Thursday, 29 May 2014

The rise of UKIP

Forgive me for sounding like a political hipster, but I predicted or even assumed years ago that the UK Independence Party's effective populist operation would eventually result in its massive influx in popular support.  Many in the media and political class have attempted to continue the narrative that UKIP is a vent for hard right Tories frustrated with David Cameron's Conservative Party. Despite the fact that Cameron has imposed the most economically right-wing extremist programme since the Thatcher era, he may nevertheless may be considered as too cosmopolitan (his support for equal marriage being a primary example) and inadequately xenophobic for some. But given that UKIP is also significantly eating into the vote of traditional Labour voters, this notion is defunct. But why?

The overwhelming majority of the UK public are non-voters, entirely disillusioned or even outright repulsed by an entirely non-representative and rotten political order; support of former non-voters is from where a substantial proportion of UKIP's surge has arisen. The UKIP surge may may indeed be a so-called "protest vote". But what against? Living standards perpetually diminish while wealth inequality following the financial crisis and publicly-subsidised rescue of the economic elite deepens. Investment in social housing is scant while the parasite landlord and property developer classes profit from extorting wider society for the land and properties available. And migrants, who are overwhelmingly the victims of the same exploitation, are an easy scapegoat.

The Tories, as I mention, continue their tradition of maintaining and accelerating these inequalities and exploitation. The Lib Dems, needless to say, also facilitate it. Labour provides a weak opposition and consolidates to the ideological austerity narrative. Perhaps only the Green Party, whose media attention is minuscule compared to UKIP's, presents an alternative platform of substance. So no wonder UKIP, which claims to stand against the vested interests of elite corporatism as often as it rabble-rouses against the racially and ethno-religiously stereotyped Others, has collected so much support within the democratic vacuum's despondency and alienation.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Natalie Bennett must debate Nigel Farage

UKIP are a party whose rapid influx in electoral success can be attributed to its effective anti-establishment and populist rhetoric, which portrays itself as standing for public opinion in the face of mass disillusionment and economic malaise amid the perpetual economic crisis.

There is no evidence to suggest, however, that a majority of public opinion would favour large budget cuts to the National Health Service and state pension, as Nigel Farage has said he does. I do not believe that the UK public would be receptive to the wholesale privatisation of the NHS and public services, the abolition of the minimum wage and the right to paid holiday and maternity leave, or an increase in income tax for poor and middle income households and a cut for the richest through the introduction of a flat-tax system. All of these proposals are UKIP policies.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems are committedly destroying the social and economic democracy and justice remaining in the UK in government. UKIP would destroy it even more rapidly and radically. The Labour Party have failed and abandoned it.

The Green Party led by Natalie Bennett, conversely, would provide adequate investment in public services and reverse their privatisation, restore a progressive tax system to deal with inequality, protect human and economic rights and the environment, combat the international climate change crisis, be welcoming to the positive contributions of immigrants and ensure a humane rather than institutionally racist treatment of refugees, and introduce a guaranteed basic income as a universal economic safety net while providing support for disabled and vulnerable people unconditionally. I am not claiming that the Greens are a perfect organisation; I contend with a dogmatic opposition to the genetic modification of crops, and dislike the treatment of council workers by Greens in Brighton as much as anyone. But I believe that the Green Party manifesto overwhelmingly stands, as the party's election tagline says, for the Common Good, unlike the faux populist pro-elite vested interests agenda of UKIP.

Natalie Bennett would have nothing to lose from public challenging Nigel Farage to a televised debate to reveal UKIP's right-wing extremism and hypocrisy. And it would be of benefit to the social good in the UK generally.