The UK Independence Party (UKIP) get a bad rap in the media for essentially being the BNP, but with members who look less like fascist Millwall fans and more like used car salesmen. But are they really all that extreme? Aren't they just the old boys who would otherwise be Tory backbenchers if it weren't for David Cameron's mortally-binding adherence to the political centre?
I wanted to get past the generalisations, so I contacted the chairman of my local UKIP branch – a Mr Phillip Collins (yep); qualified security guard, judo instructor, heavy-goods vehicle driver, carer and politician – and arranged a time to chat.
While chatting, we discussed the millions of extra eastern Europeans who are licking their lips and sharpening their swan knives as they prepare to invade the UK and the very real possibility of Sharia law replacing the British legal system that has held sway here since the Middle Ages.
Thankfully, I had every single one of my prejudices against UKIP reinforced. Here's that chat.
VICE: Hi Phillip. So tell me, what are the main priorities for UKIP at the moment?
Phillip Collins: Well, after the opening up of two more countries [when immigration controls on Bulgaria and Romania are lifted next year], I don’t think people realise how many people are going to be coming over here.
How many people do you think would come here from Bulgaria and Romania?
A lot. Well, how many people do you think came over from Poland?
Do we actually have a figure for that?
Put it this way: it was on the news the other day that the second language in England is now Polish. It used to be French, or whatever, but it’s not now, it’s Polish. Unbelievable.
UKIP’s sole aim is to have a referendum on the European Union, but what would you do after that?
It’s the only way for Britain. That means that every Eastern European would have to leave, except for the ones who have had kids. For example, say a Polish couple come over here and have kids – it’s a British kid. They would probably have to stay.
What if they’ve worked here for four or five years?
No. People have got this opinion that these people come here to take the poor jobs. Rubbish. Some of them are taking IT jobs that British people could have, some of them are nurses. I’ve had firsthand experience where my mother was in hospital, I went to complain about something to the four or five nurses there and not one of them could speak English.
What about immigration coming from outside of the European Union?
The idea for UKIP is that, once we’ve stopped the EU, we'll be very tight on other people as well. My personal opinion is that we should have ID cards. There are two million illegal people in this country. Britain gets them, takes them to the police station and, if they haven’t got a passport, they let them go. What they should do is build not prisons, but holding centres, and lock them up.
How big do you think these holding cells would need to be?
You’d need one or two in every city. Later in time, they could turn them in to prisons.
Do you still think the United Kingdom is still a Christian country?
Yes. I’m a Catholic and I go to church every Sunday. Of course it’s a Christian country, but it works out that, even without these other countries joining [the EU], within 20 years it’ll be a Muslim country. We have one or two kids on average and they have ten. So imagine that: every generation there’s a hundred of theirs to four of ours, a thousand to our eight. So, within three or four generations, this country will be a Muslim country. Unless we do something about it, we'll be the ones on the street begging for change.
I'm not sure those numbers are right, Phil. Why did you get into politics?
Because I was fed up. I go to apply for a job, I don’t get it and foreigners do. Those who do the hiring are told by their bosses, "You’ve got to employ 30 percent foreigners." So an English guy doesn’t have a chance.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Don't misquote what I say. Some of my views are probably a bit stronger than the average UKIP member. As long as you put what I've said and don't add to it, that's fine. If you have, I'll be upset and I'll come and see you and make you unhappy. I'm telling you that now.
Follow Christopher on Twitter: @MediaSpank
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