Thursday, 8 August 2013

UKIP: Bongo-bongo barmy 

 Friday 9 August 2013

One can sympathise with the Dellers' viewpoint that causing disarray amongst the Left is a "good thing". But just because Bloom has managed to do just that does not make him right. It is quite possible for the Left and Bloom both to be wrong.

However, Dellers could at least have done some research before pontificating about the location of bongo-bongo land. It was the invention of a semi-satirical 1940s American swing song, during World War Two. If it refers to anywhere it was the Congo, and the message of the song was that people who lived there would have preferred to stay at home rather than subject themselves to all the idiocies of Western/US civilisation.

The main point Dellers is missing, though, is that Bloom has become the story. This current controversy is not about the rights and wrongs of foreign aid, but the unbelievably oafish Mr Bloom. The politician, not the issue, is the focus of attention. As such, he is not in control, hence the showing on Channel 4 where he rips off his earpiece and terminates an interview.

As Autonomous Mind writes, Bloom could have made a serious point, using powerful oratory to burn into people's minds the injustice of sending billions of our tax pounds overseas, where so many of them are squandered and snaffled by corrupt agencies and politicians, while vulnerable people at home are in desperate need of a hand up and get less help than they need or deserve. 

"A serious message delivered in a compelling manner by a person of substance can have irresistible appeal", AM adds. "But no. UKIP has Bloom. 

In referring to the "bongo-bongo land" gaffe, Dellers, the Bloom supporter, actually writes that he is "quite sure that the phrase would have resonated quite nicely with Bloom's West Midlands audience. Being Ukipers, "they would have no truck whatsoever with political correctness and would have warmed to this cheeky, jolly, defiantly old school outburst of retro, comic-book xenophobia".

There, surely, the point is made. Bloom was talking to a narrow audience, delivering an "old school outburst of retro, comic-book xenophobia". But he is being judged as a UKIP MEP, with his message taken as representing the party of which he is a leading member. That was how he was always going to be judged. He should have behaved accordingly.

Another point that seems to have escaped Dellers is that the EU is not a Left-Right issue. To succeed in a future referendum, the anti-EU movement – of which UKIP is part – is going to have to appeal across the political spectrum. We cannot afford to have the likes of Bloom branded as "right wing" and then be seen as representing eurosceptic sentiment. 

Anyone seeking to maximise the reach of the eurosceptic movement, therefore, must disassociate themselves from Bloom. Some may admire the man – although the litmus of "Middle England", theDaily Maildoesn't seem that impressed - but it would be wiser to take the view that he is simply a boorish oaf who happens to be against the EU.

Despite that, it gets worse. The man simply doesn't know when to call it a day. Currently, he is pretending that "bongo-bongo land" simply means land of the antelope. Yet the phrase has been notorious since Alan Clarke, then a Tory minister, used it to refer to Africa in 1985 in an official meeting.

Bloom, it seems, does not have the courage to stand up for his own "xenophobia", leaving even the UKIP-supporting Express to join the critical throng, recording that UKIP is "tied up in knots" over its unrepentant MEP.

"UKIP should be ashamed of the shocking embarrassment that is Godfrey Bloom", says AM, but behind closed doors, he avers, they are probably lauding him. Actually, there is no "probably", which is why Bloom seems to thinks he can get away with his oafishness.

Bloom thus has weakened his party and weakened the entire eurosceptic cause. He has no right to do that, and UKIP has no right to let him.


Richard North 09/08/2013