One afternoon I was walking through the town centre, doing what will be depressingly familiar to millions: taking my hard-earned cash and giving it to various utility companies.
Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best of moods.
I passed the typical canvassers on the way to the cashpoint, and on the way back, one of them (a woman in her 50′s) stopped me, and asked me to sign her petition.
What is it a petition for? I asked.
“It’s a petition against our continued membership of the European Union,” was the reply.
“And why are you against this?” I asked.
The woman in front of me looked a little confused. Why couldn’t I just sign the damned petition?
“Erm,” she said. “Let me just get my more experienced colleague.”
Experienced? I wasn’t asking for an all over massage – just a simple query about her views.
Her colleague came over (a woman who looked to be about in her late 60′s). She explained that they were collecting signatures on behalf of UKIP.
She went on to tell me that because of our continued membership of the E.U, the country was going to the dogs, and it was time to reclaim it.
Reclaim it from who, exactly?
She told me that life was different in her day, and we were continually being dictated to by Brussels, and that amount of money that we paid into the E.U needed to be stopped.
Our borders were open and ever-increasing numbers of immigrants were coming over.
I stopped her before she could utter the immortal line “And they’re taking our jobs.”
Where I live, there are a few Polish people.
In one novelty store in the town centre there are two Polish girls employed behind the tills. They are probably not earning anywhere near the same wage as me, and every time I walk past this store, it upsets me that they have taken this job.
I was going to apply for this job, it was meant to be me serving customers all day. Standing up all day.
I feel deprived.
I asked the UKIP woman how she felt about the fact that our government squandered money daily.
Wars cost money – lots of it.
MP’s large inflation busting pay rises, pensions and “expenses” costs money.
Her response was the E.U was the cause of our problems.
Without the EU, we wouldn’t be burdened with forthcoming tax increases to the tune of over £8000 per person.
I won’t bore you with the rest of this conversation, but I’ve heard this argument before:
We are being overrun with immigrants, and a lot of them don’t speak English.
I’ve lived all over the UK, and had neighbours born in this country who spoke perfect English – who still didn’t talk to me.
Walk around any major city, a lot of native English speakers.
If you follow this argument, with all these people speaking english, I shouldn’t be able to move for people wanting to engage me in conversation.
With the “keep yourself to yourself” society we live in, if all immigrants spoke perfect English, chances are nobody would talk to them anyway…
These immigrants are taking our jobs? I’ve seen people come over taking jobs as road sweepers, cafe workers, market stall workers, care workers, hotel workers, fruit pickers, decorators.
I don’t remember applying for any of these jobs.
If a non-English speaking immigrant worker manages to steal your road sweeping job from under your nose, then you are clearly shit at your job…
I work with a few foreign nationals.
I’m still in employment, they haven’t stolen my job, I haven’t become disadvantaged – so where does this rather feeble “They’re taking our jobs” argument come from?
Anyway, I digress.
The UKIP woman (accepting that I wasn’t going to sign her petition) handed me a booklet entitled “The European Union Project: What is it all about?”
This booklet currently resides in my bathroom, just in case I run out of toilet paper….
Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2012.
All rights reserved.