This is something which has been bugging me for a while now, people comparing UKIP to the Nazis and the BNP. I initially thought this was something which was relatively light hearted and not meant to be taken seriously. However, I have been increasingly finding this to be taken as a genuine argument by some who are not so up to date on politics, and more worryingly by some who are and believe their own deluded rhetoric.
The most basic historical literacy which everyone should be endowed with would tell you that there is a world of difference between the National Socialist movement and UKIP which describes itself as libertarian. The idea of being a libertarian is barely a charge which could hardly be put against the National Socialist movement.
One of the main differences is that UKIP doesn’t have an armed gang ready to attack anyone who disagrees with it, it doesn’t want to impose a fascist state through the back door and it isn’t a racist and fascist party. I could go on and on about the differences but instead I shall simply recommend Richard Evans’ excellent trilogy on the National Socialist movement. It saddens me that I even have to explain a few of the really core differences, but it seems that so many are taken in by this easy and false comparison that it has become a necessary task.
UKIP is unlike the BNP which is a racist and fascist organisation, who always have and still do, closet their language with phrases like ‘native Britain’s’ which is truly abhorrent. In fact, UKIP are the only party in the United Kingdom to ban former members of the British National Party, this is something which neither Labour nor the Conservatives have done. While the process for UKIP has been difficult in sifting through the mud that did contaminate the party, especially at a local level, it is being done. A simple google search can be done on UKIP suspensions to see the sheer volume which they have had to contend with. It shows a commitment from the top i.e. those who really represent the party rather than the odd mad councilman, to make it clear what the party really represents, which is neither fascism nor racism.
You may well think I am a UKIP supporter from what I have argued in this article thus far. However, I am no such thing. I actively oppose UKIP and their back of a fag packet policies which are not clearly communicated nor widely known. What concerns me as a non UKIP voter is the kind of rhetoric which is being spat out where people think an argument against UKIP is being made. When in actual fact, ignoring concerns that people have generally isn’t a good way to get them to change their mind at the ballot box or about the actual issue. It merely drives the voters inwards and in their mind they will be operating maximum defence mode. Nor is it a good idea to make non-existent connections to the worst political ideas known to mankind such as Nazism, as then you become easily discredited, look foolish, naïve and above all no-one will listen to a word you have to say.
To change people’s minds you need to connect with them, to give them an alternative message and vision to believe in, which is simply something nothing in the mainstream political system has. Labour look too frightened to have any kind of message at the moment and the Conservatives are too busy trying to stop more MP’s from defecting. However, this only adds to what I am saying, if you want to oppose UKIP there is nothing worse than comparing them to the Nazis.
By Sam Mace
[Image Credit: Chatham House]