Thursday 22nd May 2014. The day many of us went out to cast our votes for the European Parliament. A few days later and the election results have emerged leaving many of us mulling over what happened for such a result to occur.
UKIP (UK Independence Party) came out on top securing 27.5% of the British vote, leaving traditional rivals Labour and the Conservative Party by the wayside. Similar patterns showed across Europe, as voters violently swung to the far Right when casting their votes. It’s the first time in British history that neither Labour nor the Tories have won. So why is this something that everyone – not just senior politicians – should be concerned about?
UKIP has proved that they now have a considerable presence in councils up and down the country. This will have a knock on effect in the General Election next year; it is unpredictable as to how things will turn out. The irony of the Euro-sceptic party is that, if it weren’t for institutions such as the European Parliament or the European Union, they wouldn’t even exist.
I get it. I really do get it: we’re all angry, disappointed and feel let down by our current system. Every day we see headlines of youth unemployment, murderers escaping from prison, rising costs of living and dwindling salaries, families being evicted and left out on the street. I could go on and on.
People are furious; they feel like nobody is listening to them and the Right wing have picked up on this like a hound going in for the kill. I can’t help but think that this vote wasn’t a vote for change. It feels more like a knee-jerk reaction to the failures, false promises and misgivings of the current system.
Numerous papers are calling UKIP’s success a “political earthquake” that has shaken up the British political scene. People everywhere, around the world, are longing for change. We long for change; I don’t know a single person who doesn’t want our world to be a better place that benefits everyone. But I don’t feel like we’re achieving that. Sure, things will change but not for the best. Instead of leaving behind a legacy that will inspire, elevate and protect us, we’re leaving behind a world that is even more cursed than before.
We are living in a politically charged environment where words such as “immigration” “unemployment” and “ethnic minority” are more lethal than a loaded pistol in the hands of a toddler. I can’t help but think how violent much of the narrative is:
“Let’s take back our country!”
“26 million Europeans are looking for work. And whose job are they after?”
I’ll tell you why this narrative deeply concerns me. Today it’s the European Union. But what’s not to say that it will go back onto ethnic minorities being blamed for Britain’s current issues?
History has taught us, if anything, that cycles of extremism tend to be more volatile in times of economic hardship and austerity. It’s easier to manipulate and play upon the general public’s fear and frustration when they have been kicked to the kerb. It’s not too different from the narrative of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s where such language was used to target ethnic minorities – both British born and immigrants. I can vividly remember as a child, racial slurs of “Paki scum” and “Niggers” being hurled in public. The narrative then was driven by a lack of jobs, scare-mongering tactics, an unstable economy and austerity measures: the reason for those problems was because of the “bloody foreigners.”
Fast forward a few decades and not much has really changed. Discrimination is still fuelled by the same reasons and we still haven’t learned from our lessons of the past. Discrimination has been swept under the carpet and firmly gagged by politically-correct middle class folk – yet we all know that it exists, especially if you are of immigrant descent. For example, consider the way that the media reports crime:
Black man – violent, thug, drug dealer, gangster, uneducated
Black woman – angry, cold, teenage mother, ill-mannered
Asian man – terrorist, nerd, paedophiles, violent, backwards
Asian woman – quiet, submissive, repressed, and obedient
White man – mentally ill, let down by the system
White woman – mentally ill, let down by the system
Now tell me: have things really changed or are we jumping to conclusions by squinting through the distortions of a smudged lens?
I question how much “worse” things can get before we all wake up from our drunken slumber, loudly knock on the doors of justice until our knuckles bleed and finally get answers from those we hold accountable for the injustice done to millions of us. I can only hope that we realise that in order for a genuine and fair change to occur, we must first change ourselves, then our homes, our towns and then our nation.