Ukip’s Godfrey Bloom brands Michael Crick a racist and hits him with party’s ‘no black faces’ conference brochure

This tweet from Mark Wallace was picked up Channel 4’s political editor Michael Crick…

… who decided to quiz shy and retiring Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom about the absence of black faces from his party’s conference brochure.

Here’s what happened next

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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48 Comments

  • A bit like a picture of all the Lib Dem MP’s, although the UKIP brochure has more women!

    It is important to get representation in imagery right, but more so to get representation in the commons so.

  • Jayne Mansfield 20th Sep '13 - 3:55pm

    It is truly dispiriting that people vote for these people.

    Hopefully the BNP MEPs will be gone at the next European elections, but what sort of person will replace them? Will it be more racists, homophobes and fruitcakes ?

    None of the parties seem to have the courage to stand up and defeat their arguments. ( not a difficult thing to do). People’s attitudes are being shaped by the right wing press.

  • nuclear cockroach 20th Sep '13 - 4:03pm

    Another professional buffoon, playing to his particular gallery. Why would a serious journalist even bother with Bloom?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 20th Sep '13 - 4:15pm

    They’ve just shown a longer clip on the BBC. It looks like Bloom was being questioned about his remarks at a fringe where he called women sluts for not cleaning behind the fridge (my husband doesn’t do it either, I wonder what he’d call him) when Crick started to question him about the brochure and then followed him down the street. It was then that he got whacked.

    This guy makes Lembit look boring. Although, to be fair, Lembit has never said anything anywhere near as actually offensive as Bloom.

  • Richard Dean 20th Sep '13 - 4:41pm

    The BBC today seem to swapping every half hour or so between the LibDem and UKIP conferences. It gives viewers a way of comparing.

    UKIP’s speeches are simple, easily understood. They focus on identity and control, on issues that can resonate well with many voters. The people I am viewing this with like that. UKIP may have no real vision, but that’s not how it comes across. The conference audience fills the room, the tone of speeches is bright, and people smile.

    LibDem speeches seem to be about how the Libdems are good people, and how the achievements of the coalition are all due to LibDems. The people I am viewing this with think that is obviously false. LibDems may have vision, but that’s not how it comes across. The conference venue is half empty, the tone is grumpy, and no-one seems to be smiling.

    I wonder what this says about what the future holds.

  • let’s hope this reactionary party which reminds remind so much of the old Monday Club in their fossilised illiberal views do not win the European elections! They must also not come third in the next general election – whatever argument i have with the LDs pale into insignificance with my arguments against UKIP.

    To leave the EU would be absolute folly of the first order in too many ways to mention; the idea of a return to the grammar school where children are divided at 11 with most consigned to the trash can; their policy on immigration is appalling as well as most of their other domestic policy (fracking, wind farms and climate change denial, civil liberties/human rights; etc etc)

    The only policy I do agree is that of non-intervention

  • Philip Rolle 20th Sep '13 - 5:32pm

    The proper way of challenging UKIP’s arguments is to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. It’s not lack of courage that has prevented the main parties from backing this: it’s the expectation that they would get the “wrong” answer.

    While we are promised a referendum in 2017, we have heard promises before. Many of us – even some ex Lib Dems like me – are on voting strike, or even willing to consider UKIP, until such time as we have our vote.

    Bloom is an idiot, but his antics do not in the end detract from the core narrative.

  • nuclear cockroach 20th Sep '13 - 6:11pm

    ” no economist has ever challenged them [because they know he is right]”

    Or possibly because engaging with the swivellers is a pointless waste of time and energy: they aren’t amenable to the basics that one expects, like logic, consistency or even plain facts.

    Again, what has this thread got to do with the UK’s role in the European Union? Absolutely nothing? Then why do you insist on raising it here?

  • nuclear cockroach 20th Sep '13 - 7:03pm

    The problem with UKIP isn’t ridiculous people like Bloom, rather the deep-seated, comfortably worn gin, jags and golf club racism, carefully hidden in public, of its leading members and general membership. Last night’s Channel 4 report, http://www.channel4.com/news/nigel-farage-ukip-letter-school-concerns-racism-fascism, shone light on the ugliness behind the bonhomie.

