Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
Hate leads to suffering...
- Master Yoda
That's right, I am prefacing a political blog post with a quote from Star Wars. Read on, and this will all make perfect sense.
Today I received a message from a dear friend asking "Tell me, why not UKIP? and why Green?".
With 9 days until the local and European elections, this is a question I'm sure many people are asking. Satisfaction with the traditional three main parties is at an all time low, and the new kid on the block - UK Independence Party - has experienced a meteoric rise to infamy as a result. Newspapers have reported ever-increasing support for them in the form of "protest votes" against the existing government and the as-yet unforgiven Labour party. You could be forgiven for thinking that they had proposed a set of policies that would make millionaires of us all, bring about world peace and end global poverty. The truth could not be much further from this.
Before I continue, I would like to say that I have refrained from writing any UKIP-bashing posts for the simple reason that there is already a plethora of literature that neatly summarises why they are a party largely consisting of misogynists, xenophobes, homophobes and generally quite unpleasant people. They have most recently been labelled as fascists, the response to which was a call from three senior UKIP MEPs to have everyone naming them so arrested. So much for free speech...
Why are they so bloody popular then? WHY have polls suggested that more people will vote for UKIP than any other party, despite acknowledging that their views are racist, amongst other things??
That my friend asked me to explain how and why to choose between two such fundamentally different parties illustrates the crossroads at which many voters currently find themselves. This isn't like choosing whether to have jam or peanut butter on your toast for breakfast. UKIP and the Green Party could not be any less alike. There is quite literally no crossover in their policies, their core values or the personal philosophies of their members.
Those among us who no longer have any faith in the Conservatives, Labour or the Liberal Democrats are crying out for a legitimate alternative to bring about BIG changes that truly mirror what the people want, and what is actually good for the country. UKIP have capitalised on this through the very powerful medium of fear, specifically that which is directed at the contentious issue of immigration.
Fear is a powerful tool. The Conservatives have utilised it well in the last four years, constructing a rhetoric that maligns the low-wage earners, non-earners and disabled. While benefits are slashed, sanctions imposed, and lives quite honestly torn apart, the neo-Dickension construct of the "undeserving poor" has thrived and kept the public's attention focused on blaming 'benefit scroungers' for the UK's financial woes. In a similar vein, UKIP's primary focus is on immigration as the root cause of the UK's problems and they have wasted no time stirring up plenty of fear around it. They speak of "uncontrolled immigration" coming from the EU, and cite themselves as the only way to "Return power to the UK" by leaving the EU and effectively closing the UK's borders. There's a whole lot of hate there.
Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
So then. Why are the Green Party a more viable alternative? Why would having more Green MEPs, more local Green councillors and, following next year's general election, a Green Party government (dream big, people!) be better for the UK?
Because their message is one of HOPE.