Leader of the racist Ukip party Nigel Farage failed in his attempt to be elected MP in South Thanet. Farage resigned as leader and the party is in crisis.
His failure follows months of campaigning by anti-racists in the Stand Up to Ukip (SUTU) campaign.
Jo Cardwell from SUTU told Socialist Worker, “Farage came to South Thanet with the intention of dividing people – but they rejected that. The high turnout shows that people came out to vote against him.”
The party now has just one MP, Douglas Carswell in Clacton, after Mark Reckless lost in Rochester and Strood.
But behind the lack of MPs is a worrying rise in the Ukip vote. Farage grabbed 32 percent of the vote in South Thanet, behind the Tories’ 38 percent. The Ukip vote there rose by 27 percent. Nationally the party took around 13 percent of the vote – or 3.8 million votes.
Jo said, “Ukip came second in 118 places in the parliamentary elections. And it may have done well in council elections. Ukip is now effectively Britain’s third biggest party. Its rising vote is massively worrying and shows how important it is to stand up against Ukip.
“South Thanet shows that it is possible to drive Ukip back.”
Ukip benefited from the mainstream parties’ agreement that immigration is a problem. Their racist scapegoating made Farage and Ukip seem less extreme and more credible.
Farage may have lost in South Thanet but Ukip has succeeded in pulling the debate over immigration yet further to the right. Anti-racists will need to keep organising.
SUTU activists plan to meet to celebrate Farage’s failure in Ramsgate tomorrow, Saturday. They were set to meet on Wednesday of next week to plan their next steps.
SUTU also plans to hold a national activists’ meeting in the next few weeks to plan future campaigning against the racist party.