If UKIP didn’t exist, the right-on would have to invent it
Despite still being a comparatively minor political force in Britain, the statements of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and its often entertainingly gaffe-prone candidates are pored over as closely as the utterings of those who actually have a seat in the British parliament.
You could almost hear the right-on mob rubbing their hands with glee this morning when UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom was brought on to Radio 4’s Today programme to defend his recent comments about Britain sending aid to foreign nations, which he had referred to collectively as ‘bongo-bongo land’. Refusing to apologise for a remark which is, let’s face it, inoffensive by nature of its inherent ridiculousness, he spent half of his back-and-forth with host Jim Naughtie revelling in how un-PC it was: ‘My job is to upset the Guardian and the BBC. I love it! I love it!’, he joked.
If this is his job, he’s certainly good at it. A wave of righteous e-indignation sent him to the top of the Twitter trend list: many heaped scorn, others merely mocked (the Telegraph’s Tom Chivers was even moved to write his own ‘satirical’ statement as Bloom).
What’s far more troubling than the jibes of right-wing wind-up merchants is the chattering classes’ fixation on them – and the glee they take in denouncing them. In a vacuum of real political opinion, UKIP representatives, and the supposedly simple lot who support them, have become a convenient symbol of parochial backwardness for the cosmopolitan set to strike moral poses towards. Dancing to the beat of Bloom’s bongos, and, in doing so, pulling his party to the top of the agenda, the UKIP-bashers betray how sorrowfully little they have to say.
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