Nigel Farage is getting desperate with only a few weeks to go until the election. And with that desperation, his mask is beginning to slip. In the past few weeks, UKIP have rolled out a series of increasingly nasty policies, with the goal of shoring up their campaign from falling poll ratings. And these vindictive new policies already seem to be splitting UKIP down the middle.
There’s a fair bit of competition for this honour, but undoubtedly UKIP’s vilest policy yet was Farage’s idea that the children of immigrants shouldn’t be allowed to attend state schools for 5 years after their parents enter the country. According to Farage, “they would bering dependants… after a period of time.”
It’s a policy of the basest kind. Not only is it morally objectionable, with the explicit aim of splitting families up and denigrating immigrants as second class citizens, it’s also both unworkable and bad for the country.
Is Farage really advocating that the children of immigrants should have no education at all, other than home schooling or expensive private education? It’s a recipe for ghettoisation and would work directly against integration of second generation immigrants into society. How is the NHS, for example, supposed to attract a skilled Doctor or surgeon from overseas if they thought that they would have to pay expensive private school fees on top of this, when the average price of a private school is about ￡13,000 a year.
The UKIP leader has claimed that if he were to take a job in the US, he would have to pay for the education of his children. Steve Peers of British Influence has shown that claim to be utterly untrue. It’s against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and there’s no evidence at all that this kind of policy exists in the USA or any other Western country.
If we are to take UKIP figures at face value, you would have to assume that they would be fighting like ferrets in a sack about this policy. Take Douglas Carswell – who, despite his unwise choice of party remains a fascinating, tolerant, thought-provoking figure. In his acceptance speech in Clacton, he said that UKIP should be a “party for all Britons, first and second generation as much as every other.” Last week he said that the British economy should “attract the brightest and best” from around the world.” It’s almost impossible to reconcile this with Farage’s desire to strip the basic right of education away from the children of immigrants.
It’s quite right that steps are being taken to control immigration, which impacts on public services and pushes down the wages of the low paid. That’s why the government is right not to change it’s immigration target. But it’s one thing to say, rightly, that we should control immigration and quite another to push forward a mean, vindictive and unworkable policy such as the one Farage is proposing.
The idea that the children of immigrants should be barred from education would split up families and is a policy devoid of human decency. It’s a reminder, if one were needed, of why we should be fighting UKIP hard across the country to make sure that they don’t gain a foothold in the next election. The alternative is unthinkable.