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The Next Election: It's About Foreigners - Stupid!

09/10/2014 12:24 BST | Updated 08/12/2014 10:59 GMT

Nigel Farage has made it plain that even if the UK suffers a drop in GDP; because we limit immigration then it is worth it. Farage wants us out of the European Union and wants to stop the UK spending money on overseas aid.

Meanwhile the Conservatives are promising to allow the UK to ignore rulings from the European Court of Human Rights.

What do all these policies have in common - foreigners of course?

Between them - UKIP and some of the Tories are desperate to demonstrate that they don't trust foreigners - that they don't want to be in partnership with them in Europe - that they don't want them coming to this Country even if it damages the economy - that they don't even want to give them money - not even if they are dying and have no intention of coming to the UK - and they don't want foreigners making binding judgements on the UK Courts.

To be fair though Mr Farage has argued that some people should be let in - people fleeing persecution in Syria can come he says - providing they are Christians. Non-Christians who face persecution, death and injury will not be helped under his regime. That said - his Facebook account was inundated with complaints from his supporters about even letting in Christians - so even that perverse policy may not survive.

It is a simple strategy - demonising foreign people works and it is the way ahead for them over the next several months until the elections next year.

It's not that there aren't legitimate arguments in all this - uncontrolled immigration is not sustainable - some UK communities are suffering from influxes of immigrants. But neither of these issues would stop us - one of the richest countries in the world - giving aid to people in the world who are the poorest surely? Neither of these issues has anything to do with the principle of being bound by the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights either - has it?

What all these themes have in common is that they involve foreigners - and promising to have less to do with them will get you votes - or certain people's votes.

No doubt the mainstream parties have not addressed the needs or listened to the opinions of everyone - that some people feel detached from main stream politics. But the right wing of the Tory Party and UKIP will not be reflecting more than the views of their own supporters - they will not be providing the leadership that brings together the Country in all its complexity - no matter what they promise.

Given their way, they would bring us an inward looking: selfish and spiteful nationalism. They don't promise to address the needs of the most vulnerable and weakest in our own society - what they promise is to make sure that we reject foreigners - their ideas and their influence. This is the politics of feeding resentment and xenophobia - but there are votes in it.

The beauty of their argument is that you don't have to demonstrate that anyone has suffered because of immigration - you need only stoke the fear of the outsider taking some one's job and the job is done. So you end up with people angry about immigration even where its effect has been minimal or there has not been any effect at all.

Immigration does have consequences - good and bad - of course it does - but the argument of the right is that even if it brings benefits (as many people argue it does) then it is still bad because it's the dislike of the outsider that counts at the moment.

The poorest in our Country will not be helped by these right wing policies - it is just a blame game. They will be promised a new politics - a new type of politician - but that promise will not be kept.

The main Parties have failed in many respects and must try harder but the resurgent right wing politics of nationalism and resentment will not bring any answers to those disenchanted with Government and politics. The idea that there is a new species of politician who - unlike every politician in history - will rise above the everyday politics of Government (should it ever get that far) is a nonsense.