Horror author and satirist Justin MacCormack examines UKIP’s latest local gaffe through the lens of dark and dystopian science fiction.
In the wake of the Grenfell Tower inferno, I expected there to be a respectful pause before our politicians began calling for a purge of the poor. But no, UKIP quickly stepped up to the plate to make comments about Portsmouth’s homeless population that evoked the 1973 science fiction film Soylent Green, which posits a gruesome solution to poverty and overpopulation.
In the wretched hive of scum and villainy – sorry, that’s the Mos Eisley spaceport from Star Wars. What I mean is Portsmouth City Council, from whence UKIP Councillor Colin Galloway called for our police commissioner ‘to put pressure on his police force to help us clean up this unwelcome detritus.’
Immediately following this statement, Mr Galloway zapped one of the nearby journalists with lightning from his fingertips – ah no, sorry, that was the evil megalomaniac emperor of the Star Wars films. Strange how I keep making these mistakes.
Naturally, I was curious about what kind of support – if any – Mr Galloway will offer the homeless in Portsmouth. Horrifyingly, he went on to say that the homeless ‘must be removed from our city and placed in specific care whether they want to or not.’ I wondered if he would be housing them in one of his spare rooms. Somehow I doubted it.
In earnest, I asked to meet Mr Galloway and discuss his plans for caring for the most vulnerable in our society. ‘You mean the poor defenceless aristocracy and their billionaire friends?” he replied. ‘The homeless are like vampires. Leeches, I tell you! Quick, we must flee, before they rise from their crypts to devour us all!’
Actually, he didn’t say that. Mr Galloway did not agree to meet me. I suspect that we would not get along well enough to maintain a civil conversation. After all, I was raised to believe in equality, compassion and social justice – a position which clashes sharply with a scientific study funded by UKIP released last year which states that the poorest in society are biologically closer to newts than they are to other human beings.
OK. That didn’t happen either, but it could have.
In 2014, Portsmouth was home to eight homeless people, a number which, according to official stats at least, has trebled since then. The consolation, though, is that UKIP’s share of the vote in the last election fell by 13%.
While Mr Galloway may well go on to spend the next few days trying to petition the House of Lords to pass a law allowing him to legally hunt the poor for sport, and to televise it in some kind of national Hunger Games-style competition, the rest of us can rest soundly knowing that for every crackpot UKIP councillor who says something truly bone-chillingly deplorable, the likes of which even a James Bond villain wouldn’t utter, there will be at least one other person out there offering a supporting hand to those who need it.
Justin’s books are available here.
Photography by Moshe Tasky.