Monthly Archives: May 2013

The EU Hurts Itself by Helping UKIP

The latest Eurofeud within Westminster is already well under way, as this blog as been discussing at some length in the recent weeks. It’s nice to know however, that the feuding isn’t for nothing, that there is a tangible purpose to the whole thing. The Eurosceptics are too extreme in my opinion but then the status quo-ticians are also deeply frustrating. The UK, by which I mean its primary constituent in its people, are for the greater part not happy with the current dynamic and are certainly not happy with the look of the future.

And Brussels today throwing down the continental law gauntlet is a perfect encapsulation of the public dissatisfaction. Adam Weiss of the Advice for Individual Rights in Europe outfit is not happy with Westminster trying to reform the benefits system where it pertains to migrants, and believes that everyone is entitled to the same access, quality and quantity of government support. Where the Queen’s Speech laid out the intention to limit these things to migrants, in the first step of government on the road to rendering UKIP obsolete, the European Commission takes Weiss’ side and says, “Non!”

I don’t necessarily agree with the legislative measure on principle, as it does seem jingoistic to say, “We get the full teet and they don’t because they ain’t from here.” It isn’t the strongest position to hold to but I can understand the political reasoning behind it, which is trying to calm a few frayed sensibilities. It may be misinformed to suggest our country is being overrun and that we can’t afford all the welfare support to these ‘mooches’, as we’re not being overrun and migrants are largely hard working folk, but perceptions of ownership of ones home nation are very sensitive and can’t be dismissed out of hand.

You could accuse various governments in the past couple of decades of having done this, and the result is this present surge in UKIP support, aided so handily by the currently poor economic climate being heavily informed by European problems. Being extraordinarily generous, that is a tenuous platform from which the EU is imposing their will upon the nation. Ian Duncan Smith, who has somehow evaded a medieval style tarring and feathering for his domestic reforms to welfare, now has a serious mandate to challenge the legal process we’re now being dragged through. He could emerge redeemed, or if he fails, possibly irrevocably disgraced.

The feeling will be that either he wasn’t effective enough, and so domestic welfare cuts will seem unfair against the inability to make reforms specific to foreign born residents, or it will seem that he couldn’t be effective even if he wanted to, and that is more fuel for the “out” campaigners. Either way, the Tories lose, UKIP win and if Europe had honest desires to keep the UK in the union, Europe loses too. I don’t have the least considered or moderate of positions on the question of Europe and even I am fairly outraged every time our judicial and legislative bodies are rendered impotent by a body I feel I have no connection to whatsoever.

It’s hard enough to feel engaged with even the domestic political situation sometimes. I get to vote in my MP and councillors and the minimal degree of democratic participation isn’t exactly thrilling. Don’t even try to sell me the idea of MEP’s, as they couldn’t possibly hope to make me feel more enfranchised than someone who represents a fraction of the people they are supposed to. This to me is the greatest flaw with the entire idea of the EU. By dragging the process up another tier and even further away from the hands of the people, they leave themselves wide open to accusations of technocracy.

Why can’t it be like the USA? Well for a start, the USA is hardly the model federal system itself, and to say it works isn’t altogether the truth. Ignoring the fact that European history is deeper, more complex, and replete with wildly different cultures, languages etc., there is in the USA a constant debate and struggle over the dynamic between state and federal authority. This coming from a nation that was founded with some federal principles, is a stunning indictment of the lack of reality in the thinking of those who believe Europe can be the same any time soon.

For this continent to evolve into something like the USA, it would take one hell of a lot more nuance and consideration from the drivers of the project, not to mention more time. This is complicated by a lot of recent indications, such as the failures of a lack of unified monetary policy within the Eurozone, that suggest the project must be brought forward with intent. But as a result we’ve seen in the past few years a proportional increase in dissatisfaction alongside every news report telling us that Europe tells us we can’t do this, that or the other.

It seems very clear that renegotiation is the best way forward for both parties. The historical impetus that drives the continental desire for the EU has never been rife in the UK and it’s time for the honest discussion that achieves a mutually desirable outcome. UKIP will only antagonise the debate and so let’s hope that Cameron takes a robust set of proposals to the table and that the EU is willing to listen. The sooner I know what exactly the heck Cameron thinks the renegotiated position is, the better, for everyone, because while I don’t want to be governed from outside the UK, I also don’t want the UK to slip into belligerent obscurity.

