Ukip leader Nigel Farage used the party’s conference last week to claim Ukip would help working class people.
The hard right, anti-immigration party met in Doncaster, South Yorkshire—the constituency of Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Farage boasted that Ukip was parking its “tanks on the Labour Party’s lawn” and claimed the party was not about “left and right”.
The main evidence of this was a vague idea to increase VAT on “luxury goods” such as expensive handbags. Farage confirmed the idea was “dead” as soon as the conference ended.
And even this attempt to look tough on the rich had a racist edge. Farage lambasted “billionaires from Russia and Arab countries like Saudi Arabia” coming to Britain to buy designer items.
Other ideas pitched as “worker friendly” had nasty assumptions at heart. So Farage said he backed tax cuts for lower paid workers because taxes are apparently “a huge disincentive to come off benefits”.
Ukip’s economic spokesperson Patrick O’Flynn said the party would reform the Barnett formula, which is used to calculate funding in different parts of Britain.
This plan would mean more cuts for people in Scotland and Wales.
Ukip’s main policies remain a series of right wing attacks that benefit the rich. It would restrict child benefit to two children while scrapping inheritance tax.
And as Farage put it in his conference speech notes, “whatever policies—immigration No.1 issue”.
“We must take back control of our border,” he announced, to cheers from the mainly old, white audience.
Ukip would increase the number of border control officers and bring in new limits on immigration.
It would force migrants to pay for health care and make it harder for people to claim asylum in Britain. Immigration spokesperson Steven Woolfe raised the idea of having “British-only” passport queues at airports.
Ukip will not be in a position to do any of this any time soon. But it hopes that fighting a series of by-elections will boost its profile—and drag mainstream politics further to the right.
Ukip will contest three by-elections in the coming weeks. Mark Reckless of Rochester and Stroud became the latest Tory to defect to Ukip last week, triggering a by-election there.
Douglas Carswell, another Tory defector, is re-standing in Clacton while John Bickley is Ukip’s candidate in Heywood and Middleton.
The latter two by-elections take place on 9 October.
Anti-racist campaigners are already organising against Ukip (see below).
The Stand up to Ukip campaign has called a day of action in Clacton and in Middleton this Saturday.