THE BLOG

The Ukip Affair

22/05/2014 09:39 BST | Updated 21/07/2014 10:59 BST

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This last week has undoubtedly been the weirdest in my life. A week ago, I was just a geek who used his magic skills at Google and Photoshop to try and educate a few people about Ukip on Twitter. My blog had a monthly average readership of five loyal friends and ex-band members, and the occasional person who found it by mistake.

Then Ukip sent the police to my house to stop me tweeting links to Ukip's websites about their policies.

Now my blog has had 140,000 unique hits, my Twitter profile has had 228,000 views. The tweet they tried to ban, excluding copies and mentions, has been retweeted approximately 13,600 times. I was name-checked by The Now Show on Radio 4, who used my blog as the basis for a sketch and running gag, and The Observer referred to the whole thing as "The Abberton Case" - making it sound like a weird Len Deighton thriller.

I'd like to think that this explosion of publicity has in some way contributed to the surge in interest in the Green Party, with recent polls putting the Greens firmly in fourth place ahead of the Lib Dems. Funny thing is, though I've sent countless links to the Ukip manifesto to 'ukippers' who accused me of writing it myself (?), I've never sent anyone a link to the Green Party website.

I've written before about the Streisand Effect, and that did play a part in how the story went viral and took on a life of its own. But at the same time I've had hundreds of tweets and messages of support from people all over the world, outraged by what happened to me; people who see it as an outright attack on democracy, on freedom of speech.

Yes, the police were sent to my house by Ukip, a political party that evidently believes that this is the best way to silence debate and dissent. But I am protected by The Human Rights Act. The police said I couldn't tweet about their visit, but at the same time they said they couldn't stop me. I wasn't arrested or hauled off for interrogation. My family and friends weren't threatened. I wasn't 'disappeared'. But we would do well to remember that this is precisely what is happening in other parts of the world - and could happen here too.

It is absolutely vital that we realise that our hard-fought rights and freedoms could so easily be given away. We are all sitting comfortably on the sofa on a Saturday afternoon, watching the horrors happening to other people and thinking 'that'll never happen here; not to me' ...until you look up and see the police peering through your curtains.

This election campaign has been dominated by Ukip and negativity, breeding an atmosphere of distrust and fear, of xenophobia and jingoistic false patriotism. People seem to have forgotten that to have proper representation in the EU, we need to engage with it, to have MEPs who will actually earn their salaries and work to reform the EU from within - and this is what the Green Party is committed to. We believe that we can achieve 'real change for the common good'.

My decision to tell the story and spread it as far and as wide as I could has proven to be an example of how one insignificant person can make a difference. And what we need to remember is that the EU election is based on proportional representation - every single vote counts.

So I would encourage you to vote - vote Green, yes please! - but please vote. Otherwise we face the real danger that a large proportion of our seats will be empty, belonging to an absent self-serving far-right party of division - not to mention the effect that this would have on British politics and society.