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May Flexes Out Her Dominatrix Costume

“Holy tangent Batman!!”, screamed Robin to his spandexed partner. Translated into UK politics this roughly means that Theresa May is trying to revive the Communications Data Bill, otherwise known as the Snooper’s Charter, off the back of a security scare. The murder of Lee Rigby was a serious thing indeed but this is the reaction no sensible person was hoping for. A swingeing lurch into authoritarian security state territory is perhaps even the sort of thing that would elicit a twinkle in the eye of the average jihadist or fundamentalist.

Just to explain my bewildering introduction quickly, I do find it remarkable how dramatically the narrative has changed in just a week after the raging inferno of the European question and gay marriage legislation was threatening to tear Westminster asunder. The situation is still precarious of course, but for entirely new and distinct reasons. Other matters will sleep for a while, as now we find Labour and the Tories are squaring up against the Liberal Democrat minority to potentially see this far reaching, freedom killing legislation come into effect.

The reactivation of the bill is reactionary at best. We have been living through, as far as I could tell, a domestically, relatively, undisturbed period with regards to the War on Terror. One horrific incident, that all indications suggest would have been next to impossible to prevent under any circumstances, sees our legislators diving for the most unreasoned solutions. I have yet to encounter a worthwhile offering that insists the Communications Data Bill could have saved Lee Rigby, and if I did I would likely find it disengenious.

What security measure is there to stop isolated individuals perpetrating these vicious, localised crimes? Nothing within the remit of a true democratic government, is the only respectable answer. As things stand, this bill is a despicable invitation into the private lives of the 99% of decent people whose rights will, beyond question, be violated in the event of implementation. If there is any solution, it lies within asserted community campaigns to weed out extremism on a generational basis. Proactive, assertive and moderate voices working over a sustained time frame.

The politics behind the bill are clear. There are overly vocal proponents of a harsh response, generally profiled at Muslims, who are very angry at the government for “allowing” Rigby’s death. On the back of a general flirtation with right wing ideas that has somewhat scared the political establishment, they are seeking expedient means by which to bring this hotheaded bunch back into the mainstream. Short-sighted, disgraceful, disgusting and by my reckoning worth kicking up a real fuss over. Despite being generally uncomfortable with the EU and finding Clegg to be an unwanted, unwashed wet sock, I’m kind of hoping for a miracle intervention from either.

Who would have thought. Me, of all people, calling on Clegg as the voice of reason. After his calls not to damage the prospects of the gay marriage bill around that amendment farce, he could feasibly be working his way up in my estimations. I mentioned that a radical Muslim might get some enjoyment out of this theatre, watching us undermine our own principles of the relationship between state and citizen, actors that should respectively be transparent and private. This bill would be the final straw in the full reversal of that dynamic.

Yes, this is the modern world, presenting so many different forms of danger that can arguably be used to devalue the elder-formed great notion of a government being more accountable to the people. But as much as we should practically adjust for the modern world, that notion should always remain as the fundamental underpinning of the relationship. There is only one possible permutation of the enactment of this bill which could stand any chance of my not being sorely tempted to engage in some genuine civil disobedience.

If we lived in a country where the definition of illegality was narrowed to the point that I was at actually no risk from prosecution from the state for anything short of demonstrable violent crime, serious fraud or other infringements of a high calibre, then, and only then, could I maybe budge. I know myself and my ethics and believe that I properly function in society. If the state also shared this view and had no recourse to abuse their authority or seek to expand it, I would still be deeply uncomfortable with the idea of anyone looking into my private communications, but could abide by it from a legal standpoint.

That is so unlikely to happen however that it’s nigh on delusional of me to put it forward as a possibility. I’m just incredibly frustrated, having spent a great deal of time defending the political mainstream, in however a critical fashion, from the far peripheries of the political spectrum that would seem more at home with the kind of unacceptable measure that is the Communications Data Bill. Theresa May should resign, for nothing relating whatsoever to a challenge from Clegg, but simply because she is advancing this legislation against the interests of the people who elected her. Her delusion is the assumption that she works for our interests.

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The Days After Woolwich

The days that followed the Woolwich murder, an event likely burned onto the public conscience for some time to come, have been full of intrigue and confrontational standpoints. On one extreme there have been harrowing commentaries full of racism, xenophobia and ignorance and on the other, a desperate movement to mitigate some of the negative sentiment through calls for reflection and compassion. Both are flawed positions, although the former hugely more so, and this is a case that warrants further analysis.

