It was standing room only when UK Independence Party (Ukip) leader Nigel Farage spoke to 300 people in Suffolk last week.
Farage regaled them with the disgusting anti-immigration lies that characterise his party.
He claimed that he was “flabbergasted to go to Peterborough and see ghettos where virtually no English is spoken”.
There aren’t any “ghettos” in Peterborough—but that didn’t stop Farage.
He went on to boast about the recent Eastleigh by-election where Ukip came second, saying “we will soon cause a political earthquake.”
A recent IPSOS/Mori poll put Ukip on 13 percent, 2 percent above the Lib Dems. It has come second in four of the last five by-elections.
Ukip was formed 20 years ago and it is a minor party in Britain.
But economic crisis, the rise of anti-migrant and anti-Muslim racism, and deep disillusionment with the mainstream parties has helped it to make a breakthrough.
Exposures such as the MPs’ expenses scandal mean that people are looking for alternatives to mainstream politicians.
Farage is the most popular party leader and the only one with a positive approval rating.
Ukip tries to portray itself as an anti-establishment “clean pair of hands”. In reality it is rooted firmly in the establishment.
Farage is a commodities broker and son of a stockbroker in the City of London.
He joined the Tories as a school student but left when Tory leader John Major signed the Maastricht European Union Treaty in 1992.
Stuart Wheeler, Ukip’s treasurer, is an investment banker and barrister. He was educated at Eton and Oxford University.
Ukip isn’t only against immigration and the European Union. It has a range of foul, anti-working class policies.
It wants to double the number of prison places and embark on a massive programme of public sector cuts.
It backs a return to grammar schools, which write off the majority of working class children as failures.
Ukip isn’t a fascist party—these aim to abolish democracy and working class organisation altogether. But it does have links to fascists.
In Europe Ukip is allied to the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group of far right parties.
This includes Italy’s Northern League, whose members have stated their support for Norwegian fascist murderer Anders Breivik.
Some of Ukip’s members have had or still have links with fascist parties in Britain such as the British National Party.
The vast majority of ordinary people reject the bigotry that scapegoats ethnic minorities and blames the economic crisis on migrants.
We need to campaign against the racism that Ukip feeds on and expose its racist lies.
Socialists must point to the real causes of the crisis—the bosses and their system—and argue that migrants are welcome here.
The rise of Ukip is more worrying for David Cameron than it is for Labour’s Ed Miliband.
Ukip effectively represents a strand of nationalistic Toryism that is hostile to Europe and wants to push the party further to the right.
In 2006 Cameron dismissed Ukip as “full of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”.
But today it has 11 MEPs, three members in the House of Lords and over 50 councillors.
Mainstream parties have responded by making ever more concessions to Ukip’s racist agenda.
So in the wake of Eastleigh Cameron declared a “crackdown on immigration”.
Miliband too pledged a tougher line on immigration, saying Labour had got it wrong in the past.
This pandering to Ukip’s agenda doesn’t undercut them.
Instead it gives them greater electoral respectability.
Recent opinion polls show that almost a quarter of the public look to Ukip to deal with immigration.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage snaffled around £2 million in expenses and allowances as an MEP between 1999 and 2009.
He said he used the money, from European tax payers, to campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.
Ukip MEPs have the worst attendance record of any British party.
More Ukip voters read the Sun and the Daily Mail newspaper than people who vote for any other party.
Almost half—48 percent—of Ukip voters polled in February were over 60 years old. Only 8 percent were under 29.
More Ukip voters owned their home outright than any other section of voters.
Some 84 percent were not in a trade union.
Notorious racist Enoch Powell is Farage’s hero.
Powell unleashed a storm of racism with his 1968 anti-immigration “rivers of blood” speech.
Farage said Powell was “extraordinary” and said that he admired his “guts”.
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