THE BLOG

UKIP's Ideology of Selfishness

01/01/2015 18:26 GMT | Updated 02/03/2015 10:59 GMT

There was a phone in debate about Ebola on Radio 5 Live this week. This was after the reports of Nurse Pauline Cafferkey being diagnosed with Ebola soon after returning from Sierra Leone. Several callers were very critical of the very idea of NHS volunteers going to West Africa at all - arguing that they could not be spared from the NHS. Others argued that volunteers returning from the region should be put in quarantine - even though prevailing medical advice is that this does not make sense.

The general tone of the debate seemed to be very hostile to the idea of volunteers helping other people in this way.

There are around 780 NHS staff helping in the region - this from a total NHS staff of 665,000 doctors and nurses. All of these are volunteers - doing this in their own time and risking their lives to help other people. The contrast between these brave volunteers and their critics was stark.

Another caller said that illegal immigrants might bring Ebola into the Country - a Consultant also on the program said that this less likely to happen since any illegal immigrants with Ebola are likely to become too ill to travel before they arrived in the UK. And surely the more work done to prevent its spread in Africa - the less likely it is that the disease will be carried to the the UK.

At one point, Radio 5's, Adrian Chiles apologised to a foreign aid worker who was also included on the phone in - when a couple of the calls made by the more intolerant callers were played back to her and she was asked to comment. Such was the nature of the calls that Mr Chiles complained that he did not want to play-back the calls but was told to.

Public-health issues, and how we spend tax payers money is a legitimate topic for debate - but it is also legitimate to argue that some people are expressing views that appear to be selfish, inward looking and - if they got their way - could harm people in this Country.

A number of public health officials argue that if Ebola is allowed to infect large number of people in Africa then it is more likely to arrive in the UK carried by more people. So even if critics don't want to help people in Africa on principle then we have a direct interest in preventing it's spread - but it is clear that some people are so ideologically opposed to helping foreign people that they would allow a greater risk of Ebola being spread to the UK. This is the ideology encouraged by UKIP.

The UK Government has so far only taken around 100 refugees from the Syrian war - far fewer than many other Countries with similar sized economies - no doubt worried about this new selfish politics in the UK.

Even Farage himself was slapped down by his supporters when he suggested that Syrian refugees should be let in - he was forced to change that to only 'Christian' refugees being let in, after a UKIP rebellion on Facebook.

This is the man who blames foreigners for everything - even he must reap what he sows.

Farage is the man calling for an 80% cut in foreign aid - the man who blames immigrants for the bad traffic on the M4 and says he feels awkward on a train because of the foreign languages he hears spoken. He is the man so against working with other Countries that he wants us to leave the EU - even if it does cause damage to UK economy - Farage admits he would rather be poorer and have fewer immigrants in the UK.

Mr Farage says he represents the ordinary person in the street and yet he has very little in common with the those he claims to represent - being educated at public school and as an ex City financier and someone who has since been paid vast amounts of money by the EU - the very organisation he claims to hate so much.

His two MPs have very little knowledge of most people's lives - also coming from privileged backgrounds and educated at public schools. All three are ex Tories - hardly credible as the anti-elitists they claim to be.

What Mr Farage relies on is encouraging prejudice towards - and resentment of foreigners.To give him credit he is succeeding in influencing public debate - we can all see that, but it is likely to come at a cost to this Country. The ideology of rejecting immigrants even if they help this country - of not helping people suffering abroad even if it increases the risk to UK citizens - will do us all harm.

Blaming those who are different from us for the inequalities in the UK is a con. Foreigners are not the cause of of all our domestic problems and rejecting them won't achieve what Mr Farage and UKIP claim it will. The people being conned are those that will support this damaging ideology - because they will disappointed in the end. Meanwhile it may cost us in terms of our economy could even prove to be a threat to our health.