It didn’t look to us like things could get much worse for UKIP after last week; happily, we were wrong. By our count, two UKIP candidates have just up and left the party in the week since the last edition of The Week in UKIP – South Northamptonshire candidate Tim Wilson quit the party last Wednesday after UKIP MEP David Coburn likened an SNP MSP of Asian descent to Abu Hamza, while just today, Jeremy Zeid, who was standing as MP for Hendon in northwest London, left UKIP after he suggested Israel should kidnap Barack Obama Nazi war criminal-style and “lock him up for leaking state secrets”.
Could the past week have been the worst ever for UKIP? Not only did evil party overlord Nigel Farage find his new book The Purple Revolution trashed and his humanoid outer shell hounded by a circus of protesters outside one of those British pubs he so loves, but his beloved
cash cow racist-magnet of a party saw three parliamentary candidates mired in controversy and out of the running in the space of a single day.
First up was general election candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale Jonathan Stanley, who quit UKIP on Friday due to “open racism and sanctimonious bullying” within the party. (This comes not long after UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir defected to the Conservatives after citing racism in the party, and after UKIP’s LGBT chair resigned over the party’s unwillingness to establish a “gay-friendly tone”.) On the same day, UKIP also suspended its parliamentary candidate in Scunthorpe, Stephen Howd, following mysterious “allegations of an incident at his workplace”. Finally, MEP and general election candidate for Folkestone and Hythe Janice Atkinson was suspended, later expelled, for “bringing the party into disrepute”.
When you look at what can make us happy, namely community and health, you can see why we aren’t as happy as we perhaps used to be. Our sedentary, indoor, isolated lifestyles; more-than-full-time jobs; chemicals in our food; rising house prices and debt; depressing news; threat of climate change; growing poverty and inequality; and rapacious consumerism don’t lead to very fulfilling lives.
But we can change it. We can form communities again, to rally around these problems. We can make life choices to reject the accepted norms, reject consumerism, reject life long debt, eat healthier. It is hard, our society and government don’t want to make that easy for us, but it’s not impossible. Being happy spreads happiness, so it’s a very selfless thing to do.
As I write this, the sky is getting darker as the moon passes in front of the sun, but it will very quickly get brighter again. You can do the same in your life. Reach out, join community groups, take up a sport, and the revolution will start with you.
Skewed is the nation’s awareness when we believe an Old Reptonian millionaire to be the Ordinary Man’s representative against the Elite. But that’s the way it goes, and in the last few days I’ve read more tweets, heard more dialogue, and seen more pictures of Jeremy Clarkson’s piss-nettle face than I ever did for anything relating to Ebola, ISIS, Boko Haram or the NHS. If it seems hypocritical that I’m now adding to that dialogue by writing this, then rest assured that I am indeed a hypocrite. Also rest assured that I’m exasperated, to the point where I’m now typing furiously about a man I previously never had an opinion of. (Clarkson was always just there, on BBC2 or in The Sun causing the type of ‘havoc’ that only a middle-class, jean-clad, dad-rocker can: mild.)
Yes I winced at his racist comments – and winced even more at the apology – and yes I chuckled when I was 17 and he blew up a caravan on Top Gear or something, but each wince and chuckle was an infinitesimal part of my day, a sub-second of emotion followed by the rest of my life. I thought that’s how most people saw Clarkson; as an uncle at the wedding you loved to disapprove of; a family fixture you saw once a week but didn’t think much about otherwise. Turns out I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong.
This was a positive weekend not just for us, but for everyone. Climate change and unchecked abuses of power are probably two of the biggest threats to the people of this world right now, whether they realise it or not, and the lack of reporting on both in the media has been an enduring issue for us at Shamocracy. It certainly never helps if the press, that bridge between the general public and awareness of current events, restricts what information crosses over. Happily, two items that we’ve made into priorities have started making the headlines.
There was increasing coverage of the Westminster abuse scandal over the weekend, with even Conservative outlets Sky News and the Mail on Sunday opting to end the silence and take the systemic rape and murder of children by members of Parliament to the front page. Additionally, a feature focusing on the threat of climate change appeared on the Guardian’s front page on Friday, and with it came the promise from outgoing editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger that “it will be there again next week and the week after”. That the media has shown some uncharacteristic responsibility by making big deals out of these stories provides hope: maybe we’re in the midst of a shift.
We know the popular news outlets don’t report all the important news, so at Shamocracy we scour all corners of the internet to bring you news you wouldn’t otherwise hear. Here’s a collection from the last month. To get more like these in your Twitter or Facebook feeds, follow us! If we missed anything, let us know in the comments. Continue reading
A man dressed all in black had been removing the heads from aid workers and journalists and we wondered who he really was. He’d been the British-accented ‘star’ of a number of Islamic State propaganda videos, so we named him appropriately: Jihadi John was the nickname given, as he was one of four IS members with English accents that were collectively referred to by hostages as The Beatles (the others being George, Ringo and Paul). Last week, we discovered John’s true identity – this was, in reality, Mohammed Emwazi, a 26-year-old Kuwaiti-born Londoner who had flown to Syria to join ISIS two years ago, and his backstory makes for complicated, occasionally uncomfortable reading. The truth, however, isn’t proving as popular as the story we invented for him.
Look how the press continues to refer to Emwazi by his cartoonish nickname Jihadi John, despite now being aware of his true identity. We aren’t choosing to make sense of Emwazi – we’re instead more comfortable with pretending a smiling schoolboy who wanted to be a footballer and who grew up to be both a Westminster University graduate and an IS executioner is still ‘Jihadi John’, the monstrous IS soldier who was probably just born evil. Today’s soundbite generation is too busy for the messy reality; there’s only time for the summarised storybook version of events we hear on the news.