Tuesday, February 12, 2013

UKIP by-election candidate, Diane James plays the race card early on in Eastleigh by-election saying halt immigration to stop 'Romanian crime', attention grabbing but bad politics in the short campaign!

Dear All

Despite everything in Scottish politics being dominated by independence, down the road in sunny England life goes on!

The seat previously held by disgraced Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne is up for grabs in a by-election, by-elections are different from normal campaigning in that a more diverse group of activists come together for what is essential a ‘special event’.

So, as expected all the main parties are fielding candidates including UKIP which is led by Nigel Farage.

UKIP has bite deep into the Conservative vote; you could say they are the Tory Party not at home!

In order to grab the headlines, the UKIP candidate fighting the Eastleigh by-election said Romanians were associated with crime and called for a temporary halt to all immigration.

Playing the race card; either public or privately in politics is a doomed strategy, in the event that Diane James was successful, she couldn’t stop Romanian crime and not affect a temporary halt in immigration.

In these times of deepening austerity, people have concerns about how they are going to get by in a job market which is very tight.

Ms James, from Ewhurst in Surrey, said:

"Immigration is the elephant in the room that the other parties want not to address because they are heavily reliant on unrestricted immigration."

Awhile ago, I blogged on the EU, I still think the EU is a great concept but it needs fixed, one of the ways to do so among others is an internal EU immigration policy.

It is pretty straightforward, in order to move to another EU country, you need to satisfy certain conditions, much in the same way as if you were a student wanting to study at a university regarding finances.

If anything will see Britain out of Europe, it would be a backlash on immigration.

As a campaign strategy Ms. James has effectively boobed, pointing the fingers and blame a certain section of a community for all of lives ills is rather poor politics.

Yes, there are problems with Romanian crime gangs operating in Britain, and yes, they are known to be involved in certain types of crime such as picket pocketing, especially in London.

Ms. James continued that unrestricted immigration was an issue for the country; this was caused by the great social experiment under Tony Blair, touted as being done for economic reasons when there was in fact another agenda which came out later.

That experiment led to increased disquiet about immigration, James added:

"Until we sort out the UK Border Agency and make it fit for purpose, the only way is a moratorium on immigration."

If she gets in, which is doubtful unless there is a massive crash in the vote, she said she wants to make history by becoming the first ever UKIP MP and her election would send a very clear message to the three major parties about their broken promises.

What could dampen her chances as an outsider; is the fact she is an outsider, although it isn’t usual for candidates not to live in the areas they stand for.

And she could benefit from a few tips on public speaking as she uttered:

"I know Eastleigh well. I used to work down here in the pharmaceutical industry, I have friends and family down here and I fly from the airport two or three times a year - it's an area I know."

Quite so madam!

Nigel Farage is upbeat, well you do in politics even if the wind isn’t in your favour, you claim momentum where none exists, on the basis if you keep saying it; votes will come!

Farage says his party was starting the campaign with 16% of the vote and that the figures showed the party was is votes from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

The question is will the Lib Dem vote walk after Huhne’s exit, prior to this the Lib Dem vote in by-elections has suffered greatly.

On the immigration issue fronted by Ms. James, Mr Farage said he had "absolutely nothing" against the 29 million people.

But, he added there should not be an open door policy for them.

Can UKIP pull of a win?

By-elections can be strange little things in their own right, a UKIP win could happen if the voters want to punish the three main parties, the Tories had a strong showing last time, but with austerity and unfairness coming from the coalition government it is hard to sell sweetness and light on the doorstep.

Upsets in politics help political parties refocus on voters and sadly voters have been neglected.
I would like to see an independent get elected or someone from a smaller party to upset the apple cart.

Politics is supposed to be about ideas and vision, and we are seeing very little of that kicking about recently!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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