A new name might be in order for the United Kingdom Independence Party – might I suggest ‘Neoliberal Thatcherites for Political Reform’?
UKIP have today announced plans for electoral reform something which will, I’m sure, shock those of you who (like me) were labouring under the impression that they were just ‘anti-PC brigade’ Tories. Their two MPs in the recently dissolved Parliament were Tory defectors, of course, and the only apparent economic experience of treasurer Stuart Wheeler before he joined the ‘Kippers was in diverting tons of the green stuff into the Conservatives’ not-inconsiderable campaign fund. Nige himself, lest we forget, was a Tory party activist, and during that ideological heyday of youth which your correspondents here blissfully inhabit, he was something of an Enoch Powell fanboy.
But never fear – UKIP are quite capable of putting the past behind them, and are now firmly against what they call the “dated” first-past-the-post system. On entirely ethical grounds, of course – they want a world in which “every vote counts.” You’d think then, despite the benefits of FPTP for late defector Reckless’ party at the time (the Tories), that because of this strong moral commitment to voting reform (part of the package, one presumes, that tempted him to UKIP), Mark ‘mental’ Reckless would have supported a Green Party-led proposal to add proportional representation and other voting systems to the ultimately pointless 2010 voting reform bill. Think again. He voted against it, as per the party line – as his voting record shows.
The propensity to allow one’s principles a certain malleability is not a new thing on the right in Britain. Nige, at the 7-way debate, couldn’t stop talking about ‘wage repression’ – and how much of a problem it was. Now, that sounds to me like lefty talk – of course, until we hear that the way to counter it is not raising the minimum wage, or banning zero-hours contracts, but blaming it all on foreigners. This trend of being behind a cause only when it furthers your own xenophobia is something that only worsens the further right you search. One only has to look at Britain First’s despicable Facebook page to see the occasional (and somewhat arresting) pro-gay slogan or post. The source? Isis throwing people accused of ‘sodomy’ from rooftops, or some other such atrocity. Gay lib is of course only useful when you can make it look like all muslims/foreigners/insert-scapegoat-here are homophobes. At a recent protest against the cretinous English Defence League, I was surprised to discover that the E-E-EDL had added theirs to the many feminist voices clamouring against rape culture – only to soon find out that their football-hooligan-like chanting was against ‘rape jihad,’ some slanderous nonsense of their own invention.
Until the far-right come clean, and admit that all they really care about is ‘Muslamics,’ immigrants, and defending Jezza’s right to casual racism, I shall tentatively suggest a temporary solution. I want to propose a political restraining order – neither UKIP, nor any of those further out than them (who prefer illegal political uniforms to tweed) are to come within a ten-mile radius of feminism, gay lib, the workers’ rights etc. until they can promise they’re not going to use them as means to their own scapegoating ends.