Nigel Farage believes in a Britain which doesn’t exist
'Believe in Britain' states the front page of Ukip's manifesto. Yet the truth is that Ukip do not really believe in Britain. In fact they don't even seem to like it very much.
At best Ukip believes in a Britain which never really existed. A Britain of bland food and pale faces. A Britain where the roads are all empty, and the voices are all English.
Most of all they believe in a Britain where people like Nigel Farage are in control. When the Ukip leader declared that "we want our country back" he meant it quite literally.
Ukip's version of Britain is a mean-spirited and selfish place. It's a country where the sick are turned away from hospitals and the world's most destitute people are left to fend for themselves.
At their manifesto launch, Farage was asked by a Telegraph journalist why the only black face in the document was in the section on overseas aid. The question was met with shouts of "shame" from Ukip supporters with senior figures later complaining about the “impertinent” question. Yet the real shame was not the question about photographs in the manifesto, but Ukip's overseas aid policy itself.
Under a Ukip government, foreign aid would be slashed to less than a third of current levels and all immigration to the UK would be heavily restricted. "Ukip has no intention of pulling up the drawbridge" the party claimed. But not only do they want to pull up the drawbridge, they don't want to help any of the people left stranded on the outside either.
Farage was also asked whether he stood by his recent comments about immigrants and HIV. The question was met with cries of "disgusting" from Ukip supporters. Again, it's not Farage's view that was seen as disgusting here, but the fact that a journalist should dare to question it. In the Britain that Ukip believes in, such questions are simply not asked.
"Do I stand by that? Bet your life I stand by that," was Farage's defiant response.
Farage's original comments about immigrants with HIV were widely condemned after the last leaders' debate. Yet there is no doubt that there are millions of people out there for whom Farage's mean and selfish views remain attractive. For these people, the real Britain we all live in is a scary and intimidating place.
This real Britain of many different cultures, languages and faces is a reality they find hard to confront. For these people this real Britain is a disconcerting place where foreign voices fill our trains and foreign faces fill our streets.
For these people, Farage's belief in a different and entirely imaginary Britain is a powerful one. Quite how powerful it is will become clear in less than a month's time.