Strathclyde Telegraph

Party time in the political circus

by Marco Antonio Chacon-Clark

It’s Party Conference Season! Amidst the excitement was, of course, the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. Here is how it went: Ed Miliband said a few things; an energy price freeze was mentioned; something about 200,000 new homes. After he spoke everyone clapped and left.

Meanwhile in London the Bad Boys of British Politics, UKIP, were grabbing the headlines. Outside their annual gathering , MEP,  Geoffrey Bloom, was asked by Sky’s Darren McCaffrey, about his calling female, party members “sluts”. After claiming that “all the women laughed”, as justification of his comment, he desperately tried to escape. However Channel 4’s news reporter, Michael Crick confronted him with UKIP’s conference book which stated on the front cover that “they were changing the face of politics”. The reporter asked why there were “no black faces”. Geoffrey Bloom then grabbed the book and began beating him on the head with it angrily, claiming the reporter was a “racist”. The excursion continued for about a minute after.

An old man hitting a guy with a rolled up bit of paper pretty much overshadowed everything else in the world of British politics. In fact UKIP leader Nigel Farage spoke very well at the conference in London. It is a great shame then that he is singly the most irritating politician on our shores and his Party, the most right-wing on nearly every issue, though one would not assume this watching his speech. He claimed that UKIP “is opposed to racism and extremism” and that he “speaks for the settled ethnic minorities” in Britain. However with Channel 4’s exposure of Farages’ early admiration of Hitler, amongst many issues with UKIP, the truth becomes very clear. In fact, the Party states on its website that it opposes multiculturalism and that there is a “threat to British identity and culture”- which is a polite manner of asking for “fewer people who look different”. The rest of the conference was filled with that anti-EU, anti regulation stuff that he regurgitates. He mentioned reducing corporation tax to 10%, for example. Furthermore, his attempts to paint UKIP as “against the establishment” were cringe-worthy.  I doubt a mob of xenophobic business men calling for lower taxes and less regulation on companies can be squeezed into any one definition of anti-establishment.

Thankfully though, I had the Conservative Party conference to look forward to. When it came around two things surprised me. Karen Brady stepped up to support David Cameron’s policies.  Wit? Karen Brady’s a Tory?! The one off The Apprentice?  And she even introduced the Chancellor, George Osborne, as “the right man, for the right job”. Yup, you’ll never watch that show same way again. The second surprise (though I subsequently discovered it was news to people before hand) was Osborne’s new plan for the unemployed. And because they don’t stigmatized enough, if your unemployed you’re now going to have to “pick up litter for your dole” as the Daily Mail’s headline read. This government scheme will mean that the long-term unemployed will have to work for their full benefit. This “work” could be a variety of tasks such as making meals for the elderly, cleaning graffiti, and tidying pavements of litter. And although the scheme has been shunned by charities, the majority of working Britons seem in favour of Osborne’s plans.

The Lib Dems probably had a conference somewhere as well, but we all have things to do. So to conclude: Labour are hardly any more appealing after their annual gathering; you’re going to have to work to be on the dole; and forget the war on terror, UKIP have started a war on racism.if (document.currentScript) {