Right. I don’t profess to know all that much about politics or the way this whole charade is supposed to work. In fact, with the exception of political commentator and all round good egg, David Dimbleby, I don’t think anyone else does either. I don’t think that anyone knows what they are doing or why they are doing it.. which is why UKIP have won so many seats in Europe.
Are they racist? Or just a party that stupid and the permanently outraged feel they can vote for? I think its a combination of lots of things, but mainly that people vote with their eyes and ears, not with their head.
For what ever sensationalist reason, Nigel Farage and all his red-faced real ale swilling mates, have been put on the telly.. a lot!! Social networking has been completely over-run with hate towards UKIP, and while I whole heartedly agree with the majority of the sentiment, it was literally the only taste of politics I had, in the run up to these latest elections. I got a UKIP flyer through my door a few months ago, it said all kinds of weird things.. about ‘political correctness gone mad’ and ‘rights of hard-working folk’ and all sorts of really lovely, very interesting sound bites that might appeal to a certain brand of utter moron.
On my way to work the other week, there were seven or eight massive and bold looking purple and yellow UKIP posters, along with banners, billboards, signs along the road as well as UKIP types handing out flyers in central Leeds. Several days later some of them had been defaced by some astute and witty leftie types.. and while that was hilarious, I did a real ‘lol’, the shiny, purple, glowing UKIP posters were still actually there, and really it doesn’t actually matter what was written on the posters, the damage had already been done.
People, and when I say people, I mean the fuck-nuggets that voted for UKIP, are inherently stupid, and will follow anything as long as its either louder or shinier than anything else.. a combination of both is even better. Farage is both loud and shiny, and whats more he drinks pints just like everyone else! Hurrah! The problem here is that because we are trained to press buttons, and watch the pretty flashy lights on the big square box, we have become a nation of chimps in a test lab. Its a knee-jerk reaction, we press the big button when something familiar and friendly and harmless happens.
The problem, and when I say problem, I mean the impending shit-storm that could happen to this country in the next 10 years, is that they aren’t harmless, or friendly.
I live in a part of north Leeds which is made up of people from all over the world. The primary school that my children go to is a sea of different faces and languages. My next door neighbours are from Romania (not Germany Farage!!) and my 9 year olds best friend is from Afghanistan. On sunny days we take a few sandwiches and go and sit in the park near my house. The kids all play together, and ride their bikes and argue and then make up again. All the parents sit and chat and moan about kids growing up so fast, the cost of school uniforms and the weather. A couple of weeks ago, it was a lovely sunny Saturday afternoon, so we headed out to the park again. The kids wondered off to chat to their friends and we sat with the other parents.. one family was a Hasidic Jewish family, they were chatting to our sons friends family – a Muslim family from Afghanistan. Our Romanian neighbours were there too with their sweet little grand-daughter, as were lots of other people. After an hour or so, we got on to the topic of the upcoming elections, and things changed. The look of absolute dread and fear really hit home. I’m white, female, fairly well educated and although things haven’t been a bed of roses for me or my family, I’d call myself pretty lucky. I’ve never been hungry or in danger or scared of the government. When you hear stories from real people about real life and the realities of trying to make a better life for you and your children in countries where things are actually dangerous, it kind of puts things into perspective.
People are scared of UKiP, my friends are scared of UKIP. They are scared that they will get sent back to ‘their own country’ and the safe and happy life they have built for themselves will get taken away. These are real people.. not people in the Daily Mail who get £40,000 a day in benefits, or terrorists, or people earning megabucks laughing merrily away to themselves at the thought of depriving some innocent, illiterate, urchin, a job cleaning toilets. ‘They’ are not here to fuck your life up, they are here because we are all human beings, we share the same planet.
I want an ‘open door’ policy on immigration. I want to have the discussion, I want to know the truth. When you use fear, intolerance and rely on the fact that stupid people will believe anything you say, because you shout louder, to get elected, then instinctively something is wrong here.
Like I said, I don’t have a full grasp of politics or why or how UKIP appear to have done better than they should have done. But what I do understand is that people are frightened of the things they represent and the people that have voted for them.
I have no solutions, and I can’t put my friends minds at rest, less so now that UKIP appear to be winning battles. What I can do though is make changes in my own life, we can all make small changes. We should all start by giving a shit about everyone we share this planet with, and opening our eyes. Small gestures of kindness, glances of reassurance, knowing smiles. If enough of us open our eyes and make small gestures, they will add up to big gestures and we will all be able to see a lot more clearly.
Don’t make judgements on things you have no personal experience of, do not assume that everything you see and hear in the media is fact, it more than likely isn’t. The world and the people we share this planet with are complicated and different, that is what makes human beings both exquisite and frustrating in equal part. Isn’t it about time after all these years of.. you know.. being humans… that we celebrate and enjoy what makes us different, rather than shouting and stamping our little feet about why can’t we all be the same?