Monday, 20 October 2014

Guardian: On immigration, David Cameron has joined Ukip’s paranoia bandwagon

Guardian: On immigration, David Cameron has joined Ukip’s paranoia bandwagon

Article by Suzanne Moore

'Let’s be dead clear here: since 2004, when lots of workers from the new EU member states came in because at that point our economy was doing well, a new anti-immigrant conversation became “permissible”. As many newcomers were white, anti-immigrant views were no longer simply racist.

This does not mean they were, or are particularly rational. If they were, places with the highest immigration would be more likely to fall for Ukip, and this isn’t what is happening. Clacton, for instance, has 4.3% of its population born abroad (the UK average is one in eight) and most of key Ukip seats have lower foreign-born populations than the national average. To spell it out, those most worried about immigration live in areas of low immigration.

So what we have is a lack of reason at the bottom, replicated stupidly at the top. When immigration becomes the repository for all kinds of anxiety, the delusions multiply. Entire towns are not racist, indeed Clacton actually voted for a good constituency MP. But Clacton is depressed economically, as is Thanet, where Farage will stand. The coastal towns have long been dumping grounds for London to use up their cheap housing. I come from 80 miles away from London and it still feels far away in time and place.

What Ukip has done is turn multiple anxieties into nostalgia. It is a party that contests modernity in all its present forms: that’s why it can’t do cities, only market towns. It cannot deliver the past for it is not even truthful. The past it seeks to reinstall is imaginary, but the imagination is powerful for those who feel powerless.'

No comments:

Post a Comment