Tag Archives: britain

UKIP’s Rise

Much political time as passed since the Local Elections which saw UKIP’s power and following truly illuminated. The response Farage has culminated over such a short period highlights a number of concerns within British society. However, the way in which the three main parties have chosen to combat the rise of Farage is, in my opinion, completely misguided. 

Farage has inspired a debate regarding the future of Britain’s position in the European Union; however, this is more a cultural debate, rather than a policy-based debate. That meaning, the three main parties, or perhaps primarily Labour and Conservatives, are choosing to address this through the typical political way: a debate leading to a decision on a referendum. However, what UKIP highlights is a major anxiety which undercuts British society; Farage is looking at culture, rather than politics – to which most people are seemingly apathetic. Of course, the irony of this is that as a political party, UKIP would most likely be completely disastrous – one only has to observe the £120bn black-hole within their budget policies

There is a fear within society that jobs are being threatened by mass immigration. Not only jobs, but general freedom: of speech, of appearance, etc. Indeed, much of these fears may be myth, and jobs are threatened by bleak economic outlook rather than mass immigration. Nonetheless it seems innate human nature that the individual has to quantify the unquantifiable: this inexpressible and misguided hate has to be directed and attributed to something or someone, and usually that is the minority. As a consequence, parties like UKIP and BNP see a rise in votes because they offer short-term solutions, or speak for the “common man” when, in fact, the short-term is just papers over the cracks. 

Digression aside, Farage and his party have the right idea. They address the core and the centre of the issue; they do, in fact, voice the concerns of the common man, whereas the major parties voice the concerns of the actual economic and political outlook. As horrible and shallow as this may seem, government has diplomatic relationships to maintain whilst also public confidence and support. Yet, the diplomatic relations is what keeps the high streets booming and the job market sufficient. That is the harsh reality. UKIP, however, ignore the diplomatic aspect and say what people want to hear. 

I personally see Farage as a opportunist, feeding on the fears of modernity and change, rather than offering any remedy to the political, social and cultural ills. Whether they will continue to rise into 2015 will be interesting the track. Much alike the 2010 election, they will replace the Liberal Democrats: the wild-card party who really think they will offer a new change only soon to disillusion the voters. 

K Independence Party former leader Nigel Farage talks to friends at his local pub in Downe, Kent

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George Osborne: Disabled Parking

I rarely show support for the Tory party as I am a Labour supporter (not New Labour. Labour.) However, I find the recent “scandal” of Osborne parking in a disabled bay somewhat pedantic, tedious, and puerile. Indeed, it comes at a dreadful time after he has just made substantial cuts to the welfare system – and has gone on to criticise it more after the Phillpotts incident – but it detracts away from any real issues at hand. It’s a mistake and one we have probably all made. Rather than criticising the fact he’s parked in a disabled bay, let’s criticise his ineffective policies; let’s criticise Iain Duncan Smith for being … well. 

You only have to take a look at the papers which are reporting the incident, and the level of “journalism” which follows it to see that this isn’t a scandal at all, and that there are much bigger things to be concerned about. It’s a cheap assault and one which lacks any substance or dignity. 

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Divisions beyond repair: Class warfare and austerity Britain

Although condemned for their free-riding of the state welfare system only recently, a horrific incident led to the massacre of six innocent children at the Philpott’s household when petrol was poured into their home, unleashing an uncontrollable blaze. 

However, as those who survived the blaze have to somehow rationalise and deal with this atrocity, Carole Malone – the notorious ultra-Tory who hates anybody that doesn’t have a 6 figure salary – argued on national television that it was, virtually, their own fault and they brought it on themselves.  “This family became a target a couple of years ago,” she argued on ITV’s This Morning; they had “probably upset a lot of people” by being a family of 17 who were receiving state benefits. “I suspect they have many enemies out there because they were seen to be on benefits,” she suggested. With the country in such a dire financial state, “People have seen families – maybe like this – wanting to take advantage.” Referring to the “culture of the family” and the fact they had brought “attention to themselves”, Malone concluded that “six innocent children have died as a result”. 

Although I won’t try and argue that there isn’t a free-rider issue, of course there is, it’s a basic economic issue when goods are provided free-of-charge, the way in which Malone attacked the family showing no compassion was completely outrageous and insensitive. Malone, after the Karen Matthews incident claimed to “live next to a council estate full of people like Karen Matthews” implying that they’re some kind of sub-human race. She later confirmed this view by saying that they are “sub (human) class that now exists in the murkiest, darkest corners of this country”, as though Karen Matthews is some how representative of all people in Britain. 

However, much like Mitt Romney’s facts and figures were inaccurate when attacking similar sects of American society, so were, too, Malone’s. A recent study showed that just 3.4% of families in long-term receipt of benefits have four or more families. So where does the real issue lie? 

Prejudice against those receiving benefits is rife in Cameron’s austerity Britain. Rather than attacking the root cause of the issue, Cameron turned attention to public spending as the cause of financial dismay. However, the issue arose when he had to justify cuts to welfare, and so a campaign of demonisation had to be enforced in order to crush sympathy.  A campaign of people scrounging from the state whilst taking multiple holidays on low-budget airlines whilst having several humongous TV’s paid for courtesy of the taxpayer. 

Yes, benefit fraud exists (and the government should know..). But according to the Government’s estimates it accounts for only less than 1% of welfare spending, but the absolute extreme examples are passed off as representative of the fraud. We’ve seen Sunday Times articles in which journalists have blazoned their perverse views of the benefit system and argued that they wish to turn disabled in order to earn as much as “they” do; when in fact this is all nonsensical propaganda. It’s belligerent journalism like this which leads to prejudice against the most indigent and destitute people who, without the support of the state, would simply suffer an unimaginable life. 

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