Given that this blog has, on occasions, offered some less than kind words regarding the United Kingdom Independence Party, it would be hypocritical not to make some reference to the unfortunate series of events that conspired to ruin a crucial party conference.
After 48 hours of careful, considered analysis and serious contemplation of the consequences for UKIP as a credible force in British politics, I have finally stopped laughing. The remarkable television footage of the encounter between Godfrey Bloom and Michael Crick…oh God, I`ve started laughing again…
Sorry…the remarkable television footage of the encounter between Godfrey Bloom and Michael Crick might be the funniest moment of political comedy since The Thick of It went the way of Spitting Image, but the knockabout fun of media door stepping is fraught with risks that go beyond the uncovered bonce of a leftie Channel 4 hack. Working to the old adage that any publicity is good publicity, poor old Godfrey`s strategy of showing his bottom and yelling “look at me” and every passing camera has certainly resulted in lots of lovely headlines and lots of lovely coverage but this time he has “gone beyond the pale”.
Bloom`s track record of attention seeking has been mercilessly exposed over the last 36 hours and it would be churlish to go over the old ground covered in these very pages last month after Godfrey`s charming “Bongo Bongo Land” comments were unearthed. So what exactly has one attention seeking commodities broker done to upset another attention seeking commodities broker to such an extent that Farage suggests that Bloom (not Leopold or even Orlando) has gone beyond the boundaries of the environs and hinterland of 15th Century Dublin? Attention, it seems, allows only one display of bottom at a time unless, of course, the bottoms appear on the Daily Fail website.
Nigel Farage intended his party conference to shake off the image of a sweaty-faced, gurning, golf-club bore by declaring that UKIP is now the third political party in Britain and would wield actual power in any future hung parliament. He did this by being a sweaty-faced, gurning, golf-club bore. Sadly, what passes for a press office at UKIP forgot to re-programme Godfrey who was simply doing his bottom showing job a couple of hours later as nobody had mentioned that the focus of the conference was Nigel`s bottom showing, “look at me” prowess. Without sufficient attention to go around and given what must have been a colossal, bulging-eyed, red-faced shouting match, both men are to be congratulated for making it to Saturday morning without being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Nigel returned to the podium bemoaning that his big moment had been ruined, destroyed, a disaster, gone. No individual sexist, racist, homophobic bigot, however amusing, entertaining, colourful or outspoken, will be allowed to deflect attention from the sexist, racist, homophobic bigot-in-chief. Poor old Godfrey by this time was probably tied to a chair in a locked basement with a snooker ball gaffer taped to his mouth in a belated attempt to re-educate him. The lesson, it seems, is that UKIP MEPs can do and say the most outrageous things and get away with it but when Nigel speaks, there can be only one bottom on show. Listening to the audio tape and to be fair to Godfrey Bloom, the “sluts” comment can be interpreted as jocular if not very funny. If, for example, it had come from Stephen Fry or Spike Milligan, Oscar Wilde or Armando Iannucci, it would have contained two vital elements that are absent from the UKIP mindset; wit and irony are volumes destined to be forever unopened in the limited imaginations of Farage and Bloom. Given his experience of Hong Kong prostitutes, asking Allegra Stratton of the BBC if her mother had ever called her a “slut” might be a matter for Operation Yewtree. Setting aside his anger management issues, one can only concluded that Bloom, as an elected politician, is mad about something or, possibly, just a little bit mad.
Bereft of any sense of irony, Farage hasn`t yet realised that Bloom has done him an enormous favour by creating a diversion to deflect attention from and scrutiny of the leader`s big speech. Progressive policies returning Britain to the days of Empire and Grammar Schools are based on one simple premise. According to Farage, London is in the grip of a “Romanian” crime wave and 28 million Bulgarian and Romanian “criminal” gang members are about to rush through our “open door” on the first day of 2014. This, apparently, is not a manifestation of fascism or racism but “common sense” and lovely Nigel claims that UKIP is the only party to ban fascists and racists from having membership. Fortunately for Farage, the Bloom buffoonery has avoided any awkward questions regarding bigoted hate and fear mongering masquerading as “facts” or the behaviour and attitudes of some of his more intellectually challenged membership.
Far from being a complete failure, Nigel`s big weekend has given us a clearer insight into the inner workings of UKIP and its supporters. The membership seems to fall into four distinct groups.
Group One is Nigel Farage; a charming, soft-spoken, photogenic genius who will save us from swarthy immigrants.
Group Two consists of rich, fat, middle-aged white men only slightly less charming, soft-spoken and photogenic than Nigel Farage who consider offensive bigotry as “honest plain speaking”.
Group Three are gigantic English yeomen who qualify for attention by being in possession of a strong, regional accent. These sons of toil scrub up well but in their ill-fitting suits sadly resemble the bouncers you see outside seedy nightclubs in run-down provincial towns.
The final group are the UKIP Ladies. Happy to laugh at “jokes” from creatures that have emerged from behind the fridge, presumably flattered by the attention of charming and photogenic men, they must hark back to days of “just a bit of fun, love; where`s your sense of humour” club comedians. To them, describing UKIP as misogynist is as ridiculous as denying the factual evidence that 28 million foreign criminals are about to invade our green and pleasant land.
Even given the level of puerile xenophobic bluster, it would be fascinating and very entertaining to observe UKIP members if they ever got a sniff of power. It is unlikely now that after upstaging Farage, Godfrey Bloom will ever enter the House of Commons. This is a great shame as we will be denied the comedy gold of seeing him shouting at people and being carried out of the chamber blind drunk. Fortunately, there are many more just like him in UKIP and they will be studying his attention seeking tactics. Their first reference point must be the remarkable television footage of the encounter between Godfrey Bloom and Michael Crick…
Oh God, I`ve started laughing again…sorry.