What can we learn from UKIP’s half-baked, semi-coherent, anti-science policies

711px-Derek_Clark
UKIP’s education spokesman, Derek Clark MEP, today made Gove look like a model of modernity and scientific enlightenment by stating that he believed, “all teaching of global warming being caused in any way by carbon dioxide emissions must also be banned”.

To clarify, this spokesman of a supposedly libertarian party, wants to ban schools from teaching about climate change!

UKIP’s main energy document ‘Keeping The Lights On’ claims that there is “increasing doubts about the theory of man-made climate change.” Something which the growing scientific consensus around man-made climate change directly contradicts.

UKIP’s education policy, like that of its energy policy, directly contradicts the consensus reached by the majority of climate scientists.

For some this makes them heroes for standing up to ‘establishment thinking’. For others, this blogger included, this makes them halfwits that put political ideology before evidence whatever the impact this might have on ordinary people.

Disturbingly though, poll after poll shows UKIP are on course to do rather well in May’s elections. They are certainly going to kick the Tories into third and may even beat Labour and finish on top of the pile.

So what does this tell us?

It tells us something which I have been shouting about for a long long time within progressive circles.

The electorate doesn’t worry about little things like policies but they do care about sentiment, feelings, and gut reactions.

UKIP have been exceptionally good at presenting an image of ‘standing up for ordinary people against the political elite’ and ‘speaking common sense’ whilst at the same time having a list of incoherent, half-baked and anti-science policies.

In contrast The Green Party has a list of science-based progressive policies that have been shown to be the most popular with the electorate but have failed to gain a significant vote share because at best they are seen as ‘standing up for the environment’ (something which most people include well down on their list of priorities) but at worst are seen as ‘middle class, university educated elite who are out of touch with ordinary people’.

And so, in the run up to the coming European elections, I hope to hear Greens talk coherently not about ‘the science behind the badger cull’ but about how they are ‘standing up for animal welfare. I hope to hear not about their proposed ‘Financial Transaction Tax’ but about ‘putting people before big business’. I hope to hear most of all not about ‘the scientific consensus around climate change’ but about ‘looking after our planet for future generations to enjoy’.

This might seem like a crass simplification of politics but if there is one thing UKIP can teach us – it is that in a badly informed democracy, gut feelings are more important than policies.

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8 Comments

Filed under Climate Change, EU politics, Politics

8 responses to “What can we learn from UKIP’s half-baked, semi-coherent, anti-science policies

  1. Pingback: 3 simple things the Green Party can do before the next election | Hynd's Blog

  2. Pingback: A Green Party lesson in how not produce a political poster | Hynd's Blog

  3. Jamal Benhaddou

    Schools have already banned certain climate change material for being scientifically inaccurate, there is currently no evidence of man made global warming, the earths temperature has been cooling since 1997 (that’s just a fact, it’s indisputable), and before that, the earth was warming for 350 years, which is way before the industrial revolution, therefore there’s no way it’s man made, people I support climate change don’t provide evidence, they just say all the scientitists agree, despite the 30,000 scientists who signed a petition saying that it’s a money making hoax, and that they lose their govt funding if they dare disagree, the only reason people here believe in climate change is because they follow the crowd, they genuinely care about the planet, but don’t realise the only problem they need to be fighting is GM foods, which of course are very bad, all UKIP are saying is they don’t want our kids taught propoganda, the guy who blamed the floods on gay marriage has been kicked out (rightly so), but it’s a shame that your article has no evidence, and that you despise UKIP for this reason, but people are voting UKIP because they realise the danger of the EU, they want the return of the sovereignty our grandparents fought to defend & they see through articles like this, they understand the liberal left wing socialist agenda being used to pummel the west into submission, it’s just such a shame that people like you, who are clearly quite smart, choose to fight the very party that could help finally get rid the lib lab con, it’s funny that you have probably voted for lib lab con, or greens at some point in your life who have literally brought this country to its knees, and you pick a fight with UKIP, wow

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  4. These guys (UKIP) really have no idea what they’re talking about. After the latest nonsense linking bad weather to the gay, I felt the need to write a bit on UKIP too. Take a look if you like on Politicoid

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  5. So so far this week from UKIP we have the idea of banning teaching of global warming being caused by carbon dioxide but also that flooding has been caused by gay marriage.

    I really do hope the polls are wrong about any potential UKIP gains next election.

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  6. Tom L

    I think maybe when people often come up with different views on policies when put into different arenas to think. It’s quite easy to arouse their sentiments, but if you give them a chance to think things through, they do sometimes come up with more rational choices, like with http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/ where they can compare statements with diminished reference to associations. The idea of focus group politics, which New Labour helped to develop – getting people riled up about issues pertinent to them – which then they took into account when making wider political decisions turned out to completely bit them in the behind. Ukip are a reactionary spin off all this focus group froth.

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  7. You are so right. We need to talk a language that makes sense and not be afraid of grabbing people by the heart as well as by the head.

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