Having only been elected on the Sunday, it was a surprise to find myself sitting as a panellist on BBC TV’s ‘Question Time’ alongside Piers Morgan and footballer Joey Barton (pictured courtesy of the BBC), on the following Thursday – it was certainly a ‘baptism of fire’!
I think the producers probably thought the show would revolve around their two ‘celebrity’ panellists, I on the other hand, thought the show should be about the folk who had gone out and voted for UKIP in the European and local elections the previous week.
Thanks to the pomposity of Morgan and the clumsy ‘ugly girl’ metaphor from Barton, I was able to put up a spirited and vocal defence, the public seemed to enjoy it too – if the viewers enjoy watching a current affairs show, they’ll talk about it in the pub and at the office – that’s got to be good for politics all round!
As a newly elected UKIP MEP, I had mixed feelings about my first visit to the European Parliament in Brussels.
After all, I am visiting a parliament which I believe shouldn’t exist;
however, I should, and will be there to act as the eyes and ears of the British people.
Here in our part of the world, we haven’t really felt the benefits of the economic recovery yet – our house prices aren’t rocketing and many people’s wages remain stagnant, we are still very much in ‘austerity Britain’.
Within the European Parliament things are very different – a fleet of black Mercedes limousines’ and their accompanying chauffeurs wait in the huge underground car park.
A cocktail party, where Champagne flows freely, takes place every evening at 6pm (UKIP MEP’s choose not to attend); the President, Martin Schulz, spent a small fortune on DHL secure mail, sending every single newly elected MEP across Europe, a personalised letter, which said absolutely nothing at all about anything of any importance.
Austerity may still be felt here in the North West but Brussels doesn’t even know the meaning of the word.