It seems we are at a stage when supporters of UKIP automatically face charges of racism for their beliefs, as evidenced by the protests intended to be whipped up against the delegates of the party’s conference at the Winter Garden (Herald, June 6).
The protesters leave themselves open to a suggestion by David Goodhart in his significant book The British Dream published last year and highly commended by Trevor Phillips. Goodhart believes: ‘the threshold for the use of the word racism has fallen too low in the past two decades’.
The danger for those who make the charge is that it will become so diluted as to encourage further the resolve of those who decide to vote UKIP. If it is racist to want to be shed of the yoke of the European Union and to establish a meaningful curb on the rate of immigration, so be it. One is becoming immune to the charge and no longer sees any reason to feel necessarily embarrassed by it. Levelled by the protesters, therefore, the charge is already counter productive to some extent. That will become a growing dilemma in making a charge that has become, as Goodhart implies, a one-size-fits-all tag of convenience.