• The extreme right: UKIP and the evolution of ideas

    “I’m not a racist, I’ve got coloured neighbours and they’re fantastic neighbours” – An interviewed UKIP voter on the BBC.

    Local elections have just taken place in the UK for a proportion of local councils where the electorate can decide which councillors will represent their interests in local wards by winning seats on their local council. UKIP (the UK Independence Party), essentially a break-away faction of the Conservative Party, the right wing mainstream party of the UK, originally set up to take the UK out of membership of the EU, made massive gains.

    This is scary stuff, since much of what UKIP stand for revolves around fear. Fear of the foreginer, fear of the out-group. You may remember I reported a UKIP Christian councillor blaming our winter and spring floods on gay marriage. Furthermore, a UKIP backer, Demetri Marchessini, claims there’s no such thing as ‘marital rape’. Moreover, they used an Irish actor on a poster to warn of immigration and were found to be printing anti-EU election leaflets in Germany with UKIP leaflets being handed out by Latvians. In addition, The International Business Times reported:

    It was also revealed this week that Roger Helmer, the senior Ukip MEP, had previously penned a pamphlet stating homosexuality is “not a valid lifestyle worthy of equal respect”. In the leaflet, titled Straight Talking on Europe, Helmer denounced homosexual behaviour as “undesirable”.

    And last but likely not least, Douglas Denny, a would-be Ukip politician, made headlines by commenting on a Ukip web forum that gay men and women were “abnormal”. He defended his assertion on the ground of semantics – in the sense that they are not normal as they are a minority.

     And so on and so forth. They have made embarrassing gaffe after embarrassing gaffe. In fact, the article finishes with these words:

    A vehicle for a protest vote, yes. But Ukip is not a viable option for Britain. Members hate the EU but seem to cash in, they are incapable of sensible debate on Europe and their policies are daft. And the party trails its less-than-desirable associates behind the boisterous facade of Farage, the “everyman” – an ex-banker and son of a stockbroker with a penchant for fags and booze.

    Let’s see what happens in the elections.

    And what happened was this. UKIP busted the political landscape apart. They stole votes off most everyone and they went from zero to, well, ‘hero’ in one night.

    But how can a party which is effectively predicated upon fear of the foreigner and thinly, so very thinly, veiled racism become so successful in such a short time? This is my theory.

    Firstly, there is the power of the mere exposure effect. This is the fundamental concept of advertising whereby the brain finds things acceptable or even desirable through merely being exposed to the ideas. The more exposed, the more acceptable. UKIP have had a tremendous amount of airtime, with leader Nigel Farage doing the rounds on panel shows, radio shows and many news items. This is how creationism has prevailed, using the Wedge Strategy to get a foot in the door, get airtime, social media time, oxygen. That oxygen facilitates acceptability and then desirability. That was one of the arguments against having Bill Nye argue against Ken Ham about creationism.

    Secondly, their success comes down to the evolution of ideas. Memetics is the theory that ideas are analagous to the evolution of biological organisms, with success of the organism surviving in its environment most successfully when it adapts characteristics to its environment. This survivability works just as well with ideas. Ideas which prevail have survival mechanisms and adapt to their environments. Think Christianity here. It has thoroughly evolved over 2000 years to adapt to society, morality, technology and economics. Islam, on the other hand, has developed the characteristic of threatening apostates with death. That works well, too.

    Well, the history of the far right in Britain has gone from the National Front through to being reinvented into the British National Party (BNP) through to another reinvention (though the BNP still exist) in the form of UKIP (UKIPers might not like that realisation). What was going on in the early days of the right-wing extremist movement was that the ideas were not adapting well enough to the environments; they were too distasteful. The right-wing extremist ideology was just too much in the National Front to gather any traction with the general public. Then the BNP came along, and tried to be more respectable and appeal more widely. Some might say it was a slightly more (!) chilled version of the NF, appealing to more of the wider population. Ideas adapting. But still not becoming successful or acceptable enough.

