Local sentiment is summarised by one man who tells me: ‘No one is gay in Barnsley. If they are, they leave.’
A white man approaches me in panic on the street. He tells me he is from Luton, and has moved recently with his black partner:
‘Can you do something to change attitudes here if you are elected?’ he asks frantically.
‘Whenever we go into local pubs, people openly call my partner “n*****” and “w**”, and no one says a word.’
I promise to do my best. So what sort of campaign did I run? For 18 straight days, 12 hours a day, I worked the crowds in the local market and knocked on doors, canvassing votes from local residents. Normal by-election stuff.Quite frankly, the people of Barnsley come across as disgustingly, tribal, insular and backward. Now, I know that as a politician it's unwise to make statements like that, but quite frankly I don't fucking care. I didn't mind about our election result in Barnsley - after all, people are free to vote for whom they wish and I understand that the majority of people don't agree with us. But the people of Barnsley... Well, to put it bluntly, they don't deserve a Lib Dem MP. A BNP MP would still be too good for them. Here's another example from the article:
Several people confide in me that Labour candidate Dan Jarvis, an Army major, born in Nottingham, is a ‘scab’.
The reason? He’s from Nottingham, I’m told. It’s the place where miners went back to work and broke the strike, attracting the epithet ‘scabs’.
The fact that Jarvis was 12 at the time and that none of his family were miners is deemed irrelevant by those who see Barnsley life through a narrow prism: a fixed view of the past.
‘You’re all bloody foreigners,’ says one woman, referring to the fact that neither Jarvis, myself nor the Conservative candidate, James Hockney, are from Barnsley.
The fact that I was born and brought up in Manchester makes it worse. It’s no joke.
Openly disparaging the nearby cosmopolitan hubs of Leeds and Sheffield, some Barnsley people have never even visited either city.Yeah. Utterly backwards and prejudiced. All of this has led me to one conclusion. Dominic Carman is my new hero. That and I'm never going to Barnsley if I can help it. Not for at least twenty years.