Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Reckless Words

The UKIP candidate for Rochester & Strood, Mark Reckless, has let the cat out of the bag, with his latest comments about EU migration. Reckless, it has to be said, is not one of the normal swivel-eyed loons of UKIP, nor one of the fruit cakes, and closet racists, previously described by David Cameron. In fact, until a few weeks ago, Reckless was one of Cameron's own Tory MP's, not that the Tory Party itself is short of fruit cakes, loons and closet racists either. Indeed, watch David Cameron's performance on any Wednesday during Prime Minister's Questions, and you could be forgiven for thinking that rather than trying to seriously answer any questions, he sees his role, as court jester. But, the fact that Reckless is not noted for his capacity for rapid exaggerated, and random eye movements, makes his comments , at a public meeting in relation to UKIP policy on EU migrants even more disturbing.

Reckless was asked what the situation would be of a polish plumber and his family who was living in Britain, were Britain to leave the EU. Would they have to leave, Reckless was asked. It required a simple answer, yes or no. Reckless's answer appeared to be yes, but UKIP would try to be reasonable by treating them sympathetically, and arranging some transitional arrangements before they were shipped off out of the country.

Of course, UKIP have to argue something like this, because the reason many of the closet and not so closet racists have for voting for them, is that they want shut of anyone who even smacks of being foreign. Many of them, after all are the same people who in the past voted for the BNP. If UKIp can't offer such voters the prospect that all of these foreigners are going to be shipped off out of the country, then they are no different to the Tories and Labour.

But, that poses a problem for UKIP. Although there is a hard core of perhaps 30% of voters who hold such racist views, the majority of people don't, which is why other than in low turnout polls, such as in some local elections, European elections and by-elections, hard line racists like the BNP have always polled only small percentages. If UKIP want to get more votes than that in a General Election, they can't appear to be too extreme.

That is why when Nigel Farage was caught on camera arguing that the NHS should be scrapped, and people have to take out private health insurance instead, UKIP quickly came out to reverse that position; when Farage had argued that people ought to have to pay to see a GP, that position was dropped; and now UKIP have come out quickly to deny that they would deport EU citizens already working in Britain, though their spokesman on today's “Daily Politics”, was not so clear that EU citizens living, but not working in Britain would have the right to remain.

Yet, UKIP are in danger here too. After all, there are millions of British people who work in the rest of Europe, and there are perhaps even more who live in Europe, having retired to the warmer climes of France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. If UKIP are going to even be suggesting that EU citizens should be deported from Britain, then there are millions of Britons who have retired to these sunnier climes, who will similarly be looking at the prospect of being deported back to Britain!   

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