    And then UKIP, with its pseudo-political approach of getting out of Europe, has finally nailed it. It’s just acceptable enough for people to not be afraid of saying in public, “Yeah, I voted UKIP. I think we need to get out of Europe” as a way of saying, “Yeah, Polish, Romanian and those sodding Muslims can do one!”

    Of course, I am not blinded by my liberalism. I know our immigration system needs an overhaul. We were insanely late to think about taking on ideas from Australia and New Zealand, such as a points based system adapted to economic and employment needs at any given time. Yes we need to have a sensible and robust immigration policy. After all, immigration discussions do not equal racism. Unfortunately, UKIP generally does. And I can anecdotally show this by witnessing a stand in my local town that the UKIP councillor was manning to sell his political wares, and watching a number of people who all came up and shook the guy’s hand. They were generally old, white men who waxed lyrical about UKIP “taking Britain back” and “getting it back off those [insert racial slur here]”. If 100% of the people I saw (OK, only a handful – I was in a rush) were overtly racist in their appreciation of, and promise to vote for, this candidate, then I can only assume that at least a non-trivial proportion of other UKIP voters the length of the country feel the same. Judging by the crackpot views of many of the candidates, this would hardly be surprising.

    It turns out, from the various assessments that I have seen today on TV, that the electorate for UKIP are predominantly white, older and less educated. This has allowed or has been reflected in them seen to get some purchase in the northern, working class heartlands of the left-wing socialist Labour wards.

    My main point here is that we have an evolution of ideas that finally gains purchase when it is deemed acceptable enough to be admissible in public. And UKIP have found that magic point and are reaping the rewards.

    It is sad to see a great liberal country retreat to in-group/out-group mentality of fear, moving back down Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to the individual, or people like the individual, people like the self. This is what economic recessions do; they create atmospheres of social unrest, fear, hatred and a general lack of big world thinking. The universality of the world is rejected in favour of a them and us mentality. “I was born here, and you were born 50 miles over there, so you can fuck off!”

    Not very good for the future of the world.

    Some amusing tweets and quotes:

    Nigel Farage says it is unfair to call UKIP racist. Absolutely. That’s forgetting sexist and homophobic.

    To sum up today, not every #ukip voter is a racist, but every racist is a ukip voter.

    UKIP is just the last senile cry from the rocking chair of a dying world. The sexist, homophobic, racist world we have already left behind.

    “I wouldn’t be in UKIP if I was a racist I worked on the ambulance service, I worked down the coal mines, I worked in the operating theatres with a world famous gynaecologists,” –  source

    When you have to take out a full page ad in a paper to declare that your party is not racist, there is something fundamentally wrong. #UKIP

    Note to #UKIP: increased support from racist idiots does not make you ‘serious players’. It just makes you a larger group of racist idiots.

    [UPDATE:

    Here is a list of 10 rather dubious things UKIP have said, again from the IB Times:

    Here is our pick of the most ridiculous – and abusive – Ukip quotes to date:

    1. David Silvester, who called homosexuality a “spiritual disease”, said: “Since the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, the nation has been beset by serious storms and floods. One recent one caused the worst flooding for 60 years. The Christmas floods were the worst for 127 years. Is this just global warming or is there something more serious at work?”

    2. In an investigation led by the Sunday Mirror, Dr Julia Gasper said: “As for the links between homosexuality and paedophilia, there is so much evidence that even a full-length book could hardly do justice to the ­subject.”

    3. Speaking on the same issue, Ukip member Jan Zolyniak claimed: “The evidence is quite clear that the percentage of homosexuals who molest children is very high and cannot be dismissed.”

    4. Douglas Denny, of the Bognor Regis branch in West Sussex, said homosexuals have “leftie, neo-commie followers”. He said: “I just wish they would keep their ­homosexual nature and practices to ­themselves and stop trying to ram it down my throat telling me they are ‘normal’ when they are not.”