As the story developed it became clear that the assailants of Drummer Lee Rigby were possessed of a very fundamental interpretation of Islam and seemed to have a very political message. Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale spoke of British military actions abroad, the killing of Muslims and the apathy of Western governments towards their own people. There can be no excusing the brutality of their actions, truly diabolical as they were, but there is an underlying dimension that British people and many Westerners are very uncomfortable in addressing.

The UK and USA have been engaged in a prolonged series of military actions in the Middle-East, during which innumerable damages have been done to civilian infrastructures and innocent populations. We are very quick indeed to write off the deaths of a family of Muslims in some misfired air strike as the inevitable collateral damages of war, a war which some would try and point out that extremist Muslims began. This is would be an inaccurate understanding of the historical narrative that led to the larger terrorist attacks of the early 2000’s.

Western powers, historically British, French and Russian, contemporarily American, British and international, have been manipulating and controlling power dynamics in North Africa and the Middle-East for over two hundred years. This isn’t a legacy many Westerners are familiar with but you can guarantee it lingers strongly in the cultural memories of those places where we made incursions. Recent history, the last twenty or thirty years, are merely further points of antagonism between these regions and the West. There can be no legitimising terrorism, ever, but 9/11 and 7/7 didn’t happen for reasons purely internal to Islam.

Just like the murder of Lee Rigby wasn’t accountable to similarly reductive reasoning. This incident is laden with a complexity that frankly many observers are struggling to appreciate, or are jingoistically unwilling to try. In reaction to my previous article, I was told that it’s actually easy to take the pan-egalitarian position, “It’s no one’s fault, don’t blame anyone, be nice,” and much harder to take the critical stance. Quite the opposite I argue, not that I was at any point holding no one to account in my mind. Rather, I was holding all the appropriate considerations to account, or as many as I could consider.

The outcome of this makes it hard to provide decisive critique of something which to many is so visceral, that they are looking for the quickest route to an easy logic. Oh, if we had less immigration this wouldn’t have happened because these young men were of immigrant descent. Oh, bloody Islam, it’s such a violent, evil religion, we should expunge it from the human record. Oh, law and order, if we lived in a police state with overbearing internal security this could have been prevented. And, of course, the ever present generic hate for politicians, “What are they doing about this, if they had done something this wouldn’t have happened?!?”

None of these are solutions, just scapegoats for underlying factors that fewer are willing or able to look at. The probable truth of this story is that the manner in which our nation interacts with a part of the world is coming home to visit. This does not make the murder of Lee Rigby our fault, and Muslim communities have a stern impetus to address extremism within their own ranks, but we are not totally without complicity. I take the middle position from those I referenced at the start. Now is the time for hard reflection, genuine understanding and effective, proactive, action for resolution.

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Horror in Woolwich

Shocking news out of Woolwich, south London, as horrified observers witness the death of a young man at the hands of two machete-wielding psychopaths. Little is known so far other than that the victim appeared to have been wearing a Help for Heroes t-shirt, and his assailants were of Middle-Eastern or African descent. Reports of them crying “Allahu Akbar” as they perpetrated the vicious deed are spreading, in an indication that they were of the Muslim faith. A starkly morbid and tragic event with potentially far reaching consequences.

The Twittersphere and comment sections of prominent online news organisation already indicate a certain degree of knee jerk anti-Muslim sentiment, even before the murderers’ reported cries of religiosity were widely known. Angst is being vented out in some quantity over the worst aspects of the recent history of the British Muslim community, with attention being drawn to the Rochdale and Oxford paedophile rings, extremist preachers like Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada, and of course the July 7th 2005 London bombings.

With UKIP experiencing a boom in popularity in the UK, unsurprisingly against a backdrop of economic uncertainty and faltering living standards, there is a concerning development of legitimising fundamentally xenophobic positions. Members of this right wing fringe movement have already been called out for possessing inexcusably prejudiced views for the politics of a proudly progressive nation. This case in Woolwich is, beyond its sadness and brutality, an extraordinarily inconveniently timed thing.

It is more distorted fuel on the fires of those who think that the UK would be better off were we to enact draconian immigration measures in the form that parties like UKIP propose. Restrictions to permanent residence visas, freezes on immigration, stringent work permit systems and a rigorous and gun-ho deportation strategy are what’s on offer. This may appeal to some, but mostly those I would argue that think immigrants are in any way at the heart of the nation’s problems. A truly lamentable position, and one cynically capitalised upon by UKIP.

