Last weekend Channel 4 launched its anti-UKIP pre-election campaign with its docudrama ‘UKIP: The First 100 Days’, and yesterday evening the BBC waded in with its own effort in the form of a fly-on-the-wall documentary about local UKIP party members in Thanet South, where Nigel Farage is mounting his bid for a Westminster seat in May. As was to be expected, the documentary focused upon the more ‘colourful’ aspects of the lives and views of the featured Ukippers, but to be frank, what was displayed was not so much fly-on-the-wall as foot in the mouth, over and over again.
That the documentary focused more upon personalities than upon policies was unsurprising (it has to be admitted that is hard to focus upon policies when policies largely remain in a state of flux), but given the BBC’s known hostility to UKIP, it would have been expected that those individuals featured would have been a little more circumspect about how they behaved and what they said. In fact, the documentary makers had to do little other than to stick around and wait for certain individuals to politically hang themselves. This was certainly the case with now former-UKIP councillor Rozanne Duncan who stated “I really do have a problem with people with negroid features”, adding that if she were to be invited to a meal where she knew a “negro” would be present, she would decline the invitation. She then made some bizarre reference to this aversion possibly having been acquired in a former life, saying that it would be interest to undergo hypnotic regression to reveal the possible source of the aversion. All of this was played out in the living room of the local UKIP press officer which provided an arresting backdrop of a sea of ceramic clowns; seemingly hundreds of them, for she and her husband were avid collectors of the said items.
This brought to mind some of the other absurdities uttered by another UKIP councillor, David Silvester from Henley-on-Thames, who claimed that the floods of early 2014 were part of God’s punishment for the legalisation of gay marriage. Bizarre? Yes. Fruitcake? Yes. Does this mean that UKIP’s concerns over the EU and mass immigration are bizarre and fruitcake? No. It is exasperating that an aspirant political party that many are turning to as a last straw to deal with these issues is repeatedly making ridiculous gaffes because of the eccentricities of some of its members. If it is to succeed, it has to ensure that its candidates are at least compos mentis, rather than as ridiculous and sinister as a collection of ceramic clowns.