Farage rejects 'racist' posters row

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Ukip leader Nigel Farage launches his party's European election billboard campaign in Sheffield. Ukip leader Nigel Farage launches his party's European election billboard campaign in Sheffield.

Nigel Farage has dismissed a welter of criticism over "racist" posters launching Ukip's campaign for the European and local elections.

The party leader said rivals were "screaming blue murder" over the images because they did not want to have an "honest conversation" about immigration.

The robust defence came after religious figures joined MPs in condemning the images, funded with £1.5 million from millionaire ex-Tory donor Paul Sykes.

It is Ukip's biggest ever publicity drive, as the party aims to achieve a political earthquake by topping the polls on May 22.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said it was wrong to use expressions that suggest "dismay or distress at all these people coming to this country".

Tory backbencher Nicholas Soames posted on Twitter: "At a time when our country really needs to come together, the Ukip advertising campaign is deeply divisive, offensive and ignorant."

Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "Ukip have lowered the tone of the European debate with these spiteful and inaccurate claims on immigration which seek only to divide communities."

But Mr Farage told the BBC: "The fact that Westminster hate it and want to scream blue murder over it is because they have opened up the doors, they have fundamentally changed the lives of millions of people and they would rather we did not talk about it and just brush it under the carpet."

The Ukip posters, which are to be displayed at hundreds of billboard sites across the country, carry stark warnings that "British workers are hit hard by unlimited foreign labour".

Another says that 26 million people in Europe are looking for work, adding, with a picture of a finger pointing at the reader, "and whose job are they after?".

Under the slogan "Take back control of our country", others complain that 75% of British laws are made in Brussels and that UK taxpayers fund the "celebrity lifestyle" of EU bureaucrats.

Critics compared the immigration posters with those used in the past by the far-right British National Party, and Labour MP Mike Gapes said they were "racist" and appealed to "decent" voters to turn out to oppose Ukip.

Mr Farage said the party had known it was going to ruffle feathers among the "chattering classes".

He stressed that Ukip was not accusing foreigners of "stealing" jobs from Britons, but high levels of immigration from Europe had only been good for big business and rich people who wanted cheap nannies.

The poster campaign was highlighting the need to regain "control of our borders", he said.

Ukip says that its fast-rising membership has now passed 36,000 - only around 8,000 behind the Liberal Democrats and on course to overtake Nick Clegg's junior coalition party by the time of the 2015 general election.

Mr Clegg appealed for help from Labour and pro-EU Tories to counter Ukip's arguments in the run-up to May 22 and dismissed Mr Farage's claims to be an insurgent.

He wrote in The Guardian that Ukip is part of the anti-Brussels "establishment" and its leader is the sort of professional politician he accused others of being.

"Of all Nigel Farage's far-fetched claims - and there are many - the most outlandish is the idea that Ukip's call for an exit is the insurgents' battle cry," he said.

"What poppycock. For a start, Farage is every bit the professional politician he enthusiastically reviles. He and I were elected to the European Parliament on the same day in 1999. I left after five years. The Ukip leader is still there.

"More important, there is nothing remotely new about his party's ambitions. Ukip is simply the fresh face of a long-standing Eurosceptic establishment, supported by many in the Tory Party and significant parts of the press."

Mr Clegg acknowledged that a British exit from the EU was now "plausible" but insisted he would happily take on Mr Farage in more televised debates - despite being widely seen as having lost support to him after the two already broadcast.

Admitting that the pro-EU case lacked "volume", he said: "The Lib Dems have started this debate - but we cannot win it alone.

"We want to work with others to deliver the firepower needed to challenge the Eurosceptic establishment.

"If Labour is still a pro-European party, it needs to come off the fence. Tory modernisers must risk the wrath of their backbenchers and speak out."

Meanwhile, Poland's ambassador to the UK questioned the appetite of his countrymen any longer to seek work in the UK, saying wages were now higher in his country.

"This huge wave of people who came to EU countries trying to get well-paid jobs is over now," he told The Independent, 10 years after Poland joined the EU.

"There are more opportunities in Poland, we have had huge economic success, wages are higher in Poland now and there are more jobs in many parts of Poland, so I think this is over.

