Disclaimer: this is not an article about who to vote for. This an article about who should be used as a positive example as of an alternative to a traditional politician. I realise those south of the Scottish border couldn’t vote for Harvie even if they wanted to, but that isn’t the point of this piece.
Nigel Farage, the media’s favourite light weight fascist, is often seen in the papers and with the broadcasters in the pub. He’s the answer to the tired and polished approach of the professional political class, he’s a real person (even if that person is a despicable one), and he’s honest. But when he looks down the camera and tells me that he is about to say what I’m thinking it makes me want to vomit.
I can absolutely understand why those of us who feel so disenfranchised from the traditional parties want something else to latch onto and that the media are desperate to cover anything that even slightly breaks the tired political model. But my question is: why is Patrick Harvie not used as this example of an alternative to the traditional politician?
If your answer is “because the Greens are a lunatic radical party!” are UKIP not that? Not only are UKIP lunatics, but they’re single policy lunatics. The Greens, despite years of misrepresentation, are not a single issue party. Or lunatics.
Certainly their Scottish co-convenor Patrick Harvie is no lunatic. A well presented, articulate and charismatic orator who leads the Green party Scotland with a remarkable combination of spirit co-operation and unshakeable principle. He even manges to do all this without needlessly offending minorities or disparaging people with tragic personal circumstances. Never underestimate what a good taste in waist coats says about a man’s character.
Last night on the BBC we saw the single issue fascist really show his true colours. He is a focused sensationalist who has become a wizard of Oz figure, except without the caveat of providing fabulous footwear, masquerading his fallacious party and their absurdest approach as a legitimate alternative to the professional political class. An alternative that listens to you: the little person. I do believe that he’ll fight for the little man and the little woman. Assuming they’re from Grimsby that is, and not from Poland. Or north of Hardian’s Wall. Which is apparently still a relevant socio-political landmark. Who knew?
He is right, a vote for UKIP is a vote for change, but when a sunny day changes to a thunderous downpour it isn’t a change for the better. Especially when the resulting flood of idiocy washes away everything wonderful about freedom. Though, for reasons that continuously escape my woolly lefty liberal understanding, considered and impassioned debate doesn’t have the same sex appeal for the media as the extremist clown in lurid purple and yellow face paint on a unicycle juggling the ticking bombs of xenophobic policies and isolationist idiocy. So much so, that Richard Desmond, who owns the Daily Express, has just donated a million pounds to UKIP. Well done on all that standing up to big corporations Farage. Top work.
Because of this, the media have turned him into a piece of car crash journalism. You just can’t look away, because it’s different, subversive and exciting. But so is Harvie. His speech on the day following the Scottish Independence Referendum can essentially be summed up as “this is the beginning of the end for the professional political class. And this is absolutely a good thing” That is a powerful statement that I cannot imagine coming from a Westminster politician.
The distinction between the likes of Harvie and Farage is as clear as day. Harvie is considered where Farage is fanatical, Harvie is articulate where Farage is repetitive and Harvie is inspirational whereas all that Farage can inspire is bile, whether it’s in support of him or against him.
I would fight for figures like Harvie to take office. In fact, I applied to intern for him recently because, despite my concerns with some aspects of the Green manifesto, I believe that principled and passionate figures like Harvie will improve our politics in every way. An internship that offered a living wage (£10 per hour) alongside a range of challenging opportunities no less. I was unsuccessful, but if I had been I would have made more money working for a greater good than I have working for the private sector or a broadsheet newspaper.
I think that approach to the notoriously controversial issue of interns speaks volumes in and of itself.
We need figures like Patrick Harvie who will inspire hope and we do not need figures like Nigel Farage who inspire hate.
The media must shoulder a huge amount of the responsibility for this shameful elevation of the single issue fascist. He made a comment about the “international health service” as opposed to the national health service in last night’s debate, which brought to mind International Rescue for me, but despite Farage’s startling resemblance to a puppet villain this isn’t fucking Thunderbirds. This is our political future.
A future we should keep clear of people like Farage.
You can find more merry fascist bashing and discussion on the manifestos of the traditional parties and what Rough Copy think of them in relation to the alternative parties in our latest podcast by clicking here.