"Get Lost We're Full"

Anti-asylum leaflet shows Ukip's true colours.


There are still some people who view the UK Independence Party as a single-issue party, concerned only with narrow issues of sovereignty and parliamentary democracy. But this vile anti-asylum leaflet (collected by the excellent Straight Choice) shows the party's true colours.

The leaflet was put out on behalf of the former Tory councillor David Duxbury, the party's candidate in South Ribble. It states that "you can't blame asylum-seekers for coming over when it's so easy to jump on the UK benefits bandwagon".

This, as ever, ignores that the vast majority of asylum-seekers (80 per cent) live in developing countries far less able to host them than rich nations such as Britain. The UK itself is home to less than 2 per cent of the world's refugees -- out of 16 million worldwide. It also ignores the moral obligation we have to protect those fleeing torture, war and genocide.

Ukip should no longer be treated as an eccentric and even amusing party, but as the dangerous and sinister force that it is. That so many Tories still seem to have a sneaking admiration for it says much about David Cameron's failure to modernise the Conservatives.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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PMQs review: Jeremy Corbyn hammers David Cameron on green energy – but skips Syria

In a low-key exchange ahead of the Autumn Statement, the Labour leader covered two areas where the government is vulnerable: renewable energy and women's refuges. However, he failed to mention Syria and the Russian plane shot down by Turkey.

When PMQs precedes an Autumn Statement or Budget it is usually a low-key affair, and this one was no different. But perhaps for different reasons than the usual – the opposition pulling its punches to give room for hammering the government on the economy, and the Prime Minister saving big announcements and boasts for his Chancellor.

No, Jeremy Corbyn's decision to hold off on the main issue of the day – air strikes in Syria and the Russian military jet shot down by Turkey – was tactical. He chose to question the government on two areas where it is vulnerable: green energy and women's refuges closing due to cuts. Both topics on which the Tories should be ashamed of their record.

This also allowed him to avoid the subject that is tearing the Middle East – and the Labour party – apart: how to tackle Isis in Syria. Corbyn is seen as soft on defence and has been criticised for being too sympathetic to Russia, so silence on both the subject of air strikes and the Russian plane was his best option.

The only problem with this approach is that the government's most pressing current concern was left to the SNP leader Angus Robertson, who asked the Prime Minister about the dangers of action from the air alone in Syria. A situation that frames Labour as on the fringe of debates about foreign and defence policy. Luckily for Corbyn, this won't really matter as no one pays attention to PMQs pre-Autumn Statement.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.