Letters: We Ukip members don’t deserve this ‘racism’ slur

These letters appear in the Wednesday 7th May edition of the Independent

Independent Voices@IndyVoices
Thursday 08 May 2014 11:44

We are Ukip members, candidates, spokespersons and representatives of the party’s broad range of supporters from minority ethnic and religious backgrounds. We support Ukip’s core values including its zero-tolerance approach to racism and discrimination, and, its commitment to withdrawal from the European Union.

We are deeply concerned about what appears to be a concerted effort by the media to misrepresent Ukip’s policy on immigration and to portray the party and its members as racist or xenophobic.

We have not faced discrimination within the party and we actively support the party’s practice of taking disciplinary action against any member who behaves in a discriminatory manner. Ukip has dealt rapidly with the small number of cases where such behaviour has taken place and has sent out a strong message that it will not be tolerated.

Ukip believes that immigration should be controlled by the UK government and not the EU. Migrants of all origins should have the right to apply to live and work in the UK and be entitled to equality of treatment secured by a points-based system without positive discrimination for those from EU member states. Ukip has never sought to abolish immigration, encourage repatriation, apportion blame or attack migrants or their families.

Increasingly Ukip members are becoming subject to physical and verbal abuse. Members from minority backgrounds who have faced genuine racist abuse are now abused by our opponents. Many have also suffered the humiliation of being called “Uncle Toms” or apologists for a racist party. This level of abuse is unacceptable in a modern democracy. We call on all those who wish to have a mature debate on immigration to cease perpetuating the falsehood that Ukip is “racist”, its members “xenophobic”. We demand opponents no longer engage in physical or verbal abuse and support Ukip in fighting to rid politics of racism, discrimination and sectarianism.

Steven Woolfe, Economics Spokesman, Amjad Bashir, Small Business Spokesman, Winston McKenzie, Commonwealth Spokesman, Andrew Charalambous, Housing Spokesman, and 46 others

UK Independence Party

One can’t help but smile at the predicament Nigel Farage and his party are in.

Ever since Nick Griffin won a seat in the European Parliament the whole establishment has gone out of its way to promote Ukip as a nicer alternative to the BNP, and how Nigel Farage revelled in his new-found popularity. He, or his party, were never off the BBC, from radio interviews to an unprecedented 12 invitations to Question Time .

His ratings soared, but the price paid is too much for the main three parties now that they too are losing votes to their Ukip project. The political establishment has now turned on him, branding his party racist.

They saw Ukip as a means to deal with the BNP but not as a threat to their own cosy positions. Can’t have him taking votes off Labour, Conservative or the soon-to-be-forgotten Lib Dems! No, sir!

How pathetic but predictable.

Helen Carden, Stockport, Greater Manchester

Richard Grant (letter, 6 May) points out that the UK is the third biggest member of the EU, and if we were seen to be leading the EU everyone would be happy, so why don’t we do it?

Indeed, as the third biggest member we have the third largest number of MEPs within the European Parliament, and qualified majority voting gives us equal weighting in the Council of Ministers with France, Germany and Italy, higher than all remaining member states.

But, given Ukip MEPs’ poor attendance at the European Parliament, and their tendency to vote against everything the EU proposes on principle when they do attend, the more Ukip MEPs we elect, the less influence we will have.

This is presumably more of their not-so-cunning plan to build a case against our membership on the grounds of our supposed inability to resist the power of Brussels.

Francis Kirkham, Crediton, Devon

Economy recovers, but wages falter

Your economics correspondents have drawn attention to how low wages are fuelling a false recovery, where the economy seems to improve but living standards for most people do not.

Increasing use of zero-hours contracts and other tricks which lower the take-home income of ordinary workers means that labour becomes cheaper relative to capital, and there is therefore more incentive to use it as fully as possible. So of course unemployment figures fall, and the number of “real” jobs (properly paid, rewarding skilled full-time work) falls too.

Using the tricks of the trade to lower wages also encourages lower productivity – because the incentive to invest in skills and technology is reduced. This may, of course, not apply in advanced technology manufacturing. But surely it must apply in most sectors of the economy: low wage levels and worsening working conditions are at least one of the explanations of the palsied levels of productivity growth in the UK.

Chris Farrands, Nottingham

Tories try to scare Scotland

Having worked on the preparation of UK national Budgets for much of my working life, I am irked when I hear the likes of Danny Alexander spouting figures condemning Scotland to financial disaster if it votes for independence. He has no experience of producing these figures, he is simply reading from a script, a mere puppet, while his Tory friends pull the strings.

I once met a Chancellor of the Exchequer who could not work out the PAYE tax for his domestic employees. The reason he didn’t get someone else to do it was that he was ashamed of how little he was paying them.

Amid all the claims and counterclaims, I am sure of one thing: if Scotland votes for independence on 18 September those living north of the Border will not lose out.

John S Jappy, Urray, Highland

Alex Salmond’s assertion that Scotland is a nation of drunks reminds me why I am in the No camp on the question of independence: I don’t want the Scots to leave the union – they’re my best mates.

Julian Self, Milton Keynes

The British in India

The TV review by Will Dean of Dan Snow’s The Birth of Empire: The East India Company (1 May) seethes with contempt of Britain’s past involvement in India.

The Bengal famine of the 1770s was basically a natural event, the sort of thing we still cannot manage very well in our own times. It also led to political intervention to contain the rapacity of the company, echoing current demands in the face of global corporate exploitation.

Whatever the venality of this epoch, in contrast to modern crony capitalists, many operatives had a genuine love of India which led to the rediscovery of its past glories, a renaissance in Indian scholarship and the creation of the India we know today as the world’s greatest democracy.

Dominic Kirkham, Manchester

One way or another, the taxpayer pays

Jeremy Blythe (letter, 6 May) wonders what will happen when all the money of the “rent generation” has passed into the hands of their landlords, and hence their whole care tab in old age will have to be picked up by the taxpayer.

I in turn wonder just how much of the assets of the present “house-owning generation” is, despite half-hearted regulations, being prematurely passed into the hands of their impatient potential inheritors, so that their care tab has to be picked up by the taxpayer?

Its not only landlords who can make a killing at the taxpayers’ expense.

Alison Sutherland, Kirkwall, Orkney

US drug giant eyes its prey

Sadly, the revelations by Dr John LaMattina, lately of Pfizer, (“Drugs giant takeover could be devastating, warns insider”, 3 May) merely reinforce the simple reality that big corporations can, and do, buy up rivals and close their operations down.

That is destructive of enterprise as measured by innovation and scientific breakthroughs. Any hopes that we might defend AstraZeneca, which some regard as a national asset, were destroyed long ago: in 2002 by the Enterprise Act. Whoever dreamed that name up must have had a sick sense of humour.

Alan Hallsworth, Waterlooville, Hampshire

Sources of Great War satire

I question Guy Keleny’s assertion that the poets of the Great War were the literary source of Oh, What A Lovely War! (The Big Read, 5 May); the show was actually inspired by the Charles Chilton radio programme The Long, Long Trail, which combined a sober narrative of the events of the war with the songs of the time.

John Dakin, Toddington, Bedfordshire

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