In a searing editorial, Britain’s socialist daily, the Morning Star exposes UKIP – but takes the left to task for complacency too. Ukip is just as much a part of the neoliberal Establishment as the Tories or the EU.
Progressives are rightly appalled by the incendiary anti-immigrant message being plastered on billboards across Britain by the UK Independence Party.
But Labour and the trade unions should heed No2EU-Yes to Workers’ Rights convener Brian Denny’s warning that Ukip will continue to prosper as long as the left refuses to acknowledge public anger against the anti-democratic European Union.
Nigel Farage’s odious outfit claims to speak for ordinary people and not for the well-heeled metropolitan elite who have done so well out of the economic crisis they plunged the country into six years ago. Those claims are lies. Before throwing his lot in with Ukip Mr Farage was a City spiv just like the dodgy speculators who caused the financial crash of 2008.
As an MEP he has gleefully helped himself to the European Parliament’s no-questions-asked expenses trough, bragging in 2009 that he had claimed £2 million in this way. Just like so many members of the Tory Party he once belonged to he clearly has a problem understanding that public money is not his for the taking. And far from being an “anti-Establishment” party as it likes to pretend, Ukip shares wholeheartedly the Westminster Establishment’s neoliberal ideology.
Working-class people who have lost their jobs thanks to the government’s vicious assault on the public sector should know that Farage advocates even greater cuts to public spending than the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Ukip claims to worry about pressure on public services — yet calls for massive cuts to NHS spending and further contracting of health services out to greedy privateers. George Osborne’s tax cuts for the wealthiest aren’t enough for Farage, who wants a single income tax rate for everyone, the abolition of all inheritance taxes and an even lower corporation tax rate.
Even his claims to stand up for national sovereignty are suspect — as No2EU points out his party has backed European legislation forcing EU member states to privatise and fragment their railway systems.
Oh, and this year he also called for cutting people’s pensions. Ukip is clearly a bosses’ party.
But too much of the labour movement has yet to wake up to the fact that the European Union is also a bosses’ institution.
Its most powerful bodies, the European Commission and European Central Bank, are not elected by anyone and have been used to enshrine in law a Thatcherite policy of slashing jobs, privatising public services and trashing workers’ rights.
In return for “bailing out” Greece, Ireland and Portugal it has demanded enormous spending cuts and forced the suspension of collective bargaining.
It is intertwined with aggressive US foreign policy and recently played a key role in facilitating the overthrow of a corrupt but elected government in Ukraine by a hotch-potch of free market fanatics, fascist gunmen and homophobic nationalist zealots. Poll after poll shows that British workers are no fans of the EU.
This is not, as the patronising rhetoric of new Labour and the Liberal Democrats suggests, because they have failed to understand it.
Nor is it because Britain’s working people, with their venerable tradition of international solidarity with the oppressed, are a bunch of xenophobes. Workers have an entirely justified suspicion of a neoliberal empire which spouts free-market dogma and whose leaders can’t be voted out. Labour should share their concern.
Until it does only No2EU exists to put the progressive, socialist case for getting us out. Unlike Ukip, this working-class organisation will not receive backing from millionaires to help it promote its message. It needs our support to do so instead. Because we do indeed need to take back control of our country. Not from the foreigners blamed by Ukip, but from the parasitical capitalist class and its institutions in Westminster and Brussels.