The Dilemma of a Cheeky Nandos: UKIP and Lad Culture

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Written by Jack O’Leary

Nigel Farage’s face looms from the darkness, an inevitability in the current xenophobic environment that seems to pervade British politics now more than ever. In one hand he holds a cheeky beverage; the other contains a series of hastily made memes regarding other parties immigration policies. His ever grinning visage, his ballbag-like skin stretched over his smiling maw, draws you in; you wish to scream but find yourself unable to, assailed by mild racism and moderate fascist undertones.

In the current global climate, in which we are fed worrying amounts of xenophobic propaganda, it is easy to see why UKIP is gaining popularity. The main cause for economic concern is not the fact that “The richest one percent of the world’s population now controls 48.2 percent of global wealth” [1] and is instead the fact that migrant workers and the disabled populace are supposedly sapping the governments funds in an effort to be as evil and conniving as possible, thus fuelling more racist attitudes towards immigrants and perpetuating an ableist culture; lord have mercy upon your soul if you happen to be a disabled immigrant, for you are then causing double the strain on British resources that is meant for a group of British people, and honestly that’s just rude.

All jokes aside, the fact that a party that places such an emphasis on disability and unemployment benefits has not only entered popular media but in such a short space of time has become a recognised name, whether it be a hated name or not, is genuinely scary. Scarier still are the young people that form UKIP’s youth wing, lads and lasses true to the word; the elections officer for Young Independence is described as “clubbable” and has the typical #lad haircut popularised by the man behind No Homo himself, Macklemore. When asked why he wanted to join UKIP, his response was that  “Ukip… was a different way of doing politics,” [2] which it certainly is. For a party filled to the brim with racists and homophobes, it certainly has a handle on how to market itself to the younger generations, and here is where #lad culture gets dangerous.

Lad culture can easily be described as a divide between those who banter, and those who cannot hack the banter; it is a “banter or be bantered on” world, and those who cannot hack the banter are cast down from the rest of the #lads. Unfortunately, the “banter” in question is so often riddled with derisive attempts at humour involving casual sexism, transphobia, and racism, and as thus can be seen as a deconstruction of base liberalism. And there we have the problem with UKIP and #lads. UKIP as a party is utterly despicable, with a number of its candidates using very insulting terminology that gets dismissed as a joke, such as the highly publicised case of Godfrey Bloom and his reference to “Bongo Bongo land”[3], or the other highly publicised case of David Silvester and his comments about gay marriage causing floods[4]. But regarding these comments as jokes, as #banter, rather than the utterly disgusting statements they are, you are then left with one option: to take the joke, or be someone who can’t take a joke. To banter or be bantered. Factor in the casual ableism that insinuates everyone who is bigoted must be mentally unwell and you are left with a very welcoming climate for all the #lads out there who see a party that is supposedly fighting for change and against political correctness-the kind of #lads who see South Park as satire of the highest form.

In short, #lad culture is not a joke. It should not be regarded as a joke, not when it has the power to attract young voters to a party built from fascist ideology. That is not to say I can’t see the attraction to UKIP, of course: a party that claims to be anti-establishment, that wants to redefine the modern political system and shake things up a bit sounds perfect on paper; in practice, however, UKIP is simply a rehashing of xenophobia framed in a positive light, holding a pint, and smiling. Hardly the political change it promises.

Jack O’Leary

Articles cited:

[1] World Socialist News [17th of October 2014] Richest one percent controls nearly half of global wealth

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/10/17/ineq-o17.html

Accessed on Monday 12th of January 2015 from World Socialist Website

[2] Prospect Magazine [5th of August 2014] Young Independence: What drives Ukip’s youth wing?

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/politics/young-independence-conference-what-drives-ukips-youth-wing

Accessed on Monday 12th of January 2015 from Prospect Magazine

[3] BBC News [7th of August 2013] ‘Bongo Bongo Land’: UKIP bans use of ‘outdated’ phrase

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23597233

Accessed on Tuesday 13th of January 2015 from BBC News

[4] The Guardian [19th of January 2014] Ukip suspends councillor who claimed floods were caused by gay marriage

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jan/19/ukip-councillor-gay-people-spiritual-disease-pray-healed-david-silvester

Accessed on Tuesday 13th of January 2015 from The Guardian

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One response to “The Dilemma of a Cheeky Nandos: UKIP and Lad Culture

  1. I agree with your article but I have just one thing to point out. South Park IS satire of the highest form. Maybe you should watch it and try to understand it’s message. If you are or ever have been an American resident you’d find it even more hilarious. It mocks American right wing society in the funniest way. The creators, Matt and Trey are all about breaking down the barriers and liberalism which is why they strongly support people like Michael Moore and are advocates of gun control. “They took our Jobs” is a joke and one that can be firmly aimed at the UKIP crowd.

    Like

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