Sophie Porter

What Now For Andover Politics?

Sophie Porter writes about the recent UKIP election wins and its impact upon local and national politics. [Read more...]

In May 2013 UKIP gained a majority vote to represent Andover, dividing mass opinions and generating heated online debates which then turned into immature, unsophisticated slanging matches. No-one could decide if UKIP’s majority ruling was a positive thing for the future of our town and no-one could give definitive answers as to why they felt strongly either way.

More often than not, for the weeks that followed this decision – a decision made by the majority of voters – people who supported UKIP were dismissed simply as “racists” and people who stood against them, dismissed as “unpatriotic”.

I was left wondering how my views would be categorised. I’m neither racist nor am I anti-britain. I love Britain and I count myself lucky to be British. I take pride in our multi-cultural society and appreciate that a lot of our food, drinks and materials are imported. Tea is a prime example of this. Where would the British be without tea which was introduced to the UK from China?

Politics is a complex affair – as in life – nothing is ever just black and white. Reading UKIP’s general Manifestos, there are some points made I genuinely agree with. I do think that giving real decision-making to local communities is a good thing and that taxes should not continuously increase.

However, I do strongly believe that UKIP’s opposition to the EU and wish to leave it is dangerous. It may cost us money, but the economic, social, health and cultural benefits to the UK of EU membership are vast. They include:

  • 3.5 million jobs linked, directly and indirectly, to EU Trade in the UK
  • The EU Health Insurance Card entitles us to a certain standard of Health Care wherever in the EU we find ourselves unwell or injured, and
  • UK Pensioners are able to receive their Pension wherever in the EU they may live.

UKIP Andover

Now, you’ve probably got to this point in the article and questioned what any of the above issues have to do with our community; I say everything.

While Tony Hooke’s letter proposing the resignation of Carr was founded upon reasons which demonstrated concern for the well-being of Andover and it’s residents, I worry about what a UKIP majority means for the future.

  • I worry about what it means for young people today and the next generation.
  • I worry about local independent businesses run by immigrants and how UKIP Councillors view them.
  • I worry about the extent of extra policing UKIP proposes to enforce on our streets and whether this will cause young people to lose faith in their community through feelings of distrust.
  • I worry about what costs may rise and what services may be cut in order to decrease taxes.
  • Essentially, I worry whether the stereotypical and generic view of UKIP as racist and xenaphobic will be proven right.

And generally there’s always a part of me that is concerned for the well-being of EU residents and the potency of the popular narrow labels that force a divide in any debate.

United we Stand, Divided we fall

In divisive politics where the language used creates “us and them” we loose sight of our shared humanity and scrap amongst ourselves while decisions are made behind closed doors.

In an age where economic, social, and environmental challenges more clearly effect us all, shouldn’t local people say no to divide and rule politics and look for things we have in common with our neighbours, in spite of our differences? That way, we might raise our voices together – however diverse and varied they may be – to address the issues that effect us all.

But with a UKIP majority and in the face of UKIP rhetoric – is that really possible? What do you think?


Sophie PorterArticle by Sophie Porter

Sophie is a freelance writer and can be found on Twitter at @sophiewho1988 and at her Facebook writing page,


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  • So many comments! Myself not a racist either but having read alot if the info it is common sense. Cap immigration from ALL countries and have requirements. As part of the eu all the other countries have the right to our NHS. Ours is different because we all pay our own share through working. Same with police etc but we have to look after the people that live and work in Britain. The people that love this country. If we dont look after ourselves noone else will. You should have to learn a language before moving to a country, you shouldnt receive hand outs without putting in first and you shouldnt be able to marry someone here then bring a whole family. You can not do these things in any other country. We pay in to the eu so much more than we could ever get back out and they have way too much control. We should decide if life means life – not the eu council. The rulings should be the same for all. No bike helmets in a shop as your face can not be seen, surly that means no burkas for the same reason. They are banned in france why not here. See everyone as one so in court 2 people wirlth different races get EXACTLY the same regardless. These things, I believe would help racism if everyone was treated the same.
    As I said at the beginning I am not racist and have no problems with someone speaking English moving over so they can join in with the culture of Britain, bring you wife/husband and kids, work, pay into the system and get the rewards we get BUT dont move here refuse to speak our language, claim benefits, use our resources that are now so stretched and complain while you do it.
    I think people need to realise that calling someone that is not a racist is as bad as being a racist. It is a horrible thing to say.
    Maybe if the other parties looked at some of the winning suggestions from UKIP they could relax more about the next election.