  • “Why would a serious journalist even bother with Bloom?”

    More important, why would Michael Crick?! 😉

  • Richard Dean 20th Sep '13 - 7:38pm

    It is certainly a pity that LibDems don’t willing to provide a rational counter-argument against Tim Congdon. As we all know, not arguing in politics is equivalent to admitting error or defeat.

    I’m told that the actual cost is £55 million per day, equivalent to about £1 per person per day, or about £20 billion per year. If LibDems can’t justify that figure in ways that ordinary voters can understand and accept, then obviously Libdems can’t be serious about remaining in the EU.

  • Richard Dean 20th Sep '13 - 8:41pm

    @Simon Shaw
    … and it still remains something that the LibDems need a reply to if they are serious about staying in the EU (or indeed in parliament).

    What’s perhaps even more astonishing is that there is no definitive assessment of the cost, and even the UK government can’t yet put a confident cost to it. Why else would there be a private members bill to find out?
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0070/14070.pdf

  • Richard Dean 20th Sep '13 - 9:10pm

    @Simon Shaw

    And why is it that LibDems never have an answer to people’s queries about the EU? All you ever say is that you believe in it, and as soon as anyone asks detailed questions like what are the costs and benefits you find excuses not to answer.

    The message from UKIP to the LibDems is clear. Come out of your hole and engage sensibly and honestly in the debate, or stay in your hole and fade away.

  • Richard Dean 20th Sep '13 - 11:47pm

    Congdon’s costings seem to include quite a lot of estimation. But anyway, what someone now needs to do is calculate the benefits. Then we can compare costs and benefits.

  • @ John Roffey
    According to UKIP in 2011 the net cost to the UK of EU membership was £3.9bn in 2009 and it was estimated to be £6.9bn in 2010. The 11% of GDP is generated by exports to the EU.

  • Richard Church 21st Sep '13 - 9:14am

    “The calculations by Professor Tim Congdon take account not just of direct payments to the EU but of indirect costs including red tape and diktats that impose extra burdens on business.”

    In other words his calculations are an estimate of the costs of implementing every social policy, every health and safety requirement, every employment right, and every regulation with which he and UKIP disagrees. If Britain left the EU we may wish to continue many of these policies anyway, but even if we didn’t the EU would require us to if we are to continue trading with them in a single market, as Norway do, and pay for it while having absolutely no say over it.

    So if you want to be ripped off, sold rubbish, exploited and our country lose out then vote UKIP.

  • @John Roffey:

    “The calculations by Professor Tim Congdon take account not just of direct payments to the EU but of indirect costs including red tape and diktats that impose extra burdens on business”

    Think of a number…. double it…. add £20 billion…..take away the number you first thought of……. double it……. 🙁

  • jedibeeftrix 21st Sep '13 - 12:30pm

    @ Richard – “The message from UKIP to the LibDems is clear. Come out of your hole and engage sensibly and honestly in the debate, or stay in your hole and fade away.”

    How true, and seems more than coincidentally related to your other point:

    “UKIP’s speeches are simple, easily understood. They focus on identity and control, on issues that can resonate well with many voters. The people I am viewing this with like that. UKIP may have no real vision, but that’s not how it comes across. The conference audience fills the room, the tone of speeches is bright, and people smile.

    LibDem speeches seem to be about how the Libdems are good people, and how the achievements of the coalition are all due to LibDems. The people I am viewing this with think that is obviously false. LibDems may have vision, but that’s not how it comes across. The conference venue is half empty, the tone is grumpy, and no-one seems to be smiling.”

  • Paul in Twickenham 21st Sep '13 - 1:59pm

    There’s a T-shirt available on the Bad Science website that says “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that”. You won’t find too many of those being worn at UKIP’s shindig.

    UKIP are very good at generating soundbites that sound superficially appealing but don’t stand up to coherent analysis. For example Nigel Farage mooted the idea that MP’s salaries should be cut in proportion to the amount of legislation that originates from Brussels. Despite the fact that you can pick holes in this proposal at countless levels it can be used to frame an interesting debate about what our Parliament and Parliamentarians are actually for, and will undoubtedly play well on many doorsteps.

