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By Frank Leavers

IS it at all possible for British nationals to live as a ‘resident’ guest in a foreign country, yet still support UKIP as the political party of their choice in the UK? I only ask because I suspect that many residents living in Majorca have lost all sense of self-awareness on this subject. I posted this question in my usually pompous fashion on Facebook last night and within minutes I seem to have stirred-up quite a debate. It comes as no surprise that UKIP has done very well indeed in Thursday’s local election campaign in the English local council elections. Indeed, you don’t have to be a genius to work out that they will probably do even better when the votes are counted late on Sunday and are tipped to top-the-polls in that campaign that is ‘set up’ for them to do well. I am not a churlish man……so it has to be said that UKIP have campaigned well, given their limited resources, and seem to have and struck a chord with the British voter ‘cheesed off’ with the dull as ditch-water political establishment.

UKIPS DAY IN THE SUN

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In fact I would go as far to say that UKIP should enjoy their ‘day in the sun’ as they have clearly rattled a few cages in the main political party HQ’s. However, I have a major problem with many British people here in Majorca who espouse the views of UKIP, yet seem blissfully unaware that if UKIP ever come to power in Britain……..that they will be packing a large bag back to Blighty in double quick time.

Then there is the almost heroic lack of self-awareness that goes with a trenchant view that Britain should be out of Europe, yet at the same time enjoying the benefits that accrue from a policy of ‘free movement’ within the EU. I think my absolute favourite position however, is that of the monoglot Britisher who has lived on this island for years, who has never even tried to learn the language, has no idea of the customs and culture of this island and is quite happy to work here………occasionally on-the-black. Recently I had the pleasure of listening to a ‘rant’ in a bar from a well-known resident English character. His subject? Well, as usual how England had "gone to the dogs" and how….. "The place is full of bloody foreigners stealing our jobs…….do you know most of those bloody immigrants don’t even speak English and they don’t even try to understand our culture?"

This coming from a person, who has never attempted to speak Spanish, works on the black and has never been to a local fiesta in his life. Okay, you are right……..yes I have picked on one extreme example, but he is just articulating in a crude way what many people have said to me in a more acceptable form. The thing is we Brits can’t get our heads around the fact that we are in fact immigrants ourselves. Yes, you may play golf and tennis, read the Daily Mail and hate socialists…….but we are what we are!

IT’S AN AGE THING

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I think that Nigel Farage (sounds worryingly French to me!) is a very skilful, articulate politician in an era when Britain is in short supply of those rare creatures. He personifies certain old fashioned British virtues such as plain-speaking and the ability to get his message across simply. But life isn’t simple unfortunately. However, he has become the poster boy of all those who deeply mistrust foreigners of any stripe. Yes, he dresses it all up with talk of cooperation with other countries, but somehow you know that his heart isn’t really in it. In terms of the British electorate and in some way with British ex-pats living here in Majorca……his appeal crosses party lines, but I have noticed that his political profile (and that of his party) is one of age. Put crudely, he and UKIP appeal to the past, his core vote is with the over 50’s the younger generation are less persuaded by his party’s views on almost anything………certainly not on race, Europe or properly controlled immigration. I have noticed that same divide here in Majorca.

BRUTAL HONESTY

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Nevertheless, surely I am not alone in finding the views of many ex-pat islanders who support UKIP, verging on the absurd? Then there is the whole rather embarrassing business of Mr Farage’s camp followers. I said earlier that I thought him a clever politician, but look what stands behind him. Prime Minister David Cameron once was very rude about some UKIP members……..nutcases and racists he called them; a tad unfair but………watch this space. But it is within the British community here that I find an almost wilful desire to turn the clock back to a time in Britain that never existed. To be brutally honest, if ex-pats want to create a sort of Surrey of the 1950’s here in Majorca, they really should consider going back home. For I believe that the yearning of a UKIP lifestyle voiced from these Balearic Islands is both pathetic and insulting to our hosts. Typical British irony can only partly explain some of the attitudes of some; for most of the UKIP brigade on Majorca, it is mostly to do with a terminal mental condition…….otherwise known as a complete lack of self-awareness.

frankleavers@hotmail.com