Some people are born funny, some achieve funniness, some have funniness thrust upon them and some people are so funny that it`s frightening.
Nigel Farage and the rest of his UKIP comedians have pulled off an astonishing transformation from harmless knockabout buffoonery to a sinister malevolence usually associated with irrational phobias when exposed to a traditional circus clown. British politics answer to Ronald McDonald has managed to wheedle himself some leverage not by promoting high-minded common sense, but by pedalling the tried and tested bile of lies, scare-mongering and hate-filled bigotry. You might recall an earlier clown with a Charlie Chaplin moustache that everyone laughed at until he came very close to destroying the world. It is indicative of the desperate state of democratic representation in this country that a bunch of delusional half-wits have managed to poll the second highest number of votes in Eastleigh and before that in Rotherham and Middlesbrough with nothing more to offer other than single-issue barking mad xenophobia. Even given the eye-bulging bluster and the ridiculous shouting, Farage has managed to force a right-wing oppressive government steeped in dogma to lurch further to the right. That`s quite an achievement for an idiot.
The Conservatives are furious that the good people of Eastleigh decided to believe UKIP lies rather than Tory lies and now perceive a threat to their monopoly on manipulative deception. Engaging in a policy arms race to see who can come up with the most repressively bonkers idea, first to react was Defence Secretary Philip Hammond who wants further cuts to the welfare budget to pay for the guns, tanks and fighter aircraft he like to play with when not playing with himself. Hammond does not mention the massive bill about to be imposed on a mother because her two feckless, skiving sons are not occupying their bedrooms but are instead shirking and trying not to step on an IED in Afghanistan. No reference either to the £100billion needed to replace Trident. You remember Trident; that bloody big nuclear bomb that will save us from a scary beardy man with a rucksack on the High Street who looks a bit… well…foreign.
Not to be outdone, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, a thug with no qualification in law, and Home Secretary Teresa May, a serial incompetent, have let it be known that they intend to rip up human rights legislation and refuse to recognise the European Court of Human Rights. This, like Cameron`s promise of a referendum on the future of EU membership, is complete and utter tosh and is merely a knee-jerk attempt at appearing more rabid than the rabid UKIP dog that is nicking Tory votes. With Grayling and May in charge of a process that will logically place UK human rights on a par with Somalia, the rule of law will break down, statute would become meaningless and Britain will be damned as another rogue state. All this because 11,571 people in Eastleigh don`t like the three main parties anymore and voted for UKIP.
Even given the nonsense of Miliband`s “One Nation Labour” sophistry, the by elections at Eastleigh and Rotherham share some similarities. Both were caused by the sitting MPs getting caught being dishonest. This is truly shocking. Can you ever imagine such a thing as a dishonest MP? Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne perverted the course of justice and Labour`s Denis MacShane fiddled his expenses and off they both went to the Chiltern Hundreds. However, regardless of the disgrace and scandal, both constituencies returned new MP`s of the same political tribe as the unfortunate victims of due process. In both these and other contests, UKIP prospered and the Conservatives suffered but, mercifully, the self-appointed arbiters of outrage still do not have a single seat at Westminster. This fact must come as something of a surprise the more gullible of voters given the exposure given by the media and especially by the BBC to UKIP`s jabbering. Many, indeed, must have been under the impression that Farage was actually the Prime Minister given the frequency of his television appearances.
UKIP`s tactics both oop north and darn sarf were broadly the same. First invent some dark menace without any connection to actual fact, then enrage people with untruth before frightening them with lurid imaginary tales of doom and then claim to be the only viable saviour from annihilation. In Eastleigh, a town where 95 per cent of the population are considered to be indigenous and white, UKIP screamed of an invasion of four million Bulgarians about to descend on the quiet Hampshire backwater. It is probably best not to mention that net immigration is actually down by 30 per cent for fear of the limited number of brain cells processed by UKIP fantasists should spontaneously jettison through a remarkably thick cranium. Presumably, it is a different four million Bulgarians that were due to descent on Rotherham last November. Gorblimey, typical government eh? Now there is a shortage of Bulgarians to blame.
In the days leading up to the Rotherham vote, Farage and his playmates worked themselves up into a right old state over the fate of three young Eastern European children. Well, perhaps not the fate of the children but the fate of the nice couple who were offering them temporary foster care. It transpired that the nice couple were members of UKIP and when more suitable care arrangements were found for the vulnerable children including communication in their own language, the nice couple went straight to the press to complain of discrimination. Farage was on it like a shot. He said:
“Ordinary people all over the country – and most senior politicians, with the notable exception of David Cameron – are absolutely incensed about this case. Rotherham council should apologise immediately, and heads should roll. Joyce Thacker (Rotherham council`s Director of Children and Young People`s Services) should surely go, along with any other senior managers who have endorsed this bigoted and discriminatory policy.”
Goodness me, strong stuff. Rotherham council were rather more dignified and declined to comment as the case was subject to court proceedings and did not wish to attract further attention to the vulnerable children who have already suffered alleged abuse, trauma and stress. Farage, however, had the story on every front page and on every news bulletin. Clearly his interest in the children had nothing to do with their welfare but had everything to do with political advantage. I wonder if he has given those children a second thought after shamelessly exploiting their sorry circumstances.
The excellent Tom Pride on his equally excellent political blog “Pride`s Purge” has turned over a stone and shed some light on the true nature of UKIP as it wriggles around down there in the dirt. In an interview with Chris Goodfellow, a chap by the name of Philip Collins who is the Chairman of UKIP Bristol suggests that every British city should have one or two “holding camps” for immigrants. If all this sounds vaguely familiar, consider the words of Mr Collins at the end of the interview.
“Don`t misquote what I say…If you have, I`ll be upset and I`ll come and see you and make you unhappy. I`m telling you that now.”
It has been suggested that UKIP are the EDL but with a better tailor, better diction and slightly fewer tattoos but that would be an oversimplification. They have gone from being a joke to being dangerous especially as certain elements of the Tory party, who regard Cameron as a pinko, flirt with UKIP in the interests of self-preservation. Within a matter of days of the coalition between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats being formed in 2010, it became clear that it would not last and may not last a full parliamentary term. Clegg and his innocents may have started out with some semblance of principle and honour but are now degraded and humiliated. With Labour still suffering from collective laryngitis when forced to confront the mayhem, there is likely to be a power vacuum come 2015. In the smoke and mirrors of political intrigue, strange alliances form but it seems a logical if terrifying possibility of a coalition between UKIP and the Conservatives.
After a night of long knives, there could be kippers for breakfast and that will not be very funny.