Ukip candidate Kerry Smith’s feeble excuse for being a bigot offers the media more fodder for useless distraction.
by E.F Nicholson
Again, the news has given us another “Politician fucks up by being themselves” story. A few weeks ago, there was a furore about a Labour MP Emily Thornberry gaffe, evidently making fun of what looked like a poor person’s house. Then there was ‘butty-gate’, as Ed Miliband had apparently messed up his chances of becoming PM due to the manner in which he tackled a bacon sandwich. Now Ukip candidate Kerry Smith has stood down after it was revealed he had made bigoted comments about minorities. None of this is particularly startling or shocking, as these remarks are pretty much what you might expect a Ukip candidate would think: niceties such as “fucking disgusting old poofters” and a reference to a woman with a Chinese name as a “chinky.” In addition, we have him calling Ukip’s immigration spokesman a “fucking carpetbagger” and an “arsehole.” A Member of Parliament in the making, one might say!
As it turns out, he says was on painkillers at the time. That’s his excuse. Yes, maybe he took them to numb the pain of his offensive personality, or to relieve his frustration at still being unable to tie his shoelaces. Justifying these comments due to the fact that he was “taking sedatives” is practically meaningless. It’s like saying I called The Queen a whore because I was eating fish and chips. If he was being tortured by MI6, then perhaps what he said shouldn’t be held against him. Or if he was pissed out of his head, he might’ve shouted out a few stupid and idiotic things – I know I have. But painkillers do not modify your views about minorities. They may relieve pain in the lower back and they may have relaxing and tranquil effect on your mind, but they won’t change what you think of homosexuals. Trust me: over my lifetime I have consumed enough painkillers to send several herds of elephants to sleep, so I have first-hand knowledge of the effect they produce. They are thought-subduing, not mind-altering.
I guess he had to come up with some excuse, and this was the best of the bad bunch his handler had to choose from. If he was evangelical they could have gone with “The devil took over his tongue.” Or they could have taken the Rick Santorum approach. When he was running in the Republican primary in 2012, Santorum was recorded on video saying “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” Then later claimed he had actually said “Blahs people’s lives.” This was totally believable, of course, as everyone knows you shouldn’t give hand-outs to Blah people. Kerry Smith could have adopted the same mispronunciation strategy, saying he meant disgusting old “pouf”, rather than “poofs.” What’s makes this even more of a joke is that we see the Daily Mail, the UK’s cheerleader for all that is bigoted and small-minded, doing a scoop on a politician saying pretty much the stuff they print on daily basis (though, to be fair, they are usually a little more subtle about it).
The real mistake that got him a red card was that he went ‘off script’ and revealed his honest, bigoted and narrow-minded opinion. Back when he said those words, he probably didn’t realise the future likelihood of becoming a Member of Parliament. Back then, he didn’t have a handler to coach him on what he should and should not say. After all, he was stupid enough not to realise that these things might seem offensive. Or thick enough not to give shit. Or both. So, unluckily for Ukip, the “Political robot software UKIP 2015” has now been downloaded to his 2-gig brain a little too late. Reading his sincere-fake apology, it looks like it was at least installed.
The growth of Ukip is a sad development for British politics, but an unsurprising one. As Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat merge into one party with different coloured factions, people’s disillusionment has to be directed somewhere. Ukip have cleverly tapped into the widespread anger and disenchantment among much of the UK population. They have also struck a chord with people’s irrational fears – fuelled on a daily basis by the mainstream news media – and the need to blame someone for the fact that the people feel shafted. It’s sad, not because these people don’t have a legitimate grievance; but because they’re missing the fact that our whole political system itself is broken, corrupt and serving big business. Ukip will become another team in the sullied and cynical league: wheeling and dealing, compromising and lying. Their involvement, in and of itself, makes them prime targets for bribery and brokering among those business interests that really run the show.
The media, as is their wont, lap up these kinds of stories as they express their false and hypocritical outrage. The real issues, meanwhile, get ignored and swept under the carpet. The people we really should have problem with, and what they actually get up, remain a mystery; curiously nameless. ‘Is Kerry Smith a bigot?’ is about as crucial a question as ‘Is Jay Z a member of The Illuminati?’… The most appropriate answer being, of course: “Who really gives a flying fuck? Oh, and why are we even discussing this in the first place?”