An event like the Woolwich murder is precisely the time to reaffirm the positive moral and egalitarian values that are the heart of a nation like the United Kingdom. This was a crime by two sick individuals and speaks not one jot to the contribution of the broader Muslim community in this country. Just like the crimes of the IRA represent the violent political attitudes of a minority and not all Irish people. Just like the crimes of Dale Clegan, Mark Bridger and Jimmy Saville speak to their illnesses and not all white Brits.

The United Kingdom is a better nation than to engage in a stint of antagonistic behaviour towards minorities who, for the almost complete majority, just want to live in a peaceful and democratic place where no one is persecuted for their private beliefs or way of life. Or so we hope. That is a picture I so greatly prefer to anything UKIP want for the country. Although I’m guilty of politicizing this event, and thoughts do genuinely go out to the family of the young victim, it’d be a greater tragedy still for this to be manipulated by the far-right wing agenda.

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Corporatism Incorporated

As a consummate Marx-denier I find myself in an unusual position. The big international reveal of the last week is something that creates a clear space in the ideological market for this waywardly leftist position, and I have to concede at least some recognition for its legitimacy. I will personally choose to continue rejecting Marxism, for reasons I’ve alluded to here, but there can be no doubt that the actions of corporations such as Apple, Amazon and Starbucks, among others, are salting the already open wounds of the lower and middle income sections of developed societies.

The US Senate has been grilling Apple’s Tim Cook over this matter and it seems the disconnected and beleaguered CEO doesn’t get it yet. Instead of recognising the morally indefensible but ludicrously legal position of having paid literally a fraction of a percentage in taxes thanks to a convoluted network of subsidiaries and tax havens, the man is refusing to repatriate around $100bn back to his country where it can rightly taxed for good social effect. He claims corporate tax rates of 35% in the USA are too high and such a manoeuvre would never be undertaken unless the rate was dropped.

Starbucks hacked and slashed at their employee perks after an underwhelming and nominal voluntary tax contribution to the governments that had caught them red-handed in the tax avoidance game. Both cases are clear signs that corporate understanding of their relationship with society is a cynical one at best. Make them pay a fair share? Hah! Never, and if you try the workers will pay for it before the profit margin and reinvestment for expansion ever does. I’m sure the CEO’s and shareholders realise what kind of environment they’re gradually engineering.

Before I get on to the roots of why I think this is fascinating, it’s worth mentioning that this problem can only be solved with international cooperation in terms of shutting down the kind of negligible corporate tax rates that places like Ireland offer. Governments need to robustly pursue this agenda and not be cowed by corporate threats. But this is less a problem with capitalism, which if the state well regulated is to me the greatest option on the cards for humanity, but more a continuation of the problems of financial neo-liberalisation, corporatism and passive consumer behaviour.

This is the current narrative. Global recession, brought mostly about by deregulated and irresponsible financial sectors, has had a disproportionate impact on the poorer elements of society as growth and living standards have broadly faltered. This is set against the vast increase in the wealth of the smallest percentage of society at the top of the economic ladder, and the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest is the greatest it has ever been. Civil unrest has been present throughout many parts of Europe and in the USA, although there with a less riotous tone, and although it has largely been directed at governments so far, the sentiment will shift.

Or it should. In the face of European and American lawmakers piling scorn upon the chiefs of these industries, and the response being belligerence and threats, the ill-feeling should start to shift in the direction of the corporations. This distinctly corporatist mentality of theirs should resonate extremely poorly with civil society, unless we truly have become a passive consumer society and don’t care anymore about all the elements that interact with us at the centre. If we are content that Apple and entities like it get to operate under their own rules and not contribute, then that’s what will happen.

Yet despite the heinous inequality in a system where the average earner is paying around a quarter of their earnings to the public services and securities that everyone enjoys, but Apple are paying less than a half of a percent thanks to genius tax lawyers cutting their exposure, I don’t expect to see a backlash. I don’t think we’ve learned to get angry at companies yet, and are still too comfortable deferring blame onto the governments that are proving somewhat meek in addressing the underlying problems. You see, we still want our bought morning coffee and iPod for the commute.

So unwilling as we are to take command of our consumer powers, something which the likes of these corporations are infinitely more afraid of than workers unions, we will continue to undermine our own democratic processes with plummeting confidence in the governments we elect and thereby have more accountability to us. In doing so we’ll empower these corporations to the point that governments almost wholly takes their cues from people like Tim Cook. Conspiratorial you say? Well, Google’s Eric Schmidt has been sitting on the UK government’s Business Advisory Group for some time.

