Mesmerised, all of us watched on in shock as the words came from his mouth: ‘there just seems to be a total lack of comprehension on this panel and indeed this audience, which is a remarkable audience even by the left-wing standards of the BBC’. Farage’s decision to insult the indepently-chosen, equally-divided audience in the recent TV debate was as entertaining as it was outrageous. UKIP claims that the TV debates debacle have formed part of a wider, recent ‘media-bias’. But if UKIP does anything well, it’s victimisation. Although he’d never admit it, Farage’s target constituency is the most mentioned in online media. He is constantly in the papers, and the camera crews are permanently stationed in South Thanet. The question is not whether UKIP have been ignored, but rather has a non-traditional party ever enjoyed such coverage before? UKIP cannot blame the media on the back of a £1.3million donation from The Daily Express for the fact that the party looks set to win four seats at the most.
Recent sulking, as epitomised by their police complaint this morning over Have I Got News For You, is typical of the victim complex that runs through UKIP’s wider philosophy: namely that the UK has somehow been a victim of globalisation rather than a profiteering propagator.
But Britain has been built on globalisation. If the NHS shouldn’t be ‘international but national’, as UKIP desires, then what do we do with its invaluable, multinational workforce? After all, 11% of all staff and 26% of all doctors at present are foreign-born. Furthermore, as Frankie Boyle has recently pointed out, UKIP ‘don’t want Britain to be ruled by foreigners – with the notable exception of the royal family’. With migration at its heart, how can Britain, the global power of old, raise the drawbridge with any legitimacy? Farage’s talk of an ‘Australian points-based’ system, with its pick-and-choose mentality, seems like a neocolonial return to taking from the world rather than participating. Not to mention the assumption that migrants and companies would still come to a non-EU Britain.
The UK has been gripped in recent times by an unhealthy, introverted worldview which UKIP seeks to encourage. But isolationism is incoherent with British history. The UK must play its role and it is through the EU that it can best hope to do so. Whether that be in finding common solutions to the recent crises in the Mediterranean or Ukraine, or in working out fair and even asylum policies, it is through the EU that the UK can find its way back to the world stage.
The image above, has been used with some rights reserved. Caricature by Dave Brown – The Independent “Shooting themselves in the bongos”