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Date: 09/05/04

Who Are The Real Barbarians?

Hell hath no fury like a publicity-seeker forced out of the limelight.

Robert Kilroy-Silk, the man who once said he would be Prime Minister, who helped launch the drive to rid the Labour party of troublesome people like...well, socialists; who then immediately went off to a highly lucrative future as a media tart, and lost that cushy little number when he started spouting vicious tosh against Arab civilisation in his newspaper column for the deeply regrettable Sunday Express; well, he's back.

He has just been appointed as a candidate in the forthcoming European Parliament elections on behalf of the self-styled UK Independence Party in the East Midlands of England - an area with which he has no obvious connections. This in itself is interesting, as one of UKIP's basic yells is all to do with "unaccountable politicians from far away who know nothing about us making basic decisions about our everyday lives". Then why pick an outsider as their candidate? Oh, the originally-selected candidate was 'persuaded to stand aside'; and one suspects that democracy never entered into the equation at all.

Mr. Killjoy-Sick is, of course, perfectly matched with his new ideological soulmates. After all, the offending article I referred to stated that Arab culture and civilisation has nothing to teach us - never has had; and he categorised all Arabs (Mr. Killwog-Slick is an Equal Opportunities Bigot) as "suicide bombers, limb amputators and women repressors".

UKIP's leaflets in their campaign in the East Midlands could have been written with such a candidate in mind: indeed, they could have been written by him. Here a just a few quotes:

"The EU is nothing more than a devilish conspiracy to deliver a quasi-communist-socialist-federal dream state."

"[I]t is inspired by envy, greed and self-serving ambition that dictates if they can't beat us they will drag us down to their level because they can't bear to see a free and democratic country like the UK doing better than they are".

"predators are at the gate"

"no one and nothing is safe from the barbarians in our midst"

Now, I did A-level History (albeit very badly), and I can see certain historic precedents in this kind of screaming diatribe. Unfortunately, English libel law being what it is, it is safer for me to refrain from drawing even the most obvious parallels. Suffice it to say that I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see Westminster set on fire and the blame being placed on, say, an Albanian or a Kurd.

Let's examine some of their claims, shall we boys and girls?

The idea that the EU has anything remotely to do with Communism should give some indication of the level of reality inhabited by those making the claim. Twenty five states, each of them avowedly capitalist in one way or another, and where Communist or similar parties play only the most minor rôle (if any) in national political life. Most of those governments (the UK, Italy and many of the eastern states in particular) put the desires and demands of 'the business community' (and if you want an image of what such a 'community' might look like, try imagining sharks swimming in their own shit) before the needs of the people. And these are the governments which are handing over their precious sovereignty to a 'socialist federal superstate'! I find it difficult to imagine that the French, for example, with all their hauteur and memories of gloire (thanks, Mr. Earnshaw, some parts of your lectures did take root) would cede a single unnecessary morceau of their political, economic or cultural identity even in the name of peace and co-operation.

And 'they' want to drag 'us' down to 'their' level? And what level is that, I wonder? Is it the level where 'they' have a far higher average income than 'us'? Where they have better pensions and welfare provisions than we do in this combination of Disneyland, Ruritania and a bad Ealing comedy? Or is it the level where 'they' have far fairer and more equal societies and economies than those of us who have the undying good fortune to live in this latterday wirtschaftswunder, where the gap between the rich and the rest widens with every passing day, and the tax burden has been progressively transferred from the incomes of the wealthy to the necessary expenditure of the poor?

Or do they mean that we are being dragged down to the level where the night-time streets are not full of ultra-aggressive drunks (of both genders) and where you can actually walk down the streets in daylight hours without the good old British privilege of being casually effed at by a passing ten-year-old? Good heavens! Raise the drawbridge, Effie! Here they come, the uncivilised heathen wretches!

