John Harris

Journalist & Author

Anti-Ukip drive should focus on the party being ridiculous rather than racist | John Harris

The cross-party campaign to expose Ukip as racist could backfire better to focus on its entire ideology that doesn’t make sense

Ukip condemned by cross-party group for running ‘racist’ campaign

At around this time last year, you may recall, the UK Independence party was set to do very well in looming county council elections. So, possibly with the help of backroom staff from Conservative central office, the social media activities of their candidates were closely analysed, and no end of evidence was found of extremely ugly opinions. The Facebook page of a party activist from Leicestershire endorsed the English Defence League; a candidate in Kent advised Londoners to take medical precautions before Bulgarians and Romanians arrived; the Leeds branch of Ukip had put up a page describing refugees as "primitives".

The allegations of racism and general nastiness continued, through election day and beyond, and had absolutely no effect on the party’s prospects. Indeed, on 2 May 2013, Ukip managed a watershed breakthrough, winning unprecedented numbers of seats on councils throughout the south and east of England, and taking yet another step towards the huge success that looks set to materialise at next month’s European elections.

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