When a man spends years telling us all that this Country cannot afford to take in any more people it seems odd when he suddenly announces that we should take in tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing an awful Civil war, starvation and persecution. But surely we are full up are we not? It seems as if we the UKIP leader has done his sums again and we can squeeze a few more folk in. All of a sudden that Nigel Farage is playing the nice guy. Fear not. Nigel is nastier than ever.
Farage claims that the UK has a long tradition of offering refuge to those facing persecution from his own ancestors the Huguenots to the Jews and most recently to the East African Asians when persecuted by Idi Amin. Farage is correct. It is an honourable tradition and all three of those groups have made a massively positive cultural and economic difference to the UK. We have been rewarded for our hospitality.
And so Farage argues that we should continue that tradition. He states we should offer refuge to Syrian Christians. Er…hang on..
What about the Syrian Muslims? Oh, they can stay there and starve, get killed and persecuted. Farage won’t be letting them in. For fuck’s sake we have got too many Muslims in this country already have we not Nigel?
You see that is Nigel’s coded message to Middle England. What he is saying is “we in UKIP are nice guys in the British tradition but fear not, we do not like the bloody Muslims either.”
The Jews and the East African Asians were not Christians yet we took them in. The British tradition is to offer refuge to all folks facing persecution not just those who follow Jesus rather than Allah or some other faith. The Farage sleight of hand allows him to claim that his offer is a traditional humanitarian British one (so he is a nice guy) while sending a clear message out that he is not keen on the Muslims.
This is not Nigel being nice this is Nigel being nastier than ever.
His suggestion of active religious discrimination is not in any way part of the British tradition of hospitality to those felling persecution. It is simply a coded and evil wolf whistle dressed up in a pretence of humanity.
Once again on matters of immigration it is shame on UKIP and shame in Nigel Farage a man who, I know, to be better than this but seems seduced by cheap short term electoral opportunism.