Popular thought, UKIP and progressive thought

This is a post about UKIP.

And definitely not in support of them.

I don’t even know where to begin with the nonsense that is Nigel Farage, his style of debate, and UKIP as a party.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, UKIP are not a progressive thinking party. They are about exclusion, discrimination and promoting offensive thinking as normal.

On so many levels, Farage is taking the concept of political debate and popular thought to such a low base of thinking and debate that it’s just ridiculous.

THE NHS

He says that immigrants are causing strain on the NHS. The NHS isn’t under strain because of the type of people using it. It’s under strain because they’ve had to undergo some of the most severe budget cuts they’ve ever had to endure, in some cases with complete primary care services being stopped in order to just exist.

The other end of this is he’s advocating a private healthcare system akin to that of the USA. Sure, because private healthcare is working so well in the USA, right? Aside from that, he and other self-interested MPs and Ministers such as Jeremy Hunt and George Osborne are keen to sell the NHS in order to privatise healthcare and make money for themselves. That’s not about provision of service in any shape or form. That’s about nothing more than greed.

The NHS isn’t without its problems. Selling it off, blaming the immigrants, and denying national problems like obesity are not the solutions. At the same time, the NHS has been voted the best in healthcare across the world and they share their knowledge with many medical institutions across the world – so who decides how bad the NHS is?

If Farage and his followers don’t want to live in a UK which has the best healthcare system in the world, he should move to a country where it meets his needs. I suspect he won’t do that, mostly because he can’t make money by another country selling off their healthcare system.

UK HOUSING

Farage claims that immigrants are causing a strain on the UK housing situation. Sure, let’s take a London Borough like Tower Hamlets and claim that all the problems of housing people are like what is experienced there.

The problem with UK housing is due to the fact that there hasn’t been enough development in the UK for at least 40 years. We need to be building in the region of hundreds of thousands, and we’re developing more in the line of tens of thousands. That’s what’s causing the strain on UK housing.

CASUAL RACISM

This one really pisses me off. Farage claims to say what the common man thinks – and supports his people who say racist and offensive things. Of course he’s very astute about how to support them. He’ll say things like:
“They’re only saying what other people think,” or “They’re not right for public office, but they’re entitled to their opinion,” or “It’s not offensive to use terms like that if they’re meant in jest.”

I don’t even know where to begin with this thinking.

Causal racism is still racism. Honestly, I don’t know anyone these days who wants to be casually racist, mostly because they don’t want to be racist. Not because they’re being politically correct, but because they actually don’t want to offend anyone. I don’t even know how this is an acceptable argument.

IMMIGRANTS ARE TAKING OVER THE UK

I’m just getting more and more annoyed as I write. Right, so the whole world is experiencing globalisation and the effects it has on economies, businesses and, you know, life, and what does Farage want to do? He wants to place strict conditions on people entering the UK to work to promote skills development in the UK. Except, immigraton, people settling and contributing to society have been in existence forever (ok, not forever, but certainly in the modern world of the last 150 years). It’s not a recent thing. It’s actually been accepted for a seriously long time.

The obvious swipe to be made here is that Farage’s wife is German, and it’s just an epic contradiction that he doesn’t want the thousands of people to come and live and work in the UK, but it’s ok for his foreign wife to do exactly that. I mean, seriously?

Oh no, wait, it’s because there’s no one else in the UK who can perform the duties his wife does? Which are, largely, administrative in nature.

And I almost forgot that he wants immigrants coming into the UK to have a health screening to ensure they don’t spread diseases into the UK population. Just think about that for a moment. Forget the morality of it, just consider the practical application and enforcement of this type of initiative. It would mean an agency of some sort with a highly skilled workforce – because not any Joe could perform a proper health check – monitoring our borders of all sorts giving a health check to people before they enter. Or it would mean doing this at the country of exit – still something we would have to fund. Where’s the money going to come from to do this?

Immigrants form a core part of the UK and its make up. Immigrants are why we have a fully functioning NHS. They include everyone from Sikhs, to Jews, to Muslims, to Nigerians, to Italians, to Poles, to Chinese, to Russian and pretty much every other corner of the world you can think of. In the main, all of those groups of people are fully functioning members of society. Farage, instead chooses to focus on those coming from Eastern European countries because they haven’t got over being Communists and are still stuck being criminals. Ugh. This guy takes stereotypes and has a lot of fun with them. He’s offensive, but he’s having fun. Which is still offensive.

DISCRIMINATION AS BUSINESS PRACTISE

Farage seems to think that UK business has its hands tied by EU regulations. In practise, UK business doesn’t, but you know, let’s not follow the facts, let’s follow random opinion instead. He wants businesses to be able to discriminate at will against its workforce.

Remember that globalisation piece I mentioned above? With education becoming more available to people across the world, this means the potential workforce available to business is wide. We’re in an age where meritocracy can truly become the way the best people get the best jobs. Instead, Farage seems to think limiting the openness of our borders, and stepping away from the EU will mean the UK will become more prosperous. A fair and open society is what we’ve become. Farage seems to think stepping away from this will be better for the UK. No, he’s just trying to justify his anti-EU stance by using UK business as a crutch.

FALSE POPULAR OPINION

This one makes me laugh the best. In all their years so far, UKIP haven’t been able to get someone successfully elected as an MP. The only way this happened, the only way, is because of two defectors to the party from the Conservatives. These two defections caused an automatic re-election in their consitituencies, and lo and behold the two people who were the incumbents held on to their seats. Tehcnically, UKIP have two MPs.

