Identity is a perennial concern of the far right. Its enemies are cosmopolitanism and rootlessness. Identity in this sense is a form of communitarianism which defines people by their race and their inherited culture rather than by their individuality, aspirations and talents. It’s a kind of prison.
I live in London now, but yeah, it’s depressing that the people of Blenheim Ward in Leigh-on-Sea, where I grew up and lived for many years, voted a UKIP candidate on to Southend Council on Thursday. I know in perennially Conservative-controlled Essex that shouldn’t be a shock, but apparently it’s not a big jump from the politics of selfishness — of ‘Fuck you, I’ve got mine’ — to the politics of hate, fear, economic illiteracy and willful ignorance represented by UKIP.
Part of me just wants to say, ‘God rot the lot of them’, and not think about it any more. But I just can’t reconcile these election results with the people I know personally from the town. Did they all stay at home? Are they all really that gullible? What the hell is going on?