You can hardly fail to have noticed that UKIP lost a member yesterday. I ask myself if the next member, or even elected councillor, to leave the established parties and join UKIP will receive the same blanket coverage in the national media.
I have some sympathy with Sanya-Jeet Thandi’s views on certain aspects of UKIP’s immigration message, and in particular those posters. Some of the posters I like, some I find frankly embarrassing. I would much rather let the plain facts do the talking, they are much scarier than anything an ad agency could come up with. Huge pointing fingers and the like are a gift to our political opponents, who can have much fun with Photoshop and simply dismiss the posters, and therefore UKIP’s message, as scaremongering.
Like Sanya-Jeet, I too joined UKIP because they are the only truly liberal party on offer. I support UKIP’s core philosophy of freedom and independence; of the individual from an overbearing state, of the UK from the EU.
“My reasons for supporting Ukip stemmed from liberal ideas such as lower taxes, a smaller state, freedom of the individual, local referenda, and an immigration policy that offered fair and equal opportunities for everyone.”
Hear hear! UKIP support all of these things, they all remain UKIP policy and we should be shouting them from the rooftops. However, like Sanya-Jeet, I too sometimes tire of our messaging, which can be dominated by negativity. While it’s important that we continue to attack a complacent establishment and expose the horrific mess that is the EU (God knows nobody else will), I would like to see UKIP make more of our libertarian DNA to set out a positive vision for Britain. More positive messages please.
Where Sanya-Jeet and I must part ways however is on the idea that the posters, or UKIP’s message on immigration, are racist. I fail to see how wanting to reduce immigration from a predominantly white EU, to the benefit of immigration from other, non-white areas of the world, can be remotely racist. Perhaps she is confusing racism with xenophobia. Even then, the UKIP message is clear. This is not about race or nationality, it’s about numbers and getting the people we actually need.
We simply cannot go on, as we have done for 15 plus years, increasing our population by hundreds of thousands every single year. It is just not sustainable. Look at the shortage of housing, look at rental prices, look at almost any issue in Britain today and it will have been adversely affected by the massive increase in population due almost entirely to immigration and an increased birthrate driven by immigration. To say nothing of the social issues caused by so many people arriving in so short a space of time. While we are in the EU, we simply do not have the power to control who can or can’t come to live in our country. The answer is not, as some suggest, to give up. The answer is to leave the EU and join the rest of the world.
UKIP’s immigration policy is not remotely racist. In fact, it is a good deal less interested in a person’s race than the current, broken system. When we can control who comes into the country, for example in the same way the Australians do with a points based system, the UK’s immigration policy will be truly colour blind. Rather than being dictated to as to who we should allow to live here, the UK will be able to accept people from all over the world on a case by case basis, completely on merit.
As Sanya-Jeet said as recently as last week:
“Currently the immigration policy that is in place means only European people get preference…the actual results of the (UKIP) policy would mean it was equal and fairer for the whole world.”
I find it sad that Sanya-Jeet has left the party, and not because of the predictable and wildly inaccurate headlines it has produced. I sense that there may be more to it than simply disagreeing with some posters. The LSE, where Sanya-Jeet is a student, is perhaps not the most encouraging environment for UKIP supporters. How else could you explain this, from her Guardian article:
“According to the Adam Smith Institute, GDP could more than double with the free movement of labour. There’s no denying immigration is a positive thing.”
Perhaps, and if we had a population to match that of China, no doubt GDP would increase a hundred fold. GDP isn’t everything, it takes no consideration of an individual’s quality of life, wages, rent prices etc.
Or this Tweet:
Perhaps Sanya-Jeet was looking for a way out, otherwise why not stay in the party and argue your case?