UKIP launched some posters. As cynical political campaigning goes they are premier league. Indeed, they have achieved exactly what UKIP wanted - best captured by Dan Hodges, top grumpy, lefty cynic:
It would be wrong to call Ukip’s brand of racism subliminal. There’s nothing subliminal about giant billboards claiming 26 million “Europeans” are about to arrive on our shores in the hope of stealing the jobs of every honest, hard-working Brit.
Now I'm pretty sure there's a fair smattering of racists supporting UKIP. But then I met a couple of ex-BNP Labour supporters recently. They were pretty racist.
The reality here is that, just as has always been the case with effective political communications, there is no room for nuance or subtlety. We 'say it like it is' meaning that we strip out any qualification, remove any caveats and say that there are 26 million unemployed Europeans and they could come and get your job.
This is rubbish, has no evidence to support it, is prejudiced and reveals again that (like all our political parties these days) UKIP see illiberalism as the way to get votes. The posters are only 'racist' if you believe that wanting to reduce levels of immigration is 'racist'. I simply don't accept that argument and Hodges' secondary argument that we'd think it was racist is the posters said Asian or African is equally daft - the posters are for an election to the European Parliament so focusing on things that are, in part, a consequence of EU membership seems reasonable (even when what is said is utter twaddle).
UKIP is a prejudiced party - making sweeping judgement and generalisation about EU residents coming to work in the UK. I think they're wrong but I don't think their policy is racist.
UKIP is an illiberal party - for all the tabloid libertarianism of Farage's rhetoric, UKIP's immigration policy, response to same sex marriage and economic policies are deeply illiberal. But they are not racist.
I detest the EU. It is anti-democratic, controlling, interfering, unaccountable, lying and unjust. I will vote to leave with enthusiasm when I get the chance to do so. And I will argue the case against from an absolute belief in free trade, free speech and free enterprise. So I won't tack along with UKIP's prejudiced illiberalism. Indeed, if we want that referendum, that chance to leave, then the very last thing we should do is vote UKIP.