There are some stories that become more shocking the more you think about them. The case of the Rotherham foster parents who have had the children they were caring for taken away from them for being members of UKIP is one of these. It is hard to imagine the distress that must have been caused to them by this arrogant, ill-thought out decision.
First, UKIP is not a racist party: none of its policy positions could be called racist in any meaningful definition of this term. I’m sure there are some racists who are members of UKIP, just as there are — I suspect — some Labour, Liberal Democrat, Tory and Green members who are racist.
Now, UKIP does take a harder line on EU immigration than the three main parties: the explanation given for why the children were taken away. But this hardly makes it—or, its members—bigoted. To take these children away just because the parents are members of UKIP is prejudice, pure and simple.
The next worrying thing is that Rotherham council’s Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Joyce Thacker still doesn’t seem to grasp why the decision was so seriously wrong even, though, she acknowledges that there was no issue with the quality of care these foster parents were providing. Even more worryingly the decision seems to have followed the council seeking legal advice.
By coincidence, there’s a by-election in Rotherham on Thursday following Denis MacShane quitting over his expenses. It’ll be intriguing to see what effect this has on the contest there given that UKIP was already expected to do well.