    5. It wouldn’t be a complete list without the wisecracking Godfrey Bloom. The Yorkshire and Humber MEP had the whip removed in September 2013, after a recording emerged of him joking that a group of Ukip women who did not clean behind their fridges were “sluts”.

    6. In August, Bloom came under fire after referring to countries that received government aid as “Bongo Bongo Land”. He claimed that UK aid was being spent on fighter planes in Pakistan, as well as luxury sunglasses. He said: “How we can possibly be giving £1bn a month, when we’re in this sort of debt, to Bongo Bongo Land is completely beyond me.”

    7. Stuart Agnew, Ukip MEP for the East of England, suggested that women lacked the ambition to succeed because children got in the way. Following the footsteps of Bloom, he argued: “If you look at the people who get degrees more, women get them and they are getting the jobs in the workplace but for various reasons they don’t have the ambition to go right to the top because something gets in the way. It’s called a baby.”

    8. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The World At One in August, Stuart Wheeler, party treasurer, said women were “nowhere near as good as men” at  chess, bridge and poker.

    9. Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader said women with children were “worth less” than men in the financial sector. He claimed women with children were responsible for their own reduction in pay if they have children – because they take maternity leave and become less valuable to their businesses.

    10. Farage also prioritised lower economic growth and a poorer Britain over an increase in migrants in the UK. “The social side of this matters more than pure market economics,” he said.

    Category: PoliticsPsychologyThe News

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    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

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    • Laurence England

      When you have to take out a full page ad in a paper to declare that your
      party is not racist, there is something fundamentally wrong.

      Not necessarily, if telling people your party is racist is all the media do 24/7.

      The political establishment are worried. The media are worried. Even you are worried? Why, because people are not convinced by the liberal agenda.

      It has little do with with race. It has everything to do with the complete divorce that has taken place between the political elites and people on the ground.

      • 100% of the people I know who voted for or who I have seen supportive of UKIP are racist.

        • That is not to say they all are. But given some of the things backers and candidates of the party have empirically said, then, well, i am justified in my claims.

          • Laurence England

            So is the Polish person I know who voted UKIP racist too, yeah? And the black people who voted UKIP, they are racist?

            • Er, no. I did not say anywhere that every voter for UKIP was racist. Where did I say that? You eternally whack out straw men and gross misrepresentations. What I said was that, in my experience, and with a wealth of quotes in the media etc, that I am warranted in calling the party generally racist. They are proud to have taken a third of BNP voters. That has to tell you something. I know racist people who have voted UKIP precisely because of their ideology. You seem to have become so right-wing since uber-Catholicising, and suffer some interesting cognitive dissonance in the face of contrary evidence and opinions.

              I am fairly sure the present Pope would NEVER vote UKIP, fwiw. He has a more universal and generous heart, I wager.

            • Mat

              Yes. Yes….and yes.

              This is going to totally blow your mind but…..the minimum requirement for applying for the position of being racist isn’t that you have to be white and British. Ironically it’s racist to assume all racist people are all one kind of race.

              I know a Polish person who is racist towards black people who both are and aren’t Polish. He is also homophobic. I consider him to be a racist homophobe. See how easy it is?

            • Laurence England

              But just calling the anger that people feel at the British established political system ‘racist’ and homophobic is absurd. Look, if the British parties make it 100% clear that they do not care a jot what the British electorate think of them, whether they be liberal, Labour, or Conservative, if they call their own voters bigots and racists, homophobes etc, etc, basically all on the premise that people who don’t agree with the liberal agenda are half-witted peasants, neither you, nor those parties, can complain when people turn around and reject the political platform upon which the three main parties stand.

              If there is no official opposition, you have to vote for the only opposition in town. That opposition is UKIP and I’ll be happy to vote for them at the General Election. Whyever not? Nobody else to vote for when it comes to the vote of a Catholic concerned by the cultural marxism that passes for British policy these days.