Short of the unlikely anti-corporate revolution and perhaps the also unlikely decisive and cohesive international action, we’ll continue to slide into a relationship between government and business that sees them less and less distinguishable. Corporations already make the dubious argument that what’s good for them is good for ‘people’, or rather their broadly undervalued employees, and governments aren’t entirely averse to that idea. Slowly, but I think surely, corporatism is looking to be the future.

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Britain’s Gay Marriage Headache

Good lord, just when I think I have a window to ditch this scene, I’m pulled back in. For a fortnight now I’ve been trying to write about something, anything, outside of the UK and with the gears of Westminster now steadily grinding out the latest EU nightmare, it seemed like a good time to look abroad. Scandal in America, political upheaval in Pakistan, Syria somehow finding another rung down on the ladder to hell… interesting things. What wins out unfortunately is Tim Loughton MP, and that acronym, if you didn’t know, for Tory backbenchers actually stands for Massive Prick.

Wadeth he into the gay marriage bill, single point of pride for Westminster in recent times, with not so much a cleaver, but rather covered head to toe in some foetid and unusually sticky substance, presumed to be the moral diarrhoea of his fellow party troglodytes. So angered are they by this government’s daring to level the playing field for people of all sexual orientation, before ripping the UK out of the European project without a moments forethought, that they are effectively holding the bill hostage. A pack of snarling, drooling infant vampires if ever there was.

The point was raised in last week’s Question Time, presumably for the approval of Tory throwback Philip Hammond, that it seemed unfair that heterosexual couples were only entitled to marriage, not civil partnership, whereas homosexuals would now have access to both. The Defence Minister, who tried to suggest that the people were also angered by the government’s prioritisation of gay marriage over the “economy”, must have taken this point, ridiculous and insignificant when compared to inequality and persecution of homosexuals, back to party HQ.

After a Satanic ritual resembling a bukkake sequence, during which these bucktoothed, horse-faced and over-bred pack of social regressors subliminally communicate their prejudiced, backwards views, it was decided. This would be the next stylus in the flank of their leader and the progressive hopes of the majority of the nation they conspire to keep from advancing into the 21st Century. Just when you thought the Conservative Party didn’t have a single remaining bullet with which to shoot itself, they dig one out of somewhere.

Adding this amendment to the Marriage Bill is intended to slow the whole process down and eventually even resign it to the dustbin of political stagnancy. That Labour initially came out with favourable sounding noises over the matter is a mystery and it was left to Nick Clegg of all people to call for some common sense. “Don’t derail the bill,” to paraphrase. But where Labour at least could claim honest support for the notion of equal access to both forms of personal union, the Tories have nothing to hide behind. Half the party voted against the bill in the first place.

But Labour have indeed now crunched the numbers through their little machine, the one that calculates public resonance and produces the most expedient course of action, and are tabling their own amendment, ostensibly to the same effect as Loughton’s. I’ve yet to ascertain why Yvette Cooper thinks this will “save the bill”, instead of producing the same gumming effect as Loughton’s, but apparently she is confident it would garner more cross-party support and would be free of some of the impediments that No.10 have cited.

Where the £4bn price tag for extending civil partnerships is from, is something about which I am just as curious as Cooper, but whether or not it is true, I’m slightly miffed by the presumption of her party that they are doing anything other than opportunistically grandstanding over Tory in-fighting. If they had just stayed away from the amendment issue altogether, there wouldn’t have been enough support for Loughton in the first place. It seems Labour just cannot resist the temptation to compound David Cameron’s woes.

He had to go begging to them not to support Loughton’s amendment so the bill could pass with greater ease, and Labour then have the audacity to attack him for undermining the bill by raising concerns over an amendment process. The opposition are clearly more interested in seeing Cameron fall, even if that meant the death of the Tory party’s moderate agenda. Labour would be fighting a much less agreeable conservative government in that situation, further proving they haven’t an ideological conviction of any depth to speak of. The Labour Party. Politics first.

To end on an emphatic note, if this latest of Westminster clusterf*@ks results in the gay marriage bill being shelved, I’m out of here. Just point me in the direction of the nearest moderate liberal nation whose legislators haven’t got their heads intractably burrowed up each others rectums. I already have the lowest sense of pride and confidence in our lot than I have ever had. There would be nothing left after a regression like this one. Marriage means whatever the hell we want it to mean and everyone gets the same deal, end of story.

