The Blog

Why Teenagers Are Supporting Ukip

Now, I'm not one for politics. If anything, until I am able to vote, I will always hate election time. The reasons for this are numerous. For one, I have to withstand local politicians knocking on the door, and when I politely tell them that my parents are not in, I have to withstand a condescending lecture about their policies. This is all before I have to assure them that they have my support when I am old enough to vote. Another reason: the party election broadcasts. The only time I like watching those is when I watch them on Gogglebox. The final reason is something you will not be expecting. The astonishing amount of political propaganda, orchestrated by teenagers, that circulates around Facebook.

You may be wondering: 'Isn't every other teenager like you? They have no interest in politics!' I am afraid you are most gravely wrong. Personally, I think if you have an interest in politics it is a good thing; it means you are aware of what is going on around you, and probably have a better idea of what could happen to our country politically and economically in the future. However, there is a darker side to all of this. Ever since political party UKIP began to gain massive popularity during the past year, teenagers have hugely backed it, and made their support crystal clear on various social media sites. These days, I can't even scroll through my news feed without being faced with (in my opinion) outrageous propaganda which verges on the edge of being disgustingly racist. One which particularly shocked me showed a picture of a World War II veteran, with a sentence underneath stating that if you appreciated what British soldiers did for us in the war, you would vote for UKIP, otherwise it's just throwing everything they did back in their faces. Personally, I believe that I can thank and honour the war veterans, without backing a party which prioritises social housing for people whose parents and grandparents were born locally.

And it is not only me who thinks that some of the actions taken by 'patriotic' teenagers have gone a step too far. At the beginning of the month, 19-year-old UKIP election candidate James Elgar's position in the Party became questionable as sexist and racist tweets were brought to the attention of the party's head office. One tweet said that, '#ThingsAsianBoysDo groom and rape underage white girls, stab and rob innocent old white people, bomb innocent white people #EctEctEct [sic]'. He also states that the word 'bride' is 'derived from an old English word meaning 'cook'', adding 'you know the score women'. Elgar, who described his views on immigration, taxes and crime as 'moderate', has since been banned from Woking Football Club's Kingfield Stadium and described by UKIP as having 'plenty of growing up to do'. His father, Mark Elgar, defends his son's actions by saying 'his best friend is a girl', and, 'last night, he brought home a curry'.

Now for me, news like this is more than alarming. It seems that, throughout history, each generation have been labelled under a certain category, and it is becoming clear to me that our generation will be known in many years to come as the 'racist generation'. I'm not sure whether this is because we have grown up in the years following 9/11, the 7/7 bombings and the Boston Bombings, but surely this does not account for the fact that teenagers are labelling people as 'foreign weirdos'. At school it is a common enough occurrence, and something we just have to live with. If you speak up against racism, especially in an all-girls predominantly white school, you are sure to have a nasty comeback. What scares me is that the growing popularity of UKIP seems to be egging teenagers on to spread their political propaganda across social media sites such as Facebook, which can not only upset or offend, but influence vulnerable children who are using such sites.

Political propaganda should never be necessarily labelled as a 'bad thing', however I do think we have a need to regulate it, especially across social media sites like Facebook. These sites should be doing more to filter this type of offensive content, and ensure that teenagers such as James Elgar do not have the privilege of using such sites for a very long time.