There was a time when UKIP were considered a respectable party to the right of the Tories. As the Cameroons moved to the centre, telling their right wing “who else are you going to vote for” became more dangerous, because increasingly the answer was UKIP.
While the Left has always howled “racist” at UKIP, because their language is frequently from a generation that didn’t value equality, and because of a minority of members and activists who were deliberately not politically correct, for 4 million voters at the last election the Party clearly offered something.
But last year the raison d’être for UKIP – leaving the European Union – suddenly became a reality. In many ways it would have been respectable and honourable to say, right then, that the party had achieved its aim, and would be winding up upon Brexit day. But instead those at the top of the party who have a financial stake in remaining professional politicians have thrashed around for a new reason to be.
It seems from the publication of yesterday’s outwardly racist “integration agenda” – which advocates banning face covering for people predominantly from one religion, which advocates mandatory invasive medical examination for schoolgirls, which advocates discrimination being introduced into the legal system, and which advocates the ending of the presumption of innocence from our criminal justice system – that UKIP have found their new reason to be in an offensive Islamophobic fear based campaign that would have made Britain First, the BNP or the National Front proud.
The Secret Barrister has taken a detailed and legal look at the truly awful racist bile produced by the party yesterday, and it doesn’t look good. You can read just how outrageous these proposals are here.
What does this all mean for Ipswich? Well probably very little. As the party fragments and moves towards disbanding – foreign affairs spokesman James Carver MEP quit this morning over the proposals, while the party’s only MP quit months ago and the new leader refuses to even confirm if he will stand for Parliament – there are questions as to whether they will even put forward a candidate in Ipswich.
Ipswich voted very heavily for Leave in the EU referendum last year, since when the leading cheerleader for Remain, the town’s MP Ben Gummer, has been clear that he will back Brexit as it was the democratic choice of the nation as well as his constituents. Whether locally Leave voters will forgive Mr Gummer for some of his more aggressive comments about them in the Ipswich Star remains to be seen. But UKIP are not realistically going to improve on their position two years ago, and may well go backwards in the polls.