With the latest polls seeing UKIP’s support plummeting to nothing more than nine percent, Farage’s over-inflated bubble looks set to burst. This comes after the incredibly worrying surge of support that the party gained in the European elections last year; at which they received 27.5 percent of the vote, followed by months of increased media attention on the party (thankfully this attention has now been transferred onto the far more deserving Greens). However, there is still an alarmingly large portion of the UK’s citizenship who could potentially vote UKIP come polling-day in May.
This support comes from a group of highly dissatisfied individuals who see UKIP as their only viable option for the radical change they desperately desire to affect in the UK. Farage’s hyperbolic tactics have been somewhat successful in inducing fear and hatred in these members of the electorate, who seek someone to blame for their dissatisfaction. They have been swept up by Farage’s promises to fix problems, most notably unemployment, which they believe have been created by members of the immigrant community who are “stealing jobs”.
This perception is clearly deeply misguided. On the contrary, immigration actually reaps hugely positive benefits and we would arguably be in a much worse place right now if certain members of these immigrant communities were not members of our country, paying their taxes and actively contributing to our state. Indeed, in 2013 The Organisation for Economic Cooperation revealed that immigrants actually pay taxes at a higher rate than they use public services; the implication is that without these members of society, we would be forced to make more cuts to public services and undoubtedly raise taxes.
It is uncontested that at times of socio-economic uncertainty, members of the population seek security in knowing who or what to blame for their problems, and unfortunately in our case the finger has all too hastily been pointed at the immigrant community. Farage has manipulated our country’s economic fears which has forced immigration and questions with regards to welfare for migrants into the forefront of the domestic political debate. This is now set to be the key, and most hotly-contested, topic of the 2015 general election and could well be the area in which swing-voters could be won over.
Most worrying are those who have blindly given UKIP their support without taking the time to understand the ramifications of the rest of the party’s highly dubious policies. Many of UKIP’s policies are misogynistic, homophobic and racist – a vote for UKIP is just another vote towards an unmistakably damaging future for many members of our country. Even if they do not win the election, every vote for them translates into affirming support for their policies; legitimising the party’s quite frankly hideous views, and thrusts their arguments onto the political agenda.
In the last decade, our society has increasingly become ruled by a climate of turbulent insecurity and uncertainty, but pointing the finger at immigrants and giving our support to UKIP will not solve our economic woes. When it is time to step into the ballot box in May, we should instead remember to celebrate the brilliant diversity of our country’s population and stop blaming each other for problems we could more efficiently solve together.
Image courtesy of HuffingtonPost