UKIP has been in the papers again this week for all the wrong reasons after a party candidate said that the comedian Lenny Henry should emigrate to a “black country”.
This is just the latest in a long line of unfortunate press coverage for the troubled party and whether you’re inclined to blame UKIP’s questionable membership criteria or bias in the mainstream press, clearly UKIP is a party the courts controversy like no other.
So here is a look back at some of UKIP’s ‘best’ gaffes of recent times:
Bongo Bongo Land
Where else to start than with the infamous Godfrey Bloom? In August this year, Mr Bloom publicly lamented the amount of money that the UK spends in foreign aid. Along with claiming that aid money was being spent on fighter planes in Pakistan, he also said that £1 billion per month was being spent in “Bongo Bongo Land”.
As if that wasn’t enough to catch the media’s attention, Bloom then went on to say in an interview with ITV’s Daybreak programme, that Bongo Bongo Land was actually the land of the antelope. He later stormed out of the interview, unhappy with the line of questioning.
Interestingly, in an earlier interview with Channel 4 News, Bloom said that “President Bongo of Gabon is the current president of Gabon, and his name is Bongo.”
The Lock In
During a visit to Edinburgh in May, UKIP leader Nigel Farage had to be locked inside a pub for his own safety after an anti-racism protest turned ugly. This came shortly after he had been denied service by a taxi driver in the nation’s capital.
Security officials locked Mr Farage inside the pub while angry demonstrators shouted ‘go home’ and chanted a number of insults at the UKIP leader. Farage later left the pub under police protection.
Whether you agree with the protestors or not, it was definitely an ill-judged decision for Farage to try and engage with Scottish voters in this way. Even worse was his suggestion that the protest, and an element of anti-English prejudice seen during it, represented Scottish nationalism as a whole. This led to a tense exchange on Good Morning Scotland where Farage eventually hung up on the interviewer, accusing him of hate-filled questioning.
The Slutty Audience
Godfrey Bloom at it again here, I’m afraid, and the controversy that led to him leaving the party last month.
During the UKIP party conference, Mr Bloom attacked a reporter with a conference programme and called him a ‘racist’ but believe it or not, that wasn’t the most interesting Godfrey Bloom story of the day. Earlier, during a champagne-fuelled lunchtime time reception, Mr Bloom shouted “This place is full of sluts” after two female members joked that they did not “clean behind the fridge”. This was a reference to quotes from Bloom in April where he said that businesses shouldn’t employ women of ‘childbearing age’ and that “a woman’s place is cleaning behind the fridge”.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight’s Allegra Statton about the incident, Mr Bloom said: “You’re untidy, you leave your knit lying around, has your mother never called you a slut?”
Mr Bloom insisted that he had only meant ‘slut’ in the “old-fashioned sense of messy or untidy” but after referring to female party members in the past as ‘shits’, he decided to resign from the party on the 24th of September.
In August, it was revealed that Dean Perks, a prospective UKIP candidate for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, had shocked supporters after claiming that the best solution to crime in Britain is sharia law and that thieves should have their hands cut off. He was later filmed at a branch meeting confirming that he does agree with certain sections of Sharia Law but stated that he had been misrepresented in his views.
The same candidate has also sparked controversies in the past after praising Enoch Powell, claiming he was a ‘visionary’ and “well liked in the Asian community”, as well as being a part of a number of unsavoury exchanges on Twitter.
The Facebook Warriors
On the subject of social media, a number of UKIP supporters have gotten themselves into bother using Facebook. They include but are not restricted to:
– John Sullivan, a candidate from Gloucestershire, who said that exercise and competitive sports “ease boy’s tensions and thus avoid homosexuality”.
– Chris Scotton, a candidate from Leicestershire, who was exposed as an activist for the EDL, liked a number of racist and sexist pages and dismissed racism as ‘ethnic banter’.
– Richard Delingpole and Alex Wood; two of a number of candidates who have been disciplined by the party for posting images and content of a Nazi nature, including Nazi salutes and Photoshopped pictures with Adolf Hitler.
– Anna-Marie Crampton who represented the party in East Sussex and claimed that the Holocaust was caused by the Jews. Comments made in her name stated that “the Second World Wide War was engineered by the Zionist Jews and financed by the banksters” and claimed “it was thanks to them that six million Jews were murdered along with 26 million Russians”. She claimed that her account had been hacked but was later suspended by UKIP.
The Pixel Moustache
This isn’t so much a gaffe by UKIP as it is one by the BBC – and some might say, not such an unintentional one. The Picture above is of the huge digital screen at the BBC’s Media City headquarters in Salford and shows Nigel Farage with a rather unfortunate pixelated moustache effect and awkwardly for Mr Farage, it came a day after the UKIP leader was accused of being a ‘racist and neo-fascist’.