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Stop Sneering at Joey Essex for Saying 'Reem', We Need More People Like Him Involved in Politics

08/04/2015 21:13 BST | Updated 08/06/2015 10:59 BST

Everyone complains that politics is an elitist old boys' club, but when someone from outside the club tries to get involved in political discussions the world rips them apart like a pack of wolves.

I'm talking about Joey Essex, of course, the reality TV star of TOWIE fame.

He is currently being ridiculed for describing Farage as "reem" and for trying to get involved in political discussions above his lowly status. (Not my words, of course.)

The Essex boy, by name and nature, is attempting to infiltrate politics by following party leaders on the campaign trail for the first episode of his ITV2 mini-series Educating Joey Essex.

Essex is first to admit that politics isn't his forte and frankly, with its constant in-fighting, one upmanship, aversion to addressing the public concerns head-on, he certainly isn't alone. But I, for one, admire Essex's ability to hold his hands up, admit that he is new to all of this and still trying to learn.

But rather than welcome an outsider into the political forum or encourage his interest, everyone (media, Twitter users, you name it) seems hell bent on poking fun, waiting for him to trip up or say something hilarious, like calling Nigel Farage "reem" on Wednesday.

Almost instantly an article on the BBC website attempted, almost sneeringly, to unpack the etymology of the word "reem". It reads: "The complimentary word, which is of unknown origin, was popularised by Essex when he appeared on the programme The Only Way Is Essex."

The same day Farage and Essex headed off on a fishing boat in Grimsby, and media were quick to draw stark comparisons between the pair's fishing experience.

"Mr Farage is a keen angler and has a monthly column in a sea fishing magazine," read an article in Mail Online. "Essex, who famously admitted on TV that he cannot tell the time, used to work at Billingsgate fish market."

With snide remarks like that littered all over election coverage, it's no wonder why so many feel disaffected with the current offering.

Those who are jumping on the bandwagon to mock Essex really need to take a long hard look at themselves. We all say we want greater diversity in politics, but if we shoot down anyone from outside who tries to get involved, we're going to end up with the same old order.

Essex can - and should - use words such as "reem", "sick" or "wicked" if he wants to. He doesn't need to adopt language that is not his own, just because he is talking about politics.

Why is it so difficult for people to fathom that someone like Essex might just be interested in politics? Is it because he is from Essex? Is it because he isn't "well educated" enough? Is it because he speaks using different words?

It's actually all of these things. And I'd know, because I'm more 'Essex' than Essex himself.

He was born in Southwark, I was born in Romford (yeah, gritty huh?) I went to school in Brentwood (where TOWIE is set) and went out in nightclubs like Sugar Hut and Faces, long before they became the central part of the ITV show.

And I've come up against the same prejudice that I've seen Essex come up against my entire life. In fact, people are gunning for Essex using the same ammunition that's been used against me for as long as I can remember. It's down to deep rooted class-prejudice, fear of the unknown and wanting to keep people in their place.

I have no doubt that Essex has developed quite a thick skin in dealing with these snide remarks, I've certainly had to over the years. But how well others will react to reading such comments I'm not so sure.

Essex's involvement in politics is vital in my opinion. Not only is it a stark contrast to the current offering, but it will open up the old boys' club to a new audience.

Farage described Essex as an "icon of youth" and, whether we like it or not, there is a lot of truth in that statement.

Celebrity culture and reality TV draws far greater audience figures than a bunch of old white men hollering at each other in Westminster day in, day out.

It's time to open up politics to everyone. I'd certainly pick Essex over Eton any day.