On first seeing the now infamous anti-migrant poster unveiled by Nigel Farage earlier this week, I must confess, I thought it was a spoof. My instant, uninformed assumption, was that someone had cleverly put together the sort of poster that certain elements of the leave campaign, would dearly love to employ, but daren't, knowing it to be unacceptable. Much to my horror, I was wrong. Nigel Farage and UKIP, it seems, are quite willing to use just such a nakedly racist, detestable poster, and don't appear to realise it is just not on. It could be, that they are all too aware that this crosses the line, but don't care, so keen are they to tap into, and stoke anti-immigrant feeling, wherever it is found, across the UK. Stoking anti-immigrant sentiment is tantamount to inciting racial hatred, is therefore a criminal offence and should be treated as such.
Boris Johnson, speaking for the official Vote Leave campaign, was quick to put distance between themselves and the UKIP poster, little wonder. However, the cynic in me can't help but think, "isn't it rather convenient, that there are ostensibly several leave campaigns, one of which is more willing to overtly push the immigration envelope that bit further"?. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking it might well suit Gove, Grayling, Johnson & Co, to have Nigel Farage do their dirty work for them. Indeed, one wonders just how serious the Tories are, about reducing immigration at all. For as long as immigration continues to be perceived as a problem, it serves as an ideal scapegoat, on which to lay the blame, for all our social and economic woes. Bringing immigration 'under control' runs the risk that people might have to look elsewhere, probe a little deeper, as to the true source of the UK's problems. The establishment could well be left exposed, without the immigration smokescreen, as the true perpetrators of inequality, poverty and injustice in this country.
Let's not pretend, that whilst the UKIP poster is utterly vile, it is unique. Far from it. The steady stream of inflammatory, front page headlines, run by the likes of the Daily Express, Daily Mail and The Sun 'newspapers' in recent years, are every bit as blatantly racist and contemptible. The right wing media in this country, are every bit as complicit as UKIP and their ilk, in perpetuating their anti-immigration agenda. David Cameron's, long forgotten, talk of a 'swarm' of people coming to Britain, betrays the Tory mentality regarding refugees. The media are equally keen to demonise benefit claimants, deliberately blurring the lines between benefit fraudsters and legitimate benefit recipients, inferring all are scroungers. We've had numerous television programmes such as Benefits Street and Big Benefits Handout, exploiting the poor and vulnerable. Yet, no TV show called Billionaire Non-Dom Tax Evaders, depicting the lives of the real parasites in society has been forthcoming. Similarly, the Tories, with their constant references to 'hard working families', insidiously maintain an artificial divide between ordinary, working class people. All of this, is of course, classic divide and rule. That there are many who cannot, or will not, see through it is utterly dispiriting. I for one, feel I have far more in common with most people who come here from within the EU, outwith the EU, be they migrant or refugee, than I do Cameron, Osborne and the rest of the so-called elite.