              For years now, I have felt palpably the scorn with which I am viewed by David Cameron and Nick Clegg and all their elitist buddies. They can do one. I and a lot of people feel the same way on this.

            • Mat

              I didn’t and haven’t. The reasons that I claim UKIP and a lot of their supporters are racist are made clear in my other posts.
              Why do you keep mentioning the liberal agenda? You seem to be trying to push that into a conversation that it has no relevance to.
              Perhaps you like UKIP because they are totally illiberal?

              ‘neither you, nor those parties, can complain when people turn around and
              reject the political platform upon which the three main parties stand.’ – no, but I can call out racism when and if I see it, which I see overwhelmingly with UKIP and their supporters. Racism and moronic policies aren’t very good substitutes for the existing platforms.

              ‘If there is no official opposition, you have to vote for the only opposition in town.’ – In the case of the European Elections there’s literally an entire page worth of opposition (including parties that are even more racist than UKIP). As for local elections, if there are only 3 or even less parties running then yes, I would totally agree that our democratic system is deeply flawed and needs serious attention as urgently as possible. But that’s more of a general failing that isn’t related to any one party.

              ‘That opposition is UKIP and I’ll be happy to vote for them at the General Election. Whyever not?’ – you could say the same about the BNP, the only reason you probably wouldn’t vote for them is because they are openly racist. Ironically the BNP actually have better policies than UKIP, so policy wise you’d be better off voting for the BNP. The only down side to that is you’d be voting for a racist, regressive, and idiotic party…but then you’d be doing that anyway if you voted UKIP.

              Nobody else to vote for when it comes to the vote of a Catholic
              concerned by the cultural marxism that passes for British policy these
              days. – LOL! That’s hilarious. That deserves a blog post of it’s own. I bet you hated that left wing, liberal socialist, Jesus. Giving away things for free, preaching love and understanding, co-operation and healing people for free. What a liberal hippie! On the plus side UKIP have some really regressive and offensive views towards women – just like the Catholic church! so you’re in good company there. As for a political party that helps to cover up and ignore global large scale child abuse, hmmm, I don’t think even the BNP could ever support that.

              ‘I am equally sure that Hitler was created by the absurd metropolitan
              liberal obsessions of the political elites of his time as well.’ – I would recommend that you read up on the causes of the rise of the Nazi party. It’s incredibly well documented. In short the mixture of WW1 and the Wall Street Crash (caused by free market capitalism) were two of the biggest causes.

              ‘you know who you can blame and that’s the politicians who never listened!’ – no, I’ll blame the people that voted for UKIP.
              On the plus side it has been predicted that UKIP won’t win a single seat next year. So one thing I suppose I will thank you for is not voting Tory.

              Here are two religious based political parties you may wish to consider voting for, should you ever get a chance to:
              http://www.cpaparty.org.uk/
              http://www.ukchristianparty.org/
              (if they aren’t running in your area in 2015 then maybe you could consider standing as a candidate for them)

            • Laurence England

              I have great sympathy with your view, but recall too that this is the fallout from Cameron’s jettisoning of classical conservatism in favour of the liberal agenda. Do you not consider for a moment that when Cameron and Clegg called opponents of same sex marriage bigots that that was a simplistic and stupid remark. Cameron lost not just a lot of voters but even parts of his own party. I have no time for racism, I don’t think that MASS immigration is very clever, but It stands to reason that if people get the impression you put everybody else’s needs ahead of your countrymen then your own countrymen might get a little peeved.

            • You do realise that Catholic bishops have warned Catholics not to vote UKIP?

              http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/roman-catholic-bishops-say-christians.html

            • Mat

              Again with the ‘liberal agenda’ did you prefer the Tories when they were openly racist? (‘If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote labour’ – that was part of their anti-immigration campaign) or when they were oppressing and discriminating against gay people – even going as far as hunting for any that may exist within their own party? (do the Catholics ever do that?)

