As many of you will know, the anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate is thinking of widening its remit to oppose organisations that, though not fascist, might be promoting racism through policies concerning immigration, the EU and multiculturalism. Hope not Hate have been asking for our views and to express a YES or NO answer to their question. So, should Hope Not Hate oppose UKIP? Here’s my response.
There are few organisations who dare to publish overtly racist policies because they are worried about being prosecuted under Incitement To Racial Hatred legislation. So policies concerning race, immigration, the EU and multiculturalism are often written in very vague terms: to ensure their meanings are difficult to pin down and thus less easy to challenge in court; to appeal to people who might have racist or extreme views without spelling it out; to hide their own extreme views concerning race and to appear slightly uncommitted so that their other policies look stronger. UKIP’s immigration policy is a case in point.
UKIP’s website has their immigration policy at the very end of their policies list on page 3 of their website policy pages. I suspect it’s last on their list to show how they’re not obsessed by the issue. But once one reads it, there are so many unpleasant and contradictory statements that one wonders what the real purpose of the policy is other than to whip up racist sentiments. For example:
“EU and human rights legislation means we cannot even expel foreign criminals if they come from another EU country.”
The use of the ‘we’ in that sentence is not explained – one assumes they mean the British Judiciary or do they mean The British Government or do they mean a more amorphous ‘we’ that might include a right wing militia if UKIP were in power? One can not take the vague statement literally because the ‘we’ is not defined. Likewise, ‘foreign’ is not defined. Further, the statement is untrue because people are often deported to other countries having committed crimes in the UK – sometimes they are not UK nationals and sometimes they are extradited UK citizens who have also committed crimes elsewhere. The statement thus is both vague and untrue. But it might appeal to a racist on the basis that a racist might like to have the power to expel a foreigner. But why, one asks, is it deemed more important to expel a foreign criminal than, say, a UK citizen? What is it about ‘foreigners’ that makes them more dangerous? Or is it the cost? UKIP is too vague to be other than contrary and racist by implication.
Later they go on to say…
“Return people found to be living illegally in the UK to their country of origin. There can be no question of an amnesty for illegal immigrants. Such amnesties merely encourage further illegal immigration.”
Given that UKIP claim that 1 million people fall into their ‘illegal’ category I’m assuming they would require a very complex mechanism to round up those about to be deported. Not only would the process be vile in itself but I’m sure the policy would encourage racists to apply for the job. Anyway, if all the illegal immigrants are banished there will be no ‘foreigners’ to expel – oh – wait, perhaps ‘foreigner’ means something else?
UKIP want to limit immigration to 50,000 a year – net or gross? About 200,000 people emigrate annually from the UK – are they asking for a net migration of 150,000 a year out of the UK?
Then there is the idea of racial purity even if culturally defined…
“New citizens should pass a citizenship test and sign a ‘Declaration of British Citizenship’ promising to uphold Britain’s democratic and tolerant way of life”
If a citizen is a new citizen then they are already a citizen so they will not need to declare it – anyway, no amount of personal ‘declaring’ can change one’s status when that status is a state decision. So do they mean that people applying for citizenship will fail if they don’t sign a ‘declaration’? What will be in the ‘declaration’ and what the heck is “tolerant way of life”? This is a phrase often used by racists in conversations with anyone attempting to question their motives. To tolerate someone is to put up with someone one does not like.
In short, UKIP’s whole immigration policy is a thinly disguised and vague rant against anyone UKIP deems to be foreign. And because it’s vague, it can mean anything at all; but it’s designed to appeal to nationalists and racists; that is the overwhelming sub-text and UKIP’s real meta-narrative.
To say YES to Hope Not Hate please go to http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/ukip/
To read UKIP’s Immigration Policies please go to http://www.ukip.org/content/ukip-policies/1499-immigration-and-asylum-ukip-policy