It’s a testament to just how rare sentient thought is within the human race. The UKIP’s recent electoral successes sparked the predictable frightened reaction from dominant journals like the Economist.
And I say that by looking at the tone of the article. Britons have genuine concerns about issues like immigration and the cost of the EU, issues the UKIP are riding high on, but this article is not concerned with that. Rather, it attacks UKIP on the very issues that characterize a fledgling party: lack of organization, not-so-well-thought-out platform, or that they’re just riding on “charisma” (whatever that means).
Such are issues for UKIP to discuss among themselves, not for outsiders to criticize. Success and growth bring new challenges. The UKIP need to figure out how to handle their success and prepare for the next step of refining their message to reach a wider audience, actually handling power, and exercising it successfully.
Rather, the issue here for the rest of us is the vacuum in the discussion, or as they say, the elephant in the room. From my desk all the way here in Los Angeles, the issue isn’t even so much immigration itself, it’s that the immigrants are not being absorbed into British society, and are instead just festering on the margins, feeding off its safety net, and threatening to reform it in their image.
Muslim immigrants, specifically.
It is an issue that The Economist has made oblique reference to in the past in this study: They Can’t Imagine Not Working. It’s one thing to welcome immigrants, it is another to make sure society actually benefits from them, rather than them being an albatross around its neck. And it looks like England is drifting from the American benefit version to the European albatross version.
Why not admit it? In these days where politics has embraced social media, it is easier than ever to see what people are frustrated with. There is no way established institutions can deny what’s happening in the British population. On the flip side, it’s easier than ever to respond to it.
Like I said though, I’m just a guy sitting at my desk in Los Angeles, reading what the papers and select tweeters tell me. But this is a question I’d like to see discussed. And I’m not alone. If the Economist, the Tories, and other parties are willing to enter this discussion, they will attract the attention and passion of mainstream voters, and relegate UKIP back to irrelevance.
But if they simply caricature UKIP as some stuffy old character from Paddington Bear, they are leaving the UKIP’s main issue, and main cause for success, unanswered. That will give them greater and greater power until they can solve the problem themselves. If the UKIP really are the demagogues people say they are, it’ll be a much less effective solution than what could have been done by enlightened statesmen.