One of the most unedifying spectacles in recent times has been the scandalous smear campaign conducted by the chattering classes against Nigel Farage and the UK Independence Party, in the run up to today’s Local and European Elections. Farage predicted this would happen. As UKIP’s message begins to resonate with an increasing number of the electorate, it was inevitable the establishment would gang up on them sooner rather than later, borne out of a mixture of ill-concealed fear and loathing. But if I may offer a note of caution to David Cameron and Ed Milliband, it’s this. Loathing views that are increasingly held by the people you’re asking to vote you into office, might not be the smartest tactic. Same goes for selling newspapers and broadcasting news programmes too. These are your potential customers you’re bad-mouthing.
The level of scurrilous accusation, name-calling, muck-raking, mud-slinging and scaremongering that has gone on these last two weeks, as mainstream parties and their cronies in the press and at the BBC finally woke up to UKIP’s surging popularity, has taken the level of political discourse in this country to new depths. The almost forensic level of interrogation the party and its members have been subjected to, unprecedented among all the other parties, has actually made me ashamed of our so called free press. Completely biased, and grinding a shameless axe with every key-stroke, one hack after another has been queuing up to try and put the boot in, to dig up some sordid fact, make a grubby allegation, to see if they could make something ‘stick’. Anything. The way Nigel Farage has remained above it all, continuing to talk about real policy issues in the face of some gutter journalism, does him great credit. He emerged the only one sounding like a grown-up in an increasingly childish debate. And you know something else? Many voters like myself who resent being treated like children, or lectured to by prigs who think they have a monopoly on being right, are becoming more confirmed in our conviction that voting for UKIP is the right thing to do. The more this ‘Loony liberal lynch-mob’ (as Jeremy Clarkson recently referred to them) tries to tell me how I should think and speak and act, the more they drive me in the other direction. I like Nigel Farage. He’s a maverick. A rebel. He speaks his mind, talking the kind of common sense that the man and woman on the street understand. The kind of sense they’d almost forgotten politicians used once to speak, in this age of spin and sound-bite and fudge. Most worryingly of all for them, he’s got in spades the two qualities they most lack. Charisma, and gravitas. And I’ll be voting for him and be damned what they think.
I’ll be voting UKIP later today for two main reasons – Europe, and political disaffection. Firstly, I abhor the EU. I think it’s become a bloated bureaucratic monster that eats £billions of money each year that we haven’t got. We pour literally £millions into its mouth every day, as a net contributor, and seem to get mostly trouble back. This ultimate ‘big brother’ organisation is a far cry from the ‘Common Market’ of trading nations we joined forty years ago. This de-facto European Super-state which won’t be satisfied until it has its own army and own exchequer (god help us) into which it will pour your taxes, now sticks its nose into just about every aspect of life of every member country. It meddles with our laws and customs, telling us what we can and can’t do, over-ruling our own judges and overturning home-grown laws and customs that have evolved over thousands of years and are rooted in who we are as a nation and a people. The EU doesn’t give a damn. If it wants to make a law, it makes it, and imposes it on us whether we like it or not. Who voted for these faceless politicians and lawmakers who over-rule our nationally elected ones? I certainly didn’t. Do you know any? I’m sure I don’t know the name of a single foreign MEP. Yet these people now have more power over our lives than the democratically elected MPs we vote into our own Government. It’s completely insane.
As for the myth often put about by shameless Europhiles that leaving the EU will be disastrous for British business, it’s a blatant lie, little better than an unsubstantiated scare story, Nick Clegg’s favourite line. Some of the richest nations in Europe are thriving precisely because they chose to remain out of the EU. Both Norway and Switzerland (the WORLD’S fourth and eighth richest countries in terms of GDP) have been booming in their ‘splendid isolation’. Britain has always enjoyed, and always will, good trading links with many nations, which will continue whether we are in the EU or out. If we continue to produce popular British products and services that are in demand at competitive prices, other nations will continue to buy them. In fact, being in the EU actually harms our ability to trade oversees because it bars us from negotiating our own global trade agreements. The Americas, Asia, China, Africa, Russia and the Far East are all massive growing markets on which we should be increasingly focusing our attention, instead of worrying about paying protection money to some cosy cartel closer to home, as many Europhiles seem obsessed with.
