In today's manifesto, Farage's army says it wants to ‘promote a unifying British culture’ – hang on, what is that?
On the most glorious day of 2015, Ukip released its manifesto, because, y'know, some sunny days are too good to be true. Among pledges to leave the EU, cut overseas aid by £9 billion and remove tuition fees for certain subjects (not the arts), the party mysteriously promised to "promote a unifying British culture" - a typically confusing nationalist pledge. Moreover, I don't really know what Ukip think British culture is. Fox hunting? Slavery? Euro 96?
The manifesto claims that Ukip is "open to anyone who wishes to identify with Britain and British values, regardless of their ethnic or religious background", adding that "this is genuine inclusiveness". Let's theoretically say that I'd like to join in. So what the hell is a unifying British culture? It could be grime, it could be someone off Big Brother, it could be Clarkson.
Rewind to 2013, when Nigel Farage spoke of the need for a "much more muscular defence of our Judeo-Christian heritage", and criticised the push to legalise gay marriage. Let's consider Farage's comments on HIV-positive immigrants. During the leaders' debate two weeks ago, he suggested that foreigners with HIV should not be coming to the UK to receive retro-viral treatments. I don't know Jesus, but I don't think shit like this was his schtick.
Next in the party's culture section of its 2015 manifesto is a promise to "end the use of multilingual formatting on official documents. These will be published only in English, and where appropriate, Welsh and Gaelic."
Here, Farage is suggesting excluding everybody who isn't fluent in our sacred mother tongue. We Brits have form for excluding everyone, whether it's in a distant colonial past, vomiting all over people's knees in Ibiza or making sure that foreigners who live here struggle to read important documents. Hey, at least if I get hit by a car and wake up speaking Gaelic, I'll be able to claim my disability benefits without a hitch.
Ukip also announced today that it would like to challenge freedom of speech and the "culture of offence", but if, like me, you watched Meet The Ukippers, you may have noticed that galling moment when a Ukip councillor named Rozanne Duncan dolefully admitted that she "really does have a problem with people with negroid features." Farage sacked her, describing her comments as "deeply racist". Hey, what's wrong, Nige? She's just speaking her mind and explaining that she hates black people for no reason!
The party also promises a tolerance of faiths and religions and says it'll "protect religious freedoms". Hang on a minute: in 2010, Farage called for a burqa ban, as they "were a symbol of an increasingly divided Britain". This is all very confusing – it's almost as though he wants freedom for some religions, but then not for others.
We've tried getting an answer of exactly what this "unifying British culture" is from Ukip's press office – we'll update when they come back to us. I'd like a "unifying British culture" to celebrate the different languages you hear on the tube, the vast array of culinary experiences you can find on our streets, or the idea that engaging with people from other cultural backgrounds is only a good thing. Xenophobia, ostracisation and scaremongering doesn't sound very "unifying" to me.