The newspapers are trying hard to define who are the UKIP supporters and why they are soundly rejecting the traditional parties. While the papers correctly identify that in any gathering of UKIP supporters there is a large number who are nearly retirement age and over.
It isn’t as simple as just the age, it is about what we have lived through and what our expectations were and what promises have been made to us during our working lives.
1960 – 1970
I was brought up in a centre-right-wing family but I was a bit further right, having already struggled and achieved as a teenager. Just as I was starting work the wave of socialism and union power brought the young Harold Wilson into government to replace the tired old gentlemen who had been bumbling along since the war.
Within a relatively short period it became clear that the Labour party was unable to control the unions that had brought it to power and the economy started to falter. Strikes became rife and industry was regularly brought to its knees. Wilson devalued the pound and confidently stated it would not affect the pound in your pocket. We knew it would, otherwise there was no point in doing it. He lied.
1970 – 1974
Nevertheless the country got tired of the strikes and running down of industry and the cancellation of military projects and in 1970 elected a Conservative government under Edward Heath. He quickly started negotiations about joining the Common Market (as it was so called) although he knew it was the road to a continental socialist superstate.
Geoffrey Howe instigated an enabling act that would allow European Community Legislation to be incorporated into British law without passage through the UK Parliament. He at a stroke allowed the European Community to have superiority over our Parliament! He was a traitor!
Edward Heath then signed the European Communities Act 1972 giving away a large part of our sovereignty and democracy, without offering a referendum to the people of this nation. He told us it was just a trade arrangement and it would be good for the economy and jobs. He lied.
During the two years of negotiation to join he failed to make a case to protect our fishing rights and believed the French and German negotiators when they told him not to worry about such things as they would make sure it was alright. They lied.
During those same two years he introduced decimalisation of the pound and assured us it wouldn’t change the actual value of the pound. Well in a relatively short period of time there was massive inflation that in effect made the new pound only worth 100 of the old pence. We were deceived again.
1974 – 1979
The people weren’t happy that Edward Heath had signed us into the EEC and demanded a referendum. He wouldn’t offer us one and when the next election came round, Harold Wilson offered a referendum and was elected. Well the referendum was held after a media propaganda campaign by the government that secured a yes to a vote to stay in. The government lied.
Things carried on getting worse for the country and vast numbers of young workers and graduates emigrated oversees as they saw the ship Britannia was listing heavily and possibly would descend into anarchy.
1979 – 1990
At the next election Margaret Thatcher offered to curb the out-of control unions and get Britain back to work. She was elected in 1979 and from then on Britain started to get better again.
She introduced the Poll Tax, but did it in a stupid way. At the same time she did a housing revaluation that made the Council Tax jump in value and at the same time applied it even to unemployed and sick people on benefits. They of course had time on their hands to foment a popular uprising against the tax and caused it to be withdrawn.
There was trouble in the Conservative Party as a huge proportion of supporters wanted out of the European regime while most of her cabinet wanted further integration. Her Chancellor was forced to try and link the pound to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism as a prelude to joining a common European currency. In doing this, the pound suffered an attack by a speculator and dropped out costing us £11B in treasury gold.
Life for the baby boom generation was good though. By scrimping and saving it was possible to save a few years for a deposit on a house. By working hard and doing study it was possible to gain promotion at work and Britain was booming again, and unemployment was going down.
The baby boomers were a huge resource paying tax to the government that allowed the previous generation to have excellent pensions, especially if they worked for the government. We were told that if we continued to save it would be good for the economy and if we continued to pay into our pensions we would have a glorious retirement, just like our parents.
Margaret Thatcher took us to war in the Falklands to take back the islands from the Argentinean invaders, which had been settled by the British for over 100 years. That was a war where our troops were fighting for British nationals, how unusual.
Continued in part two tomorrow…