UKIP accuses media of 'fear-mongering' ahead of Channel 4 drama to be screened tonight
Britain's anti-EU UKIP party is accusing the media of fear-mongering and bias after a TV drama imagined it winning a national election on May 7 and ushering in a period of racial unrest and economic pain.
Nigel Farage, UKIP's leader, called the programme "a biased, partisan depiction" and a UKIP member of the European Parliament said it should be investigated by Ofcom, the British broadcast regulator. Ofcom said it would assess any complaints before deciding whether to investigate.
UKIP -- the UK Independence Party -- wants Britain to leave the European Union and to curb immigration. It regularly gets 15 percent in opinion polls as a May 7 election approaches, but Britain's winner-takes-all electoral system means it has no realistic chance of forming the next government.
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Instead, UKIP says it might prop up a minority government which delivered a referendum on Britain's EU membership. Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives, level in many opinion polls with the opposition Labour Party, is the only party offering such a referendum.
But in Channel 4's "UKIP: The First 100 Days", the party is imagined as winning outright power in May and Farage succeeding Cameron to become Britain's next prime minister.
The programme, broadcast on Monday night, spliced real archive footage with a storyline played out by actors. It had a fictional UKIP parliamentarian of Asian heritage as the protagonist. She is shown becoming increasingly disillusioned.
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Billed as "a provocative fictional documentary," it imagines what it would be like if Britain left the EU and the police launched a sweeping crackdown on illegal immigrants.
The result, as shown in the docu-drama, is big European companies leaving Britain, unemployment rising, the pound falling, racial tensions spiking, and far-right protesters and pro-immigrant campaigners taking to the streets.
Channel 4 said it had ordered the programme to stimulate interest in politics. UKIP said it was being unfairly targeted.
"Media getting increasingly hysterical. The British people will see through such fear-mongering and vote UKIP in large numbers," Michael Heaver, a party spokesman, said on Twitter.