How can I get rid of UKIP?
November 21, 2014 6:14 AM   Subscribe

How can one individual most effectively combat UKIP? (UK politics filter)

I'm really agitated about the current success of UKIP in the UK. I'm not heavily involved in politics, though my sympathies are broadly leftist and I have voted Labour in the past. In the past, far-right parties have done well between general elections but not when it really counted, but I'm not convinced this pattern will hold.

What action would have the best bang for buck for me, one individual who desperately does not want to see these clowns hold the balance of power after the general election next year?
posted by altolinguistic to Law & Government (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The obvious ones are to:

1) Vote for the party most likely to beat UKIP in the constituency you are eligible to vote in. This may not be the most "broadly leftist" party running. In fact, you may even have to contemplate voting Conservative. Sorry.

2) Persuade others to do likewise.

3) If you can afford it, donate to broadly leftist parties, with the proviso that you are aware that they may disappoint, or not succeed.
posted by Wordshore at 6:31 AM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

As one who somewhat regularly watches UK news and politics from across the Irish Sea I honestly don't think there is much you can do but vote, behave with integrity consistent with your principles and don't demonize UKIP. It seems to me that the UK has been (and will be) experiencing unrelenting economic demographic, ethnic, religious, national identity, class, income inequality and population pressures. It is a (tiny) island with one hell of lot simultaneously occurring. The emergence of a (far but not extreme) right of center political force seems inevitable and part of a developing definition as to what is the UK. I am sure you are aware that similar phenomena are occurring through out Europe and The States. I say don't demonize UKIP because I believe it just strengthens parties such as this--it antagonizes and alienates those who may have sympathies. It is the moderate center that really threatens UKIP not the left or leftist rhetoric. I have a great deal of fondness for the UK, its historical commitment to the commonwealth and its perseverance. I wish you the best.
posted by rmhsinc at 6:33 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you're asking which political party you should join and vote for, the answer is none of them. There are no legitimately left-wing parties operating in the UK. Not even the Greens - look up how they've run Brighton council, specifically how they dealt with the bin-collectors' strike a few years ago.

Voting Conservative to keep UKIP out is fucking stupid. Extremely stupid. You honestly reckon the tories are any better? Do that, and you're not combating nationalism, racism, conservatism - you're just battling Farage and his bandwagon. The tories are just as dangerous if not moreso, because they stand far more chance of enacting harmful, anti-worker and anti-immigrant policies in power. Seriously - don't vote for the fucking Tories. To do so is the most craven form of liberalism going.

Ultimately there are no easy answers to this. The organised left has been thoroughly smashed in this country. But your best bet IS to become heavily involved in politics - to read the theory, challenge your own ideas, work out what it is you actually believe in.

From there, the solution is collective action. It's a leftist idea. It's where our strength is - or used to be, when we were better capable of it. One thing is certain, though - individuals get nowhere. That's the ideology of conservatism, it's the ideology of liberalism. Fuck it. Reject it. Work with groups in your community, collectively, towards realistic political goals. They're out there. The Focus E15 mums prove it when they set the agenda for local politics in east london, Solfed and similar leftist groups prove it when they work together to stop evictions or end workfare. Collective, direct action. Solidarity.

Voting for the Tories? Get real. Fuck's sake.
posted by Ted Maul at 6:36 AM on November 21, 2014 [14 favorites]

don't demonize UKIP

This, exactly. The power of the individual lies largely in convincing other individuals without attacking them.

I have a few kipper-leaning friends. I'm quite careful not to openly call UKIP 'clowns' or 'racists' or 'little-englanders', because if I do that, I'm encouraging a defensive stance, and that never works. Ask people why they favour UKIP. Make it a conversation. You'll get a chance to question or challenge their assumptions that you wouldn't get by kicking off with your own views on UKIP.
posted by pipeski at 6:38 AM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

I hate to say it, but if you're a leftist, there are reasons why you might like UKIP to have a little bit of success, in that it weakens the Tory party by splitting their vote, aligns bigotry and xenophobia with a maligned, outsider party, and forces the Tories to either moderate their views to create some distance between them and UKIP or overplay their hand pandering to the more extreme viewpoints, alienating the mainstream. In terms of any risk of UKIP "holding the balance of power" in the future, just ask how well that worked out for the Lib-Dems - the truth is that business interests are protected over any other political agenda, and the last thing multinational corporations want is an isolationist UK of the sort UKIP promise.

