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UKIP%20leader%20Nigel%20Farage

Last week, the United Kingdom Independence Party gained its second MP. Mark Reckless, a Tory defector, overturned a Conservative majority of 10,000, rubbishing most early predictions and lighting a fire in the bellies of right-wingers up and down the country.

Could UKIP win in 2015? Is it still impossible? These were and are no longer stupid questions to ask. Though it’s highly unlikely that UKIP could secure even half the required number of seats in 2015, these enquires have a longer shelf-life.

Could UKIP win in 2019/20? I strongly believe it could, yes. Does that excite me? I’m not sure.

Politically, as I’ve said previously, I’m quite difficult to categorise. I tend to agree with the right on some things and the left on others. Consequently, UKIP have many policies that appeal to me, and many that scare me.

Nevertheless, I would be willing to grant my vote to UKIP in spite of any uncertainty if the party was able to present a valid policy on issue of most concern: the issue of the Islamisation of Britain. On this matter, I’m afraid, UKIP still has a lot to make clear.

Given the repeated accusation of racism by the media, Nigel Farage has tried to present a liberal image on the subject of ethnic difference. He has allowed numerous ethnic minority candidates to stand for the party, and tends to make a big deal of them when they do, forcing them in front of any camera in his vicinity. He routinely badmouths the British National Party and its leader Nick Griffin and claims (almost convincingly) to have a multi-coloured social circle.

When asked about Islam in particular, the ex-city-trader all but winces and then goes on to reheat the (phony) distinction between ‘moderates’ and ‘radicals’. Indeed, on his Wikipedia page, Farage is quoted as having endorsed the following sentiment:

“You’re welcome to come here and to have your children here… but if you’re coming here to take us over, you’re not welcome.”

I’ll be frank. This bizarre way of describing the issue greatly alarms me. The problem of Islam in the West has never been a dichotomy between peaceful immigrants and fire-breathing colonists. They are one and the same. Either Farage doesn’t accept this and is speaking honestly, or he does and is lying to wrong-foot the liberal inquisition. Either way, he does not seem ready to speak about the challenge in detail.

In recent months, Farage has been pressured by his restless electorate to comment on the war crimes in Rotherham. His response has been to unload his clip on social services and political correctness. The third, more essential, element of culture and race he has left untouched.

And what about the members of his party who do have the guts to raise this issue? Again, Farage’s behaviour doesn’t inspire hope. When a candidate for the European Elections tweeted that Islam ‘is evil’, he was expelled from the party within hours, seemingly without being granted the right of reply. Later, a local activist took to saying bad things about Muhammad’s sex life on facebook and suffered the same swift reprobation.

There is also the problems of Tory defections. It’s all well and good for one or two Tories to jump ship and in doing so bolster the profile of the party. However, if – as Farage hungrily predicts – the drips become a flood, the result will surely be the Toryfication (and thus de-radicalisation) of UKIP as a whole. For all his popularity, Douglas Carswell (the first defector) is a pedestrian social-democrat on most issues, and he is already being touted as the Farage’s successor. This will kill off any hope of UKIP stepping up to the Islamic challenge.

I’m far from saying that Farage is not the right man to vote for in 2015. Indeed, a strong UKIP performance would delight me. It would show that the centre ground is rapidly losing its force of gravity; that the electorate is beginning to read more broadly than the mainstream press; and most of all, that there is finally an appetite for radicalism developing amongst the hedges and bowling greens of real England.

If UKIP disappoint that radicalism, it will not die. It will just have to wait for a real leader to arise.

D, LDN.

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