  • Richard Dean 21st Sep '13 - 2:26pm

    No good complaining about soundbites. Libdems should instead be generating their own.

  • Things have indeed come to a pretty pass if Liberal Democrats are comparing themselves to the ukippers and looking to get presentation and policy ideas from them.

    However, if there were any Lib Dems who found the idea of UKIP entrancing, and were wondering whether or not to cast their lot with what they see, perhaps, as an up-and-coming party of shiny new extremist ideas, I would tell them not to hesitate. By all means, if they feel that UKIP speaks to them from the heart, then that is where they should be. I dare say the Liberal Democrats would wobble along without them.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 22nd Sep '13 - 6:48am

    UKIP are expressing views that resonates with worryingly a growing number of the electorate, and as we have seen over immigration and more recently the wearing of veils, even some people within the LibDems are mimicking this concerning trend.

    As with Jayne Mansfield (above) I also believe that non of the mainstream political parties seem to wish to defeat UKIP’s populist rhetoric head on, but they actually choose instead to further pander to the intolerant rhetoric by coming out with their own uneducated responses that merely fuel the flames of hatred.

    On the issue of the lack of ethnic and gender diversity amongst the leaders and influencers of UKIP, I would quietly suggest that we not say anything, before the spotlight is aimed at us. Historically our own literature although considerably different has not exactly represented a reality, where at least UKIP’s is correct.

    UKIP is simply a middle class party that is rooted in bigotry albeit like their working class relatives such as the EDL and BNP they attempt at times to claim otherwise. Very simply UKIP dislike Foreigners (this includes 2nd and 3rd generation migrants), as well as Gay people, and they seem to have a very low opinion of Women.

    Should we really be encouraging our Leaders and Party influencers to follow such a Party as this, or should we be assisting the public to realise just how shallow and dangerous UKIP is, and that they cannot be allowed to win anywhere whether it be a Parish Council seat, or become MEP’s and MP’s?

  • jedibeeftrix 22nd Sep '13 - 10:38am

    @ RUP – “UKIP are expressing views that resonates with worryingly a growing number of the electorate”

    The only thing ‘worrying’ about the rise of UKIP is that its rise is the result of the mainstream parties failing to represent the aims and expectations of a significant portion of the electorate.

    The contempt for the issues they want addressed is what is worrying, and this is only further evident in trying to conflate UKIP with the BNP and EDL.

  • nuclear cockroach 22nd Sep '13 - 1:09pm

    “trying to conflate UKIP with the BNP and EDL”

    You don’t need to try. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it remains a pig. UKIP is BNP with smarter clothes.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 22nd Sep '13 - 8:30pm

    Simon we clearly live in different worlds regarding intolerance, one is theoretical and the other real. Personally having been on the wrong end of the boot of racist thugs as well as over zealous immigration and police personal merely because… I am personally petrified by how people do not realise the what UKIP stand for.

    I am currently watching UKIP at their Conference as they introduce the ‘chap next door’ as well as people of colour (who really should know better) who all repeat the subtle rhetoric of intolerance over and over again. The public will resonate with this ‘they’re like us’ approach, with the simple and understand language.

    You may well think of me as illiberal, but people such as I have every right to be fearful as British politics lunges to the Right and away from us. If being a liberal means allowing UKIP and other extreme Right Wing groups to espouse hatred and intolerance and spread fear and anxiety as they do unchecked then I sadly will always fail. I believe in the right of freedom of expression but I also believe that this freedom brings with it a responsibility to behave in an appropriate manner. Spreading hatred is not acceptable!

    Some Liberal Democrats seem to treat Racism and other forms of intolerance as something theoretical. It is not, people experience it on a daily basis and are physically and emotionally damaged by such things, and those that have allowed this intolerance to flourish are as guilty as the thugs who swing the punches.

  • Jayne Mansfield 22nd Sep '13 - 11:33pm

    @j jedibeefrix,
    What are the aims and expectations of a significant portion of the electorate that the mainstream parties are failing to represent?

