by Chimene Suleyman

What came first?: The quip in the pub about how immigrants take the mick, or the UKIP policy? The way Nigel Farage sees it, immigrants are given jobs out of a HR folder marked Political-Correctness-Gone-Mad. Race discrimination laws are outdated, his daughter just shrugs at the thought of it, after all. British-born workers ahead of other applicants, Farage says – regardless of who is better skilled for the job. The illusive ‘meritocracy’ be damned.

We know this of UKIP. Blame the immigrants, black people, brown people, Muslims, feminists, gay community, all of them, everyone, blame them all. But it’s cheap to snub UKIP. Too obvious to rebut their proposed actions, yet elsewhere we’ve been chanting their battle-cries for some time.  Discrimination – whatever form it has taken – has meant unemployment in black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities has risen by an astonishing 50% in the last four years, despite a general rise in employment.

PRESS_AWARDS_2015No surprise then that creative and media industries suffer all the more; the Oscars, Brits and the more recent Press Awards drew attention to the astonishing lack of diversity. Suddenly the kind of nepotism based on nationality and skin-tone that Farage is suggesting, isn’t miles off an already existing system.

And what if you found Farage’s comments on Islam in a who-said-it? Could you immediately assign it to him?: “I think perhaps one of the reasons the polls show an increasing level of concern is because people do see a fifth column living within our country, who hate us and want to kill us.” Isn’t this the rhetoric the media has been playing out? Left-wing disclaimers, like Tim Lott’s recent piece, shouldn’t remove the bigotry, shouldn’t make it any less damning to a community already widely suffering backlashes for these thoughts.

Sexism in UKIP ? Sure, but if Farage were alone in thinking that eligibility for maternity leave makes you worth less in business, a third of women wouldn’t currently describe discrimination and a lack of support in the workplace since becoming mothers.

Imagine the ridicule if Farage, between puffs of a cigarette leant into camera and said, “Well, if you’re an abused woman looking for a place at a refuge centre, expect to brush up on your English first! British shelters for British people!” What about this one: Penalties for benefit claimants who don’t learn English. But these are not the dangerously bigoted policies of UKIP, but realities and proposed Home Office policies of an already existing government.

You only have to look at the urgency around the Jeremy Clarkson petition (which has gathered more support than petitions that have appealed for better human rights) to remind yourself that the popularity of lads’ ‘banter’ culture – the ‘says what we all think’ routine – is very much shared by UKIP. Godfrey Bloom thinks women are sluts? Well, so does Dapper Laughs. Give them all a show. As for the BBC – Clarkson did have a limit, only racial slurs weren’t it. It’s a pretty clear message on what they are willing to tolerate in the name of high-earning entertainment, and racism and sexism didn’t cut it.

I am not worried about UKIP doing well. A society that blames immigration for simply everything that goes wrong, one that thinks of women as silly little sexualised things has already fractured. What is the point in judging UKIP, when we are living out their wants already?

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Chimene Suleyman is a writer from London of Turkish / Middle Eastern heritage. She writes opinion pieces, contributing to The Independent as well as regularly featured writing for online blog and events organiser Poejazzi. She has represented the UK at the International Biennale, Rome 2011 with spoken word. Her poetry collection “Outside Looking On” published by Influx Press is out now. She collects photos of Canary Wharf. Find her on Twitter: @chimenesuleyman


2 thoughts on “We cannot be outraged by UKIP if we are to support their rhetoric everywhere else

  1. It couldnt be that BAME candidates are suffering from competition from EU migrants could it? How exactly does a young person from Moss Side compete with a West European graduate eager to get English speaking work experience on their CV? Or an Eastern European who will work all hours because the UK minimjm wage is 500% higher than in their own country?

    In a different article, you were saying that Mediterranean migrants should be able to make it here. So how do you square this with the needs of British people (of whatever ethnicity), recent arrivals who may be out of work and Europeans wishing to utilise free movement? Surely it is obvious that there can only be so many opportunities?

    Oh and btw, the UKIP candidate in my area is black and their immigration spokesman is mixed race.


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