Review: 100 Days of UKIP

Picture of Deepa Kaur (Priyanga Burford), a young South Asian woman wearing a black suit and blue scarf round her neck, shaking hands with a white female constituentUKIP: The First 100 Days (Channel 4; viewable for next 29 days in UK only)

Last night, Channel 4 screened a programme which imagined what the first 100 days of a UKIP government would be like if it won the election outright this coming May. It follows a Sikh woman elected as a UKIP MP in Romford in Essex (on the eastern fringe of London); she is apparently the party’s first Asian MP and much is made of her background and the friction this causes with other members of her family. It uses a lot of archive footage showing real statements by various UKIP candidates and councillors, some of which in this programme had become MPs or even ministers, and ends with the MP losing out on political promotion after siding with her own community after they are disproportionately hit by a UKIP immigration clampdown. (More: TiiRoaC.)

Naturally, the first thing that was announced after they won the election was an exit from the EU, which caused the FTSE 100 index and the Pound to drop hugely. A week or so later, Airbus announced that it was pulling out of the UK as a result, and a company in Romford which supplied parts to Airbus also closed down. The new MP, Deepa Kaur, who had been giving walking tours of Romford’s markets and receiving very approving responses from local white market traders, suddenly had to deal with angry former aircraft parts workers and a brick was thrown through her constituency office’s windows. When workers told her that it was all down to the government’s policy, she tried to blame the ‘cynical’ company. Her own brother lost his job at the factory, and when he took her to task, she responded that she had tried to help ‘real’ workers who had wives and children, when he was still living with his parents.

Next, UKIP announce that they are going to launch a clampdown on illegal immigration, claiming that much of the crime in the UK was perpetrated by Romanians, and Deepa gave a speech in which she said that immigrants who wanted to contribute and abide by ‘our’ values were welcome, but those who wanted to go against them and “steal our welfare” had to be sent home. This led to a series of raids against various businesses and policemen and immigration officers were seen bursting into properties and dragging people out into the streets and bundling them into vans. This leads to demonstrations in the streets, both from left-wing groups supported by unions who chant “racist scum”, and also from the EDL and a small group who call their opponents “commies”, something I’ve not heard on demonstrations here in years. Eventually it gets violent as one of the groups breaks through the police barriers.

After a visit to a Women’s Institute in Romford, a white lady challenges Deepa about how raids are carried out without warrants and disproportionately target “brown-skinned” people. She asks Deepa if she has ever seen one of these raids and Deepa responds that she has not, but it is being arranged for her to go on a raid, which satisfies the woman. During the incident, an Asian man is injured but is himself charged with assaulting an immigration officer and held in custody. This leads to heightened demonstrations and more aggressive challenges from Deepa’s brother. UKIP have declared a new Bank Holiday, a “festival of Britain” day to take place 100 days after they take power, and street parties are held across the country to “celebrate” Britain (and distract from the economic crash caused by the withdrawal from the EU).

Deepa participates in one of these events and her brother, wearing a T-shirt supporting the young man injured in the immigration raid, is in the background; Deepa tells him to “go home” but he does not (I am surprised he did not respond “to where, India?” or “this is my country” or something like that). At this point she is being prepared for promotion to a ministerial position after three UKIP ministers resign or are sacked after their racist remarks are made public. However, at the meeting she tells people that the man injured in the raid was innocent and that she intends to make a statement to the police to that effect. She also agrees that the raids were disproportionate and that Britain was really better than that. As a result, she “rules herself out” for promotion, but secures the release of the young man, and a reporter says that tensions had calmed as a result.

The programme was shot from the point of view of some Channel 4 journalists who follow Deepa round for her first 100 days as an MP, and occasionally we see the police or UKIP telling the film crew to get back or turn the cameras off. The fundamental premises of the programme are, I suspect, sound — that a UKIP government will launch a crackdown on immigration and make a show of contempt towards ‘political correctness’ in their way of operating, and that pulling out of the EU would lead to businesses pulling out. However, I very much doubt that a UKIP government (or any government) could take an action that directly led to thousands, or even millions, of jobs being lost overnight and then be able to distract from it by holding street parties or even clamping down on immigrants, illegal or otherwise. Bear in mind that even a “landslide” election victory in terms of Parliamentary seats is usually only generated by a percentage of the votes in the upper 40s; the majority of people would still have voted against them, and the result would have been enormous unrest. No talk was heard of the Scottish independence cause being resurrected, which it would have been.

