Nigel Farage wants you to be scared for your kids because of immigration
Nigel Farage had a rough ride on the Today programme this morning. He was quoted comments he made recently about children no longer playing on the streets because of immigration.
He told reporters: "I want to live in a community where our kids play football in the streets of an evening and live in a society that is at ease with itself. Because if you have immigration at these sort of levels integration doesn't happen."
Farage tried to row back on his comments this morning, claiming that he was referring specifically to lack of integration by immigrant groups.
"What happened with very large numbers of people coming here you get quarters and districts of towns which get taken over by one particular group…. where children don't mix particularly," he told the BBC's Mishal Husain.
However, the implication of Farage's original comments could not be clearer. The message Farage was trying to get across was that children are not playing on the streets because of immigration.
Like his previous comments about feeling uncomfortable hearing foreign voices on the train, or being unhappy about Romanians moving next door to him, Nigel Farage was attempting to stoke fears about foreigners in order to win votes. Nigel Farage wants you to be scared of foreigners on trains, he wants you to be scared of foreigners moving next door and yes he wants you to be scared of foreigners playing near your kids.
Farage's great skill has been to push this xenophobic agenda, while claiming that what he really cares about are the more technical discussion of subjects like integration, wage levels and unemployment. But whenever he loses one of these technical debates, his original agenda suddenly becomes obvious.
What Mishal Husain did brilliantly today was to uncover this for the facade it really is. Confronted with the fact that cutting immigration below 50,000 a year would make Britain poorer, Farage was forced to reply that he didn't care.
"I would prefer not to be better off," he said adding that "some things matter more than money".
And here we get to the reality of Nigel Farage's position. He doesn't care about the economy being damaged, he doesn't care about evidence showing immigration doesn't undercut wages and he doesn't care that more children not playing on the street has absolutely nothing to do with rising immigration.
He doesn't care about any of those things. All he really cares about is seeing fewer foreigners on the street.
And if scaring people about their kids' safety is the way to do that, then that is what he will do.