Either you hate them or you love them. There does not seem to be a middle ground when it comes to the UK Independence Party.
Supporters consider UKIP leader Nigel Farage to be the anti-establishment politician they have long waited for. His opponents, on the other hand, see the party of the British MEP as a light version of the generally considered racist British National Party.
Financially backed by multimillionaire Paul Sykes, UKIP has flooded Britain with billboards for the European elections costing 1.5 million pounds in total. The campaign posters have already sparked a lot of controversy with many people, and even senior politicians, regarding the posters as inaccurate and in some cases even racist.
However, there is nothing that a healthy dose of British humour cannot solve. In the past weeks, creative Britons have come up with alternative and equally absurd campaign slogans intended to mock the anti-EU and anti-immigration party.
In the Easter period, for instance, a billboard with the text ‘Eastern Europeans can lay over 1,000 eggs in just one year! How long before we are over run?!’ was widely shared on social media.
Until he got sacked, former Manchester United manager David Moyes may have been the most talked about man in Britain. A new billboard was therefore designed which combined the UKIP phrase ‘26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose job are they after?’ with a picture of the Scottish football coach.
The alternative poster made actual sense, because who would not want to be a football manager earning millions? However, it remains unclear how many of those 26 million would be qualified enough to become the Red Devils’ new boss.
Two weeks ago, Cornish people, an ethnic group living in Cornwall in the south-west of the UK, were granted minority status similar to other Celtic communities like the Scots, Welsh and Irish.
This was a reason for a certain Briton to playfully anticipate UKIP’s scapegoating of Britain’s brand new ethnic minority by changing one of their billboards to: ‘The Cornish came over here and ate this man’s house. Don’t keep pasties in your home, and vote UKIP.’ (cover picture).
UKIP campaigns with the slogan ‘common sense politics’ but the only purple yellow billboard that shows common sense is the one in Swansea after the original text had been adapted.
Before the billboard said: ‘EU policy at work. British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labour.’ It has now been covered with a more sensible message: ‘Blaming immigrants just lets your boss off the hook. Demand better pay & conditions. Look after each other. Join a trade union.’
UKIP’s billboards were not the only thing making a fuss, as various members attracted negative attention in the press for making racist, misogynist, homophobic and anti-Islamic remarks in recent weeks.
One member, William Henwood, started a racism row by suggesting that black British comedian Lenny Henry should ‘go and live in a black country’ after Henry had said that more black and ethnic minority people should be in creative industries.
Henwood has now resigned his membership of UKIP, but not before a new billboard was created depicting Henry and a clever word play on the word UKIP, ‘you kip’, which is a British synonym for the verb ‘to sleep’.
Despite all the ridicule, the controversies surrounding UKIP politicians and Farage conceding that his party contains ‘some idiots’, UKIP still seems to be on course of winning the European elections in Britain, beating Labour by a small margin.
Any publicity is good publicity, or so it seems.