My second reason for voting UKIP today is one of political disaffection. I’m just about done with most of the mainstream UK parties and the insipid, shallow, gutless, greedy, corrupt excuse for politicians who run them. Tories, Labour, Lib Dems, I’ve had them, up to here. This feeling has crept up on me in middle age as I’ve witnessed the gradual marginalisation, and eventual dying out, of a once widespread breed of courageous ‘conviction politician’ from the political landscape. People of the stamp of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Benn who, love ‘em or loathe ‘em, at least stood for something. John Major seemed a decent man, but every Prime Minister and leader of the other mainstream parties since then has seemed to stand for nothing more substantial than the goal of office itself. And they’d sell their grannies to get elected. When it comes to policies, beliefs, vision, you can’t put a cigarette paper between them. They’ve become indistinguishable. Driven by no higher ideal than their ambition for office, they try to be all things to all people, and end up being none, as they drift increasingly to the centre, merging into a grey, inoffensive, ineffective cloud of nothingness. Of absence. Our politicians aren’t there for us, any more. They’re there for THEM. They’ve sold off the family silver to private businesses that most of them will end up on the boards of. And as we’ve recently discovered, while these paragons of virtue are swift to condemn anyone else for stepping out of line, most of them have had their hands in the till the whole time, as the expenses scandals that are STILL being exposed, are demonstrating. Anyone else would have been sent to prison and been given a criminal record, yet most of them get away with it, simply because they made up their own rules. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as a famous person once said.
No wonder a growing number of British people are getting more and more disillusioned with mainstream politics. More disenchanted. More disappointed. To watch how the Lib Dems finally sold out on their beliefs at the last election, prostituting themselves as the Tories’ bitches just for the mere whiff of power (not even the whiff, but the illusion of a whiff, as it proved) was the final straw for me. Nick Clegg? Integrity my arse.
The only thing most politicians seem half-competent at doing these days is posturing on the world stage, getting us embroiled in foreign wars that are none of our business. Wars we no longer have the armed forces to prosecute properly, because they’ve all been sold to the scrap yard. Wars that are costing £billions in revenue, and the lives of brave servicemen and women. Those lucky enough to return safely home are invariably treated like dirt, or made redundant, by the Whitehall bean counters who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
All I know is this, you might as well blindfold me and ask me to pin a tail on a donkey, as ask me to choose between the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats at today’s elections. None of them represent me, or the things I care about, any more. They’ve ALL sold their traditional supporters down the line, along with their beliefs. Rubbish UKIP as much as you like, but at least they stand for something. They may not yet have MPs or be credible as a governing party in the immediate future, but they sure as hell can help change the debate, and bring an end to the political engineering that has been selling this country down the line for decades. For me and an increasing number of British voters, UKIP are the only party who seem to be standing up for some very important things we care about. Wanting to protect our jobs, our safety, our culture, laws and traditions, isn’t a racist agenda, as a few on the fascist-left have claimed. It’s a patriotic agenda. A dirty word for the lynch mob perhaps, but not for me. For too long we’ve let shadowy spin-doctors and corrupt politicians sell us down the line, at home and in the EU. Today’s our chance to stand up to them, and be counted. Our chance to start taking some of that democratic power back into our own hands. If anyone feels like me but hasn’t voted yet today, go out and put a tick in the box for UKIP now. Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Farage. I’m putting my coat on right now and taking a stroll down to the Polling Station. If you don’t, or if you vote for one of the other mainstream parties, you’ll continue to get more of the same – waste, corruption, deceit, posturing, mis-management, war, and greed. Blair, Cameron, and Clegg. Need I say more?by