  • Richard Dean 22nd Sep '13 - 11:55pm

    @Jayne Mansfield
    The three mainstream parties are failing to be inclusive, to be relevant, to communicate, to support a sense of identity, to give people a feeling they matter, or that they have some control or place other than as a statistic or an example

  • A “sense of identity” which excludes huge portions of the British people: a white, privileged, prejudiced, xenophobic nationalist sense of identity.

  • Jayne Mansfield 23rd Sep '13 - 12:41pm

    @ Richard Dean,
    In what way are UKIP an inclusive party? How do they support a sense of identity? How do they give people a feeling that they matter?

    Who are these people? People who want to smoke in pubs? people who want to ban the burkha? people who oppose equal marriage? people who don’t like human rights legislation, or just people who grievances against another sizable portion of the population whose gender, religion, sexuality, social situation or colour that they harbour an incoherent anger about someone or something?

    If you have ever read any posts from UKIP supporters, ( read the online Telegraph or Daily Mail), you will realise that they are not interested in evidence or truth. The party has become a magnet for a hard core of people so prejudiced that they don’t want to hear any communication that does not fit their prejudices. It is a rabble of the discontented who are trying to stir up discontent in others.

    I don’t remember EU membership being such a high priority in people’s mind before UKIP started to associate membership with immigration and human rights., which is why in my opinion they are the new ‘We are not racists, we are not homophobes, we are not sexist……. but, party’

    Now there are some simple soundbites about UKIP which people can understand. Politicians from the three main parties should be opposing UKIP and be making strong simple arguments that undermine those that UKIP are making. Instead UKIP getting away with their populist messages far too easily.

    What is UKIPs economic policy if we are not longer in Europe? Do the figures stack up?

  • Jayne Mansfield 23rd Sep '13 - 1:25pm

    @ Simon Shaw

    Perhaps I i misunderstood, but I don’t think that Ruwan was arguing against debate, just the lack of robust argument from the three main parties to counter those put across by UKIP.

    According to an article in the New Statesman, the most common word used to describe immigrants is’ illegal’. A majority of people (64%) now think that immigration is a problem rather than an opportunity.

    Who is countering these arguments? How high a priority are they giving to this issue especially when people are lokking for someone to blame for the recession.

    T he ‘illegal immigrant vans’ appeared on our street whilst there was a coalition government which includes Liberal Democrats. If the Conservatives in the coalition did not include the Liberal Democrats in their decision to use them, why did they think that they could get away with the stunt? Have the Liberal Democrats in government perhaps not made plain enough that all hell would let loose if the conservatives started to dance to UKIPs tune?

    @ Ruwan,
    I too would feel hurt if I was perceived as part of a problem for no other reason that I was an immigrant, or descendent of an immigrant, who you so rightly say seems to be classed my some as an ‘immigrant’ if they look different from the white majority population.

    Maybe people like yourself who have direct experience of what it is like to be made to feel that way should get up on the platform at political conferences and speak from the heart. People should be shamed into taking the problem of ‘immigrants’ rather than an assumed ‘immigrant problem’ with the seriousness that it deserves.

    Vince could start by resigning over the illogical position of the coalition in relation to immigration, policies which anybody with an ounce of sense knows have been implemented because they have an eye on the UKIP vote. That should be one of his red lines.

  • Richard Dean 23rd Sep '13 - 2:48pm

    @Jayne Mansfield

    Careful attention to the words in my comment will likely confirm that it referred to mainstream parties. I do not think of UKIP as one of them, yet. Careful attention to the LibDem concepts of freedoms, inclusivity and democracy will likely reveal that the people that LibDems might like to complain about do actually have rights to their opinions. If you need to ask who they are, may I suggest attending a UKIP meeting? Admittedly I have not done so myself, but I know people who have. You may find that they are not at all what you think.

    UKIP very much support what they feel is a “British” identity – just watch their conference. That is one of the ways they attract people. Listen to some of their speeches, and you will realise that they pitch to an audience that is probably not particularly well educated. The ex-CBI man started by explaining how work produces tax revenues. That’s a way of talking at the level at which many people can understand – a way of being “inclusive” to people who you might think in a bad way, but who have feelings and needs and rights and votes too.

    After going to a UKIP meeting, some people in our society feel they have learned something, that they may have a place somewhere. That’s a hugely powerful message, and it’s one that the mainstream parties seem to totally fail at.

