Oxford students need to take a stand against UKIP

JOE FOWLES argues that Oxford students need to stop the defeatist tripe and stand up to UKIP

Whilst a frequent reader of The Tab, I have never before been compelled to respond to any of the articles written; this was until Joe Miles idiotic piece urging the student community at Oxford to do nothing in the face of a pseudo-racist political party that is a danger to Britain and its people.

Although I agree with Miles that it was a shame the vandalism of the UKIP billboard in Cowley was not wittier, his claim that “we need to avoid condemning UKIP” is something that I find completely abhorrent. I believe that instead, we should be doing exactly the opposite.

Without going into too much detail on their various (past and present) manifesto pledges, it is not unfair to say that UKIP are a homophobic, misogynistic and islamophobic party. They have links to dangerous political organisations on the far-right both at home and abroad, and use patriotism as a veil for hatred and racism.

Don’t let the jazz hands distract you from the policies

What I find deeply worrying, is that UKIP are being allowed to pedal a political agenda based on fear, precisely because nobody is willing to challenge their vitriol. Need a reason for your falling living standards? Don’t blame a corrupt financial system- blame immigrants, homosexuals, and the hunting ban.

Indeed, many in mainstream politics appear to have taken the Miles’ route of not tackling UKIP and their policies, in fear of “giving the unfortunately accurate impression that we think that we know better than most of the electorate.” As a result, much of the media coverage of the upcoming European elections has centred around the dangerous agenda set by Nigel Farage and his merry band of “fruitcakes, loonies, and closet racists”.

1 Cowley residents defaced a UKIP billboard at the weekend

In this debate, the silence of the reasonable is deafening. To challenge fraudulent and poisonous electioneering that claims the entire combined population of Romania and Bulgaria are about to move to Britain is not “enforcing political correctness on normal people”. It’s making sure people know the facts.

As a well-informed community of students with access to these facts (rather than having to rely on the, at times, fictitious content found in the tabloid press), it is our responsibility to challenge the views of organisations such as UKIP. As one comment on Miles’ column said, “It’s fantastic that highly educated Oxford students are so vehemently opposed to UKIP, and they should voice this opinion as loudly as possible”. We should not just “hope” that UKIP will “collapse upon serious inspection by the population at large” but be leading the charge to expose them ourselves.

I’m all in favour of free speech, of students expressing their opinions, and of living in a democratic nation where debate is encouraged and poisonous rhetoric challenge. I’m not in favour of Joe Miles’ defeatist tripe.