There are times in life when you undertake to do something with a heavy heart, not always because you don’t want to do something in particular, but more because of the attitudes of others and not knowing what their reaction will be. Tomorrow, Saturday 29th September 2012, is going to be one of those days.
Sadly, my home town of Walsall where the local Council is doing all it can to wreck the local economy by harassing visiting motorists with increased parking charges and the introduction on-street pay and dismay parking machines, all enforced with an army of traffic wardens who pounce the minute some poor soul has made a minor infraction, is to be a no-go zone for anyone with an ounce of common sense on the above date. Tomorrow Walsall is to be the gathering place for an army of assorted yobbery as the EDL comes to town to protest about something only they seem to understand what it is they are protesting about.
All my instincts are telling me to not go anywhere near Walsall town centre tomorrow, however, my brother, Bruce, who is a devout Christian and active member of St Paul’s Church in Walsall, wants me to attend a rally to counter the EDL protest which is being organised by Reverend Mark Kinder the rector of St Paul’s.
This morning I called Mark, who is a thoroughly decent chap, to ask him if I would be allowed to say a few words of support at the gathering. As my brother had already told him that UKIP in Walsall would be present and giving its support, it seems a debate had already taken place at an organising meeting and the general consensus was one of surprise and wariness that UKIP was giving its support to their rally against the EDL. Naturally, even though I will still be there as they have not objected to me joining them, I have not been granted a moment or two to speak in support.
It seems the surprise that I would want to support them is down to years of press and media misrepresentation about UKIP and our aims, fuelled enthusiastically by the pro-EU lobby. In the past when I have debated the problems of EU membership I have had suggestions that UKIP are ‘right wing’, or ‘BNP in blazers’, to those who are UKIP members this false caricature is totally wrong and to those who have actually taken the time and trouble to learn about UKIP they know to be incorrect. Even Evan Davies, reporting on the BBC Radio Four ‘Today’ programme, declared that UKIP members were “nice people” after attending our first day of conference in Birmingham last week. As you can see from the photo of the conference audeince, we are a wide mixture of people.
Added to this, many of those organising the anti-EDL rally in Walsall know both our Walsall UKIP members and myself from election counts and when we have been out campaigning, often stopping for a friendly chat – they know that we are not a party that has racist views. This is proven by the fact UKIP members are made up of many religions and cultures as well as a mixture of moderate political views, all are welcome to join UKIP with the only restriction being that past and present members of the EDL, BNP and other extremist organisations.
Yes, UKIP has a strong belief that our borders should be under the full control of our own sovereign Government and not, as at present, dominated by the EU. UKIP is not against immigration but realises in a small land mass with an already high population this has to be controlled. UKIP proposes this should be done in exactly the same way that other countries such as New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the USA do – so why do people accuse UKIP of being anti-immigration yet not those other countries?
There is a limit to how far the infrastructure can cope, if our already overstretched and underfunded NHS, schools and Social Services are struggling to cope, what use is it to anyone of any race, creed or colour if the whole lot collapses under the strain because no one controls the total population? We will all suffer equally.
So, tomorrow I will be there to support my brother’s church’s rally against the EDL, I have no qualms about supporting this cause because it is right. My heavy heart come from the fact I have no desire to be in the vicinity of the EDL protest and the fact that I will be among people who do not realise who their friends are.