It's easy to cast them as a party who hate foreigners - not least because it's true - but it misses the point and also misses a lot of the people on their hate list.
On 12 September 2013, the European Parliament voted on equal pay for male and female workers. It was carried with an overwhelming 546 votes in favour. Among the 50 abstentions were UKIP MEPs John Bufton and William, Earl of Dartmouth. For the same party, John Agnew and Roger Helmer were two of the 34 (that also included several Tories) who voted against.
This is, of course, the same UKIP who have a major funder called Demetri Marchessini, author of a whole book called Women In Trousers explaining that such people are deliberately making themselves unattractive to men and that public trouser-wearing by women is 'hostile behaviour'.
If being on the wrong side of gender discrimination is unpopular, UKIP went further. A month ago there was a European Parliament vote on transparency in clinical trials that was carried by an even greater margin than the equal pay vote. Fully 95%, some 594 MEPS, were in favour. Who were amidst the rump of 17 who opposed it? Stand up once again William, Earl of Dartmouth and his colleagues Roger Helmer and John Agnew, alongside fellow UKIPper Gerard Batten.
AND THE ELEPHANTS
Nigel Farage was absent from both those votes, presumably because he was on Question Time yet a-fucking-gain. However he was present on 15 January this year for a vote to combat wildlife crime, including the illegal ivory trade. This vote managed to be even more overwhelming. 647 MEPs - 96% - voted in favour. Six of the 14 who voted against came from one party. Once again William, Earl of Dartmouth took his place alongside John Agnew and Gerard Batten, along with Paul Nuttall, Derek Clark and their overseer Farage.
This one caught a big wave of meme-inspired public attention in the last couple of weeks. Why in God's name did Ukip vote against fighting the illegal ivory trade? asked an anti-EU rightwinger on the Telegraph's blog feed. It's a fair enough question in the face of what seem like baffling political positions.
REALLY THOUGH, WHY DO THEY DO IT?
However, our befuddlement is the product of our own failure to understand what we see. We imagine UKIP MEPs as political representatives. If instead we see UKIP as a corporatist sect masquerading as a political party then it all becomes clear. They despise anything that hinders profit, which includes many fundamental human needs. Now look again at everything they do. It all fits.
Their current billboard campaign shows a British builder* begging on the street because his job was undercut by unlimited cheap labour.
In their new election broadcast video, a British builder** says
Since the lads from Eastern Europe are prepared to work for a lot less than anybody else, I’ve found it a real struggle. It’s getting hard to provide for my family.
If this were really their concern, why do UKIP oppose the minimum wage? Why do they support the ultimate undercut of workfare, where waged workers are sacked to make way for the unpaid forced labour of unemployed people?
UKIP want the end of the Working Time Directive which gives us paid holiday, paid breaks, rest of at least 11 hours in 24 and the right to work no more than 48 hours a week. Those out of work would suffer under UKIP too, with benefits being further slashed and abolished.
These are the people for whom this most full-throttle Tory government doesn't go far or fast enough. Farage - who, like so many of the Tories he pits himself against, is a public school millionaire who had a City career before becoming an expenses fiddling politician - is using racism as a smokescreen for his party's drive for full corporatocracy.
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*The British builder in the poster, David O' Rourke, is actually an immigrant from Ireland. He's not a builder, but an actor. Last Wednesday Farage told the Telegraph's political editor that UKIP was the only party not to use actors in its advertising. Two days later UKIP said using actors was 'totally standard practice'.
**The British builder in the video, Andre Lampitt, is actually an immigrant from Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia as he prefers to call it. He is a UKIP member and a serious racist.