Friday, 20 September 2013

UKIP: Integrity Is Important

One of today's headlines concerns a UKIP MEP, Godfrey Bloom. Just in case you haven't seen it he had the party whip taken off him for making a joke at the expense of women. In response to one woman admitting that she never cleans behind the fridge, he said "this place is full of sluts". Ironically it was at a UKIP conference fringe meeting entitled 'women in politics'. Godfrey reckons it was a joke and the women in the room enjoyed the joke, so it should not matter that other women may be offended. Sorry Godfrey, it does matter. has the definition of slut as 1 a. A person, especially a woman, considered sexually promiscuous. b. A woman prostitute. 2. A slovenly woman; a slattern. In Godfrey's defence, he says he was using the word to mean someone who was not tidy, however most would choose the first definition. Godfrey doesn't recognise it. At the very least Godfrey's hasn't apologised.

A one off joke that demeans women may have a place but there are strict criteria that need to be applied when a joke is made that could hurt someone. The audience needs to be sure that it is a joke and Godfrey really isn't a misogynist. The trouble is that he has form. It was the same MEP who spoke about stopping aid to bongo bongo land. Both comments were made in public and in that context Godfrey cannot be sure that the people who heard him know that he doesn't hate women and he isn't a racist. I don't know the real Godfrey but if they were jokes then they didn't make me laugh. Why would anyone laugh? Godfrey isn't creating a great image and this view was confirmed when he later struck Channel 4's Michael Crick.

I have a few problems with Godfrey's jokes. Firstly, it looks like he actually means what he says. Secondly, many UKIP members will defend him. Thirdly it brings into question how UKIP select their candidates. Do they ask questions about misogyny? Do they ask questions as to whether the candidate is racist?

Paul Nuttall, UKIP's deputy leader was on the local radio news at 8pm and his view was that UKIP had to come to a political decision. I thought it was strange that he used the word 'political'. I thought they just had to come to a decision about Godfrey. Paul went on to explain that it mattered whether the electorate would be happy with a joke about sluts or whether UKIP would gain more votes by taking the whip off Godfrey. I find this unbelievable. He seems to be saying that it doesn't matter what any UKIP member thinks as long as there are votes in it. Anyone who stands at any level of government should have integrity. UKIP should believe in what they stand for regardless of whether those beliefs brings them victory. It looks like UKIP wait to be told what to think.

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