As someone from a working class northern background, hailing from one of the most deprived areas of the country (and to my regret, without even a GCSE to my name), politics never interested me growing up. Nor was it talked about or even mentioned over the breakfast table or at family gatherings. My only real memory of anything political growing up was the poll tax riots of the early 90’s, and my parents anger at the polices of the day.
And so this trend continued all throughout my teens; and through almost all my 20s it’s fair to say that politics never really registered on my radar. This of course all changed around the late 2000’s as the economy collapsed and the disastrous polices of the sinister neo-liberal Labour government came home to roost.
It was a pretty hard pill to swallow, coming to the realization that these people entrusted with our livelihoods, with our very futures – the ‘great and the good’, our so-called betters – were at best totally incompetent, at worst sinister and evil; or as I would personally put it: they didn’t know their arses from their elbows.
It was at this point, while jobless and languishing on benefits, that I started to wise up and take note. I started watching the news for the very first time, and watching shows I’d never really known existed like Question Time and the Daily Politics. I was searching for answers and information on what exactly had happened to our once great nation!
The first thing that struck me upon watching these sort of shows was the way these peopled talked: the words they used, the way they could rattle on for ages without really saying anything, and their use of words that sounded good but didn’t actually have much meaning in a real world context. “Ohh, it’s vibrant – very vibrant!” “Ohh, enriched! Yes, enriched!” “Ohh, it’s so diverse! – Yes, very diverse, hor hor hor”
The second was the way they spoke with their hands. It actually amused me, it was almost like they were doing some sort of privileged version of the ‘big fish, little fish’ hand dance. ‘Insincere’ is the word I would use to describe these people. It was like they were reading from a script, written by a script writer who was desperately trying to work out what I wanted to hear.
Add to this my observation that they would never answer questions directly and to the point ever, always going off the subject and dancing around what the interviwer wanted to actually know! I came to the conclusion that these procrastinators were not the people I wanted to represent me or my country in any way, shape or form.
As my fascination peaked with this politics stuff, I started finding out more and more things that made my blood boil, be it Jack Straw apparently saying that “the English as a race are not worth saving”; or Gordon Brown‘s vilification of an elderly women for merely highlighting her concerns about immigration; the revelations from Andrew Neather that from the very start of Labour’s rein they had hatched a sinister plan driven by ideology to import high levels of immigrants to “rub the right’s nose in diversity”; or the petulant sniggering remarks of Liam Byrne on leaving his post at the Treasury: “Dear chief secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards and good luck! Liam.”
And then one day, after feeling there was no party or politician I had any belief in, I eventually had my ‘UKIP moment’, if you will. It all started one day as I was casually looking on YouTube for a boxing clip I had seen at a friends house a few days previously. The video was of an American fighter (Jeff Lacy), who had been berated by a British crowd after suffering a heavy defeat, with the crowd shouting “Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?” It was when I put this simple phrase into the search box that, low and behold, our Nige’s face popped up, so I clicked on it out of curiosity.
Needless to say I was riveted by this blistering verbal attack! It appealed to me; it resonated – the ferocity of it, the passion that exuded from every pore, and the uncomfortable look on this little mans face! I was totally ignorant of course that this little man was in fact our ruler! El Presidente! Our Emperor of Europe!
The more I watched of Nigel, Paul, Gerard and Godfrey, the more I related to them and the more they seemed very different from the above mentioned ‘career politicians’. Although somewhat posh sounding to a lad from the north east, they were real people with flaws, with views, with something fresh to say, not cowed or scared to express how they really felt.
I soon came to the realization that UKIP was the party for me: a party with people I could believe in and relate to, and who had the British peoples’ best interests at heart, so I started actively supporting and spreading the word among friends and family. It was not until well over a year later that I finally had some spare money in the bank and decided to come a fully paid up member. I have never looked back since.
And so here we are in 2014: the year of the European elections – or ‘The Year of the Drawn Swords’ as I like to call it. The daggers are out. Already in 2014 we have seen attacks and smears, and I’m sure there will be a lot more still to come; as my article title alludes, we have to ‘box clever’ and roll with the punches. We must hold our nerves and be steadfast, but in a perverse way I take a lot of solace from this, to me this means we are doing something right. Like a cornered animal who is at their most desperate and vicious when threatened, we have our political elite scared and on the attack.