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So where does all that leave us in relation to UKIP? Well, to sum up, that I think the threat from them comes not so much from a possibility that they are going to gain any real power, so much as the effect that they are having on the major political parties and the political conversation in this country.  The lies, half-lies and untruths they perpetrate via the media owned by their cronies go largely unchallenged by mainstream politicians and indeed are given credence every time Cameron pipes up about a new policy to “send back” the Romanian criminals in our jails.

Interestingly, my old research partner, t’Internet, via Home Office statistics, tells me that the three nationalities which are most represented amongst the ten thousand or so the foreign born prisoners in our jails are Poles, Jamaicans, and our old friends the Irish. B*stard Irish! We should definitely send them back! But I digress. The important question is, what can we do about UKIP and their nasty propaganda?  And the answer, of course, is that we have  to challenge it whenever and wherever we hear it. One good thing to do is to equip ourselves with a few facts; I’ve mentioned a few here, there are tons more out there.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t say in any way that this is easy. Had I been in the position that my friend Ann found herself in a few days back, of overhearing someone say something that wasn’t addressed to her, I don’t know what I would have done. Maybe, knowing what I know now, I might say “Ooh, I think it would be a shame if everyone who wasn’t born here went home. I’d really miss my Irish friends.” Or maybe, more likely, I’d just wonder miserably how to deal with it until the moment had passed.

But, but, and but…. Challenge it we must. We have to find our courage and our voices and seek ways to speak out, non-confrontationally, so that people get the message. Maybe it’s as simple as just saying politely “I’m sorry, I don’t agree with you on that”. I don’t think we will change many minds, but we may get the message across that this way of speaking and thinking is not shared by the majority of people in this country and will be challenged. It’s not much, but it’s a start. For my part, when I feel my bravado flagging and the desire to keep my head down fighting with my knowledge that I should say something, I will try to remember that for evil to triumph, all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing. I hope that will give me the courage to speak out. I hope that you will join me.

And now, for something lighter! 
*Small fanfare* The Footballing Fact Of The Day.
It is not widely known that Holland lost the 2010 World Cup final to Spain due to an ill-advised attempt to mobilise national support by playing in their national shoes, the wooden clogs known as klompen. These proved ill-suited to the beautiful game and contributed to Spain’s victory over an ill-tempered Dutch side (I expect their feet were hurting). On Friday night, following extensive consultation with their team of sports scientists, the Dutch decided to ditch the clogs in favour of a job lot of football boots from the Brazilian equivalent of JB Sports. Meanwhile, sadly for Spain, the Spanish manager had made a sporting but equally ill-advised decision to level the playing field by sending his team out in flip-flops. This proved fatal, as the Spanish slipped and slid, stubbed their toes on the ball, and, on several unfortunate occasions, stopped playing to celebrate a goal only to realise too late that it was actually a flip-flop that had gone flying into the back of the net whilst the actual ball was well on its way back to their own end at the feet of an Dutch player.  Responding to teasing by journalists about the easy match he’d had, Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen replied “Easy!?! I don’t think so! You try dodging flying flip-flops for an hour and a half!”
That was The Footballing Fact Of The Day. I thank you.