I’m no activist. I have been on two marches in my life. So when the alarm went off on Sunday, I rolled over back to sleep. Tipsily plotting to graffiti a UKIP poster is fun. Being shocked awake at 5.30am not so much. Then my friend texted: ‘are you here yet?’ So I guiltily cycled to Old Street, past slinky foxes owning the backstreets, to be ladder-holder and looker-outer on a four-woman mission.
There is something very wrong about a UKIP poster in east London. As soon as this one went up, the message went out loud and clear with a two-fingers up at Nige & Co. But last week that graffiti was taken down, leaving the nasty UKIP billboard.
UKIP has no business being in London. As the daughter of an immigrant, I heard the stories. My dad arrived in west London in the 1960s, when B&Bs still had signs in the windows: ‘No blacks. No Irish.’ The UKIP billboard is a stone’s throw from London’s best Vietnamese restaurants. Doctors from other countries fix us in NHS hospitals and immigrants have saved us from a diet of pork chops, Findus cripsy pancakes and instant coffee.
Our sabotage wasn’t funny like guys who did this hilarious WUKIP poster. But our ringleader has just got back from Lebanon where there are over a million Syrian refugees whose lives and homes have been destroyed by civil war. How many people has the UK resettled from Syria? Only 50 (as of June 2014). ‘Give Shelter. Give Hope.’
Banksy might have noticed this. But the weirdest thing about graffiti-ing a giant billboard in the middle of Old Street is that no one gives you a second look. Not the giggling drunks sitting on benches downing their last beer of the night. Not the bleary-eyed couple in flip flops dragging along suitcases. Typical Londoners, busy doing their own thing. Funnily enough, it was almost an anti-climax. No one wants to be arrested, but you want a little near-miss to talk up later. Who knows how long the graffiti will stay up. But bugger off UKIP back to where you came from, you’re not welcome here.
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