  • absolute tosh! im not a UKIP member but having read YOUR thoughts….i might have to join them. you made no mention of the fact that most EU law over rides UK law and we have no control over that. The UK did not sign up to what the EU has become….its a very far cry from the EEC we joined. I cannot recall handing sovereignty on tax,immigration and judiciary to faceless & unaccountable plutocrats in Brussels.You may wish to stay within the EU but many of us do not & with due respect you are too young to recall Great Britain outside of the EU.

  • I agree Anji.
    UKIP have never stated they would remove people from this country.
    They stated they would limit immigration, completely different. We are a very small island, people who already live here of ANY race unable to get jobs and housing, therefore not contributing to society. As a nation, we cannot carry on allowing everyone to move here. Not because of Race but space!
    I find your comments very insulting and immature, not at all thought out, but like you, that is my opinion.
    I welcome the idea of being able to rule the UK again from the UK.
    I welcome not subsidizing jollies for MP’s in their visits abroad.
    I welcome the idea of my town Councillors running my town, based of the needs and beliefs of my town.
    I know we will always have people who need benefits, but I would welcome any legislation that makes anyone who is able work for a living and contribute. I work with a lot of people who are handicapped, its not always a reason to be unemployed.My colleague lost a leg, but still works full time.
    From your comments, I can only presume you are a young lady with limited life experience.

  • As a UKIP member, I take Ms Sophie Porter’s suggestions that UKIP is a racist party as a downright insult. Wanting to control immigration is not racism! It is just that Britain has the most lax approach to immigrants in the whole EU in terms of housing, benefits and jobs. Also, with the benefit of the worldwide langauge English, we are therefore a honeypot for immigrants from both the EU and outside. This massive increase in our population in such a short time is stretching our infrastructure to breaking point: health, housing and transport. Many immigrants are low-skill, and they are displacing our youth onto the dole, which is creating a directionless generation.

    The example of us benefitting by tea from China (and India) is a fatuous one. We can import goods from any country in the world, without their citizens as well to make us multi-cultural. I am not saying there is anything wrong with multi-culturalism, but we now have immigrant ghettos in parts of our major cities (e.g. Tower Hamlets in London) that are almost mono-cultural, where Anglo-Saxons are effectively excluded.

    Without leaving the EU, we cannot control immigration, and it clearly has to slow down enormously. On 1 January 2014, there will be a flood of new immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania too, countries noted for high crime levels. And a visit to London will show all the encampments being set up in Hyde Park and other parts of our capital by the vanguard of this invasion.

    And I have to contest her assertions on the “benefits” of being in the EU. If we leave the EU, do you think they will want to stop exporting to us? Germany exports £10Bn of cars to us a year. A trade war would be suicidal for them, so 3.5 million jobs are not threatened. The Health insurance card is two-edged, given that we support health tourism, which other countries do not. And on Pensions, she is downright wrong, you can receive your UK Pension anywhere in the world, although how much you keep after tax is dependant the bilateral double taxation agreements – some countries outside the EU offer more beneficial terms than does the EU.

    All in all, her article is a politically motivated attack on a party that is already making a positive difference for Britain in Brussels, and in County Halls across the country.

  • I think you will find that in the first two paragraphs Sophie commented on the way conversations surrounding UKIP quickly dissolve into arguments about whether or not someone is being racist and whether or not some is “british enough”. So far the comments demonstrate the point, and that people get heated and personal quick!

    Did you notice Sophie asked more questions than she presented decided opinions? This is an invitation from Sophie for you to explore the questions and find your own answers – not shoot her down for asking them. That’s my opinion 😉

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