I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but there has been a staggering amount of media focus on UKIP in the last few weeks; all over the press and always it seems, second or third up on the mains news stations such as the BBC, C4 and ITV.
I had been finding it difficult to understand this, at least until I read somewhere that OFCOM had awarded UKIP temporary major party status in England and Wales (they are an irrelevance in Scotland).
By being offered this status (I didn’t know this) it gives UKIP the same amount of party political broadcasts as other parties, as well as “due weight” on the mainstream news programmes as I indicated above, which I guess, is only fair in an alleged democracy.
In my opinion, UKIP should be named the BBDPP (Belligerent Bloke Down the Pub Party). You will know the type I mean if you have ever been a pub regular or actually been involved in running one (both in my case). Every pub has one, it is the tradition.
They always sit at the end of the bar in a seat they have claimed but don’t own, and with a personalised tankard in hand, they proceed, on a nightly basis, to rant about Enoch Powell having the right idea, kids having no respect and the shooting or deporting of homosexuals and sex offenders.
Nigel Farage: Man Down the Pub Politics
To begin with, these characters sit somewhere in between being annoying and mildly amusing but if you ever challenge or offer an alternative to their mad cap theories, you are shouted down as a loony lefty apologist with homosexual tendencies. These people won’t allow any opinion except their own.
I can guarantee that everyone you have met who acts like that, will vote UKIP, and the reason they will vote UKIP is not because of social, economic, health or environmental policy but because they believe UKIP stand for their racist and bigoted, bloke in the pub views. They are probably right.
It is no coincidence that 70% of UKIP supporters have no idea of any of their (UKIP’s) policies other than immigration.
‘Man down the Pub’ politics is nothing new, it has existed for as long as I can remember. However, because the Conservative Party has, in general, swung to the centre ground of politics, these people have nowhere to go, with their only escape being The Daily Express, the pub and a vote for UKIP.
The same thing has happened in the Labour Party where the traditional socialists have stayed to the left of the centre ground and joined emerging parties such as the Green Party who sympathise with issues such as the very real prospect of the privatisation of the NHS which, it could be argued, has already begun its gradual process under the Tories and indeed, New Labour.
Both the Conservatives and Labour seem to content to let the radicals go their own way allowing themselves to fight for the middle ground voters which are considered either Labour with a small ‘l’ or Conservative with a small ‘c’. I think that is a fair judgement?
Anyway, I find it somewhat bizarre that whilst it is seemingly okay be a racist in a pub, any tendency shown towards green issues like fracking or fear of the destruction of the NHS is enough to get you branded a fool. Why is that? Is that common across the country or just a southern England thing?
Nowadays, I don’t bother going in pubs on my own, as debating with strangers is only healthy if it is a two way thing. I think it maybe a sort of coming of age thing but the people who, as a young man, I used to think were radical voices of reason through experience, I now couldn’t spend more than five minutes with.
The UKIP men in the pub I have experienced in recent years, just shout their boorish mouths off, go home, demand dinner and tell their wives how they have just put the world to rights, before bouncing on top of their motionless bodies as the bed springs snap under the weight of eight pints of Spitfire.
When all said and done, the only reason people like Nigel Farage get their fifteen minutes of fame, is because a glance at all the three major parties shows three nearly identical men squabbling over middle England; it is all so non-descriptive it beggars belief. All the policies are so close with each leader only having a mild dislike rather than disdain for each others ideologies.
As a traditional Labour supporter, I almost have to watch Ed Milliband from behind the sofa and at a guess, even the most hardened Tory would struggle to argue that David Cameron is a leader who looks at home on the world stage. That’s why, in my opinion, Farage is enjoying his attention seeking period in the media spotlight.
My kids and I heard someone ranting to an innocent and bemused victim in a pub in Milford on Sea (a UKIP heartland) the other week, saying that… “This country needs sorting out…My parents fought in the war to keep the ‘Great’ in Britain… Now we are giving it away to Eastern Europeans…Youngsters need to show some respect.”
It was quite funny actually, because when he said; “Don’t get me started on gay marriage” his repressed looking wife piped up and said; “I don’t think he was going to dear.” Her reward for her impudence was a look that suggested a major dressing down when they got home.
I was going to point out that if his parents had fought in the war (he probably didn’t know) it was actually for the liberation of Europe and that as a matter of fact, the Royal Air Force had 16 Polish Squadrons, one of them being the No. 303 (“Kociuszko”) Polish Fighter Squadron, the highest scoring Squadron in the Battle of Britain.
Then I thought… “Fuck this, I’ve got far better things to do with my life.”
This is because not so long a ago I poked a UKIP type in chest after he embarked on a vicious tirade at my son who accidentally banged his wing mirror with our car door. He proceeded to go purple in the head and became incoherent, which resulted in me having a restless night wondering whether he had suffered a heart attack that might just result in a manslaughter charge.
To make matters worse for some reason I tried to talk his language and despite him being in his sixties, I called him “Sunny Jim.” This resulted in my children running to the hills with embarrassment rather than offering me hero status. Evidence that it’s just not worth getting involved with these people; it is a lose, lose, situation.
Seriously…If you are worried about UKIP, it is really not worth it, as after a successful night in the European elections, they will soon be like yesterday’s man…Sat in the corner of a pub, waiting for the next poor bastard who just wants a quiet pint.
Like with the man in the pub, the novelty soon wears off.