The other side of this battle would be to support a true leftist party, and on that front we're all out of luck. The last thing I would want to do right now is give Miliband a pat on the back for his milquetoast neoliberal prevarication. I don't know what to suggest, except that if UKIP can generate support out of nothing more than disillusionment and jingoism, then a grassroots populist (occupy-style) leftist party could probably do the same. Shame the only choice of leftism in this country right now seems to be sellout neoliberals or unrepentant Stalinists.
posted by iivix at 6:54 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

OK, so if your goal is to deny UKIP as many seats as possible in the next parliament? Well in that case your best action would be to try to help the Conservative party as much as possible as they are the most likely to lose seats to UKIP.

If your goal is to prevent them having the balance of power in parliament? Then you need them not to matter. That is, you need Labour to have a large enough majority to win outright, or in coalition with less ugly parties. So organise for Labour, donate your time and money towards them.

If your goal is to prevent their rhetoric having an impact politically? That's a bit tougher. The only pro-immigration/Europe parties in the UK are SNP and the Lib Dems. The latter are electorally dead in the water, so I wouldn't hold much hope there. The SNP though? They have already said they would be willing to enter coalition with Labour, and they might have a moderating effect on the nasty anti-immigration rhetoric Labour will happily sink in to to desperately grapple for votes.

Another approach might be to campaign for better media representation, as most of the anti-immigration and pro-UKIP rhetoric has been coming from the right wing press, and is deeply misleading.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 7:50 AM on November 21, 2014

Political parties want your vote, therefore the best way to prevent them from gaining ascendancy is to vote for a different party.
posted by tel3path at 8:03 AM on November 21, 2014

What Ted Maul said.

Additionally, there are cultural things you can do to reduce the background climate of xenophobia that informs UKIP.

You know all that stuff that people do on the internet, where we are calling people out when we're racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, able-ist, transphobic, whorephobic, and so on? And they call us Social Justice Warriors?

The actual point of that stuff, at least, in my own view, when it is done properly, is to create a discourse where we can all be accountable to each other when we make errors that are borne out of an inability to perceive our own privilege. In that sort of a discourse, when we fuck up, we apologise, and try to learn from our mistakes. We also do the same thing in meat-space, with our loved ones, within our communities, and within our own selves. And, through fumbling trial and error, we try to create a better society.

I think that the rise of social justice discourse is, in some ways, borne of a frustration with party politics. I also believe that the cultural front, and the political one, are equally vital.
posted by Mistress at 9:12 AM on November 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm working on trying to get more notice for the Greens. I'm not going to let an incident in Brighton affect the fact that on a broad alignment of goals and ideology, on environment, equality, economics they're the right party to back for me.

The news hasn't covered the fact that disenchantment with politics means that people are surging to the Left as well as the far right. With all the propaganda out there, voters may not actually be voting for the party that aligns with their policies or realize that the Greens are the only other party really in favour of an EU referendum.

In the end, I generally agree with the posters above. Help back and promote the party you do want.
posted by vacapinta at 9:17 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

YouGov the market research firm have an interesting post about this:
Why UKIP’s rivals are fighting the wrong battle - Most UKIP voters want to emigrate. Their problem is how to get there. Their nation of choice does not receive British Airways flights. It cannot be found on any map. Even Nigel Farage cannot really help them.
The place where UKIP voters want to live is that other country, the past.

posted by Lanark at 9:24 AM on November 21, 2014

You might think about talking up vote for policies. A site which takes manifestos from UK political parties and then offers up a quiz based on them.
It will then tell you which parties policies you have chosen.

It might not dissuade those who genuinely do want whatever it is that UKIP want, but increasingly UKIP don't seem to know what they want or what their manifesto is anyway, so... who knows.
Anyway, point is it should match prospective voters up with the right party.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 10:02 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Try to promote and publicise the benefits of EU membership - or, failing that, the probable consequences of leaving.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 11:18 AM on November 21, 2014

You could consider standing for office yourself?
posted by Middlemarch at 11:22 AM on November 21, 2014

Is there any way you can volunteer with young people? Maybe working with a youth group. I firmly believe we need to encourage young people to think for themselves and not accept the hatred for others they are being spoonfed by the media. I really worry for them :(
posted by Dorothea_in_Rome at 2:06 PM on November 21, 2014

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