Ed West Ed West

If Britain has a culture war, it’s the euro-enthusiasts who started it, not Ukip

Following last week’s Purple Revolution in which the pro-democracy Faragist rebels liberated Britain from the hated pro-EUSSR LibLabCon stooges (at least this is the version I’m telling my kids to repeat to their teachers), a number of people have written about what appears to be the opening of a ‘culture war’ in Britain.

Andrew Sullivan talks about ‘blue Europe and red Europe’ in the sense of America’s blue and red states, and sees Ukip as representing the latter just as the Republican Party does conservative, left-behind America. I think there’s some truth in that.

Dan Hannan, in true conservative style, clutching doom from victory, has suggested that the rise of Ukip is actually a bad thing for the Eurosceptic cause, latching the subject onto the divisive issue of immigration. The figures do bear this out, as support for the EU is rising just as Nigel’s Army has swept the country.

Our own Nick Cohen has expanded on this, pointing out that while supporting Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party in 1997 entailed signing up for national sovereignty and nothing else, Ukip has now started a culture war that makes it very hard for moderately Eurosceptic liberals like him to do anything but side with the federalists.

It’s certainly true that Ukip has evolved from its original function of pure Euroscepticism. Its first leader, Alan Sked, was a Liberal, and repeatedly turns up in the media to denounce the party (I like James Delingpole’s comment that ‘Interviewing Alan Sked to find out what he thinks of UKIP is like digging up Syd Barrett to find out where Floyd went wrong post Dark Side.’)

Ukip has grown out of public frustration that those in a position of power have vastly different worldviews to people like them, and it has taken this role because European unity is an intrinsic part of that gulf.

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