Yes, there are barbarians in our midst - most of them were born here. And the predators (remember my shark image of a moment ago?) are heading in from Houston, New York and Seattle, not from Hamburg, Nürnberg or Sevilla. And it's also true that no-one is safe from them. That's how our utilities and many of the other public enterprises sold off in the Margaret Thatcher Everything-Must-Go Fire Sale of the eighties ended up in the hands of Americans (and even some Europeans, God Save The Mark!).

I had sometimes wondered what had happened to the Flat Earth Society; you know, that bunch of people who, even when faced with all the scientific evidence and pin-down-able facts that they were wrong, insisted that no, they were still absolutely correct and that such evidence was 'bad science' or devilishly-devised propaganda conjured up by the Freemasons, the Vatican and Sir Alec Douglas-Home simply in order to discredit them.

(This sort of delusion can strike in unlikely places: I once heard of a very distinguished practitioner of one of the hard sciences who, nonetheless, was president of a society dedicated to the idea that the Ark Of The Covenant was buried under the Hill Of Tara).

For some time, I thought they were now running the oil industry, or possibly the recording biz - two areas of the 'business community' where denial of reality has always traditionally brought high rewards. But now it becomes clear; they are in politics and they are indeed "in our midst".

So what motivates UKIP? Bog-standard ignorance and intolerance, of course; but also an inability to countenance the notion that the world does actually turn and, in doing so, changes. That and a wilful misinterpretation of history; one in which Brave Britain nobly stood alone against tyranny (something which certainly won't wash with Iraqis now any more than it was likely to be a view shared by Indians, Africans, Palestinians or even Americans in the past); one in which, as we know to certainty from the films, darling Johnny Mills and dear Dickie Attenborough beat the living daylights out of The Hun.

They are greatly assisted by the media in the Great Obfuscation, of course. This is at its apogee in the press, where the papers owned by once-and-future North Americans have a vested interest in protecting their proprietors against the actions for abuse of position which any half-sane free society would have brought against them long ago. The "plug-ugly, sub-animal yells" (© John Cooper Clarke) of these rags against those seeking refuge or simply a better opportunity here is a part of the weaponry of brute ignorance, and one which they use like Howitzers against the generally benign instincts of the public, softening them up so that they can be safely assumed to have no further resistance to whatever brutality may be initiated in the name of 'The Country' or 'National Security'. But it is to be found elsewhere, too; it is difficult to keep count of the hours of World War II films shown on terrestrial TV here (they seem to fill Saturday afternoons on BBC2, for example). More worryingly when, back on May 1, the ceremonies were taking place to mark the entry of ten new members of the EU, virtually every other member state's national TV services carried the events live. Here, ITV couldn't be bothered at all; and the BBC shuffled the whole thing off on to one of its little-watched digital channels. A symptom and a symbol. Is it any wonder that the population at large is so badly informed?

But what motivates the members of UKIP is far more sinister. It is sheer ranting intolerance, which manifests itself in the screaming quotes I've included in this piece. The world they inhabit is one of 'Us' and 'Them', where the 'Us' are the upstanding, white Anglos like the nieces of bishops courageously defending their maidenly virtue against a mob of swarthy foreigners ('Them') seeking to sell them into prostitution in Rio de Janeiro or Port Said. It is the world of Bulldog Drummond and other suchlike fantasies created by those who believed that their 'race' (whatever it may be) was innately superior to others. Oh, foreigners might be quite charming in their way, of course, but ultimately were not to be trusted.

UKIP is the last refuge of those for whom the Conservative Party is full of pinkos (and is now even led by a Jew, albeit a lapsed one), and the BNP comprises people who are not quite our class, darling.

And it is into this mad milieu that Mr Robert Ballbag-Suck, ex-MP, ex-chat-show host and extremist, has now so willingly inserted himself.

The man himself has been unavailable for comment this weekend. This redoubtable defender of the God-givem superiority of everything British is staying in his holiday home.

In Spain.