Ukip leader Nigel Farage likes to have his picture taken with a pint or cigarette in hand. This is designed to cultivate an image of someone who cuts a different figure from your average politician.
In reality Ukip is a nasty, hard right party that tries to whip up racist panic over immigration.
But it isn’t simply a collection of disgruntled ex-Tories or a Eurosceptic splinter group, as some try to present it. Nor is it a fascist organisation.
Ukip is a hard right, populist party. The economic crisis and austerity have helped boost populist parties across Europe.
Populism isn’t new. It involves taking a mix of issues and themes, such as nationalism, discipline or family, and presenting them as linked to an underlying set of values.
Often this is done in order to appeal the worst prejudices of sections of society.
But it also aims to blend themes together in order to appeal to diverse groups with different class interests.
So Ukip claims to speak up about the fears that “ordinary” people have about immigration and to be on the side of the little person.
But it also declares itself to be standing up for British bosses against competition from Europe.
Populist politicians hope that appealing to nationalism will help them appear to be on the side of people in every class.
They pretend to be anti-establishment to appeal to people who are fed up with the political system and out of touch politicians at the top.
But Ukip is an establishment party. Farage is a public school educated City broker. He comes from the same class that set off the devastating economic crisis.
Ukip includes members who have previously belonged to fascist organisations.
And a new book, Revolt on the Right, is set to reveal that senior Ukip members backed forming a pact with the Nazi British National Party in 2008.
Ukip also has links to extreme far right parties in the European parliament (see below). But it differs from fascist organisations which aim to smash working class organisation and destroy all forms of democracy.
For all its rhetoric, Ukip does have a range of anti-working class policies. It wants the poorest workers to pay more tax, for instance, and to bring in more charges in the NHS.
Ukip is committed to driving down living standards for working class people.
Its leaders try to scapegoat Muslims, Roma and migrants as being responsible for the misery that their class created.
We must stand up to the racism that Ukip feeds on and promotes. And we should expose it for the grubby, establishment party that it is.
Farage’s ‘bedfellows’ are racists and Islamophobes
Ukip is in alliance with racists and Islamophobes who defend the views of the Norwegian fascist mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.
Ukip’s Nigel Farage is co-president of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group (EFD), an alliance of parties in European Parliament.
The alliance is made up of 13 parties—all formed around racism and xenophobia.
The EFD contains such vile characters as Francesco Speroni.
Speroni is an Italian MEP who rushed to defend Breivik after he massacred 77 people in 2011.
He said if Breivik’s ideas “are that we are going towards Eurabia and those sorts of things, that Western Christian civilisation needs to be defended, yes, I’m in agreement”.
Speroni is the alliance’s co-president along with Farage.
He is the leader of the Northern League party in Italy. At a festival organised by the party last year, Lega Norde politician Roberto Calderoli said of Italy’s black minister of integration Cecile Kyenge, “I love animals, but when I see her, I can’t help but think of an orang-utan”.
The Slovak National Party (SNS) is also a member of the EFD.
The SNS is a Nazi group. It whips up racism against Roma and Hungarians in Slovakia.
During an election campaign two years ago the SNS ran a billboard showing a poor, Roma area with the strap, “How long are we going to suffer with the gypsies? Let’s change it!”
Farage is keen to distance himself from damaging associations with such parties in the run-up to the European elections on 22 May.
He claims he is forced to join up with “strange bedfellows” just to get more speaking time in the European Parliament.
Farage praises Powell’s ‘guts’
In 1968 then Tory MP Enoch Powell (pictured) made a speech predicting that immigration would lead to “rivers of blood” on Britain’s streets.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage has said that Powell’s “basic principle is right”—except he claimed the situation is worse now.
The haves and have-yachts
Ukip’s claim to be a party for ordinary people took a hammering during its national conference earlier this year.
The Daily Mirror secretly filmed delegates attending a lavish party on a £1 million yacht.
Gary Robinson, who stood for parliament for Ukip in 2010, told a reporter that his Wigan hometown was “not nice” but that he lived in a “posh area”.
Who votes for a party like this?
Ukip voters are more likely to own their own home than any other section of voters.
Nearly half—48 percent—were over 60 years old, according to a poll carried out before last year’s council elections.
Only 8 percent were under 29.