"We are getting out of the crisis and there are more and more opportunities in Poland. Of course people would like to stay in Poland and not live abroad. They love the UK but if you are at home there is no place like home."

Mr Farage told the Press Association: "I don't see how anybody can look at these posters and call them racist in any way at all.

"I know one Labour MP has come out and said it but that's classic of the type of Labour MP who's wanted to suppress debate on this question, brush it under the carpet and try and decry anybody who wants to discuss this as being racist.

"This, emphatically, is not a racist party."

Mr Farage was also asked whether he regarded himself as rich. "I'm not rich compared to the kind of people that run this country from Downing Street and the coalition leaders," he said.

"It's all relative but compared to them I'm pretty poor.

"The point is that wherever I come from, I did work for 20 years in the private sector and nine years running my own company. I've got some idea how this world works.

"I do feel increasingly we're run by a bunch of college kids who've never had a real job in their lives and don't understand that EU membership doesn't help business, doesn't help jobs, it's actually giving us a regulatory regime that's costing us business, costing us jobs."

Mr Farage said: "I did speculate yesterday that perhaps some of these images would get the chattering classes chattering.

"Well, they are chattering. In fact, they're outraged.

"They're outraged because we're actually telling the truth. There's nothing we're saying here that isn't true.

"And our euro-election campaign is to say to people: look, we're paying £55 million a day for the privilege of being in a club that now makes 75% of our laws and that gives complete open borders to 485 million people all of whom can come and work, live and settle in this country.

"And we're saying 'enough's enough' - we actually want to govern our own country, make our own laws, control our own borders and it's really interesting that 60% of ethnic minorities in Britain feel as strongly about the immigration issue as everybody else does.

"We cannot go on absorbing this many people with wage compression and youth unemployment having doubled."

Mr Farage went on: "These are the most important European elections that have ever been fought in this country. We've got a chance, four and a half weeks from now, of causing such a shock in the British political system that it will be nothing short of an earthquake.

"If Ukip win these elections, a referendum, an opportunity for us to get back control of our country will be one massive, massive step closer.

"And I actually think we are going to win these elections because I do think these messages resonate with people.

"We're not against anybody. We're not anti-European. We want a Europe of nation states that live together and trade together and that's why it's not just Ukip, there are other euro-sceptic parties doing well across the north of Europe."

Mr Sykes said he had "no idea" how much the campaign had cost him. "I haven't stopped spending yet. It'll be worth every penny," he said. "What do you think the freedom of this nation's worth? What do you think self-government of this nation's worth?

"I'm going to spend whatever it takes to make the British people aware that we're no longer governed from this great nation of ours."

Pressed on how much, he replied: "It's printed everywhere. You should have read the newspapers this morning. Apprximately, I don't know, 1.2 (million pounds), 1.4 (million pounds), who knows? There's many other people contributed, not just me."

Shadow international development secretary Jim Murphy told Sky News that Ukip's apparent support online was not necessarily all it appeared to be.

He said: "I think a lot of us in politics make a mistake of judging Twitter as the real world - it's not. Twitter is an enormous source for good, it can be a great place to get information, but it is also a place where an awful lot of people with very little else to do in their life camp for many hours of the day getting over excited.

"It happens here in Scotland, where you have a thing called cybernats who take to Twitter to insult anyone who wants to keep Scotland part of the United Kingdom, and I think to some degree Ukip have a similar group of people who are just so obsessive, so determined and so focused, they spend a lot of time on their phones or computers insulting and making accusations for no reason other than they disagree with them.

"I think there's a responsibility on us all in politics, regardless which side, to conduct ourselves with some degree of decorum and some degree of respect for each other's argument."

Mr Murphy said Mr Farage would make the Commons "more colourful", were he to be elected as an MP.

"I think he would possibly be seen in the House of Commons as an eccentric but I don't think that is going to happen," he said.

Comments (14)

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10:23am Tue 22 Apr 14

hoodle says...

