As a politics student and someone who could have been classed as an immigrant myself, I can sincerely say that I am totally fed up with UKIP and the irrational, apparently uneducated candidates the party contains.
Growing up in the Middle East, I was surrounded by a variety of cultures and customs for which I couldn’t be more grateful. In my view, understanding and enjoying other people’s way of life is of great importance, especially in our generation where the world is becoming more inter-connected day by day. Cultural diversity injects colour into societies and adds vibrancy, something that is unavoidable in hubs such as London or Dubai. The problem I have with UKIP is that it’s unashamedly acting on an explosion of nationalism whose origins lay in many different places: the economic crisis of 2008, immigration to the UK (mainly) from the European Union and sub-continental Asian countries, the threat of terrorism, Islamophobia and anger. In my opinion, they give the angry-but-not-sure-why population of Britain a scapegoat. But this isn’t the only reason why I simply cannot respect them.
With each day that passes, another newspaper reports on an outrageous comment that a UKIP candidate has made. As it happens I’m writing this post on the back of an article I just read, where a UKIP candidate standing for Sedgefield, County Durham has profusely apologised and expressed his remorse over his offensive and sexist comments about a liberal female journalist, stating that she “needs a good shag”. But, of course, this is not the only slip-up a UKIP candidate has made in recent months. A UKIP councillor, Rozanne Duncan, was filmed expressing her dislike for “negroes” and those with “negroid features”. Further, another UKIP candidate labelled Gurkhas as parasites, and another claimed that Nigel Farage is like Mahatma Gandhi. The thing that really gets to me is that every time something like this happens, SUDDENLY the politicians who make these comments miraculously regain moral consciousness and immediately take back what they say. If they didn’t mean it, they wouldn’t have said it in the first place. Nigel Farage preaches reassurance, trying to convince us that these politicians aren’t expressing the true values of UKIP. But how can we believe him when this has happened on multiple occasions? Could people really trust candidates so uneducated and lacking in social etiquette to represent them in Parliament?
It appears that UKIP know how to play on people’s emotions. Anger brings vulnerability, and people’s minds are easily swayed by simple solutions such as leaving the E.U. as less immigrants will be coming the United Kingdom ‘taking our jobs’ and ‘living off benefits’. Sure, there are probably people who have come from abroad who do live off the government’s money. But there are many British people who do that too.
What UKIP is doing is attempting to dismantle the multicultural society Britain has become. They are knowingly aggravating cultural divides in the UK and alienating sections of society. I could never bring myself to vote UKIP as I refuse to turn a blind eye to the wonders of immigration and the hard-working people it has brought to Britain. Their campaign slogan should be ‘Ignorance is bliss’.
Melissa studies International Relations & Spanish in Leeds. She grew up in the UAE.