS and debt reduction (which even the Coalition have not tackled – it’s risen faster than under Labour). I used to be a shop steward so I’d like to see stronger rights for employees to protect them from exploitation. Have to wait and see.

  8. ymbhweorfnes

    After yesterday, your view is now the accepted Labour leadership view too Mark. Miliband clearly mis-read UKIP totally in the last 12 months; I really don’t know why, such poor leadership at the top. Maybe the new strategist will help?

  9. John Husband

    The problem with calling UKIP racits is that it restricts they debate on important issues as immigration. People stop raising the issue of immigration and as they do not want to be seen as a racists. This wrong if we are going to have a referendum on Europe in the future then issue such as immigration, european bureaucracy, trading between counties etc need to be openly debated even if the views of some are not to our taste.

  10. londona729

    I love how this the most popular comment lol!

  11. londona729

    Couldn’t that backfire as Thatcher was very successful- after she got a higher % in 1979 of the vote than Blair in 1997!

    Also contrast Thatcher’s 1987 to Blair’s 2005 final election result….
    Still Blair only got in by accepting most of Mrs T’s policies lol!

  12. Sun

    Yeah an employer should pay to have a women who is not working. Oh my godz!!1!!!!! The sky is falling. Discrimination is how the worlds functions. Hiring someone is discrimination. You just don’t like certain forms of discrimination and you want people to be paid even when they’re not.

    Producing children is incompatible with working. One has to be done and it isn’t working. Producing children is paramount to the survival of a society. Gender equality (just like all forms of equality) is fucking stupid. It doesn’t take into account why gender roles existed in the first place. But don’t let that stop you from “muh discrimination”.

  13. Dissavowed

    Wasnt it Labour who lied to take us into an illegal war, where coalition forces have killed a million non-combatants, all of a different race, all with brown skin?
    Surely the really crazy racists will be voting Labour?

  14. carl savage

    look at you all, on a left wing website though half of you aint got a left wing bone in your body. get back to your right wing racism like ukip and bnp

  15. Mark Scarborough

    Hmmm, on that final point about employee rights I think you’re supporting the wrong party. Leaving the EU would mean removing the Working Times Directive (which UKIP don’t like) and there have been comments made in the past about making it easier to fire people and removing maternity, sick and holiday pay.

  16. Mark Scarborough

    In terms of attracting back ex-Labour voters from UKIP, I feel branding Farage Thatcher 2.0 could work. I do accept that among some Tories especially, likening him to Thatcher could do further damage to the Conservatives!

  17. ymbhweorfnes

    All the big private companies I have ever worked for have ignored the WTD totally. Its a different question in Public Sector of course. Lucky for them. UKIP wouldn’t remove everyone’s maternity, sick and holiday pay, that’s another scare story. Anyhow, we all have to wait for the manifesto.

    Hey, hope you all enjoyed last night’s wonderful display of democracy 😉

    Have a good evening.

  18. londona729

    The best thing Labour could do is change leader forthwith lol!

  19. julian

    I think Alan59 was being a bit sarcastic.

  20. Mike Dawson

    People can read whatever they want in a free world. Then make up their minds where they stand.

  21. Ian

    It was Labours idea to charge for GP visits don;t talk crap Bloodworth.The UKIP is the only party fully supportive of the NHS.

  22. Dave

    A lot of plus points for UKIP in the criticism and no mention of any of Ed’s policies on the EU I am waiting still for them. Strange too that the parties mentioned True Finn Slovak National Party are no longer with the EFDD group

  23. Mike_Smith_Gloucester

    Of course a lot of this is old hat with many lies. I’m sure UKIP will be only too happy for you to expose its policies and give them publicity when they are revealed in its General Election Manifesto in September. People will then see that they are based on Common sense and not on ideologies of either right or left.

  24. Mike_Smith_Gloucester

    Where did you get that lie from?

  25. Mike_Smith_Gloucester

    Amusing to see a left-winger quoting the Daily Torygraph! Nigel’s comment referred ONLY to women in the financial sector!

  26. Mike_Smith_Gloucester

    Well “isolationism” certainly doesn’t apply to UKIP.
    UKIP doesn’t want to be isolated in a small part of the world, which is declining when there is a whole wide world out there.

  27. Leon Wolfeson

    Yes, it certainly does. UKIP has called for immediately smashing trade and isolating the UK entirely, causing the collapse which will benefit the rich with offshore cash.

    You can deny the facts all you like. The UK is the declining state here, we’re going to be drag on the EU unless we start growing our wages and our trade picks up again as a result.

  28. Leon Wolfeson

    Exactly. As Labour are right wing…

    (And there’s STILL little movement between Labour and the UKIP, see the tabs on UK Polling Report)

  29. Guest

    Everyone’s? No, just for the 99%.

  30. Rob Silvertree

    I am UKIP and I read left wing sites for the humour..There’s nowt so funny as a mob that take themselves serious…Left Foot forward indeed. Animal Farm says it all.

  31. Mike_Smith_Gloucester

    “Comments” aren’t policy!

  32. Kryten2k35

    Amusing to think that if you have a left-wing opinion, the right wing can’t get something right once in a while.

  33. Michael Ellis

    Vote UKIP… the only choice.

  34. Mark Lawrence

    It’s wise to study ones adversary … Oh and vote ukip

  35. Mark Lawrence

    What influence is that then

  36. Mark Lawrence

    We are still free and not ruled by the crazy left so we’ll read whatever we choose, no ?

  37. Mark Lawrence

    Clearly a waste of a vote that’s why ukip romped home in the European elections haha thanks for the laugh

  38. Leon Wolfeson

    Just because you’re ignorant of the basics…

  39. Ray Forster

    Ed and Cam are frightened. Fact. Bring on the election. UKIP!

  40. Kenney Revill


  41. Kenney Revill

    To know what nonsense the left is chatting lol

Leave a Reply