Escape from Ukip: Tired of the Political Correctness of the Left, Aidan Rankin Joined Ukip. Becoming Right-Wing Gave Him a Sense of Excitement, Akin to Indulging in Sexual "Rough Trade". but He Found a Bleak World of Bigots Who Hated Foreigners, Gays and Muslims

By Rankin, Aidan | New Statesman (1996), June 14, 2004 | Go to article overview

Escape from Ukip: Tired of the Political Correctness of the Left, Aidan Rankin Joined Ukip. Becoming Right-Wing Gave Him a Sense of Excitement, Akin to Indulging in Sexual "Rough Trade". but He Found a Bleak World of Bigots Who Hated Foreigners, Gays and Muslims


Rankin, Aidan, New Statesman (1996)


The scene was a dinner, organised by the Salisbury Review, somewhere in the depths of the Carlton Club. It was an occasion of right-wing triumphalism, or a rallying of the troops, but I felt neither triumphant nor rallied, only irritated and bored. I listened, with increasing loathing, to a repertoire of anti-Muslim barbs from people who knew nothing whatsoever about Islam and were proud of their ignorance. I listened to conspicuously affluent men and women inveigh against scroungers, appeal to the work ethic, condemn asylum-seekers as criminals and call for people to be charged for visiting the doctor. This, apparently, "worked perfectly well in the old days", although few people gathered around the table were born before 1945.

A drunken academic accused me of being "anti-western" when I supported Palestinian autonomy. Palestinians were "Muslims" and "terrorists". At this supposedly intellectual gathering, not one single idea, substantial or ethereal, was expressed. Soon, my disgust was tempered by self-loathing. I would rather be just about anywhere but here. So why was I here, listening to mean-minded philistinism and being eyed disapprovingly every time I dissented? How on earth had I ended up on the right--and was I ever going to be able to leave it?

It took me two more years to leave the right fully. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to use the past tense when I describe it. When I awake in the morning, I relish the sudden realisation that, no, I am no longer right-wing.

Looking back, I feel that being on the right was like losing a part of my self. In shamanic cultures, there is a widespread theory of "soul theft". This is the belief that an individual's soul can be captured, and then manipulated, by an external force. Soul theft is blamed for a wide range of ailments, from serious physical and mental illness to feelings of inner emptiness, and soul retrieval is an important part of the shaman's work. The process of soul theft can be long and insidious, with the affected individual becoming a willing collaborator.

Soul theft is an accurate depiction of the experience of becoming right-wing. It starts as a vague impression, then progresses--if that is the word--into a world-view; it begins as a bad mood, then becomes a permanent, brooding anger. One doesn't wake up one morning and find oneself transformed into a reactionary, a political version of the clerk in Kafka's Metamorphosis, who awakes as a gigantic insect. Instead, right-wingery takes over gradually, crowding out conflicting thoughts, until suddenly it defines and underlies everything.

I should begin by saying that there were two types of right-wing ideology that never appealed to me. One is "far-right" racism and the scapegoating of immigrants or refugees, given voice by the British National Party, but believed in by many members of the UK Independence Party, the Eurosceptic groupuscules and the Tory party's "traditionalist" right. This has always profoundly repelled me, both for its creeping totalitarianism and its simple-minded classification of individuals by race or group.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The second strand of right-wing thinking that held no appeal was the ersatz religion of "market forces", part consumerist cargo cult and part fundamentalist reworking of 19th-century liberalism. That approach is equally off-putting because of its personal heartlessness and its superstitious regard for the market's "hidden hand". In its naive, mechanistic view of human society, and its belief in permanent revolution, the neoliberal right resembles the most extreme variants of Trotskyism.

These two tendencies--traditionalist xenophobia and market fundamentalism--dominate the British right. They coexist quite happily within individual right-wingers, although they are contradictory. Market ideology gives economic forces precedence over nations and traditions, after all, and places corporate rule before "national sovereignty".

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Escape from Ukip: Tired of the Political Correctness of the Left, Aidan Rankin Joined Ukip. Becoming Right-Wing Gave Him a Sense of Excitement, Akin to Indulging in Sexual "Rough Trade". but He Found a Bleak World of Bigots Who Hated Foreigners, Gays and Muslims
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.