Many commentators, including myself, have argued for a long time that the disastrous handling of the European crisis has opened the door to a toxic debate about ‘us’ and ‘them’ within the Union as well as a general re-nationalisation tendency in European politics. In the current European election campaign you can see a visualisation of what this actually means. This is a current campaign poster of UKIP in Great Britain (via BBC Radio 4 Today on Twitter):
What Labour MP Mike Gapes rightly called ‘designed to evoke hatred towards immigrants’ is only ‘a hard-hitting reflection of reality’ according to UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
More UKIP Campaign Posters On The Way
We are now apparently at a stage where open discrimination or even outright racism is a key tool in politics and more UKIP posters with the slogan ‘26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?’ are apparently on their way, never mind the facts about EU migration.
Bear in mind that these are not the campaign posters of a 1% fringe party but of a party that currently stands at 27% in opinion polls (in second place behind Labour). Brace yourself for 25th May!
The BBC’s Nick Robinson has just published this interesting conversation with Nigel Farage, in which he did not let him off the hook:
Nick Robinson: You’ve warned about Europeans taking people’s jobs. Your wife is German. She’s your secretary. She’s paid for by the British taxpayer.
Nigel Farage: Yes. She came here as a highly skilled person earning a high salary, paying a very large amount of tax. It all goes to show nobody must think….
NR: Is your wife taking someone else’s job?
NF: No, because I don’t think anyone else would want to be in my house at midnight, going through emails and getting me briefed for the next day. And actually if you look at Westminster one in four MPs at Westminster, all right, employs a close family relative, and actually what’s happening in the last two weeks, of the 73 British MEPs I’m the one that is being singled out and saying “Goodness me, Mr Farage, you’re costing the taxpayer a great deal of money.” Don’t forget, I am the turkey that will vote for Christmas. I want to get rid of British MEPs and all the expenses.
NR: You see, you try to turn everything into a joke. You have a campaign which says Europeans are taking British jobs. You employ a German woman to work in your office. She happens to be your wife. She happens to spend many hundreds of thousands of British taxpayers’ money. How do you justify that?
NF: No she doesn’t. She earns a very modest salary for working extremely unsociable hours for me and being available up to seven days a week. It’s a very different situation to a mass of hundreds of thousands of people flooding the lower end of the labour market.
NR: Why hasn’t she taken a British person’s job?
NF: Because nobody else could do that job.
NR: No British person could work for you as your secretary?
NF: Not at the moment.
NR: You don’t think anyone’s capable of doing that job?
NF: What, of marrying me?
NR: No. Of doing the job of your secretary.
NF: I don’t know anyone who would work those hours, no.
NR: So that’s it. It’s clear – UKIP do not believe that any British person is capable of being the secretary of their leader?
NF: That’s nonsense and you know it.
NR: You just said it!
NF: I said I need someone who can help me work at midnight, at one, two o’clock in the morning, unsociable hours. For seven years she did the job unpaid, for the last few years she’s done the job on a monthly salary and from May she’ll be doing it unpaid again.
And there is also a video of the encounter: