Giant billboards spouting racist lies about immigrant workers will be appearing around Britain this week. Ukip is responsible for the ads—and it is on the offensive. Ukip sees the polls rising in its favour and is confident of making gains with by constantly bashing migrant workers.
One of the campaign posters shows a builder, presumably out of work, begging. If a builder is unemployed and forced to beg, it would be more likely because he has been blacklisted by the bosses’ construction cartel than by migrant workers taking his job.
But Ukip is a party of the rich, full of people who don’t care if ordinary people are unemployed or poor. In fact a third of people who voted Tory say they will back Ukip in the European elections in May.
But they want their message to play to the fears and anxiety ordinary people have about their futures in a time of crisis.
So a poll last week of people thinking of voting Ukip showed that 80 percent of them think the gap in wealth between the rich and poor is important. This is the same proportion who are worried about inequality in the general population.
Ukip wants ordinary people to believe that if immigration was restricted then their lives would be better. Nigel Farage, Ukip’s leader, has been pitching this to an admiring media which has given him blanket coverage for months.
Farage has been exposed as using thousands of pounds of European parliament expenses to fund his party’s campaigning. Yet he has clung onto his “outsider” status. But the murky reality of what lies behind Ukip and Farage’s blokey facade is never far away.
He rejected joining a coalition with the French Nazi Front National (FN) in the European parliament. But he was keen to show his admiration for its leader, Marine Le Pen, saying he believed she was “achieving remarkable things”.
Other mainstream political parties denounce Ukip as extreme and join the chorus of outrage at their propaganda. But they are responsible for creating the climate of racist scapegoating that Ukip has grown in.
The danger is that they pander to the populist racist agenda of Ukip which can drag the consensus on immigration further to the right.
Socialists have to say loud and clear that immigration did not cause the recession. Bosses and bankers caused the crisis—and Farage is both. They want us to blame each other for the problems we face, whether it’s unemployment or NHS cuts.
We need to stand up to Ukip every time it tries to spread its racist message and expose their mock concern for the lives of ordinary people for what it is.