In the last few days, the allegations against various Ukip members has been significantly cranked up. Everyday, there’s a fresh outcry about a racist, sexist or seeming distasteful tweet, remark or comment dominating social media and the news. Yes, they’re abhorrent, yes, they’re disgusting views, yet the really worrying thing about the racist smears isn’t the small minded comments of a few, it speaks much louder about the state of our electorate and opposing political parties.
A few weeks ago, our EU election ballot papers flopped through our door. My husband knew instinctively which way he was voting. Me? Not a clue. I’m not afraid to admit that I had not the faintest idea of how the European Parliament works, nor the impact it has on this country. If I listened only to the propaganda from the media, I would literally only know one thing right now: if anyone votes Ukip, they’re a racist.
After asking my well-educated, professional friends and colleagues, it seems I was not alone. Not a single person could effectively explain to me how voting for any of the major parties in the Euro election would directly affect me or anything in our society. The replies were generally confined to pointing out that Ukip were racist and Farage a joke and that was a good enough reason to steer clear of them. OK, so who should I be voting for? What impact does the European Parliament actually have on the laws and future of this country? I actually found it difficult to get a succinct answer from anywhere on this front.
This is why people are voting Ukip. A deadly combination of apathy, ignorance and knee-jerk reactions from people too busy in their lives to take the time to find out how the European elections really affect us. Alongside some misleading threats from other standing candidates about privatisation of the NHS (which the EU elections would have NO direct implications on) the main thing I’m hearing is “We can’t really give you a reason to vote for us, but if you vote for THEM you’re akin to Hitler”.
I don’t hear any clear voice from any party at the moment about what they want to do if they won the largest proportion of seats in the European elections, other than the referendum promise from the Tories 3 years away. If the other three main parties really want to get voters on their side, it’s now time to speak up. Playing the race card will only go so far. Where are the policies, the promises, the ideas? Or does our government and opposing parties really insist on treating us like the moronic masses we’re happy to be considered already?