Recently, I have been doing my little bit engaging with some Kippers on Twitter. But I am reminded of GBS's famous quote "I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it". But for me this is a key question: how much do I (and people like me) attempt to tackle and deconstruct the myths, lies, fatuous arguments and downright hateful things that UKIPpers say & publish? I have been pointed to their list of 'policies' in recent days. You can read them here for yourself.
The list is little more than fantasy politics: cobbled together and populist statements with about as much similarity to a programme for government as the back page of the Daily Star.
Should I / we spend time unpicking the daftness of most of these 'policies'?
For example, last night on BBC Question Time, the UKIP MEP declared that the reason they have a 'policy' against plain paper packaging for cigarette packets is because this would allow more contraband cigarettes into the country! Personally, I would have thought that they would be in favour of plainer packets of fags, as this would provide UKIP with more space on which to compose their policies... (For the record, it is not hard to counterfeit cigarette packaging whatever it looks like... ask a printer!)
UKIPpers don't like detail and they seem to hate specifics. They would rather simplify & reduce everything down to a few tired polemics on Europe, political correctness and the LibLabCon parties all being run by nonces (yup, I had that this morning on Twitter).
But read this article by Rafael Behr: This isn’t about the Tory party. It’s a battle for the soul of British politics - Ukip is waging a visceral culture war in its pursuit of byelection votes. In it he says:
Ukip sells cries of protest to people with deep-rooted problems who feel voiceless. It aggravates grievance to expand its market. This is a different business model to the one the so-called mainstream parties should pursue. They are elected as purveyors of credible solutions. Farage is not just a new entrant in the marketplace for votes where loyalty to the old brands is fading; he is waging a culture war against the politics of practical solutions and workable imperfections.How much should we engage in this culture war? As I have mentioned a couple of times, my blog which deconstructs the UKIP local government manifesto from May this year, has shot to all time number one on this blog. I am not sure why except to wonder whether people are hungry for ammunition against UKIP.
But my weapons against UKIP are based on reason, evidence, research, complexity, logic & analysis. UKIP peddles a different kind of approach which seems to me to be based on emotion, anecdote, polemic and crass simplicity.
I am really not sure what the best way forward is... I just remember how Cabaret ends...