Friday, 17 April 2015

The poisonous climate of racism/xenophobia UKIP rhetoric creates

This morning an ex-flatmate of mine, a Yorkshire girl of Indian heritage (UK born and raised British citizen), had a very unpleasant experience on her commute to work.

Two older men were sat near her on the train talking loudly about how they were going to vote UKIP in order to "get rid of this shit in our country" while staring menacingly at her. She diplomatically said that she "did not take kindly" to this and that it left her "fuming" (how British!).

No matter how many times Nigel Farage or other UKIP members/supporters say they're not a racist party, they have to take responsibility for the climate of racism/xenophobia their rhetoric creates. That climate emboldens people like the two men on the train to think that it's OK to behave in an intimidating manner towards someone because of their ethnic origin.

I recall attending an event on human rights while an MEP where a speaker of South Asian heritage said (in the context of voting being an important human right) that everyone should get out and vote for whichever party and/or candidate they identified with most strongly.

The same speaker went on to say he was worried about the rise of UKIP as he feared that their rhetoric would create a hostile environment for people of BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) origin and lead to some people looking at his children and seeing them as "foreigners" and a "problem". At the time, I thought he might be overreacting. What happened to my former flatmate this morning indicates that sadly I was wrong.


  1. You're quite right, but please don't stereotype all ukip voters as racist, I have experienced more racism from the Asian community than from any other, and this community is in a labour stronghold, so by using your logic this labels all labour voters as racist????

  2. Can't see that Rebecca has stereotyped all UKIP voters as racist.

  3. Hi John, nowhere did I suggest all UKIP voters are racist and I don't think that's the case. However, the rhetoric the party uses encourages and legitimises racist behaviour like my friend experienced.

    You also have to ask why those two men seemed to think voting UKIP was a way to get rid of native born British citizens of South Asian heritage like my friend. That's clearly not UKIP party policy, but the anti foreigner rhetoric the party uses obviously gives that impression to some people.

    My view is that Mr Farage doesn't bother to correct such impressions because they may bring BNP/EDL inclined voters to UKIP and if that means more votes, he isn't concerned about the impact of it on other people.