If you ask me, and contemplating the surge in popularity for Ukip, it’s fair, I think, to put it down mostly to the party’s coming across as a political version of one of those golden oldie radio stations or UK Gold, playing the greatest hits of all time all the time: a grammar school in every town, freedom to smoke, freedom from the rest of Europe, heavily curtailed immigration, no gay marriage, strong “family values” and, probably, busty wenches serving in every pub.
On average, say nostalgia experts, ill-remembering the past with a misplaced fondness happens at a distance of 50 years or so, which puts Ukip’s “golden age” somewhere between the 1960s and 1970s, but, to confirm, I did put in a call to Ukip’s “Golden Age Department” and was told: “Yes, that’s what we are ill-remembering with a misplaced fondness. Also, phone boxes. One on every street corner. Lovely.”
Now, although some would say that, without the ill-remembered fondness, only a white, male, straight, privileged Christian could ever look back to that time and say “yeah, I was so much better off back then”, this is unfair. It was great for everybody and here are just some of the voices from that era, ones which Ukip will surely exploit with time:
* I am a child at a secondary modern and am so pleased to have been given up on at such an early age;
* I am a gay person, am happy in my closet, and would like to wish anyone going out “queer bashing” tonight the best of luck;
* I am black and get access only to the worst housing and jobs, which may be more than I deserve;
* I am a busty wench and have the clap but feel too much shame to request treatment, which has saved me from hanging around in doctors’ surgeries;
* I am a phone box and have been vandalised and pissed in and don’t work anyhow, which is exciting;
* I am a university-educated woman currently tied to the kitchen sink, but if I’m ever untied I’m going to do something crazy, like rotate my dusters.
So, happy times and I, personally, remember the television and how brilliant it used to be, with Jim’ll Fix It, and It’s a Knockout, and The Rolf Harris Show and all those Royal Variety Performances. Such innocent fun, without a ghastly, cynical, exploitative reality show in sight, and I would now ask you to do as I have done: write to Ukip in the hope that the party will campaign for the BBC to bring them back. So far, I haven’t had much luck, although I couldn’t tell you why. A mystery.