One man and an army can make an awful lot of noise, but I know our outward-looking generation can be just as loud.
The last two weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride in politics for the ever-increasing right-wing Ukip – and me!
We started off the year with Farage’s Army – you know, the ones who are a bit like Dumbledore’s Army but a bit more foreign muggle-fearing and prone to making gaffes on social media – being given major party status by Ofcom, upsetting Green supporters who have experienced surge in their membership numbers over the last 12 months.
Then, Farage was accused of ‘political point scoring’, whilst blind-drunk on orange juice for Dry January, for his ‘fifth column‘ remarks on those pesky immigrants. Even someone billed as ‘one of Ukip’s most prominent candidates’ decided to weigh into the social media fifth-column furore by suggesting that the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack meant that it was undoubtedly “Time for Ukip”.
The Paris atrocity shows that democracy & free speech are under attack. Time to take a stand. Time for pic.twitter.com/Tr94zyF5OV
— John Bickley (@JohnBickleyUKIP)
In fact, recently it’s worried me that there is an increasing amount of apathy for most things that I would call unjust and worth talking about.
And, as I began scrawling through various comments left on these articles by clear-cut Ukip supporters, then had my own ear-bashing by a few rather pleasant (read: ignorant) chaps on Twitter this week, I had to stare blankly at my screen and frankly wonder why in the Lord’s name (not Ashcroft’s) I had thought it would be a good idea to seriously consider entering politics and trying to change the world for the better when we’re in the age of an outcry of xenophobic, ‘My-Day-Was-Better’ keyboard warriors who want to revert our country to 30 years ago and come out with such intelligently constructed statements as:
“these silly young kids have no idea about what the other parties are doing to this country. theyre to busy with thier unwanted multi cultural friends . they think all immis are like theyre pals . obviously not met the parents”
More fool me for being a bit of a grammar warrior but yes, that is how this one particular lady decided to retort on an article about a Ukip MEP’s visit to his old school. Her comments suggest she possesses the charm and wit of a common fruit fly. Probably one smuggled in on a fifth-column Granny Smith (or Smithinda, if you like) too.
It will, of course, come as no surprise to hear how the majority of Ukip supporters are not massive fans of immigration, but recently what’s worried me is seeing an increasing trend of people being more xenophobic and racist than I would have ever imagined, nodding their heads in a sheepish and harrumphing in a ‘take-it-at-face-value’ manner because it was written in ‘The Daily Fail’, and a decline in the numbers of people speaking up about it. Even my own father this week came out with the reason for car insurance being so high being the fact that ‘Polish people don’t insure their cars’, causing me to have a rather heated debate with him.
Have we really become a nation so divided that the misinformed ‘experts’ of the world see some of our cities as ‘unwelcoming to non-Muslims’? Have we really become a nation where Ukip can come out with such incredibly backwards policies (read: NOT common sense) which they’re applauded for and not questioned about the true intent of them?
And have we really become a country where no matter what political persuasion you have, you’re judged more on your speeches than your activism and positive change, purely for attempting to try to enact that change?
The more I watch Ed Miliband in interviews the more I realise there are only a few parties truly on the left of the political spectrum that are willing to act in the interests of the 99% percent – this weekend showcasing a classic example of this when he repeatedly failed to disown the term ‘weaponising the NHS’ in what was a rather awkward and uncomfortable TV interview. Is this really turning people off politics and driving them towards the charismatic and charming ol’ Nige?
The prosperity of Ukip is hard to ignore, one I am finding myself losing a battle with because I’m struggling to find the other voices to help make a loud enough noise to try and show people there are far bigger problems with the world than some mis-informed facts on immigration and the country we live in.
To bring matters closer to home and look at how my non-immigration message has been discarded as basically ‘troublemaking drivel’, in the past week alone I’ve been told the Living Wage is a “dumb” idea and to forget about trying to campaign for it, that nobody would really care about the fact I just discovered the University are investing a considerable amount of money in BAE Systems, British American Tobacco, BP, and Shell to fund their Estates Programme, that nobody cares our own Vice-Chancellor is on thirty-three times more than the lowest paid worker at Kent and sits on a committee of herself and two or sometimes three other people to decide her salary each year, that nobody would care the University are more interested in pushing sales of £1,000 bikes than investing in your education and paying staff a decent wage, that it’s worthless trying to stop fracking as ‘climate change is fake science’. Apparently even the rise in rail-fares this year were my fault (go figure?!).
What has happened to all the activism in the country and our intrinsic want/need to actively question things and understand the world around us?
Growing up, I was taught that one of the best things in life I could do was to ‘Question Everything’. I was taught to see through the one-sided arguments and form my own logical opinions based on fact and peer-reviewed data, and to actively engage in debate with people to argue my corner. I’ve always felt an intrinsic need to challenge the status-quo and question those in positions of power and/or authority, and I have to wonder why other people don’t always feel the same?
I know there are people out there who do care, that really do want to challenge the opinions of people who think the cause of house prices rising and wages falling are the cause of immigrants. Nobody is a bad person for holding that opinion, because it’s easier to accept that than actively seeking out notions such as the failure of quantitative easing and the increasing monetary inequalities we’re facing, not to mention the interests of the ruling class being intrinsic rather than community-focused.
I expect a whole range of comments on this article – from, hopefully, the supportive to the down-right insulting. But, I can take them on the chin – because I know that my heart is in this. I know that I’m doing this for what I believe are the right reasons, and that we can still tackle radicalism without ‘closing the doors’.
I know there are people that do care about the fact our University is using its endowments in its current manner. I know there are people that do care about the Living Wage and decreasing the pay ratios in Higher Education. Now more than ever, in the continued battle against arguments of wanting to control our borders and stop the immigrants, it’s time for you to speak up and look closer to home for change.
Why? Because if we don’t, then we might as well all bury our heads in the sand as the inequality rises and the anti-immigration and EU message is spread and we have to wait another five years. We have the ability to enact change, and we don’t need the political class to do it.
And, if you feel that the world around you is also unjust, I urge you to question everything. Because one man and an army can make an awful lot of noise, but I know our outward-looking generation can be just as loud.