  • @Jayne Mansfield

    Richard Dean has probably laid out quite well some of the reasons why people are attracted to UKIP. However I would also say that they are attracting people because of the lack of trust in politicians and the political classes (which is not unique to the UK – see the trust ratings for EU/UK at http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb79/eb79_fact_uk_en.pdf).

    “If you have ever read any posts from” *Lib Dem* “supporters,” ( *Read LDV*), “you will realise that they are not interested in evidence or truth. The party has become a magnet for a hard core of people so prejudiced that they don’t want to hear any communication that does not fit their prejudices. It is a rabble of the discontented who are trying to stir up discontent in others.”

    Just saying – good for the goose etc!

    The Lib Dem stance on the EU tends to be extreme (as in not mainstream), as is the case on many other issues. I would say that they have as much right to their extreme views as your Party members are to their extreme views.

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Sep '13 - 10:07am

    @ Richard Dean
    I have to admit, I have always used my vote to vote Liberal Democrat without knowing what they stand for and what their values are. I read Lib Dem Voice and to be honest I am still not sure.

    Freedom, inclusivity and democracy, all very noble ideals but what do they mean in practical terms? I do not deny UKIP the democratic right to exist, but I would argue my democratic right to vigorously oppose them because their values seem to be antithetical to mine. Is mounting a vigorous argument or exposing what I perceive as the racism, homophobia sexism at the heart of so many of their arguments, really illiberal?

    Geoffrey Bloom is a buffoon and even I have had a few belly laughs at his antics and the way that he reduces politics to the level of farce. . I do however, sense something much darker at the heart of UKIPs appeal of ‘inclusivity ‘and sense of ‘British identity’ .

    I think that Nigel Farage is a very clever politician and I hope that now that his party is becoming more popular, its assumptions, assertions and policies are subject to greater scrutiny and challenge.

  • @ John Roffey
    The 2011 report did include other costs but appeared to be very unbalanced and didn’t include any benefits so I just quoted figures that could be agreed upon. You are correct in pointing out that we import more than we export to the EU. However both sides of this trade generate something to GDP (even imports have to be delivered and some have to be sold on). I also hadn’t mentioned the amount produced by foreign firms in the UK because we are part of the EU, some of which will be included in the 11% but some must be in the other 11% exported to the rest of the world and the 78% which isn’t exported. I would hope that someone will do the research regarding the economic benefits of membership if we have an in/out referendum.

    UKIP also appeal to some voters because of their position on immigration and I believe it is no good countering it by saying immigration is a good thing. We must counter it by removing the issues people complain of. If we reduce unemployment to 2.5% of the working population and built 300,000 houses of which half are social housing every year then people in the future may not see immigration as a bad thing.

  • Jayne Mansfield 24th Sep '13 - 7:13pm

    @ Simon Shaw

    Thank you for taking the time to explain. I was rather puzzled.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 26th Sep '13 - 3:29pm

    I am not sure how I can explain it any simpler, but I will try again.

    At the current time an open and national debate will be overly influenced by the ignorance and blatant bigotry that exists towards Islam and its followers, and those perceived as its followers and other minority ethnic communities. I am all for discussion, but lets please make sure that the dice is not loaded in favour of ignorance from either side for the end result of such a debate is obvious.

    As I have said before Race is not a theoretical issue, it is one where people’s lives will if it is not managed correctly be physically and emotionally harmed.

    As for “Maybe people like yourself who have direct experience of what it is like to be made to feel that way should get up on the platform at political conferences and speak from the heart”? Well many of us from EMLD and other interests groups within and external of the Party have been doing this for years perhaps not at the LibDem Conference, but at numerous other Conferences/Lectures/Seminars/Committee meetings and before Thematic Inspections/Tribunals/Courts/Select Committees and other venues at immense personal cost. Many of us also speak from an academic and professional knowledge base as well, but sadly things just have not progressed as well as some within our Party profess that they have.

    Intolerance wherever it occurs is not be beaten by the victims of the abuse, but can been resolved when the majority of society who have the power and influence to bring about change decide to stop victimising or allowing such abuse of people on scurrilous grounds.

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