Racists across Britain will have cheered the news that Ukip has its first elected MP. The result will make a nasty, racist party appear more legitimate. It will make voting Ukip seem like more than simply a protest vote.
Already four news channels have unveiled plans to include Ukip leader Nigel Farage in televised debates ahead of next year’s general election.
One opinion poll in the wake of the by-elections indicated that Ukip could take a quarter of the vote in next year’s general election.
It’s too early to tell whether the Clacton victory will be followed by a long term growth of Ukip. But we can’t be complacent.
Soon after the by-elections Farage was proclaiming that people with serious diseases should be stopped from coming to Britain.
If Ukip gains in popularity it will have more opportunities to spout more of such filth—and it will drag mainstream politics further to the right.
The Stand up to Ukip campaign is organising against the racist party.
In a statement following last week’s by-elections it said Ukip has “managed to turn people’s anger and frustration with austerity and cuts onto migrants, Europe, LGBT, people with HIV and Aids, anyone except the bankers, brokers and billionaires who caused the crisis in the first place.”
It added that the leaders of mainstream parties “have allowed Ukip’s racism to make the running”.
Anti-racists ran stalls in Clacton in the run-up to the by-election using Stand up to Ukip materials. Others protested against Ukip in Heywood and Middleton.
Protests have targeted Farage at meetings across Britain. Trade unionists can distribute materials at work and expose the lie that Ukip is on the side of workers.
Ukip now hopes to win another by-election in Rochester and Strood, Kent, next month, where Tory defector Mark Reckless is standing.
It is also targeting Braintree in Essex after disgraced Tory MP Brooks Newmark announced last weekend that he plans to stand down at the next election.
Stand up to Ukip has called a national activists’ meeting in central London on Sunday 9 November. Socialists and trade unionists across Britain should organise against Ukip and the racism it feeds on.
But we also need to fight for collective struggles against the Tories and austerity that can counter the division and despair that Ukip wants to sow.