As I write this, we are just a few days out of the European and local elections. The results are not quite in yet, although they might be by the time I finish this. However, it’s becoming quite clear what’s happened. A lot of people getting profoundly frustrated with the traditional main parties is what has happened.
Let’s be clear about this. I voted for UKIP. Why?
Do I consider myself to be a racist? Well, no. Not wanting to sound trite, but I can only wheel out the somewhat immature argument that I have some black friends. I don’t go out of my way to make sure 50% of my social circle is. I just make friends with the people I get on with. Most of them are white. Some of them are black.
Do I consider myself to be a homophobe? No again. Out comes the same schoolboy argument that I have gay friends. But I don’t count them or present them as trophies of acceptance. I’m not that insecure. I just make friends with the people I get on with. Most of them are straight. Some of them are gay.
Do I consider myself insulted for regularly being called racist and homophobic because the members of the traditional parties like to throw these labels around like spit? Damn right. That’s the first reason.
The second reason is to do with the state of the economy. Don’t get me wrong, I actually think the coalition are doing a reasonably good job at things like re-balancing the national debt. I accept they’re clearing up the mess left by the previous government, but this isn’t really what the economy is to me. It’s not my job to be concerned about that. On a day to day basis, “the economy”, to me, is nothing more than having a decent job and a decent wage. I can’t easily achieve that if there are too many people coming in, willing to do my job for less money than my reasonably modest salary expectations. So does that mean I’m anti-immigration? Well, not as such. What I do object to is unchecked immigration that takes us to a point where my own wages (and therefore my living standards) have to suffer, because the influx of immigrants has created a climate where my salary expectations have become unreasonable. Seriously. I do not appreciate having to put my life plans on hold because I can’t make enough money to make them a reality.
Don’t tell me to be more competitive. I work as hard as I can. I always have and always will. But note that I said I work as hard as I can. That means I can’t do any better. I’m already doing my best. I have a good degree from a good university and I’ve always done my level best at whatever I do. But I don’t think it’s right to have put in all this effort, only to have my market value undermined by a government (that I voted against) opening the floodgates as wide as possible and saturating the job market with too much labour supply. They didn’t listen to peoples’ concerns at the time. We were patient. They still didn’t listen. So we gave them a bloody nose at the ballot box.
The result? We still hear senior members of the main parties patronising us with comments along the lines of “maybe the public are feeling deeply resentful”. Cameron? Miliband? Listen up. I don’t need you telling me how to think. I don’t need you telling me how to feel. I know these things already, which leads me nicely to my third reason for voting UKIP. I want you all to back off and stop being so insidiously intrusive, so I can get on with the business of being me.