Britain is in the grip of an epidemic – a feverish hysteria called UDD or UKIP Derangement Disorder. The symptoms are for the most part psychological, but the physical signs include swivelling eyes, reddened extremities and drooling.
At this point I should make clear that UDD isn’t a condition suffered by persons who may be attracted to UKIP, but by its most vociferous detractors.
Yes, UKIP does have its own problem with loonies and fruitcakes. This is hardly surprising – it is an anti-establishment populist party and that will draw people in for many reasons, good and bad.
Smelling blood, the media is hungry for stories about prominent Ukippers with reprehensible views. Last week, Dan Hodges of the Telegraph tweeted about a UKIP candidate who called for the compulsory abortion of all unborn children with Down’s Syndrome. It is a truly disgusting position to hold, but the story was from last year and the candidate was suspended. It’s also worth pointing out that the existing abortion law, as supported by mainstream liberal opinion, already discriminates against the disabled. Moreover, nine out of every ten pregnancies where Down’s Syndrome is detected are terminated. These abortions may not be compulsory, but from a eugenicist’s twisted perspective the end-result is not far off being the same.
The lesson here is that it’s perfectly OK to be insanely wrong – just as long as you’re insanely wrong in an officially approved manner. Consider all those establishment figures who advocated the invasion of Iraq or the creation of a single currency or the ‘light touch’ regulation of the banking system. Where are they now? Still in positions of profit, power and influence, of course.
Sufferers of UKIP Derangement Disorder – or ‘UDDers’ for short – are morbidly obsessed with Britain’s fourth party. At the same time, they seem oblivious to the real danger to the body politic, which comes from the catastrophic failure of the mainstream left and right. In an interview for the EUROPP website, Phillip Blond offers the following diagnosis:
“We’re in a situation where the left, in order to achieve its end – chiefly greater equity and a stake for the poor in society – only has the state as its means of delivery. But the state is failing.
“It’s clear that the welfare state, as a model, isn’t going to secure equality or the universality of outcomes. This is because the state is misdesigned: it’s centralised, it’s standardised, and it can only conceive of universality as one model, with the same thing delivered in the same way to everybody regardless of their need. This means that the real needs of those at the bottom are never met.”
As for the mainstream right:
“The critique of the state by the right has some purchase, but the solution of neo-liberal markets has failed to deliver. It hasn’t created mass prosperity; it’s created an enormous concentration of wealth. On the watch of the right, the promise of free markets has seen the reality of market capture by oligopolies, cartels and monopolies. Corporations can effectively avoid tax by transfer-pricing, domesticating losses and exporting profits.”
And what about the liberalism shared by both left and right?
“The people abandoned by the orthodox right are genuine conservatives, often social conservatives, who are by no means racist or xenophobic, but believe in family relationships, institutions and tradition. You see this in the demonstrations in France, or in the support for UKIP in the UK, where people feel there is nowhere for a standard conservative voice anymore. They feel repudiated and laughed at by social liberals who advocate, as far as they can see, the dissolution of the family, widespread migration, and any practice that people enjoy as somehow self-evidently good.”
None of this means that Nigel Farage can provide the cure to what ails us, but those who believe that UKIP is the cause of the sickness, or the sickness itself, should seek a second opinion.