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The results from the European elections have been wrist-slitting depressing. It seems as though the tide of European politics is turning and there appears to be no sharper indicator of this than the contrasting fortunes of the U.K Independence Party (UKIP) and the Liberal Democrats (Lib-Dems).
Under the moribund leadership of Nick Clegg, the Lib Dems somehow managed to lose ten of their eleven MEP seats, whereas UKIP managed to snare twenty-three seats. This wasn’t just a U.K phenomenon either. In France the Front National, who as far as I can tell are the French equivalent of the BNP, won an unbelievable twenty five percent of the vote.
Now, although it’s almost inconceivable that UKIP will actually win the next general election, what is very likely is that they will be able to exert a lot of influence over future policy making if they maintain their current momentum.
I feel there are a few things that can be done to stop this. First and foremost, people need to stop voting UKIP. In order for this to happen they need to be convinced to stop doing so not by flinging insults there way, but by rational argument.
In 2006 David Cameron dismissively branded the UKIP electorate as ‘fruitcakes and loons and closet racists’. Evidently, insulting UKIP voters has only strengthened their convictions so we should try a new tact.
The current UKIP manifesto is quite possibly one of the most ludicrous proposals I have ever had the misfortune of having to read, and I’m damn sure that the next will read much in the same way. Those who are opposed to UKIP have a duty to read the manifesto and take their friends, families, colleagues, contemporaries to task if they claim to be voting for UKIP, and convince them not to.
It’s just plain uncomfortable having to admit that maybe people you’ve known for years are steaming racists, let alone call them out on it. What’s less uncomfortable though is to simply ask them their opinions on the manifesto.
An example of this could be on ‘defense’. If their last manifesto is anything to go by, UKIP will promise to allot a large part of the budget towards the continued implementation of the trident nuclear deterrent program. Estimates vary, but the replacement of the current system, designed during the Cold War to deter the Russians from attacking would cost the tax payer somewhere between twenty to thirty-five billion pounds at a time when the county is in the vice grip of the this never ending recession.
I feel as though these are the kind of arguments that might convince people not to vote for UKIP. It’s no good insulting them.