Ahead of the European Election vote this week, Nick Clegg was asked on the BBC1's Andrew Marr programme, whether he thought the Nigel Farage was a racist. He said: "I think the mask is starting to slip and what has been revealed behind the beer-swilling bonhomie is a really nasty view of the world. Anyone who singles out one community or nationality and says 'I don't want to live next to them' -- I think that is the politics of division, and I don't think it has any place in modern Britain."
The remarks came last week after Farage claimed that he would not want Romanians to be his neighbours in London, but that Germans would be different.
There are so many scandals revolving around Farage, partially due to his extreme views, making him an easy target for the media. However, this seems to fuel the fire -- as in recent times Britain has become a very 'politically correct nation,' with many cases and situations being labelled as reverse racism, and older generations feeling that it's all silly.
We have never really achieved a middle ground where tolerance is simply the common attitude.
Ukip have played off this way of thinking, and offered a "way out." With phrases like "political correctness gone mad" being bandied about, they've created this image that they're a British party for British people, but unlike the BNP, they're not racist.
This has allowed them to attach themselves onto Euro-scepticism and the moral panic of "immigrants stealing our jobs," which has effectively given them the opportunity to drag their party to the front of British Politics -- where the other parties are now having to consider them as a serious competitor.
Everyone likes an underdog.
But let's take a look at the man behind the party: Nigel Farage seems to have a large portion of the British population "fooled," in a manner of speaking.
Many view him as some sort of working class hero, distanced from the likes of Cameron, Milliband, or Clegg -- who all attended private schools and are viewed as simply being unable to empathise with the working man's plight.
A recent You Gov poll, 18th May, showed that Labour and UKIP are front runners for the European elections, with Labour at 27% and UKIP at 26% and Tories falling in 3rd with 23% in the voting intention figures. Although it's a close race, UKIP voters apparently say they're more likely to come out and vote on the day -- meaning that they may be able to take the win.
But this image of a working class hero is a facade. Farage, educated in Dulwich College (a public school) walks around in a pinstripe suit, and apparently earns obscene amounts of money, according to an article in January. The Mirror reported: "Papers seen by the Sunday Mirror show UKIP MEPs claimed an average of £35,635 each in 'general expenditure allowances' in 2012. Officials say the cash should cover 'office managements costs'. The allowances came on top of their £79,000 salaries, first class travel expenses and 'daily subsistence allowance."
He seems to have many people convinced that he is one of them -- working class -- with his open beer-swilling, cigarette smoking persona -- but I suppose Charles Manson was pretty convincing too.
Early last week it was reported that UKIP brought police and lawyers in to threaten bloggers who shared a 'fact check' leaflet of their policies. In our apparent free and liberal society, two Cambridgeshire police officers turned up at the home of Blogger Michael Abberton, after he posted an anti-UKIP tweet. The tweet was a picture of a mock-up election poster, claiming that the party would scrap paid maternity leave, cut education spending to buy three new aircraft carriers, and make it legal for a man to rape or assault his wife. All "pledges" were apparently sourced from public statements by the party.
A UKIP councillor had complained to police, who then went to interview Mr Abberton at his home.
This decision by police has led to calls from the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to investigate the matter, and the Lib Dem MP for Cambridge is still awaiting a detailed response from police.
Many politicians and members of the public have been shocked by this matter. As there was no clear legal precedent for the police to pursue it, and given the fact UKIP are trying to censor their own policies, this is a scary notion.
If a party, not in power, can gain police support to censor and attempt to change their own history, then the whole thing becomes rather Orwellian and I fear the day they gain significant power.
Although it's rather early for speculation on the General elections, it's definitely not for the European elections.
It should be our obligation to seek knowledge, and inform ourselves on policies, background history and trends.
Perhaps those considering to vote UKIP in the upcoming elections should consider the fact that voting a Euro-sceptic party into the EU is rather foolish; there is no way they would be able to take it down for the inside. Maybe voting a party that would attempt to make change within the EU and have an affect on changing policies would be a better way to go.
Saving the Euro-sceptic vote for the general elections -- this is when a party would be able to make a difference on the notion of an in/out referendum.
More importantly, lets all get involved.