              You have no time for racism, but loads for homophobia?

              ‘I don’t think that MASS immigration is very clever’ – It’s lucky that you’ve read up on all the statistics…ooh, right, you completely haven’t. Maybe if you had you’d know why that statement is flawed.

              ‘put everybody else’s needs ahead of your countrymen then your own countrymen might get a little peeved’ – the Tories are famously trying to remove rights from foreign people, as well as their own (non-rich) countrymen.
              I assume you want them to put the needs of every straight countryman (women less so – especially if it’s for an abortion) first.
              Also, when did the definition of ‘peeved’ change to ‘to vote for a racist political party’?

              ‘Christian civilisation’ – is that the one where rape victims are punished, women who can’t prove their virginity are murdered in front of their parents, where a married woman grabbing another man’s penis is instantly punished by her having her hand cut off, gay people, fortune tellers, witches and badly behaved children are to be murdered? I think I prefer the 21st century, thank you.

              Have you looked up the word liberal recently? I really think you need to go ahead and remind yourself what it literally means.
              Based on what you’ve said so far it seems your problem isn’t with political parties – it’s with the 21st century. You seem to be under the impression that you live in biblical times, and that all the progress made since those dark days has been nothing but bad.
              I know that must be annoying, especially as you can’t go back to those dark, dark days. Well, unless you want to move to Alabama (they make UKIP look politically correct!).

              Do you think the Catholic church changing their stance, that the Sun doesn’t actually revolve around the Earth, was liberal elitism gone made?

            • So this is what you originally said before you edited it:

              “If there is no official opposition, you have to vote for the only opposition in town. That opposition is UKIP and I’ll be happy to vote for them at the General Election.”

              So, you seemed ashamed of that and edited it? Or not. Either way, I cannot believe this. You would actually be voting in support of these positions, that UKIP have argue for:

              1) the ability for people to pay to jump waiting lists on the NHS – elitist access to healthcare ahead of those who cannot afford to. What would Jesus do?

              2) Banning all teaching of climate change.

              3) the abolishment of inheritance tax to appease the very rich

              4) Ukip has voted against updated rules on cab design and safety, which would make it easier for the drivers of lorries to spot pedestrians and cyclists

              5) against requirements that MEPs who draft legislation should publish which lobbyists they have met and their influence on the legislation

              6) It opposed greater transparency for clinical trials data and greater protections for holidaymakers buying package holidays.

              7) Also legislation to tackle money laundering and calls for greater public access to EU documents.

              8) The 2010 manifesto, which Farage has admittedly called “drivel”, called for taxi drivers to be required to wear uniforms, dress codes for the theatre and for the Circle line on London’s underground to be made a circle again.

              9) Their friends in Europe are on the far right

              10) they want to scrap paid maternity leave

              11) UKIP want to make it legal for employers to discriminate on the basis of gender (as well as race).

              12) This would also entail the scrapping of employment regulations against sexual harassment and safeguards for part time and irregular workers, the majority of which are women.

              13) UKIP’s MEPs have consistently failed to represent the interests of women. They have voted against or simply not turned up to key votes in the European Parliament on ensuringequal pay, combating violence against women and ruling out FGM, to name but a few.

              14) Since the 2009 European Election UKIP’s only two female MEPs, Nikki Sinclaire and Marta Andreasen, have both left the party. Andreason said Farage “doesn’t try to involve intelligent professional women in positions of responsibility in the party. He thinks women should be in the kitchen or in the bedroom”. Nikki Sinclaire won an Employment Tribunal claim for sex discrimination against the party.

              15) Roger Helmer, UKIP MEP and candidate in the Newark by-election, said, “Rape is always wrong, but not always equally culpable.”

              16) David Chalice , a senior party official in Exeter, has voiced his belief that women should stay at home and that “cash-strapped Moslems” should have multiple wives.