Bang! Nail on the head Mr. Farage. A good shake up is what's needed.
Get into 'em
Bang! Nail on the head Mr. Farage. A good shake up is what's needed. Get into 'em hoodle
  • Score: 8

10:30am Tue 22 Apr 14

A Very Private Gentleman says...

my dad came here in the 50's from Switzerland with his money, enough to buy his own home outright in cash.
he was on his way to the USA but stayed because the home office offered him this that and the other because of his trade & profession.
we are roman catholic and the new head honcho of the church is doing the rounds of publicity showboating G*D bless him+.
this is the most racist country and borough town i have ever had the displeasure of.
i have never come across such a bunch of closed door nimbi-es in all my life.
if i had a quid for every time i have had racist remark made against me well?.
you lot look after your own, those you take on out of the ethnic minorities you do so out of tokenism, you say you don't and that we are imagining it, but you really know you are all f****g liars.
they will always call us foreigners or bl**k b*****s behind our backs, its in your nature and comes from an era when the worlds maps were mainly coloured in pink.
thanks Cardinal Nichollas but your thoughts will fall on deaf ears mate.
we got the new bishop coming to Essex soon so that will be enlightening I see he is Caucasian British too.
the only colour issues here is rose coloured tinted spectacles!!!
my dad came here in the 50's from Switzerland with his money, enough to buy his own home outright in cash. he was on his way to the USA but stayed because the home office offered him this that and the other because of his trade & profession. we are roman catholic and the new head honcho of the church is doing the rounds of publicity showboating G*D bless him+. this is the most racist country and borough town i have ever had the displeasure of. i have never come across such a bunch of closed door nimbi-es in all my life. if i had a quid for every time i have had racist remark made against me well?. you lot look after your own, those you take on out of the ethnic minorities you do so out of tokenism, you say you don't and that we are imagining it, but you really know you are all f****g liars. they will always call us foreigners or bl**k b*****s behind our backs, its in your nature and comes from an era when the worlds maps were mainly coloured in pink. thanks Cardinal Nichollas but your thoughts will fall on deaf ears mate. we got the new bishop coming to Essex soon so that will be enlightening I see he is Caucasian British too. the only colour issues here is rose coloured tinted spectacles!!! A Very Private Gentleman
  • Score: -12

10:45am Tue 22 Apr 14

OckendonPaul says...

I hope the cardinal will also roundly condemn Mandela and Ghandi.
After all they weren't too keen on (white) immigrants coming to their countries, they weren't keen to praise the contributions that we made.
Well he will, won't he?
I hope the cardinal will also roundly condemn Mandela and Ghandi. After all they weren't too keen on (white) immigrants coming to their countries, they weren't keen to praise the contributions that we made. Well he will, won't he? OckendonPaul
  • Score: 4

10:49am Tue 22 Apr 14

pauls55 says...

Conservative minister Lord Debden said: "Ukip stands for the worst in human beings: our prejudice, selfishness, and fear." Couldn't agree more and the first time i have ever ageed with a Tory! No problem with an intellegent argument about the EU, but UKIP's wild propaganda has reached a new low.
Conservative minister Lord Debden said: "Ukip stands for the worst in human beings: our prejudice, selfishness, and fear." Couldn't agree more and the first time i have ever ageed with a Tory! No problem with an intellegent argument about the EU, but UKIP's wild propaganda has reached a new low. pauls55
  • Score: -11

2:43pm Tue 22 Apr 14

welshmen says...

We have to many Immigrants in our Country, those who have come here and disagree with that need to look at why they are still here, if they feel the hatred why stay, I wouldn't give any more of my cash or time to my host Country, the professional immigrants who came here for a better life are needed more to help their own Country folk than us..

Why do so many Immigrants come to this little Island, not the wind-wood immigrants 40-50's who came to work on the trains and bus's mainly from the Caribbean, most stayed even after terrible racist abuse, they stayed and married in to our Culture and joined and fought in our Forces.

It's the latest arrivals from the European Union, Millions doing cheap jobs that our young used to do on leaving School, they expect and get most of what we pay for for free, This Country has spent £148 Billion on Immigrants, that's a LOSS since 1995-2011, we are continuing to lose more money with still more Immigrants coming here in uncontrolled numbers, our Government or LIB/LAB/CON want more immigrants, while promising to cut numbers, our towns changing beyond recognition, to the Native British it's a big threat, a threat to our way of life that we hold dear, people who can't speak our language yet still want a house free NHS and schooling yet not paying towards this like the British Natives have all their lives.

