Nigel Farage has thrown out the latest UKIP member to provoke controversy through bigoted opinions. Farage says he wants to get rid of candidates with “extremist, barmy or nasty” views. But it is not individual candidates who are the problem. UKIP’s official policies are extremely nasty, based as they are on an ultra-Thatcherite free-market extremism.
Earlier this week, I blogged about David Silvester, a UKIP councillor in Oxfordshire who attributed the recent floods to God’s judgment on the legalisation of same-sex marriage (rather than the real sin of human-fuelled climate change). I have now lost count of the number of UKIP members that have been expelled due to racist, sexist or homophobic comments. Farage’s insistence that there are bigoted individuals in every party is true but now wearing thin as an excuse for the number of them who appear to have joined UKIP.
You only have to look at the policies of UKIP to see why. They want to make even greater cuts than the Tories. They are committed to workfare (forcing people to work for benefits, instead of paying them a wage). They want to withdraw from the UN Convention on Refugees, meaning the UK could turn back people fleeing persecution. They would also remove the UK from the European Court of Human Rights, meaning it would join Belarus as the only other European country that is not signed up to it.
Despite slashing the welfare state, a UKIP government would increase military spending by forty percent and push ahead with the renewal of Trident. The party’s education policy includes the promotion of a biased, pro-imperial teaching of history in British schools. They would not, however, teach about climate change, as they deny its reality. Their policies include investment in several new gas-fired power stations.
Shortly after his comments about expelling “extremists”, Farage gave us a reminder of his own perception of reality by claiming that women can succeed just as well as men at the top levels of big business – if, he added, they are prepared to sacrifice their families. Why anyone should be expected to sacrifice their family to “succeed” was not made clear.
Of course, the debate on the number of women on boards of corporate directors conveniently obscures the reality of sexism for people on low and middle incomes. But given the power of corporations, it is telling that Farage is happy with those who are wielding that power.
It is not individual UKIPers who are the problem but the party itself and its own policies. Expelling right-wing extremists from UKIP is like expelling sand from the desert.