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Nigel Farage's smug grin is all over the media this morning. But the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have been defeated by a monster of their own creation.
During the BBC’s local election coverage David Dimbleby described Nigel Farage as ‘the man whose hour has come’. Despite UKIP winning control of no Councils (and their share of the vote actually falling compared with 2013) the media and the party seemed determined to portray a small tremor in the political landscape as a UKIP ‘earthquake’. But I would suggest that if any cracks are about to appear, they will be in UKIP itself, not the political Establishment it claims to reject.
When the banks wrecked the economy, people were angry: angry with politicians, bankers, and super-rich tax dodgers. Movements like Occupy questioned the very foundations of our global capitalist economy. Voters needed a party or a leader who would understand their anger, who would reject business as usual politics and teach the establishment a lesson. So what did that establishment need?
“They showed themselves weak in trying to frighten us.” My grandfather's words about the Blackshirts, born out of his experience of the conflict of Cable Street, have stayed in my mind. As a young child, I sensed their import, even though I had little understanding of the context or the meaning. I revisited his words with an adult understanding in the light of two occasions of weak and ugly behaviours from UKIP supporters over the last few days.
If you believe the Daily Mail, then a European election candidate has been arrested “for quoting Winston Churchill”.
People who defend themselves by saying “My words were taken out of context” sometimes have a good point. It is possible to misrepresent someone, either deliberately or accidentally, by quoting their words out of context. However, a UKIP candidate in Portsmouth has stretched this defence to breaking point. He has also attempted some creative redefinitions of common English words.
During his recent debates with Nick Clegg, UKIP leader Nigel Farage found time to make a baseless prediction about same-sex marriage and religion.
What does UKIP stand for? As far as the EU and immigration is concerned, its position couldn’t be clearer. Every voter in Britain is probably aware that UKIP stands for Britain leaving the EU, and restricting immigration. Without a single member of the Westminster Parliament UKIP has successfully established its distinctive political brand, based on two policy areas and a general dislike of anything involving political correctness, human rights, equality, or health and safety.
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.