The Religion of Peace that came to our Country with the Immigrant influx, now some of the Muslim Radicals want their Sharia Law for our Country, yet these Muslims don't and wont integrate or Marry into our Culture, they can't do that because their Qu'an tells them we are non believers and should be avoided or "snick their necks" as their holly book instructs it's followers to do, I would class these as Colonisers, they seem to want their own State within our Country..

Racism happens to white people too, take South Africa, they have mostly a Black Democratic Government, yet the white Farmers are being killed in the ten's of thousands since the changes, no one seems to care, the media say nothing, you have to go on the internet to find out. people in South Africa take that it's mainly a Black Country and whites don't count, same as in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe followers are killing farmers and replacing them with the Black Native farmers, these farmers can't now feed the Country because the are not as good as the white farmers they killed and replaced, yet no one cares, the media and Governments let this happen because they don't care. like here many Whites killed by blacks yet again some don't even make the news, yet if a white person kills a black person it's in every media outlet for years, how many Black Associations are there have a look on the internet that'l tell you, racism works two ways not all ways white on black.

Britain is mainly a White Christian Country, slow change is OK for the Natives, but the change we are supposed to except is unacceptable and must stop ASAP, the only two Political Parties who want this to ease or stop are the UK Independent Party and The British National Party, Either will do this, the BNP will also reverse immigration plus much more, The Liberal Elite and the Church are not for the British native, they show they are more for everyone from anywhere, probably that's why our Churches are not as popular as they once were....
We have to many Immigrants in our Country, those who have come here and disagree with that need to look at why they are still here, if they feel the hatred why stay, I wouldn't give any more of my cash or time to my host Country, the professional immigrants who came here for a better life are needed more to help their own Country folk than us.. Why do so many Immigrants come to this little Island, not the wind-wood immigrants 40-50's who came to work on the trains and bus's mainly from the Caribbean, most stayed even after terrible racist abuse, they stayed and married in to our Culture and joined and fought in our Forces. It's the latest arrivals from the European Union, Millions doing cheap jobs that our young used to do on leaving School, they expect and get most of what we pay for for free, This Country has spent £148 Billion on Immigrants, that's a LOSS since 1995-2011, we are continuing to lose more money with still more Immigrants coming here in uncontrolled numbers, our Government or LIB/LAB/CON want more immigrants, while promising to cut numbers, our towns changing beyond recognition, to the Native British it's a big threat, a threat to our way of life that we hold dear, people who can't speak our language yet still want a house free NHS and schooling yet not paying towards this like the British Natives have all their lives. The Religion of Peace that came to our Country with the Immigrant influx, now some of the Muslim Radicals want their Sharia Law for our Country, yet these Muslims don't and wont integrate or Marry into our Culture, they can't do that because their Qu'an tells them we are non believers and should be avoided or "snick their necks" as their holly book instructs it's followers to do, I would class these as Colonisers, they seem to want their own State within our Country.. Racism happens to white people too, take South Africa, they have mostly a Black Democratic Government, yet the white Farmers are being killed in the ten's of thousands since the changes, no one seems to care, the media say nothing, you have to go on the internet to find out. people in South Africa take that it's mainly a Black Country and whites don't count, same as in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe followers are killing farmers and replacing them with the Black Native farmers, these farmers can't now feed the Country because the are not as good as the white farmers they killed and replaced, yet no one cares, the media and Governments let this happen because they don't care. like here many Whites killed by blacks yet again some don't even make the news, yet if a white person kills a black person it's in every media outlet for years, how many Black Associations are there have a look on the internet that'l tell you, racism works two ways not all ways white on black. Britain is mainly a White Christian Country, slow change is OK for the Natives, but the change we are supposed to except is unacceptable and must stop ASAP, the only two Political Parties who want this to ease or stop are the UK Independent Party and The British National Party, Either will do this, the BNP will also reverse immigration plus much more, The Liberal Elite and the Church are not for the British native, they show they are more for everyone from anywhere, probably that's why our Churches are not as popular as they once were.... welshmen
  • Score: 8

3:57pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Pinza-C55 says...

