Archive for December, 2014

Banksy graffiti in Clacton-on-Sea. Photo: Duncan Hull (www.flickr.com/photos/dullhunk)

Banksy graffiti in Clacton-on-Sea. Photo: Duncan Hull (www.flickr.com/photos/dullhunk)

I once saw a Chihuahua – a male Chihuahua, no less – attempt to have sex with a man’s leg. I daresay you’ve seen something similar, but the conclusion you drew was probably quite different from that which John Rees-Evans, the UKIP candidate for Cardiff South, might draw. He finds such scenarios good evidence of a latent preference for bestiality in the homosexual community.

The inconsistencies with his reasoning are too numerous to explore in any depth, but suffice to say that a self-aware human homosexual and an amorous donkey are two separate things. Also, whilst we’re at it, the ass would technically be illustrating a sexual preference for animals by going after any quadruped, donkey or otherwise.

Anyway, if this past month is anything to go by, there’s nothing unusual in a UKIP member going off the reservation with their remarks. Candidate Kerry Smith last week quit after reportedly using colourful language like ‘poofter’ and ‘chinky’ while Councillor Rozanne Duncan was expelled from the party at the weekend for bringing it “into disrepute.”

Typically, the mitigation offered for such offences – be it by UKIP officials or supporters – is that members of all parties make similarly outrageous remarks, but the establishment media moguls will only pick on the plucky upstarts in their party.

According to this worldview, the media – as in the minds of the most paranoid conspiracy theorists – is a homogenous group, happily ignoring the indiscretions of mainstream parties and politicians. Yet we know this is not true. Last year, we saw a paper so eager to take a potshot at Ed Miliband that it dredged up the adolescent diary entries of his dead father, citing them as evidence of the deceased’s hatred of Britain. When it was alleged that former chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, used some colourful language of his own in Downing Street, the media frenzy was so intense that – even while protesting his innocence – Mitchell resigned, citing “damaging publicity.” Nor was the coverage limited to left-leaning media. These are not isolated examples.

Ours is one of the most competitive media markets in the world. News providers don’t run these stories as if grudgingly conceding that one of their own has been caught out – they fall over each other to be first to embarrass  our politicians. No establishment politician could whip out a word like ‘chinkey’ and expect to walk away unscathed because they lack a purple rosette.

True, these are not the parish councillors or paper candidates whose babble has drawn UKIP such unwanted attention recently, but then controversial comments are not limited to the party fringes. It was Godfrey Bloom, one of the party’s MEPs, who used the phrase ‘bongo bongo land’ to refer to other nations. He also yelled ‘Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer’ at a fellow Parliamentarian from Germany. I could go on, but suffice to say he and UKIP went their separate ways last year.

Another UKIP MEP, Gerard Batten, said he would ask British Muslims to sign a charter rejecting violence while another, Roger Helmer, called homosexuality “abnormal” and “undesirable” in remarks since disowned. Both men are still party members and, in fact, party spokesmen.

Even Nigel Farage flirted with disaster when he said to one interviewer in a wink-wink nudge-nudge fashion that ‘you know the difference’ which makes Romanians such concerning neighbours. He was also among the many party members who spoke up in defence of an anti-immigration song written and later withdrawn by Mike Read, recorded – tastelessly – in a faux Jamaican accent. The blowback from the song, said Farage after its withdrawal, was the sort of “confected outrage” only UKIP get. Does anyone seriously believe that the Tories are so short on critics that they could record a song which was only one stop short of blackface without getting called out on it?

A friend of mine once said that UKIP wasn’t a racist party, but it attracted racist supporters. As if to concede the point, the party chairman has warned Kippers off Twitter and revoked unauthorised use of the party logo by supporters, members and officials. It’s a move which says ‘of course the anti-immigrant hysteria is justified, but for god’s sake don’t go telling everyone about it.’ It’s true the party gets plenty of press for colourful comments, but there’s a reason for that and this time it’s not the fault of the establishment.