I question the point of making the programme at all, given that a pure UKIP government is simply not going to happen: there are too few people in the party with any credibility and too many who have made stupid gaffes showing their ignorance, bigotry and quite unfashionable views about matters like the status of women. A more likely prospect is a Tory/UKIP coalition, which would lead to at the very least a referendum on exiting the EU. Only one likely effect of ‘Brexit’ was mentioned — the pull-out of major manufacturers — although the others would likely have only become apparent after it happened, such as increased difficulty and delay in travelling and transporting goods into and out of the country, which would be well after 100 days. Still, it’s a break from the relentless over-exposure of UKIP in the media, the making a statesman of Farage; the most likely UKIP government is a government of inept clowns which quickly brings disaster.

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  • Geography Police

    Romford is in London, not Essex. This has been the case since 1st April 1965.

  • mehrcat

    Did anybody notice that (about 22 minutes in) when she gives her speech at the party conference, the union flag on the giant screen behind her, is actually flying upside down?

    Secret message??

  • I didn’t, actually. Could have been a mistake, but then it’s also a recognised distress symbol (as with flying flags upside down on ships).

  • M Risbrook

    It’s a million miles off the mark but it’s the beginning of the media kicking up dirt against UKIP. Expect to see more in the future.

    Riaz told me that you had a fascination with Europe back when you were at Kesgrave Hall School and you used to read the now defunct The European newspaper. He was expecting that with your conversion to Islam in the late 1990s your focus would move towards the Islamic world but it doesn’t appear to have happened judging by what you have written. He could write reams of criticism about UKIP - and has not been on good terms with them since 2001 when he defaced the UKIP logo - but he cannot comprehend why any Muslim wants the EU.

  • I did take a huge interest in Europe when at Kesgrave and did read “The European”. It was quite a lively newspaper, written in a fairly accessible style (as was the Guardian’s Europe supplement then). I went off it when it changed its format and went more formal and more Times-ish. That was then; now, Europe is turning in on itself and even Austria, which had quite a relaxed approach to Muslims until recently, has now imposed a hugely restrictive law on Muslims which prohibits foreign funding and imposes a standardised German translation of the Qur’an, despite there being no real tension between Muslims and others, except for the bigotry whipped up by the so-called Freedom Party.

    Still, Britain is part of Europe, and the only alternative to the EU is a free trade area with other English-speaking countries, the nearest of which to us (besides Ireland) is 3,000 miles away, or a Norwegian-style arrangement in which we have to implement European standards but have no say in writing them. The people trying to remove us are mostly moronic Little Englanders who haven’t got over the loss of the Empire. I don’t want to live in a country ruled by these people with no constitution or human rights protection. I’ve no plans to move anywhere in Europe, but right now the benefits to British people, including Muslims, in staying in the EU outweigh the harms. It’s about jobs and trade, not culture.

  • M Risbrook

    “and the only alternative to the EU is a free trade area with other English-speaking countries”

    I disagree with this. There are plenty of interesting countries in the world that Britain could forge better relations with that are not English speaking. How about Russia and Japan for starters? I’m sure that many Muslims would like a better relationship with Muslim majority countries than countries in Europe with few Muslims that they have nothing to do with.

    “The people trying to remove us are mostly moronic Little Englanders who haven’t got over the loss of the Empire.”

    Untrue. Opposition to the EU comes from a diverse group of people who don’t always agree on other domestic or international issues. Reasons for wanting to withdraw Britain from the EU vary considerably as well. For some it is sovereignty; for others it is economic - including both free market and socialist; for others it is about the way the EU is run and difficulties reforming it from within; for others it is an open door immigration policy; for others it is about international relationships with countries outside of the EU.

    “but right now the benefits to British people, including Muslims, in staying in the EU outweigh the harms. It’s about jobs and trade, not culture.”

    Countries with stagnant economies, ageing and shrinking populations, high taxes, and saturated markets. The economic benefits might have been attractive during the 1960s and 70s but it is quite clearly evident today that Britain joined the wrong club. There are countries with higher economic growth, rising disposable incomes, and hungry markets for British products and services outside of the EU. The world has changed since the 1970s.