I have never been a member of any political party and UKIP are miles away from my natural left wing. However I can agree with them on one thing, as did the late Tony Benn; we should be out of Europe. As for saying being anti EU is "racist", give me a break. The last time I looked European wasn't a "race" any more than the Isle Of Man is a race!
The evangelist Billy Graham once said "when you throw a stone into a pack of dogs, the one that barks the loudest is the one you hit". That seems to be the case here.
I have never been a member of any political party and UKIP are miles away from my natural left wing. However I can agree with them on one thing, as did the late Tony Benn; we should be out of Europe. As for saying being anti EU is "racist", give me a break. The last time I looked European wasn't a "race" any more than the Isle Of Man is a race! The evangelist Billy Graham once said "when you throw a stone into a pack of dogs, the one that barks the loudest is the one you hit". That seems to be the case here. Pinza-C55
  • Score: 6

4:30pm Tue 22 Apr 14

cosmick says...

We will see in MAY if UKIP make the breakthrough required. I think the british people have had enougth of open borders and will vote to show this.
This is the last chance to save the BRITISH way of life.
PLEASE VOTE UKIP!
We will see in MAY if UKIP make the breakthrough required. I think the british people have had enougth of open borders and will vote to show this. This is the last chance to save the BRITISH way of life. PLEASE VOTE UKIP! cosmick
  • Score: 9

9:07pm Tue 22 Apr 14

MSG says...

UKIP'S posters are only telling the truth. I can't wait to see them appear in the run up to the historic event when UKIP smash the LIBLABCON.

Roll on May euro election 3 UKIP votes in this house !!
UKIP'S posters are only telling the truth. I can't wait to see them appear in the run up to the historic event when UKIP smash the LIBLABCON. Roll on May euro election 3 UKIP votes in this house !! MSG
  • Score: 4

10:01pm Tue 22 Apr 14

tomtopper says...

Well I'm off to see Mr. Farage tomorrow night at the sage.. Should be interesting.. UKIP may well shake up British politics a little and I'm sure everyone will agree that can only be a good thing
Well I'm off to see Mr. Farage tomorrow night at the sage.. Should be interesting.. UKIP may well shake up British politics a little and I'm sure everyone will agree that can only be a good thing tomtopper
  • Score: 2

10:12am Wed 23 Apr 14

pauls55 says...

So what exactly will happen in UKIPs wonderland? Will Farage's German wife/secretary have to give up her job to a British national instead? And what will happen to the 2 million Britains who currently work in the EU? Will they be barred from coming back here in case they flood the country and pinch all our jobs?
So what exactly will happen in UKIPs wonderland? Will Farage's German wife/secretary have to give up her job to a British national instead? And what will happen to the 2 million Britains who currently work in the EU? Will they be barred from coming back here in case they flood the country and pinch all our jobs? pauls55
  • Score: -5

1:37pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Pobinr says...

Racists & xenophobes are people that are sick & tired of;
1] Cheap imported labour that drives wages down & take jobs from locals
2] Classes full of kids that need special lessons in speaking basic English
3] Being told it's just Daily Mail fiction when I see it with my own eyes
4] Higher house prices & rents due to increased demand
5] More crowded surgeries & longer NHS queues
6] Worst housing shortage since WWII
7] More & more houses on greenbelt
8] More & more road congestion
9] Child grooming gangs
10] People traffickers
11] FGM
I guess that makes me a racist xenophobe then!
Racists & xenophobes are people that are sick & tired of; 1] Cheap imported labour that drives wages down & take jobs from locals 2] Classes full of kids that need special lessons in speaking basic English 3] Being told it's just Daily Mail fiction when I see it with my own eyes 4] Higher house prices & rents due to increased demand 5] More crowded surgeries & longer NHS queues 6] Worst housing shortage since WWII 7] More & more houses on greenbelt 8] More & more road congestion 9] Child grooming gangs 10] People traffickers 11] FGM I guess that makes me a racist xenophobe then! Pobinr
  • Score: 1

1:38pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Pobinr says...

