‘Ban burqas to promote vitamin D’ and other odd ideas in Ukip’s manifesto

‘Ban burqas to promote vitamin D’ and other odd ideas in Ukip’s manifesto

Ukip has launched its election manifesto, and it certainly has some eye-catching bits. Here are nine of the strangest

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This article titled “‘Ban burqas to promote vitamin D’ and other odd ideas in Ukip’s manifesto” was written by Martin Belam, for theguardian.com on Thursday 25th May 2017 14.57 UTC

Ukip broke ranks with the other major parties on Thursday by resuming national campaigning with the launch of its manifesto. The event was somewhat chaotic, with reporters heckled, and Suzanne Evans saying she thought Theresa May must bear some responsibility for the Manchester Arena bombing, then denying she had said it about a minute later.

But it was bits of the manifesto itself that raised eyebrows the most. Here are some of the strangest parts.

1. Encouraging higher vitamin D intake by banning the niqab and the burqa in public places

The Ukip manifesto gives several reasons why it would like to see face-coverings banned. One is that women wearing them are deprived of vitamin D.

Ukip cites vitamin D as a reason to ban the burqa
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Ukip cites vitamin D as a reason to ban the burqa. Photograph: Ukip

Unfortunately Ukip has its science slightly muddled here – humans don’t “intake” vitamin D from sunlight. Sunlight causes the body to make it.

The NHS Choices website does recommend that “people who are not often exposed to the sun – for example, people who are frail or housebound, or are in an institution such as a care home, or if they usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors” – take vitamin D supplements. However, we are unaware of vitamin D levels being cited as a reason for a national dress code policy before.

2. A beekeeper brazenly flaunting his face-covering

When Ukip first announced its ban on face-coverings it was asked if it would apply to beekeepers, and there, on page 52 of the manifesto, is a picture of one – just 15 pages after the burqa ban section.

A beekeeper in Ukip’s manifesto.
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A beekeeper in Ukip’s manifesto. Photograph: Ukip

Evans has helpfully clarified on Twitter that this man wouldn’t be covered by the ban. Because you can see his face.

3. Is there a basis for climate change science?

It’s a shame Ukip didn’t get its science right with regards to vitamin D, as it makes a rather bold claim about the 2008 Climate Change Act. On a page adorned with the face of Roger Helmer MEP, Ukip promises to repeal the act because it has “no basis in science”.

Who would you trust on the science here? The vast majority of the world’s peer-reviewed scientists? Or Roger Helmer MEP?

Roger Helmer, Ukip’s face of climate change science
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Roger Helmer, Ukip’s face of climate change science. Photograph: Ukip

Case closed.

4. Coyly underselling its appeal

There’s a bit in Evans’s introduction to the manifesto where she says “Ukip’s policies have been developed not to catch the public imagination”, which seems an odd way to go about attracting votes.

5. A return to fishing on mainland Europe

One of Ukip’s Brexit tests is that the UK should have exclusive right to fish in a 200-mile zone around the British coast, which would, we calculate, mean we could potentially take up a monopoly on fish in Amsterdam’s canals. Mike Hookem, famously involved in a scuffle with a fellow Ukip MEP, cheerfully promotes the policy in the manifesto.

Mike Hookem in the Ukip manifesto
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Mike Hookem in the Ukip manifesto. Photograph: Ukip

Oh OK, this is a slight exageration. The manifesto says Ukip will repeal the 1964 London convention on fishing, and concedes that borders will be “at the mid-point between two countries’ coastlines” where necessary. We can still, though, look forward to navy patrols being sent out to stop British, Irish and French fishing fleets skirmishing off the coast of Cornwall.

While we are on the subject of fish, Ukip promises to remove VAT on fish and chips in its manifesto.

6. The coffee cup mystery

In a section on cracking down on corporate tax avoidance Ukip specifically mentions Starbucks making huge profits by selling coffee in paper cups, which is illustrated with someone holding a cup of coffee in something that looks suspiciously like it is not made of paper.

This is not a paper cup
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This is not a paper cup. Photograph: Ukip

7. This image of Britain as a balloon escaping the clutches of the EU balloons

The balloon image from the Ukip manifesto.
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The balloon image from the Ukip manifesto. Photograph: Ukip

We don’t really understand why this is a metaphor for success. Generally if you see a balloon floating off like that, somewhere below it is a weeping child lamenting their misfortune in letting go of something they loved.

8. We are going to give the world a ship called NOSH

Ukip is proposing to build and equip a naval hospital that wouldn’t carry weapons, but could instead be used to “confirm Britain’s status as a force for good in the world”. Which all sounds great, except they have called it “a Naval Ocean-Going Surgical Hospital”, or NOSH for short.

Sending a ship around the world named after a slang term for oral sex sends a message to the world, that’s for sure.

9. That odd feeling when you see a bit that many Guardian readers might agree with

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Many Guardian readers might be horrified to find there is a chunk of the Ukip manifesto they can fully get behind. Despite being seen in some places as a party trying to take Britain back to the 1950s, Ukip is proposing to abolish the House of Lords, and introduce a proportional voting system.

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