Playing the race card

MEDIA responses to last Thursday’s success for the United Kingdom Independence Party in the Clacton by-election and near success in the Heywood by-election presage a very unpleasant race to determine which party can adopt the most racist and most xenophobic policies.

The overriding message from bourgeois analysts is that voters — most of whom have suffered a big drop in living standards, wages and conditions — are concerned with only one issue and that is immigration. It is, of course, a completely false analysis.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage was predictably very full of himself and boasting that there were no safe seats in the country anymore and that he was taking voters from all major parties. But that is not true. In Heywood the Labour percentage of the total vote went up slightly; Farage came a close second by taking votes from the Tories and the Lib Dems — an indication only of the disillusion among former supporters of the Coalition parties.

The media were there to interview one or two working class people who had voted for Farage but from the views they expressed they were more likely former British National Party voters. Ukip has certainly gained support from the collapse of the BNP and English Defence League.

That did not stop Channel Four News’s Martin Bashir hectoring a Labour Party spokesperson about Labour’s lack of “a strong line” on immigration. When the woman could get a word in edgeways she mumbled that the Labour leadership would be re-examining its policy on immigration.

That would be suicide. As Danny Alexander said, Labour cannot be more Ukip than Ukip — nor even more anti-immigrant than the Tories or Liberal Democrats.

Currently, taking an average of recent opinion polls, Labour is marginally ahead of the Tories on 34 per cent, with the Tories on 32 per cent and Liberal Democrats on eight per cent. That is projected to give Labour a small overall majority of 12 seats. So why should Labour imagine it has to ape the quasi racist, xenophobic policies of parties that are doing less well?

Playing the race card has never done any party much good in British politics — but it has appeased parts of the media. There is another factor involved — the leaders of all the parties are well off, university educated and middle class — with strong ties to the ruling class.

Their vision of the working class in Britain is seriously out of touch with reality. They see us, the common people who live outside their luxurious well-guarded enclaves, through the prism of that same mass media that blames immigrants, single mothers, the disabled, the unemployed and people who live on council estates as the cause of all evils in the world and as simple-minded savages who are all violent, dangerous and racist to the core.

The truth is that we are indeed angry — we’ve been consistently robbed of the value of our wages for around four decades until we cannot feed ourselves without state hand-outs, even though we work long hours. We’ve been pushed into debt by rising housing costs, student loans and usurious pay-day-loans leaving us no money for food or clothing, so we have to resort to food-banks.

We been robbed of our jobs, forced to work for nothing, threatened with eviction through rising rents and falling benefits while the disabled among us are being driven to suicide from withdrawal of benefits.

And the Tories are promising it is going to get even tougher because they cannot contemplate raising taxes for their wealthy one-per-cent masters. They are promising even more income tax cuts that will benefit most those with big incomes. If they wanted tax relief to benefit the poor they would cut VAT.

And they are threatening to abolish our human rights.

However weak and feeble Miliband is, voting Labour is a no-brainer in face of the Tory policies. But the Tories and the media are trying to scare us — and scare the Labour leadership — into a racist/xenophobic blind alley to either vote for Ukip or stay at home disillusioned so the Tories can claim all their horrendous anti-working class policies are the democratic will of the British people.

We must kick them out at the next election while preparing to change the balance of class power in Britain with a battle much more serious than an election.