As I type, it’s been six hours since the official UKIP facebook page posted this picture.
It refers to recent comments made by Chuka Umunna, mostly about online skills in Britain as a whole, with one throwaway comment at the end about how some of the people who feel alienated in a technologically advanced world may have voted for UKIP. Within the last few hours, the post has caused a facebook storm. Most posts by the official UKIP page get a few hundred comments, this one got over 2,000. A lot of them were angry, as you might imagine. Alarmingly though, a considerable proportion of these comments had echoes of racism (along the lines of ‘He is not British’/’He should go back to where he came from’/’Chuka Umunna what a British-sounding name’).
But the worse comments were truly heinous and referred to the colour of Chuka Umunna’s skin. They would not have looked out of place on a white supremacist website. There were comments comparing Umunna to an ape. There were comments explicitly stating that Africans were uncivilised. There were comments calling for ‘white power’ and urging Britain to be a ‘white country again’. These screenshots speak for themselves.
This SLATUKIP member for one does not buy the ‘this is a very small minority’ excuse. Firstly, there are several comments in the screenshot above and I have omitted the countless calls for Umunna to ‘go home back to his own country’ or the claims that he is ‘not British’. Secondly, if a political party spends a vastly disproportional time talking about immigration, like UKIP have done, there are no excuses and no hiding places when they attract a disproportionate amount of racist support. What is staggering is how a negative post, that provides a motive to hate, attracts tenfold the attention of UKIP supporters that a post praising Nigel Farage would do, for example. It seems UKIP supporters are more united by what they are against than what they are for.
Is this the type of politics we want in this country – the politics of hate?
Update: having trawled through around half the comments made under the UKIP post in question, here are all the offending comments found so far.