pauls55 wrote:
So what exactly will happen in UKIPs wonderland? Will Farage's German wife/secretary have to give up her job to a British national instead? And what will happen to the 2 million Britains who currently work in the EU? Will they be barred from coming back here in case they flood the country and pinch all our jobs?
If you are a citizen of Australia or NZ or USA or Canada etc who have sensible border controls like we used to have & should have here, but don't. You are allowed close family to come into the country & live & work.
Let me explain. Nigel's wife is well how else can I put it 'his wife'!
That's fairly close family isn't it!
Got it?
[quote][p][bold]pauls55[/bold] wrote: So what exactly will happen in UKIPs wonderland? Will Farage's German wife/secretary have to give up her job to a British national instead? And what will happen to the 2 million Britains who currently work in the EU? Will they be barred from coming back here in case they flood the country and pinch all our jobs?[/p][/quote]If you are a citizen of Australia or NZ or USA or Canada etc who have sensible border controls like we used to have & should have here, but don't. You are allowed close family to come into the country & live & work. Let me explain. Nigel's wife is well how else can I put it 'his wife'! That's fairly close family isn't it! Got it? Pobinr
  • Score: 1

1:41pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Pobinr says...

Racists judge a group of people from a small sample of them then claim they are all the same!
That's exactly what UKIP bashers are doing here.
I am a member of UKIP. I haven't met any racists in it yet.
The chairperson of our branch is an Asian lady from Jamaica.
The party is open to all. Apart from racists!
When people are racists they are kicked out.
Get it
Racists judge a group of people from a small sample of them then claim they are all the same! That's exactly what UKIP bashers are doing here. I am a member of UKIP. I haven't met any racists in it yet. The chairperson of our branch is an Asian lady from Jamaica. The party is open to all. Apart from racists! When people are racists they are kicked out. Get it Pobinr
  • Score: 2

1:46pm Sat 26 Apr 14

Pobinr says...

Do you think this man is a racist?

Ask yourself why he won't be voting for the 'British Jobs for British Workers' Slabour party ?

Some words from a Southampton Resident on the UKIP leaflet.

'My Name is Albert Griffiths and I was born in 1924 in London.
My father was injured in the first world war and had to have both legs amputated.
He could not provide for all six children on his small pension, so I was adoptedby a family and moved to live with them in Romford, Essex when I was nine.
At age 14 I was sent to a training farm where learned about looking after animals and crops.
I also joined the Dagenham Sea Cadets. We were issued with old carbine rifles that had been used in the American Civil war!
In 1942 I signed up for the Royal Navy as a trainee radio operator. I was assigned to HMS London and sailed on Arctic Convoy PQ20, taking essential supplies to northern Russia.
The weather conditions were quite bad. I was later posted on the Wild Goose, which sank more German U boats than any other vessel.
I took part in the Normandy landings, and that was a traumatic experience.
I left the Navy in 1946, but continued to work in radio for many years.
I support UKIP because I am fed up of the people's voice not being heard and even now, in my senior years will strive for an independant self-governed country'
Do you think this man is a racist? Ask yourself why he won't be voting for the 'British Jobs for British Workers' Slabour party ? Some words from a Southampton Resident on the UKIP leaflet. 'My Name is Albert Griffiths and I was born in 1924 in London. My father was injured in the first world war and had to have both legs amputated. He could not provide for all six children on his small pension, so I was adoptedby a family and moved to live with them in Romford, Essex when I was nine. At age 14 I was sent to a training farm where learned about looking after animals and crops. I also joined the Dagenham Sea Cadets. We were issued with old carbine rifles that had been used in the American Civil war! In 1942 I signed up for the Royal Navy as a trainee radio operator. I was assigned to HMS London and sailed on Arctic Convoy PQ20, taking essential supplies to northern Russia. The weather conditions were quite bad. I was later posted on the Wild Goose, which sank more German U boats than any other vessel. I took part in the Normandy landings, and that was a traumatic experience. I left the Navy in 1946, but continued to work in radio for many years. I support UKIP because I am fed up of the people's voice not being heard and even now, in my senior years will strive for an independant self-governed country' Pobinr
  • Score: 2
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