THE UKIP VOTER
Tony Scallan, 78
London, originally from Limerick Retired banker and father-of- three
THE BIG ISSUE: Immigration
“Although UKIP aren’t particularly strong on social issues, I think they address the most pressing problem that faces us today — immigration,” Tony Scallan says.
He has been living in Britain for 53 years, and after taking a succession of low paid jobs when he first arrived, gradually made his way to the city where he worked as a banker.
“When I first came to London you could get on a train in the middle of the day and there was plenty room. Now it’s standing room only. There are just too many people. It’s not racism, it’s just common sense.”
Tony is also worried about the culture clash. “In London we now have 180 languages; we’re totally over-crowded — it’s a recipe for chaos.”
Tony is a member of the Irish body Immigration Control Platform, which is often viewed as being very right wing.
But, he says, when he casts his vote in the general election this week he will be casting, in effect, two votes.
“The situation will soon become as bad in Ireland. Since the Treaty of Limerick, we’ve been exporting hundreds of thousands of people every year. And now we’re taking immigrants in. It’s madness. But it won’t be long before the EU realises that there are still wide open places in Ireland, and start asking if we could maybe take a few more immigrants...”
Tony Scallan is old enough to remember the adverts in newspapers, such as the Kensington Post, which said, “No blacks, no Irish, no dogs”.
However, he says he experienced very little anti-Irish feelings over the years.
In the past Tony has voted for Labour. “I was a union man all my working life, and voted Labour. I voted for Ken Livingstone in the mayoral elections.”
He is aware of the ‘Little Englander’ mentality, not just of UKIP, but also parts of the Conservative Party.
“There is an element I don’t like in either party. But I’ve always believed in pragmatism, and while I’m not comfortable voting for a right wing party, I believe the situation facing us as regards immigration is so dangerous that I have to do something.”
Arguments such as the NHS being staffed to a huge extent by overseas nurses and doctors again sees Tony take a pragmatic approach.
“Of course I’m not saying all these workers have to go. We have to take a tapered approach to the problem. But we have to do something, and as far as I can see UKIP are the only ones taking the problem seriously. You could say it’s a vote of desperation.”
So what does Tony think will happen this week?
“I think the Tories will win, although I think it could be chaos if the vote is close. I genuinely think that the parties won’t know what to do, and we could be in for some very unsettled times.”