It being the run-up to the county council elections, there has been a smattering of leaflets coming through my door from political parties. Mostly they are the usual tired platitudes that local politicians think the electorate want to hear. The UKIP address, however, stood out for being at best misleading, at worst disingenuous as it implied that 40% of new housing in Sussex would be occupied by "immigrants". I sent a couple of emails to Wealden UKIP complaining that they were guilty of irresponsible scaremongering on the already contentious issue of rural housing development.
I had no replies to my emails but eventually received a hand-delivered letter from the candidate himself. It is quite staggering in its revelation of the party's true colours. I include it here in full, exactly as it was written:
“Dear Mr Watson,
Sorry for any confusion regarding immigration, with the numbers already here and them that may arrive one has to consider the growing population, especially when they seem to be breeding more than the natives, you are right in saying development is a contagious local issue, and we should be building for the local need, the water, the sewage and infrastructure are not up to coping with all they market houses they want to build, there are people moving out of London to get away from the immigrants in their area, so we don’t get those from Eastern Europe moving to East Sussex, but it is, but not always, the over spill coming here. Please fine enclosed a manifesto you may fine of interest.
If he was only guilty of comma splicing, malapropisms, appalling grammar and thinking the word “find” is pronounced and spelt “fine”, I would write him off as a harmless buffoon. But the ease and openness with which poisonous racism is used – and the misplaced confidence that it would be reciprocated by an elector - is astounding. I am sure we have known all along that UKIP is a lounge bar BNP – just look at their leader - but posing these days as a serious political party, I would be amazed if they expect their candidates to spout this sort of bile on their behalf; or am I being naïve? I have copied the letter to UKIP's central office, so I’ll find out…