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Farage’s Fatuous Failure

Cuuuuurious. The moment Nigel Farage takes an iota of flak on the campaign trail he turns into a hyperbolic, reactive angryman. Touring the Royal Mile in Edinburgh yesterday he was slightly beset by the jeers and cheers of a group of Scots particularly intent on letting the UKIP leader know that he was Scum! Scum! Scum! Scum! Scum! Poor old Farage. UKIP is so oppressed and these sneering members of the public are just such bastards. “Yobo, fascist scum,” Farage eloquently hit back against his assailants during an interview on Good Morning Scotland today.

My prior characterisation of this grinning buffoon, as an honest but misguided soul with an irrational fear for the continent, was one that sort of deserved pity. Farage did seem to encapsulate that genuine frustration about the arguably technocratic advancement of the European project. But the wheel has now turned and we are given a fuller picture of an unintelligent man, lacking in nuance and restraint, and full of a rather nasty brand of vitriol when it comes to disagreement. Lashing out at the protesters was by no means the story of this incident.

Just to be clear, the tone of the protest as Farage left a pub, his favourite campaign venue, was boisterous, jovial, perhaps a little cheeky. Farage moved smoothly through a small crowd of grinning antagonists and straight into a minivan without so much as a physical feather ruffled. To hear him lament his woes later you would think some burly Scotsman had pinned him down and ruthlessly, repeatedly stolen his virtue. “I’ve never seen anything like it… it was deeply racist, with a total hatred for the English.”

“If this is the face of Scottish Nationalism, it’s a pretty ugly picture,” he continues, “the anger, the hatred, the snarling, the shouting, the swearing, was all linked to a desire for the Union Jack to be burned, and extinguished from Scotland forever. There’s absolutely no doubt who these people were, or what they stood for.” David Miller, conducting the interview, at this point had to interject again with the suggestion that Farage was conflating anti-English with anti-UKIP sentiments, although I suspect the word ‘hypocrite’ was struggling to leap off his tongue.

It is the most indisputable and pure of ironies that a man like Nigel Farage feels beset by the evils of nationalism. His suggestion that these people had no interest in debate was brilliantly juxtaposed with his refusal to engage with Miller on the more considered angles of this story. When Miller referenced a recent Ipsos Mori poll as indicating that UKIP support in Scotland is roughly to the tune of two per thousand voters, Farage bullishly rejects the poll. And when Miller suggests that UKIP are therefore an “irrelevance” in Scotland, Farage starts to get mad.

Sensing the opportunity to strike deeper, Miller puts Farage’s own words to him, words quoted from the Times, “Telling everyone how much I love Scotland, and what a big part of my life it’s been, how sincere I am, it would all have been a lot of rubbish.” Legitimate grounds, you might think, to accuse Farage of a fundamental disconnect with Scotland, its people and its politics, as Miller indeed does. “I’m sensing similar hatred from this line of questioning that I got on the streets yesterday in Edinburgh,” is Farage’s interpretation of this.

Things conclude bizarrely. Trying to trump up UKIP’s representation in more constituencies than any other party, including members for Northern Ireland and across Scotland, Farage attempts to salvage the pan-UK appeal of his party. The irrelevance of this fact to electoral efficacy and voter support is pointed out by Miller. “And remind me, how many elected representatives you have in Scotland?” “Absolutely none,” Farage retorts, choking up a bit, “but rather more than the BBC do,” he strangely adds.

Bumbling over some point about how if the interview had been conducted in England he wouldn’t have faced this kind of hatred, he whines, “And frankly I’ve had enough of this interview, goodbye.” And he hangs up. Remarkable, pathetic, petulant stuff. The first strident bullet of reality in the heart of this overblown UKIP surge. Even in Farage, the supposed master of his party’s mainstream aspirations, do we see something deeply unpleasant and unwanted in our politics. But there is no need to fixate on this one incident. Plenty of further proof is inevitably yet to come, if Farage and his party truly feels so misunderstood and hard done by the media.

UKIP, like the BNP, are a nominally pro-union fringe movement but actually represent a sort of anachronistic ‘Little England’ mentality that is dismissive of the other nations that form this union. Pro-Britain is a more marketable brand than pro-England however, whatever the ratio of anti-EU sentiment it is cut with, and we can only be thankful that they are so painfully transparent in their cynicism. I credit most of those who voted for UKIP in the locals with a respectable desire to protest against the established political class. I also credit them enough not to do it again when it counts.

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