ed. miliband

Ed Miliband: Ukip is tapping into a seam of racism that Labour cannot and will not ignore

ed. miliband

The opposition leader pledges to target the votes of right-wing xenophobes.

Heywood and Middleton have shown that working people are really worried about the rising inequality that could be linked to high immigration. Let me be clear, the Labour party cares about inequality above all else, specifically the inequality between a privileged party leadership and the concerns of working members who we neither understand nor care about.

Attention has focused on UKIP as first it recruited Tory MPs and donors, and now it begins to win Tory seats.  Although it draws much of its support and ideology from the Conservative right, I’m shit-scared that UKIP is also tapping into a seam of nationalist xenophobia existing among our own voters.  It is a sentiment that has developed over decades of right-wing governments under Thatcher, Major and Blair, and now I want a piece of the action.

The British popular media have come to brand Nigel Farage a charismatic man of the people. If xenophobia is enough for a former stockbroker who attended a major public school to be seen that way, then there is a chance it might even work for me.

People doing tough jobs, trying to provide for their families and give their children a decent shot at succeeding have been encouraged to blame their troubles on foreigners and other by this government and its predecessors – a deflection tactic which has worked before, and will work again for me.  Our task is to turn the despair and cynicism on which UKIP thrives into a positive force for electing me.

That is why I have decided to try and make people think we have developed a new approach to immigration.   I will say something vague about how ‘immigration has helped our country as a whole’ to avoid any accusations of racism.  But we must also make sinister jibes at immigrants for ‘undercutting pay’ and ‘loosening the ties that bind our communities’, in order to play on the fears engendered by the current and previous governments.

We must not allow racist votes to be lost to the likes of UKIP.  We must pledge arbitrary border controls; we must talk up cutting benefits for those who don’t speak English, despite access to ESOL teaching having been cut; and we must insist that foreigners ‘earn’ their benefit entitlements, whatever that means.

Such measures are part of a compelling and credible plan for Britain’s future that will restore the values people have been lead to believe in – isolationism, nimbyism, ignorance – to the way our country is run.

I want to show that I will never take for granted the votes of people from communities that have traditionally supported Labour. In order to appeal to the core vote of those who supported us at the last election, our plan is built on exploiting the discontent which runs wide and deep across our country, and for which the Labour party must take much of the credit.

Our best weapon will be trying to appeal to as many people as possible by making knee-jerk announcements based on whatever the media are talking about this week. And I relish the battle ahead to win a Labour majority that will bring whatever change will play well in the Daily Mail.

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