The establishment’s outsiders

May 21, 2014

Seeing as the anti-immigrant UK Independence Party doesn't worry about facts, there's been no end to their dire warnings, writes Independent columnist Mark Steel.

THE UNITED Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) will be furious at these latest immigration figures.

There were supposed to be billions of Bulgarians here by now, crawling around our attics and eating our gardens, while we despairingly cried, "There's nowhere to put the milk, there's a Bulgarian in the fridge. And under EU law, we're not even allowed to move him to the upper shelf with the bacon, and we had to get the builders out because a Bulgarian was stuck in the cat-flap, which he was legally entitled to climb through under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty."

But the flood they warned us of--the one that would engulf us once Bulgarians and Romanians were allowed to work here--has amounted to there being 4,000 fewer than before the rule was changed.

When there's less of something than when you started, is that, strictly speaking, a flood? Maybe it is, and we'll see homeowners on the news sobbing, "This flood has ruined everything. There's been no water come in at all, in fact, there's less than before. I've had no help from the insurance company, but look at this carpet, completely dry, I've lost everything, waaaaaaaaaa."

UKIP leader Nigel Farage
UKIP leader Nigel Farage

Then there will be a re-make of Noah, called Noah 2 (tagline: "This time, God's serious"), in which Russell Crowe has to build an even sturdier ark for the lesser-known flood in which the earth is deluged with a slight decrease in monthly rainfall.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage will be outraged, screaming, "How can we send people back when they're not here in the first place? We demand at least a thousand Bulgarians are brought over every morning, so we can yell, 'Look at them all!' and a Bulgarian is made Queen on £6 an hour, so Elizabeth can say, 'I just can't compete with this cheap foreign labor.'"

Happily those newspapers that don't let themselves get bogged down by the bureaucracy of facts will be okay, and will warn us that "no Bulgarian is to be melted and brought over in buckets and poured all over the Lake District."

This news ought to present a problem for a party that revolves around anti-immigration, when the numbers of people they say we're being overrun by are decreasing. It would make more sense for them to yell that we're being swamped by people whose numbers have stayed the same, such as Eskimos, or Elves.

The next UKIP party political broadcast could warn: "Over the past year, there has been no reduction at all in the numbers of Cybermen living in the UK. And this is in spite of the growing threat they pose due to new digital technology, meaning they could take over our minds and explode our cities even quicker than before."

WITH ALL this chaos looming over us, we need an outsider--an anti-establishment figure who's prepared to stand apart from the self-serving hierarchy in charge. This explains the rise of Nigel Farage, as there's no one more anti-establishment than a posh ex-stockbroker from rural Kent.

Unlike the metropolitan elite, Nigel understands the common man from his background of day-to-day dealings in commodities in the City of London. Much like being a fisherman in the 19th century, stockbrokering breeds a tough, down-to-earth, battling outlook that tolerates no nonsense from the privileged, stemming from the days when he had no idea where his next bonus was coming from.

This is why so many natural rebels were stockbrokers: Spartacus, Kurt Cobain, Pussy Riot--all of them developed as mavericks who stuck it to the man while selling oil futures in the City of London.

One of Nigel's trademark images to illustrate his status as an outsider is drinking a pint of bitter in a rural pub, in a manner uncannily similar to Marlon Brando as the angry biker in The Wild One. So his next move could be even more radical.

For example, the UKIP claims that our services are on the point of collapse due to immigration. But their Member of European Parliament Paul Nuttall has said, "The very existence of the National Health Service (NHS) stifles competition, and competition drives quality and choice. Therefore, as long as the NHS is the sacred cow of British politics, the longer the British people will suffer with a second-rate health service."

As he wants to dismantle the NHS, and he thinks immigrants are wrecking the NHS, presumably, he'll support immigration as the immigrants are doing us a favor by ruining our hospitals.

Also, if minus 4,000 people amounts to a flood, we can only imagine what apocalyptic terms they'd use if 808,000 people moved countries. But that's the number of British who are living in Spain. So the UKIP are sure to insist that these people are all made to come back to Britain as well. In the end, a UKIP government could end up with twice as many people living here as now.

Many people attracted to UKIP may be responding to a rational fear of instability, as jobs, houses and pensions seem so fragile. But in blaming immigrants, they're pointing at the one group even more uncertain than them. The person on £8 an hour says to politicians and bankers, "I'm disgusted with you. You should be kicking out those bastards on six pounds an hour."

So the establishment of politicians and bankers get away with whatever they like, making UKIP possibly the most establishment party of them all.

First published in the Independent.

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