Why Mr Farage worries me

November 24, 2016 23:26

I need your help with something. Together, if that's alright with you, we need to think through something that's been bothering me. I'm finding it hard to put it into words. Which is awkward, being as that's what I'm paid for. So I just need you to bear with me.

What it is, is this. Last Thursday night, in the leaders' debate, Nigel Farage made me feel uncomfortable and I am not exactly sure why. Maybe you felt the same way.

I don't have too much difficulty explaining why he makes me uncomfortable politically.

I want the return of a Conservative government and he stands in the way of that. He is going to siphon off just a few votes everywhere. Not enough to mean much for him and win all that many seats (3? 5? if that) but enough to help Ed Miliband win office. So I understand all that and can face it squarely.

I am not particularly expecting you to sympathise with it. You may look at the same facts entirely differently.

I am worried to see all our problems blamed on 'foreigners'

No, the problem I have, that you may share, is putting my finger on why he makes me uncomfortable as a Jew.

I have no reason to believe that Mr Farage doesn't like Jews. Some of his best friends may be Jews. He is a genial enough person and he'd hotly reject antisemitism, I'm sure.

And he is too savvy, in any case, to start dabbling in it, even if he were that way inclined.

Indeed I suspect he'd go a little further. He'd argue that we Jews are an example to everyone. We have integrated, become British. And we are - surely - the first to understand the value of Britain and its indigenous population. Britons and British values have kept us safe.

In arguing this, he is also quite right. And Ukip would be quite correct, too, to suggest that, for all that so many of us are from immigrant families, Jews are almost as supportive of immigration control as anyone else.

In particular we look at France and the impact of immigration there and we are concerned that this should not happen here.

There is no special Jewish position on whether the NHS or welfare benefits should be restricted to nationals who have paid for them.

Yet it is a reasonable bet that benefit tourism or coming to the UK to use the hospitals is no more popular in this community than it is in the country at large.

So why, given all, this, should Nigel Farage's debate performance have made me a little scared?

As a Jew, a little scared. And I don't think that's an exaggeration of its impact upon me.

Let me see if I can capture it. For all that I am a very integrated Briton and for all that I, too, believe in immigration control; for all that I think there are some problems caused to the welfare state by rapid migration; for all that, I feel aggrieved and worried to hear all this country's problems laid at the door of "foreigners".

Which is what he did. Really, it was his answer to every question.

I think it is profoundly worrying for all of us Jews - maybe I don't speak for you here, but maybe I do - if the idea is propagated that this country's heritage is being subverted by a political class who are too tolerant to outsiders.

Let me have one more go at explaining.

There was an incident recently in which Ukip came out against schechita, while telling Jews not to worry because it wasn't us it was aimed at.

On Thursday I realised just where that was leading.

November 24, 2016 23:26

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive