He wants UKIP to instead have “an optimistic, internationalist and inclusive agenda for the whole country.”
To which I ask – Mr Carswell, can you possibly be this clueless as to the nature of your own party?
It quite simply cannot have an “optimistic, internationalist and inclusive agenda” because the foundation nature of this party is the very opposite of that. UKIP was created without any kind of exclusive agenda – UKIP was created as a REJECTION. Rejection of Europe. Rejection of Immigrants. Rejection of POC, Rejection of LGBT people. The backbone of this party is one of rejection – it is one of scapegoating
It cannot be optimistic, internationalist or inclusive because it’s defined by what it hates, by what it rejects by what (and who) it blames for everything. Someone tell me what UKIP’s manifesto is BEYOND hating minorities, immigrants and Europe? Because UKIP certainly don’t talk about it (and if you go digging for it you find some truly terrifying things). They don’t talk about it because it’s not relevant to the party and not what the party about – the party is all about who they hate.
And, yes, that is its appeal
Let’s not pretend this doesn’t work and hasn’t happened before. Look at the US Republican’s “southern strategy” and “guns gods and gays”. Look at the rise of fascism. You can look around the world and see a gazillion examples – one of the easiest ways to rise to power without any kind of positive message is to pick a scapegoat and hammer it with hatred. Minorities are good targets, as are foreign powers, or nebulous, ill-defined threats. Fear and anger, hatred and blame have always been the keys to power, especially in hard times: it is far EASIER to pretend that all our problems are the fault of immigrants or gays or women or POC than it is to admit that the system has some major flaws. Especially among a cis, straight, white male population that finds it easier to revel in prejudice rather than confront their actual privilege.
Let’s face it, there’s a hugely significant chunk of the population who are ragingly pissed that they can’t “bash queers, or slag off the darkies, or tell them uppity tarts to get back in the kitchen” and an equally huge number who loathe those “frogs/krauts/dagos/whatever”. That is what UKIP appeals to – a world where such language is ok, where such attitudes are excused and whether the minorities are just being “sensitive” or “PC” when we object to such dehumanisation. And that is why their candidates continue to spout the same vile trash and why the leadership cannot sweepingly condemn it or stop it.
Mr. Carswell, UKIP cannot change – because those very things you want it to change are the very reasons why it is doing as well as it is. Better get used to it, because this is the bandwagon you’ve leaped on.
I also say the Tories aren’t blameless in this. They’ve always played to prejudice, xenophobia, scapegoating et al. If appealing to fear, hate and prejudice is a common tactic to power, it’s more so for the right wing because it’s damn HARD to convince anyone earning less than £100,000 a year to vote for a party of more tax cuts, more slashed services and more wealth inequality. That’s a hard sell. So the right wing has always played to the worst kind of prejudices to fill the numbers – that’s why whenever Cameron tries to throw in anything remotely progressive (rare indeed), he has to do it in the face of his own party. That’s why the Lib Dems were well and truly screwed when they formed a coalition with the Tories. That’s why every Equality Minister inevitably has a record of bigotry.
UKIP is the Tory teaparty – all of that frothing, hateful extremism the right wing loves to use to whip up votes has grown up into an actual thing beyond your control. You’ve fed it, it grew; you encouraged it, it grew; you resisted any attempt to educated it, to change it, to diffuse it – and it grew and grew and grew. Dr. Tory Frankenstein, UKIP is your monster and it’s no longer under your control. And you're certainly not going to do it by continuing to play the same hateful rhetoric