In reality, the two people re-elected just held on to their seats. That they were UKIP didn’t have any part to play (in my opinion). So now, Farage and his peeps think they are gaining popularity with the majority. It’s hard to argue that they’re not influencing public debate. What’s worrying is that some people aren’t even trying to think better about what they’re hearing. Instead they’re swallowing up what he has to say – for no better reason than he has a pint and smokes.

SMOKING IN PUBLIC SPACES

This one’s a doosy. For no other reason than Farage is a smoker does he want to undo the ban on smoking in public spaces. What a ridiculous line of argument to take. Forget public health, Farage wants the right to smoke while he’s having his pint dammit.

GUNS IN THE UK

When a person uses a gun on another human, it will either seriously harm them, or kill them.

You know why the UK has such low rates in relation to gun crime? Because guns are not readily available to anyone. That’s easily a win.

Farage wants guns to be legalised in the UK. Ever since the awful tragedy in Dunblane, guns have been banned in the UK. Regularly, REGULARLY, in the USA we hear of stories of people who killed others because of their own personal firearms or of children who have accidentally killed themselves because they were playing with their parent’s gun. This argument is made easy in the UK. It’s the right thing for people not to own firearms. It means those in society who can’t control their emotions when they’re angry won’t make a rash decision and use a gun to either seriously harm or kill another human being. People are not responsible owners of guns. They just aren’t.

PROBLEMS WITH THE EU

I’m not politically savvy enough to argue this one articulately enough. People like Alex Andreou or blogger Flipchart Rick are far better at that than I. But this much I do know. Farage’s allegiances in the EU are with those on the far-right of politics, who advocate outright racism and exclusion of individuals.

For all the talk of the EU restricting the rights of UK business, one of the big importances is that human rights are respected across the piece. That trumps pretty much everything, and UKIP are trying to advocate practises which take away people’s dignity, their human rights and fair and decent work practises.

PROBLEMS WITH WOMEN

Farage and his lot simply don’t see women as equals – it’s chauvanism at its worst. When they advocate not employing women of child bearing age, it doesn’t matter what else they might say they believe – they’re just bigoted and misogynistic. It also doesn’t matter if there are women who are members of the party – that’s not the same as believing women are equal.

HOMOPHOBIA

Ha ha, this one made me laugh – lots! Apparently gay people are the reason we had severe floods in the UK. And that old people are against gay marriage, therefore it should be banned. Or that it’s against God’s laws. Sure, because UKIP people are advocates of all things ‘normal’ in society. Say the guys who think it’s okay to casually be racist and offensive to people with disabilities by claiming that they are a burden on society. Or say that it’s okay to call Chinese people ‘Chinky’ because it’s what the common man says – except no common (wo)man has ever said that in a non-offensive way. The recent law allowing gay people to marry is a landmark moment in progressive practise of inclusion and diversity. I’ve read arguments that apparently the next natural step is to legalise paedophilia. I have no time for poor arguments like that.

GLOBAL WARMING

UKIP are hell bent on denying that global warming exists. They claim that not every scientist shares the opinion that carbon dioxide emissions are at their highest levels because of man made problems. 97% of noted and credible scientists share this opinion. UKIP choose to listen to the 3%. Why? Because they want to make more money from the ventures that involve burning fossil fuels and not finding alternative fuels.

Seriously, this is like denying that mental health is a real medical problem. Because clearly people suffering mental health isn’t debilitating and affects life adversely.

BANTER

No-one is against banter. Every person who has common sense understands the difference between banter and offence. When you cause offence because of your words, that’s being offensive. It’s not anything else. Farage claims he can’t make jokes anymore. He can’t make jokes anymore because when he does, they’re offensive. You know what other public figure is really good at making jokes that aren’t offensive? Barack Obama.

END

UKIP are not a progressive party. They are trying to make it normal for people to be casually racist, discriminate against people because they should be allowed to, and offend people for no better reason than being entitled to an opinion. Being entitled to an opinion, expressing it, and causing offence are all different things. If I have an opinion, express it, and it causes offence, I have a duty to respect the other individual and either change my opinion, or accept they are different. Farage doesn’t think that’s acceptable.

The point of a successful political party is to progress the country they are in. For the various ills of Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in the last 20 years, we have been highly fortunate to be in a country where opportunity is available to succeed. Some in society choose to by cynical about change and are positively resistant to progressive practise.

Once upon a time, people believed that the world was flat. That ‘fact’ got disputed by better thinkers of the day, and ultimately evidence. There are still (deluded) people today who believe this, but they’re in a serious minority. Progressive thought wins every time. It takes time, but it does win.

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Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

5 thoughts on “Popular thought, UKIP and progressive thought”

  1. Sukh, I agree with pretty much everything in this post. I’m going to correct / disagree with one thing – guns aren’t banned in this country. Handguns are. It is legal to own a shotgun with an appropriate licence. I cannot and will not ever understand the America attutude to gun ownership. For the most part I think we have sensible legislation right now. There’s no need for change. And I know plenty of people who are responsible shotgun owners.

      1. On another note, in protest at the frankly unbelievable award of Briton of the Year by the Times to Farage, Sean Jones (whom you may not follow on twitter as he’s a ukemplaw type) is trying to get him awarded Rear of the Year.

  2. Sukh

    I agree with your blog post wholeheartedly.

    I didn’t read Farage being The Times ‘Briton of the Year’ as an endorsement or a positive, just that he caused the most “noise” or kerfuffle of 2014. It’s click bait pure and simple.

    And of course, The Times got the response they wanted.

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