              17) Increase in Tax for 88% of the poorest people in Britain.

              I could go on.

              If this really is the shit that you are into, that you support, then I am not sure I want to converse with you!

      • Mat

        The problem with UKIP (or rather, one of the many, many problems) is that they claim not to vet and not accept anyone who has associations with the BNP, and at the same time confess to not being able to carry out the vetting system that they boast about.
        This is made all the more embarrassing when people with past links with the BNP are discovered.
        Add to that the party leader, Nigel Farage stating that:
        “I would think we have probably taken a third of the BNP vote directly
        from them, I don’t think anyone has done more, apart from Nick Griffin on Question Time, to damage the BNP than Ukip and I am quite proud of that.”

        Also: Brian Otridge, campaign manager for Ukip’s North West Hampshire Branch, wrote:

        “…BNP got 564,321 votes in GE2010
        [General Election] and 943,598 in EE2009 [European Elections]. We should
        be picking up 50-75% of those now.”
        It seems strange, if not laughable, that the party is anti-BNP but want their supporters, and are unable to tell if they have any ex-members in their party.

        We also have to ask the question why BNP voters and supporters are so attracted to UKIP, or rather, UKIP voters do, as everyone else already knows the answer.

        ‘people are not convinced by the liberal agenda’ – I think you’re confusing a supposed lack of support for liberalism with a short lived support for easy answers to complex issues.
        I’d love to see a poll of UKIP supporters to see how many of them agree with ending sick pay, paid holiday, or maternity pay, or a flat tax that hugely favours the rich, or hugely increasing military spending during peace time, or privatising the NHS. I’d happily bet that most of them wouldn’t support most, if any, of those views (they want foreign people to lose their rights not their fellow kin, but lets not rule out sexism).

        ‘It has little do with with race. It has everything to do with the
        complete divorce that has taken place between the political elites and
        people on the ground.’ – it literally has everything to do with race when you are calling certain races of people inferior or criminal by nature, and supported by racists that cover all parts of the spectrum.
        The idea that Farage and co aren’t political elities is hopelessly naive and potentially shows how little, if anything, people know about his background.
        His expense scandle, abuse of fundsm tax dodging and personal wealth show he fits right in with the existing political elite – the only difference is that he’s happy to voice the latent racism and discrimination that a lot of low paid people voice as a misplaced cause of their current situation.

        UKIP really are the UK Ignorance Party in every possible way, and we should be ashamed that in 2014 they receive anything from us other than laughter and contempt.

      • Tony_Lloyd

        “(I)if telling people your party is racist is all the media do 24/7”

        The media’s “method” of telling people that the party is racist, though, is a peculiar one of “reporting what UKIP MEPs, councilors and candidates say”.

        You’ve got to admit that “bongo bongo land” is a bit of a giveaway.

    • Mike Tendler

      An interesting post Johno, but I fear you are focussing on only one point and making it more than it is. That of immigration and racism.

      Whilst certainly a factor for many it isn’t the driving force behind some people I know who went UKIP. when I talk to people the main issue seems to be Brussels and that so many laws in this country are made by faceless beaurocrats hundreds of miles away in another country. The idea being “what do they know about us?”. That what may have been conceived in good faith just doesn’t work over here. Also the “one-rule-for-them, one-rule-for-us” mentality where it is seen – perhaps through the biased eyes of the media that country X does this, country Y does that, and inevitably the UK loses out. It can be big things, or it can be little things. Take for example the health and safety laws around food. Cheese must be stored at or below a certain temp. So when we buy it, it’s cold and hard, and not ripe. The French however know that cheese needs to be at room (or cellar) temperature, and so you never see it in the chiller cabinet in a French supermarket. They conveniently ignore this particular EU law because it is seen as ridiculous. And don’t try to tell them otherwise – else you’ll have another strike on your hands.

