This week I went to a sixth-form college in a small Norfolk town for a ‘Question Time’ event.
I didn’t sleep very well the night before. I knew what was coming: two hours of torture.
I did a number of these events during General Election 2017, when I stood as a UKIP parliamentary candidate and was one of about 20 candidates who managed to save their deposit. They were a baptism of fire. They always have the same format: generally pleasant, friendly but Left-wing teachers in charge, four or five other panel members from the different parties and an audience of 50 to 100 students aged 16 to 18.
This one was no exception. Conservative, Lib Dem, Labour, Green, a member of the public representing the church, a teacher and UKIP. The church representative is normally a ‘Welby social justice’ type of person, so it becomes myself against the rest of the panel.
All the panellists, of course, are versions of the liberal middle class, although they think they are representative people. I always say at these events: If you want to find out where politics really is, let’s all go down to Morrison’s car park and there you will find the real world.
I already know what will happen. All the panel will be ‘remain’ versions of each other, including the Conservative. The teachers will be ‘remain’ and there will be a braying or at least sneering audience. How sneering will depend on the school. More privileged schools, even within the state sector, tend to be considerably more polite but there are always a large number of vocal social justice warriors (mostly women) who will be very belligerent, turning their anger on me, condescendingly called versions of ‘that UKIP woman’.