Translate

Search This Blog

Search Tool




Asian Markets at Close Report

European Markets at Close Report

May 25, 2017

Ukip's Nonsense Manifesto Tries - and Fails - to Whio Up Anti - Muslim Outrage by Polly Toynbee : The Guardian | Opinion | Columnist - May 25, 2017



theguardian.com
 
Polly Toynbee

With Ukip standing at just 2% in some polls, only one group of people will be more frustrated than the party itself: Islamist jihadis. Surely murdering children at a pop concert should set these useless phlegmatic Brits’ blood boiling? Why aren’t these faithless, pusillanimous people retaliating as they should, by surging towards Ukip with cries of revenge against all Muslims?
With dog whistles, symbols and outright anti-Islamic policies of every kind, Ukip has done its best to oblige with an attempt to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment as the party lays out its manifesto today. So why won’t the British people fall into line?
This should be Ukip’s finest hour, the day to capitalise on horror. Maybe instinctively, a lot of people will feel a twinge of recognition in some things Ukip say. The party would ban the niqab and the burqa – and there is no doubt many people bridle at the sight of women covered up. Ukip accuses Theresa May of condoning these “symbols of the oppression of women”.
Personally, as a humanist, I dislike the absurdity of all religions that think certain clothing somehow gets them closer to God: most faiths do headgear. But I would no more ban it than I would support any other official dress code for women. As for the forced inspection of all girls from countries where some practise genital mutilation, who will do that? The school nurse? And how often? Will a list of girls from suspect countries be pinned on the notice board? Time and again when some satisfyingly bullying idea meets actual practicality, Ukippery crashes into nonsense.
People might like the sound of internment for all suspected terror sympathisers, as suggested by Ukip’s energy spokesman (as well as by Katie Hopkins wannabe Allison Pearson of the Telegraph) – unless they remember how imprisonment without trial turbo-charged recruitment to the IRA and delayed peace for years.
Ukip leader Paul Nuttall’s condemnation of the Muslim community for not doing enough to root out extremists might have resonance with some – except once spoken, his words fall with a thud. Likewise his sneer at Muslims for “clinging to victimhood”. The Manchester scenes of reconciliation between people of all backgrounds and religions, and the refusal to be roused to hatred are what people will remember. Nuttall’s mocking of people “lighting candles” will alienate many of those he hopes to attract. His call for Muslims to “face up to the truth” on “grooming gangs” might cause a frisson after the TV drama Three Girls, but the very act of exploiting it for Ukip’s political ends will make most recoil.
Some may at first like the sound of zero net migration for five years, with a one-in-one-out policy. Unless, on this mythical day when immigration figures show a sudden fall, they stop and think about the desperate trawl the NHS is engaged in across the EU, the Philippines and everywhere else to find doctors, nurses and care workers to plug the yawning gaps, worsening by the month as our own doctors and nurses emigrate to easier lives in the US and Australia. Or the £6bn fall in GDP that the Confederation of British Industry, Institute of Directors and others today predict will be caused by cutting immigration.
The truth is Ukip has had its day. Blaming May for this week’s massacre will find few takers outside the conspiracist fringe, and probably do her election campaign nothing but good. If he weren’t trying so hard to spread hate, Nuttall would be an enjoyably ludicrous figure of fun. It has been Britain’s good fortune that the periodic flare-ups of far-right movements have been led by absurd, inadequate people whose parties fight and split even faster than far-left groupuscules. If times get even harder, as Brexit bites, and some seek scapegoats in “filthy foreigners” or minorities at home, there could yet be fertile territory for a truly threatening party. But it’s not Ukip, was never the posturing Nigel Farage, BNP, or the Nazi fetishisers of various iterations of the old National Front.
Ukip has done its task, and done its worst when it intimidated lily-livered David Cameron into calling a referendum. In its death throes it is trying to catch a tide of anti-Muslim outrage. But the tide – at least for now – is mercifully not flowing that way. So let it quietly fade away and die at this election.