      People here seem to see the EU only as a force for imposing ridiculous laws, curtailing our fishing industries and other things all the while blissfully ignorant of how it affects people’s lives.

      Also, I think that Brits still don’t and have never seen themselves as “Europeans”. (I actually spoke to a teenager the other day who didn’t know where or what Europe was. She was 15 for christssake!!!). As an island nation, we can’t as easily just pop across the border like the French do into Spain, or Italians into France. We still insist on driving on the left, keeping the pound, refusing to actually learn other languages, and basically do everything to ensure we’re “not like *them*”.

      The British, on the whole, don’t complain. About anything. Eg. In a Restaurant, your steak that you ordered rare shows up, you cut into it and it’s too dark inside for your liking. Waiter comes by after a few moments: “Is everything alright sir?” “Yes, fine thank you” we reply. OK, So some people will send it back but on the whole, you see my point.

      I think the Brits are just getting to a point now where they are ready to complain. About the EU “interference” yes, but also about politics as a whole. I think there are a lot of people who just don’t bother voting because they see no real point — the parties are “all the same”, formed of well-to-do types who were born in to money so they don’t know what it’s like in the real world. When I checked the election results for Fareham, I was disappointed to see only between 30 and 46% turn out across the wards. This is, sadly, voter apathy in action. The one ward that did better than that – Stubbington – with 50% turn out, elected a UKIP councillor!

      UKIP have come in and positioned themselves well as the alternative, and people, fuelled by mistrust of the EU, are taking it in. They are also taking advantage of something I’ve often seen in people here, wether it be in person, or even in comedy shows on TV, and that is of an overwhelming undercurrent of xenophobia, which everyone I raise it with denies vehemently, but I do see a lot of it. It’s really very sad.

      So yes. As per your post, some of it is racism, but I think a lot of it has to do with the more practical “interference from afar” they perceive too. At least, speaking to my friends, none of whom I would ever say were racist, that is the impression I get.

      Crikey this comment turned out a bit long. Didn’t mean it to be!! Haha..

      (Disclaimer: Please note I am pro European and did not vote for UKIP!)

      • Thanks for your comment Mike. There are a few things to note here.

        I think one of the biggest problems with Europe is that no one in the electorate really understands it. Understands our position or relationship in it. DO not understand the ramifications of staying in or leaving. They are very, very ignorant.

        It is why I do not think we should have a referendum at all. Not in the slightest. Not until all of the electorate are educated on it. I am pretty intelligent in comparison to the average voter, I think. And I do not feel qualified to vote on Europe. For example, if we needed to know the truth of which cosmological theory was correct or not, you wouldn’t put it up to a referendum. You wouldn’t ask the general public what their opinion on whether loop quantum cosmology was more coherent than a many worlds interpretation of quantum or the multiverse etc. They are not in a position to cast an informed decision.

        Europe is the same. We need to be educated on it. The problem is, hardly anyone is standing up for pro-Europe apart from the lib dems who have no media support at all. So all that people hear are confirmation biased falsehoods scattered over the media and in pubs.

        One needs to understand what fuels their anti eu diatribes. That is not to automatically invalidate some of their arguments, but it does seem like it is psychology first, rationality later.

        • Mike Tendler

          For what it’s worth, I completely agree with you about the fact that people aren’t educated on Europe. And I worry that given the choice, they will overwhelmingly vote out for the wrong reasons. That said, something does need to be done to address voter issues, and the sense that political parties, once elected, don’t listen to the electorate.

    • Tony_Lloyd

      The exposure is particularly worrying. I’m frightened that pro-EU sentiment is becoming marginalised. So much so that I’ve taken to wearing an EU flag lapel badge. Not much but, you could all join me!

      • nice! where do you get it from?

        • Tony_Lloyd

          A merchant on Amazon. There’s a link on my blog, reachable through my name (I didn’t want to do too much self promotion!)

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