UKIP Cranham candidate Ben Buckland chats to voters

Local council elections have been taking place elsewhere in the UK, so we haven’t been so busy with them in our necks of the woods. So when Evelyn ward in Lewisham came up and then Cranham, Essex a few of us decided we would try to help. Lewisham’s Evelyn Ward was not great for us – very Labour – but the local candidate was working very hard, having produced leaflets and getting out every day to leaflet.

Labour still got in but it wasn’t for the want of trying. And by all accounts he had some very positive conversations in the area about the loss of traditional family values and the sexualisation of children in schools with early sex education and the teaching of the LGBTQ agenda. There is an audience there for us but of course the demographics are changing rapidly…. And I shuddered when I recalled what happened at the election hustings in Lewisham East last year…

However, the by-election in Cranham, Essex was much more favourable for us. UKIP have done well in Essex for many years, and the demographics there are very much in our favour. It’s just outside Upminster, with just a small shopping area, and very residential – private and council houses. Lots of pretty gardens and wide streets. Very green and very quiet with traditional pubs. The atmosphere there is overwhelmingly English – in a calm, everyday, going-about-our-business-as-we-always-have sort of way.

It was a trauma to get there due to train engineering works but worth it when we arrived. We met the candidate in the pub and talked about the area. It is actually just over 97% white British, and 75% describe themselves as Christian – the highest in London. No wonder it reminded me of the England I knew as a very small child. The London I know now has completely changed. But Cranham is still more like a suburban village. Definitely ‘working class’ for want of a better description, but in the old school sort of way, where people actually do work and try to improve their lot.

We leafleted for a few hours and managed to have a few conversations. Most people were very friendly. The most popular candidate seemed to be the rep from the Residents Association – ‘Linda’ was the answer we got when asking how they would vote. Shame not to hear ‘UKIP’ but still quite sweet.

Many were very supportive of Brexit and some promised to vote for us. Someone who helped on another day was told ‘you’ve got to save us’.  We’re trying! One thing most agreed with us on was they were disgusted with the government, they were worried about freedom of speech and political correctness and they hated being told what to say, do and think. And they certainly didn’t want the mess that is now many parts of inner London imported to Essex.

Even those who voted Remain were well mannered and happy to talk to us. They supported democracy and accepted that we should leave. Such a relief from the screeching and abusive comments we receive in inner London. I wasn’t called a racist or a nazi all day! It was rather nice but I tried not to get used to it…

Afterwards we stayed for a few drinks in the local pub. Not only was it unbelievably cheap but the atmosphere was calm, relaxing and very traditional. I looked around and wished I lived there. It reminded me so much of a kinder, calmer, more reasonable time in England – when we were all living a similar way and wanted the same things and wanted the best for our country and our people. We didn’t feel the need to screech abuse at each other every time we had a different opinion.

It’s sad that in the South East only Essex seems to still be actually ‘English’ in every way. Without being gentrified it is still just a typical English suburb or village. Nothing pretentious – just nice people going about the same life they have lived for generations…

The seat was won decisively on Thursday by ‘Linda’, the Residents’ Association candidate, but UKIP certainly had a much better reception and easier time of it than the team in Lewisham.

ut looking around and being reminded of how we used to be, I can only ask the question my mother asked many years ago: ‘Why on earth are we giving it all away?’

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