Re: I am a UKIP member.
>>The party I belong to bears no resemblance to the party described by posters.<<
Quite right !!
Round my way, the party regulars are now mostly former LibDems with a smattering of ex-Cons and ex-Labs. Back in the bad old days, they were mostly ex-Cons but there was a major reshuffle a number of years ago and they all kind of disappeared into the woodwork.
I look at the characterizations thrown around by those that have chugged the anti-UKIP koolaid and then I look at the folks in the local party and I see two entirely different pictures. Bear in mind these are not just simply people who have been hoodwinked into voting UKIP, these are the people that stump round delivering leaflets; travel great distances to go to regional gatherings and policy meetings. These are the life-blood of UKIP and the ones who ultimately will be responsible for the formation, or at least approval of policies. They *are* UKIP.
>>Now how has that happened?<<
Oh that's an easy one. The political strategists who owe their seat on the gravy train to the EU and would do anything to keep their seat, had a good long thunk, and came up with a strategy. If you scream "RACIST" loud and often enough, it sticks. It is on a well know list of "Sticky" accusations; ones that don't really need too much justification, the accusation is enough. Once the label has started to adhere, others looking in from the outside will only see that and will feel reluctant to listen to anything they have to say for fear of the racist taint rubbing off on them as well. Furthermore they will justify their reluctance to have a sensible conversation on the subject on the "fact" that the party are racists; which just adds to the effect. ... recurse.
It has happened because of nasty, cynical social engineering by people with no interest in the well being of anyone except themselves.
The fact that a large number of people are falling for it, seemingly with gusto, is just very very disappointing.
[Edit: PS try http://www.ukip.org/ ]