Four months ago I was on a hilltop in Malta, 1,800 miles away picking vegetables and kissing hippy girls with painted faces and strange accents.
Everyone was young and disillusioned, and we sat and spoke without the internet. The EU was so big and distant, social media self-confidence was killing us, and the media was terrible. Nobody read the news.
I was inspired and sobered. It was time to go to work and head home, fight against the bastards and make the world a better place. (You can read about all of that here)
Two months back in the UK and there I was, fighting freedom sideways, falling into chairs sick from society, floating away on pint glasses and tumblers of Whiskey. The star in my own world of tobaccoed bar stools and puke on your shoes.
Skiving life at the local chip shop of shame.
Being absent, though, doesn’t cure being lost. It just leads you to nothing.
A few weeks later the European elections started to gain national coverage and, as the fog cleared, I started seeing my options. There were none. Looking for the truth seemed like a good start though.
On Thursday May 22nd I voted for a right wing political party called the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).
This is how it went, and why I did it.
I walked up to the polling station at about 7pm, under a railway bridge full of pigeons and into an empty room where a man and a woman sat waiting. They both looked delighted to see a family voting together, particularly my 18 year old brother.
In the little wooden box, which smelt like antique dust, I put a little grey cross in the little UKIP box.
And, after laughing with the lovely voting people, both of whom looked pretty trustworthy, although you never know when you can’t see under the table, I went for a run and started to have a minor panic attack. What had I done?
What if Britain now spiralled into some kind of fascist nightmare where we became controlled by a government no longer interested in the good of the people? A country where media propaganda controlled us and celebrity news was forced to report only on the chic greys everyone was wearing.
By now I was sweating up the hill, smelling the finest cuts of meat from the spinning stick across the road.
Then, as I passed the kebab shop, I remembered the last few weeks and reminded myself again that I had voted for the idea of truth. Not in any party or politician, but in my generation.
A few days before, as Michael Gove dropped ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ from the school syllabus, I still wasn’t sure what party to vote for. It wouldn’t be the Tories, I knew that. The fact they had just cut perhaps the most important book about tolerance and perspective ever written from the national syllabus was one of many reasons.
So why vote for the racist UKIP lot then?
Because I read their MANIFESTO 2014, which is really short and has few concrete policies. This was the first moment of ‘oh shit.’
Every day in the newspapers and on social media I saw this racist party that wants pregnant woman to serve in Iraq, the elderly to give their pensions to the fracking industry and Steven Fry to be locked away in the tower of London.
Then all the political flyers came through the door. The Liberal Democrat leaflet said nothing apart from why UKIP was bad. They even had a picture of the UKIP leader Nigel Farage on it. What the fuck were they doing? Labour was the same. So were the Greens. No ownership of policies just a highlighting of the bad things about their competitors. Like standing in a bakery and pointing at a shoddy loaf of bread while you stuff muffins down your shorts.
But wait. I had read the UKIP manifesto. It was pretty thin and didn’t say anything about much. There were fairly aggressive crime numbers about immigrants, a picture of Labour Leader garden shED Miliband, but not much else.
So why was there all of this sudden depth to the party. Somehow, by doing very little, and not having yet produced a new line on key policies, UKIP was this idealised party that had something to say on everything and it was all bad.
Mainly the finger was pointed towards them being racist and against the environment, two things the Millenials probably hold closer than any other generation. But it’s not really there. It doesn’t really exist. Look for yourselves here.
We are conditioned to loathe things like melting ice caps and hating other races, and we should, but always been wary when your sensitive parts are touched. Does a media that okayed an illegal invasion of another races country really care that some guy from Eastbourne doesn’t like black people?
The point of this article, though, is not to convince people to vote for UKIP. It is to highlight a media campaign instigated by a political system that everyone seems obsessed with believing. Have you not read about the Rebecca Brooks and NewsCorp trail? The government and the media as one.
The fact is that UKIP is a victim of its own infancy, a china cup of anti-EU sentiment filled with anything its allies or enemies fancy filling it with.
Personally, I strongly oppose UKIP’s support of Fracking.
To love Britain the corporate business is to support fracking and the economic gains that come with it. To love Britain the land, a smother of greens that Tolkien, Hardy and Wordsworth saw as fantasy, is to despair at fracking. And I Iove this land and I despair at fracking.
Saying that, one of the leading UKIP blogs is now calling for a cooling on the fracking support.
Okay wait a minute !
The heat is being deflected from the main parties so obviously and, subsequently, a huge amount of energy and time is being spent being annoyed at UKIP.
It is clear that our generation is at odds with the political system so it makes the most sense to disinterest us from politics, or to create a common enemy.
The likelihood of young people voting Lib-Lab-Con is slim so they better not vote for anyone else. The older generation in power is trying to cling onto a political system wherein two party’s rule. The idea of UKIP, and it also could have been an aggressive Left-wing party, scares a government in which the three major party leaders all went to school together. The Greens, in many ways, are the same as UKIP in this respect. The difference, apart from policy, is they do not have a charismatic leader. And national politics is as much about people as it is policy.
A number of my friends decided not to bother with the elections, either because they were depressed about the whole system or just didn’t care. But not voting is absolutely not the way forward.
The word ‘Freedom,’ America’s branded tagline, has clouded our ideas and coupled Democracy with Capitalism, but a free-vote is not the same as a ‘free-market.’ Not voting because there is monopolised wealth in our country is an excuse beyond reprehension. Not voting because you hate the system is pretty bad as well. Worse, though, is that there seems to be no solution. The solution is all we should be thinking about and, I believe, it’s a personal thing, an inside job.
The next step is to create a new idea, which in itself has gone out of fashion since consumption became the meal of the day.
New concepts, like facts, are the brussel sprouts on the crowded roast dinner of society, where the real meat is opinion and desert is televising an obscure, digital version of ourselves.
Of expending energy despairing at our physical limitations and empty cabinets, all the while performing treason on our natural instinct to search for truth through new ideas and actual facts.
I voted for UKIP because I wanted to use my vote for something.
I wanted to make the point that the media and the social rhetoric we are fed every day, although commonly spoken about, is something we all continue to do nothing about. And UKIP are simply the best example of this within this subject. The amount of energy spent on ‘hate’ and ‘opinions’ about UKIP has been absurd. The amount of time spent looking for facts even more so.
It is our generation’s responsibility to get into the system and change it rather than complain from the outside. To evolve our country and grow out of what feels like a dark age. Yes, we didn’t create this mess, but rolling around in shit is not the quickest way to get clean.
By the end of this summer my local town will have an online magazine about that will focus on facts and real people. Because I think the solution is personal, an inside job.
“All right then,” said the savage defiantly, I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat, the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.”
There was a long silence.
“I claim them all. I’d rather be myself,” he said. “Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.” Aldous Huxley