Sunday, 26 January 2014

Godfrey's Bloomers

There wasn't much going on this Sunday morning. Ordinarily there is barely time to fart in between a glut of sport-related shows, starting with the Orford-esque pontificating of tabloid journalists on Sunday Supplement, to Sky's incessant beating us over the head with unmissable Super Sunday clashes between the likes of Hull and West Brom. It all culminates in a seven-hour marathon of NFL action as we hit the hours small enough to have you worrying about how goggle-eyed you're going to be at work the next day.

There was none of this today. NFL is taking a break for the Pro Bowl (basically a meaningless all-star game which is not on until midnight but which I will nevertheless record and watch at hyper-speed some time tomorrow), while the FA Cup fourth round has rudely interrupted Sky's march to world domination. I deliberately go out and miss the one game on ITV, while the other game is on BT Sport. I have not yet reached the point where BT sport is a necessity in my house. Come to think of it, I can't imagine what circumstances could possibly arise to make Jake Humphrey a necessity in my house.

So anyway I tell you all of this because, with nothing to watch this Sunday morning but a Saturday Kitchen compilation, I was reading up on the latest media mishap from celebrity UKIP gaffemeister Godfrey Bloom. As Lailla Rouass and Trevor Nelson struggled to prevent themselves from physically balking at the sloppy muck being served by some 80's-barneted non-entity, I was learning of Bloom's latest public spat. Incidentally after the sloppy muck serving there was a feature with the Two Fat Ladies, which surprised me because I thought one of them died years ago. Back to Bloom. He's got form as I say. This is the man who called UKIP party activists 'sluts' and then defended it by saying that a) it was a joke and b) people don't even know what the word 'sluts' means these days because there aren't enough grammar schools. It could be that, Godfrey, or it could be that words change meaning over time if they are used often enough in a particular context. Bloom is fully aware of what the word means now, despite the fact that it might have meant something else the last time he was allowed out on his own in the 17th century. Bloom is also the man who told Radio 4's Today programme that British aid should not be sent to 'Bongobongoland', and who accused Channel 4 journalist Michael Crick of being a 'racist' when he asked Bloom why there were no black faces on the cover of UKIP's conference brochure. Bloom then proceeded to slap Crick on the head with said brochure, branding him 'a disgrace'. Oh sweet irony.

And so, of you're still with me at this point, to Bloom's latest faux pas. At a debate about immigration at the Oxford Union he interrupted a disabled student to ask...... 'are you Richard III?'. First of all it goes without saying that Bloom was arguing that there has been too much immigration in the UK since the second world war. Secondly the student in question, David Browne, was disagreeing with this point of view and, for his troubles, was wildly likened to a 15th century king with scoliosis and a reputation (according to Shakespeare and the BBC's The White Queen in any event) as a bit of a shit. The crassness here lies in the fact that Browne does not have scoliosis or anything like it but that rather, according to the seemingly equally irksome Spectator columnist Douglas Murray, is 'lame in one leg'. So where is the similarity between Browne and Richard III then? Is a disability just a disability and it actually doesn't matter therefore about the specifics? Would it have been fair game then if Browne had responded to the immigration-fearing, sexist bigot Bloom with an enquiry as to whether he might be Adolf Hitler? Well, he doesn't like foreigners so he may as well be a Nazi then, right?

Disappointingly, although he acknowledged that he did not like the comment Browne did not take half as much offence to Bloom's jibe as I would have liked him to. In fact, he later went on to describe how he and Bloom had a drink together afterwards and how he is an 'interesting man'. He certainly is that, but then again, so was Enoch Powell. If such a lazy, catch-all remark about disability had been made in my direction I'm not sure I could have been so forgiving. Particularly if it had been made in such a public environment in front of my peers and by a senior if slightly berserk politician. He would have had to have heard about how I felt about it, or at least read about it in Memoirs Of A Fire Hazard. As we all know, verbally I make about 5% as much sense as I do on the written page. This is probably another disability in itself but it doesn't matter because they're all the same anyway according to Godfrey. One more isn't going to trouble me. Compounding my disappointment in Browne, he quoted miserable fuck-witch Margaret Thatcher's line about people responding with insults only when they have lost the political argument. This may well be an apt and appropriate response in this case, certainly more mature than my recommended approach which would have been to start flinging crockery, but you never, ever quote Thatcher if you want to retain any credibility in this writer's eyes.

I realise that I just have but it was an essential part of the narrative and besides, I never had much credibility in my own eyes in any case.

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