THE BLOG
09/12/2013 10:14 GMT | Updated 07/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Why We Should Fear The Ukip Call To 'Send Them All Back Home'

The senior UKIP so-called politician Victoria Ayling has received the full backing of her party following revelations that she wished she could kick out immigrants and 'send them all back home'. It's language that should worry anyone with a passing interest in politics.

But before we get to why, let's start with a short quiz. The following statements all concern the problems of immigration and were printed fairly recently in national newspapers, as part of comment articles or interviews. All the personalities and the publications will be well-known to you. So can you guess who said what and who printed their comments?

1) Romanian immigrants have no interest in our culture.

2) Muslims live by other laws to us and it is affecting the soul of our nation.

3) Given the extent of Muslim migration, one must look closely at that community's inner desire to look after its own people, to separate themselves from the rest of society.

4) It would never occur to Muslims to make Christians judges in a Muslim state, so why should we allow it here? What is so wrong about British people in Britain being ruled by British people?

5) The way immigrants from Europe are pouring in from every port of this country is becoming an outrage.

6) In Britain, half a million immigrants have found a new home and in many respects are given favoured treatment here. Many of them are Poles and Romanians and there is an uncontrolled influx of them at the moment.

7) If immigrants do not wish to be naturalised then they should be deported. It is not racist to say the interests of the country must come first, citizens owe an allegiance to the nation. It is important that Muslims understand that.

8) Muslims, as a whole, have chosen to organise themselves as a nation within a nation and to set their interests before those of Britain. They must, like everyone else, put Britain first or leave Britain.

The first two are from Joseph Goebbels, the next is an excerpt from an Adolf Hitler speech. Number 4 is an editorial from the Nazis' favourite propaganda rag, Der Sturmer (The Attacker). Five is from the Daily Mail in 1939, six a Sunday Express editorial from the same time, and the final two are from Oswald Moseley, who was being gently interviewed about the rise of the British Fascist party.

OK, so I cheated and replaced the word Jew with Muslim or Pole or Romanian, and occasionally Germany for Britain. But I didn't change a single other word. And the reason it says 'recent' in the first paragraph is because I consider anything within my parents' lifetime as recent.

It's quite probable that the names of British publications and individuals guessed at by readers in my unfair quiz would all be in the same 'ballpark'.

The point is that we are dangerously sleep-walking into another period of outright hostility to a minority - or minorities - seeking refuge from their own war-torn, impoverished and hate-fuelled communities and countries. And this time those who are part of an ethnic minority - the Jewish community, for instance, of which I am a member, or Asian or Afro-Caribbean - are part of an establishment turning a blind eye to the virulent chants of the mob.

Yes, circumstances are significantly different today, yes there are some who seek to abuse the British government's generosity, yes our population is already higher than ever putting enormous strains on our infrastructure.

Yet it also true that some circumstances today are eerily familiar to those in the first half of the last century. We live in a time of financial hardship and it is all too easy to find a scapegoat to 'blame' for our woes and rising taxes. There are people out there who don't care for Western society and freedoms, and we are sometimes too eager to tar everyone with that same brush. We still do not like outsiders - and the rest of Europe distrusts them even more.

On Question Time the other week, Conservative Minister Anna Soubary finally peeled away UKIP leader Nigel Farage's sinister mask of bonhomie, pouring scorn on his scaremongering tactics to the widespread applause of the audience. She claimed he was deliberately 'putting fear in people's hearts', that instead of looking at the facts he preferred to 'turn to the stranger and you blame them'. I believe that statement referred to last week's independent assessment that, since 2000, immigrants have contributed a £25billion tax boost to the British economy.

UKIP - which has just been asked to join forces with some of Europe's most racist politicians - was a pretty effective one-policy pressure group that has somehow morphed into a political party attracting all manner of disillusioned and disenfranchised, many fuelled by anger at how 'outsiders', with their strange customs, languages and beliefs are taking root in Britain.

Hunt down any of the national newspaper websites for comments about this exchange on the BBC last week and within seconds you will find tweets, emails and comments from people expressing the most appalling racist sentiments - one newspaper website's readers are even urging people to quite UKIP to join the 'more effective' BNP.

It is, of course, as easy to click away as it is to turn the page of a newspaper, just as I imagine professionals and intellectuals did in 1930s Germany.

Some of my Jewish friends talk about Muslims as if they were Nazis out to destroy us. My daughter sees it differently - her best friend is a Muslim who observes her culture strictly. At first, I imagine, the two considered themselves as having wildly different backgrounds - 'alien' to each other if you like. Now when they talk about their beliefs, practices and family traits they realise they are remarkably similar.

This is because we are all immigrants to this country. We observe our rules and rituals sometimes as if the outside world - Anglo-Saxon, Church of England world - didn't exist. We like to stick together. My Romanian grandmother (and the Polish one I never knew) felt more comfortable speaking Yiddish than English. I was always mocked at school for eating 'funny food', looking different and for having a house that smelt of chicken soup. It has taken us two generations to assimilate though even now we revel in our differences, and rightly so.

So it is beholden on us to ensure that the vile scaremongering, closet racism and disgraceful attacks in the media on the predominantly law-abiding and industrious immigrants from Poland, Romania and beyond are drowned out by the kind of compassion and understanding that allowed our grandparents and their ancestors safe passage. There are undoubtedly rogues among those seeking a home in Britain and most of those are liberally quoted by eager reporters - but are they really any more than a small minority?

Britain is a precious island of tolerance, and we appreciate that better than anyone. Yet flames are being stoked and some who should know better are complicit.

The next time you see in a newspaper the words 'flood', 'pour', 'floodgates', 'swarming' or 'wave' in conjunction with people, don't turn the page without thinking how Goebbels got there first.