Comment: Blunkett attacks the Roma – so why are only Ukip called racist?
By Janice Atkinson
As the left/right competition for immigration rhetoric on the airwaves heats up, you can't tell 'em apart. It's only Ukip that can be called racist.
Labour is stepping up the immigration row. David Blunkett's warning that an influx of Roma migrants could lead to riots in Britain should be taken very seriously. Yet when Ukip talk about it, it's classed as racism.
"Mr Blunkett should be admired for the courage he has shown by speaking so plainly on this issue. Of course the type of language he has used I would have been utterly condemned for using," said Nigel Farage. And he's right.
The left are running hard to catch up and talk about immigration and openly admitting their spectacular failure to manage our borders since 2004. They are afraid for their northern Labour strongholds. Ukip is the official opposition in the north.
The Conservative party, whilst trying to detoxify itself with the green agenda, hugging hoodies and gay marriage, has also stepped up its nasty party language on immigration with a massive own goal with the racist immigration vans. They are afraid for their key marginal seats with supporters haemorrhaging to Ukip.
The Lib Dems squirm over the immigration vans, yet they’re in government and approved them. They wholly embrace the EU so cannot be part of the discussion. We know where they stand.
When Jack Straw said that Muslim women should abandon wearing the burqa because it was a "visible statement of separation and difference" he quickly backed down. And again when he asked women to remove their veils at meetings in his constituency office, he was attacked but never called a racist.
When Ukip proposes the banning of any face coverings in public we are attacked, most recently by the defence minister Anna Soubry on BBC's Question Time. I think the ladies on the panel got together in the loo and said 'let's look good by attacking Farage'. Soubry, briefed by No10, was let loose as an attack dog. She looked very silly and very shrill.
The Conservatives spin a great line about "women should be free to wear what they want" and "I personally wouldn't but I respect their right to wear a burqa" and so it goes on. They don't believe that. I have heard them in private.
There is a very real threat that we will be swamped from 1st January 2014 when our borders are open to 30 million Bulgarians and Romanians. The fact that Blunkett is talking of the significant difficulties with the Roma population already in his constituency should be taken seriously by the likes of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband.
Two weeks ago I was on Channel 4 News with Romany journalist Jake Bowers. There was a new report out that showed there were already 200,000 Roma living in the UK.
Jake made the point that they have been here for 500 years and have never integrated. I agreed with him that there was a real problem if we couldn't get our own Roma to integrate what chance did we have of the impending arrival of more?
As one commentator pointed out, those that are coming are illiterate, unhealthy, have scores of children and no proper roof over their heads – that was Isobel Fonseca (aka Martin Amis' wife), who has travelled with and written books about them. Has she ever been called a racist?
Yet, despite the tough words, is Mr Blunkett to support Ukip in explicitly opposing the opening of the doors next year to Romania and Bulgaria?
The political class are trying to sweep this issue under the carpet but they should listen, act and stop the relaxing of border controls with Romania and Bulgaria next year. The clock is ticking.
In the late 70s I went on Rock Against Racism and Anti Nazi League marches. My views back then still hold firm today. Yet, whenever I write about immigration I am almost always branded a racist.
I wonder whether the Unite Against Fascism mob will turn up at Blunkett and Straw's next public meeting or constituency surgery?
Janice Atkinson is Ukip's candidate for MEP in the South East.
The opinions in politics.co.uk's Comment and Analysis section are those of the author and are no reflection of the views of the website or its owners.