Five reasons why Winston McKenzie should have left Ukip over racism a while ago

From Nigel Farage's comments on immigrants to the many examples of racist candidates within the party, the warning signs have been there all along

Matt Dathan
Wednesday 04 November 2015 20:15
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Nigel Farage poses for a photo with the UKIP delegate Winston McKenzie
Nigel Farage poses for a photo with the UKIP delegate Winston McKenzie

It was no surprise that Ukip’s most high profile black member Winston McKenzie quit the party after claiming he had been the victim of racial discrimination.

The only surprise is the time it took him to realise Nigel Farage’s party is racist, their denials notwithstanding.

His allegations may have a lot to do with how he was ignored in his bid to be chosen as Ukip’s candidate for London Mayor. But if he was racially discriminated against, he should have seen the warning signs a long time ago.

Here are five reasons why:

1. What Nigel Farage has said

The Ukip leader insists neither he nor his party is racist but he has undermined this claim on a number of occasions.

Ahead of the 2014 European elections Mr Farage said he said people would rightly be “concerned” if “a whole load of Romanian men moved in next door”, adding there was a difference between German and eastern European neighbours.

He later expressed his “regret” over the comments, saying he was “tired”.

But he landed himself in trouble again when he said that hearing foreign languages spoken on trains made him feel “uncomfortable”.

And later in the year he must have been tired once again when he blamed the fact that he missed an event in Wales on immigrants, claiming that traffic on the M4 was to blame for his lateness and putting it down to “the population going through the roof”.

2. Ukip MEPs sit with racist groups in European Parliament

After winning the national vote in the 2014 European Parliament elections Mr Farage chose to align Ukip’s 24 MEPs with far-right groups from across the continent to form the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) grouping.

Among its members are the Swedish Democrats party, which was founded by white supremacists whose members allegedly posed in Nazi uniforms in meetings, although it became more moderate in 1996.

Other members include the Polish right-winger Robert Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz from the Congress of the New Right (KNP). The party was founded by Janusz Korwin-Mikke, a man who was fined for racist language last month, and also reportedly claimed Adolf Hitler was unaware of the Holocaust, claiming that the Nazi leader would be acquitted from court if he stood trial today because he had no idea that his regime was persecuting Jewish people across Europe.

Farage also aligned his party with the controversial figure of Beppe Grillo, the former comedian who suggested Italy’s immigration policy could be “re-importing” tuberculosis and posted a blacked-up picture of a government minister on his blog. His anti-establishment party, the Five Star Movement, helped Farage secure crucial EU funds by adding its 17 MEPs to the EFD group.

3. Nigel Farage thinks racial discrimination should be legalised

The Ukip leader sparked another race row in the run up to May’s general election by saying that laws preventing racial discrimination in the workplace should be scrapped.

Farage told the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips that legislation barring discriminating on grounds of nationality or race was no longer required because race is no longer a significant issue in modern-day Britain.

“I would argue that the law does need changing, and that if an employer wishes to choose, or you can use the word ‘discriminate’ if you want to, but wishes to choose to employ a British-born person, they should be allowed to do so,” he said. “I think you should be able to choose on the basis of nationality, yes. I do.”

4. Other BME members have quit Ukip due to racism

McKenzie should have listened to Sanya-Jeet Thandi when she quit as leader of Ukip’s youth wing last year, branding the party “racist” and “terrifying”.

The British Asian leader accused Ukip of “exploiting the stupidity of ignorant anti-immigrant voters for electoral gain”. She added: “While the party deliberately attracts the racist vote I refuse to be associated with them.”

5. All the Ukip candidates who have been exposed as racists

If he was looking for a reason to leave before, McKenzie wouldn't have had to look far to find examples of racist Ukip candidates.

Take, for example, Robert Blay, a Ukip candidate at the general election who said he would shoot Ranil Jayawardena, an Asian candidate standing for the Tories, if he ever became PM, as he questioned his racial backround.

Mr Blay said: “His family have only been here since the 70s. You are not British enough to be in our parliament. ”I've got 400 years of ancestry where I live. He hasn't got that.“

Or there is the Ukip candidate David Wycherley who took to Facebook a day after Mo Farah won double gold at the London Olympics to say the runner is not British because he is an “African”.

Or the Ukip candidate William Henwood who said the black comedian Lenny Henry should ”go back to a black country“ before comparing Islam to the Third Reich.

And if Mr McKenzie was still unconvinced that Ukip had a big racism problem running through the party, he should have realised when ex-Ukip councillor Rozanne Duncan was filmed saying the “only people I do have problems with are negroes”.

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