I was going to post about something else today, but I got into a bit of an argument on Twitter today, and thought I’d post about that, as it’s rather important for the Euro elections next week.
Now, UKIP present themselves for the most part as a single-issue party – they want a referendum on leaving the European Union (which is actually also Lib Dem policy as well,though we take opposite sides as parties on what the result of that referendum should be) but in fact they have a whole host of other policies. In particular, they have an immigration policy. That policy is to ban all immigration for at least five years, kick out ilegal immigrants, and also kick out any immigrants who don’t “uphold the Britain’s [sic] democratic and tolerant way of life, to uphold the British [unwritten] Constitution, obey the laws, and not propagate extremist political or religious views”. Which of course means they’d deport any immigrants they don’t like, unless anyone can find a more meaningful way to interpret that statement?
Now, you couldn’t actually put a cigarette paper between that and the BNP’s policies in terms of actual effect, and they’re considerably more electorally successful, so I am very worried that such racist policies will come into effect.
They also have posters up everywhere in my area (an area with a lot of immigrants) calling for ‘an end to uncontrolled immigration’. Now, I happen to be married to an immigrant (one of the white, English-speaking ones that ‘non-racist’ ‘anti-immigrant’ parties like the BNP and UKIP don’t seem especially bothered by) and know that we have anything *but* unlimited immigration here – it took several years’ work and several thousand pounds before my wife was able to get permanent residence here, and it will take more of both if she wants full citizenship. So they’re lying in their posters as well as being racists.
Now today I retweeted something the marvellous Anton Vowl said – ‘UKIP: “Saying we’re not racist means that we’re not racist, no matter how racist our policies are”‘ This unfortunately got me drawn into arguments with a few UKIPers (the ones I didn’t block straight away) and I got a bit sweary (at one point being far too rude to one particular bloke who just kept bothering me – in my defence he was being extremely irritating and also outright lying at times, and in his defence he took the abuse well – anyone who wants to see the full exchange, it was all public and my side at least will stay up at twitter.com/stealthmunchkin ).
Now someone else, not really a part of these discussions (which could be seen by following the twotter hashtag #ukip ), but who is a UKIP election candidate, posted “@stealthmunchkin is an adult, comic reading Lib Dim who is in danger of attracting legal action through his ignorance. Ignore.”
Now, apart from the thinly-veiled attempts at intimidation – the whole ‘look what I managed to discover with my 1337 skillz!’ bit when all he’s posting is stuff that’s obvious to anyone who looked at my profile – and the weaker attempts at personal abuse (being attacked for reading comics by someone whose icon has a picture of himself wearing a bow tie is a weird “who’s lower on the nerd totem pole?” game I don’t want to bother playing) I don’t believe, for a second, that it is actionable to call a party whose policies are as close to those of the BNP as UKIP’s are racist, nor to call a party who claim we have ‘unlimited immigration’ liars, and I will *not* be silenced by threats of legal action.
UKIP, if you really feel so threatened by a bloke on twitter pointing out your own policies that you’d risk the bad punlicity of suing someone him, then by all means, be my guest. I refuse to be silenced by threats from a party which, if it had its way, would have prevented my tea-drinking, Archers-listening cricket-loving wife from coming here because “Suppressing our Christian heritage in order to appease minority groups is unacceptable.” (quote from this speech at a UKIP immigration conference. Read the whole thing if you can stomach it to see what they’re really like – the speaker appears, form some googling, to no longer be in the party, but this seems to be to do with disagreements with the party’s leader rather than policy disagreements – certainly he was a member when that policy was drafted).
If you want a lot more reasons not to vote UKIP, Alex has plenty, but threatening people for exercising their right to free speech seems a pretty good one.
And remember – a vote for UKIP is a vote against my marriage…
ETA Apologies for the typos – my glasses are broken so proofreading is painful. Expect anything between now and Thursday to have some problems. I also misstated Lib Dem policy – a referendum *was* policy at one point, but I’m unsure if it is now.