If theres one thing that worries me about some of the dangerous rhetoric coming out of the UKIP (aka the UK Tea Party) and the Tories these days its that we can see all too clearly the corrosive effect that similar rhetoric has had on US politics.
It used to be that Americans were Americans first and politics came second. A friend was telling me how he used to work in an office with two yanks, one Republican, one Democrat and despite this they were good friends, sitting down every Friday afternoon to debate politics back home. Now, thanks to the Tea Party, such debate is impossible. If youre a democrat then youre assumed to be in favour of FEMA death camps and Obamas death panels. If youre Republican you hold the three Gs – Guns, God and Gays as sacrosanct. Its like members of the two parties are from entirely separate species.
Take this story of an employee of a coal company who claims he was fired because he wont make campaign contributions to the same party of his boss….Ill let you guess which one!
Or how about the Republican candidate for the Governor of Colorado state Bob Beauprez. Hes so anti-big government, hes proposed that if elected hell cease control of federal land and national parks with a view to selling it to oil and gas industry developers. It was of course pointed out to him that if he ceases such land then that would make him and the state responsible for it rather than the federal government, and the fire protection bill and land management bill for Colorados national parks is currently running at about $300 million per year! :crazy: Furthermore I doubt the many tourists who flock to Colorado are going to come all that way to see a coal mine or a no trespassing sign.
Bobs greatest hits also includes anti-Immigrant policies that make Farage seem vaguely sensible. Hes proposing to deploy the National Guard to the Mexican border. Of course as the less geographically challenged of you will realise, Colorado doesnt have a land border with Mexico. So in essence he is committing himself to a policy of invading the neighbouring state of Arizona! :no:
So clearly we have a commitment to political policies that are unworkable, unenforceable and would likely have the opposite effect of what is intended. Furthermore its worth reflecting on the fact that the top ten employers in the Colorado springs (the state capital) are all government related in some way (Army, federal government, state and county, teachers, etc.). If big government gets off Colorados back, then that means a lot of this city citizens out of a job!
And the term liberal is practically an insult in some parts of the US now (if you want a good laugh check out the conservapedia page on liberal). And the old assumptions about religious tolerance in the US are a thing of the past, as there is now open bigotry against either Atheists or Muslims. Recent polls have suggested that 40% of Americans would vote against a presidential candidate purely for being Muslim and 43% would not vote for an atheist candidate.
Its now gotten to the stage where the religion of many American conservatives isnt Christianity but sticking to utterly insane political positions. There is in truth probably more than a few in the GOP who would privately concede that Obamacare included a few good ideas, that the US needs to tackle climate change and start breaking its oil addiction. And that the anti-science antics of young earth creationists is not doing Americas reputation as a progressive nation any favours, making it hard for the country to hold onto its scientific lead.
Of course were any GOP candidates to actually state any of this in public, theyd be tarred and feathered by the Tea Party. They expect as a given that any Republican candidate will be a pro-gun, climate change denying, creationist who despite probably having been a government employee for most of his life, will be in favour of getting rid of the government altogether.
Similarly back in Britain, can you imagine a Tory candidate who openly suggested that remaining in the EU was a good idea? Well I seem to remember Margret Thatcher, John Major and practically every Tory member of the cabinet in both regimes thought so. Thatcher campaigned in favour of a Yes vote at the last UK EU referendum.
And there are many business leaders who worry about the consequences of any lurch for the EU exit door. Some business leaders have even rated an EU referendum as being more disruptive to business than a Yes vote in Scotland. However despite many of these business leaders being conservatives, they dare not speak up for fear of being lynched by the UKIP bigot brigade.
Increasingly the sort of corrosive, insane and polarising politics of the US is taking over UK politics. And in particular this extends to the Conservatives. There is an urgent need for this to be opposed, in particular by those still in the Tory party who havent completely lost the plot…and unfortunately if the statements of the last month are anything to go by that no longer includes Cameron, who seems to have drunken the UKIP kool-aid!