Saturday, May 09, 2009

Vaguely racist

We've had the first of the European election leaflets through the door. One is the usual incredibly negative tirade against Labour and the Tories from the "friendly, moderate" (il)Liberal Democrats. The Welsh Liberal Democrat campaigns are always the most negative.

But the other leaflet, from the UK Independence Party (UKIP) was more disturbing. They have one aim - to quit the EU - but it's the way they go about it that is troubling me. Two 'facts' are included on their leaflet. Firstly, "1 in 7 prisoners in the UK are foreigners", followed by "Romanians committed 1,080 crimes in London in 2008".

No context, no defining information. What crimes are we talking about here? Are we talking about Romanian women smuggled into Britain and co-erced into prostitution? Are we talking drug-dealing? Both those crimes require a market. Who is the bigger criminal - the seller or the buyer (who is also breaking the law)?

And on a broader reach - it's said that periods of economic crisis usually give impetus to racist movements. It looks like one political party is happy to stir up racist sentiments in the hope of winning votes.

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