Sunday, 11 April 2010

Fish, barrel. Barrel, fish.

Pretty much all of the UK franchises have been renamed now. UK Gold 2 became 'Dave - The Home of Witty Banter', then UK Gold became 'G.O.L.D.', which seems only appropriate for a channel which basically takes perfectly workable programmes and inserts annoying breaks into the middle of them. So why, I wonder, is the last of the franchises, the UKIP, holding out? Surely right before an election campaign is the perfect time to rebrand. I would suggest that they take their cue from Dave and go for something along the lines of Geoffrey - The Home of Clunking Bluster.

It's not been a terrific week for UKIP. Granted, that doesn't really set it apart from most other weeks; you might as well just say, "It's been a week." However, even by their own standards, this one hasn't been a bowl of spaghetti. As far as I can tell, it's usually the case that if UKIP turn up on the news, they've done something inadvisable. One of their number, Paul Wiffen, this week did something that was very on the news indeed.

Mr. Wiffen is a UKIP official. the news stories I read didn't specify in precisely what capacity he operates, so I like to think that it's his job to remember to take hankies to party meetings for people to wipe the froth and spittle away with. He is also standing in Ilford South as a candidate. If you were writing a sitcom featuring a UKIP candidate then you may well have settled on the name Paul Wiffen anyway; it's perfect. You would also, probably, have set it in Ilford South. At any rate, Mr. Wiffen posted a comment to a blog which I shall spare you but which included the phrases "left-wing scum", "romanian gipsies" and "muslim nutters". You can imagine the rest. On getting caught, the great clattering poltroon said, "When I read the lies about UKIP being a racist party I just saw red and fired off an angry email." Mmm. Or more accurately, "When I read the lies about UKIP being a racist party, I just saw red and fired off a racist email."

The UKIP issued an apology which had roughly the same levels of reluctance and conviction you would think Bill Clinton probably employs when apologising to his wife on what I would imagine is a roughly weekly basis. In it they included the suggestion that while Mr. Wiffen's choice of words might have been a bit off, these were issues that the British people wanted to discuss. Well that's as maybe, but I'm not sure the Community Care website is the place to do that. Might I respectfully suggest that if the British people want to discuss left-wing scum, Romanian gypsies and Muslim nutters they find out whatever pub Richard Littlejohn drinks in and hang about in there till knocking off time.

I think one of the UKIP's main problems - apart from the fact that they look like the village am-dram society having a crack at Wagner's Ring Cycle - is that they're not very good with words. Today Lord Pearson (I'm pretty sure he's a real lord, but it's entirely possible they've just modelled their hierarchy on the Sith's Galactic Empire) referred to Brussels as a "corrupt octopus". This was presumably intended, as these sorts of phrases generally are, as a colourful and apposite metaphor which we would enjoy and possibly repeat endlessly instead of thinking properly about the subject for ourselves. In reality, it's the kind of weird phrase that has you wondering what time the pubs open where he lives. I look forward to his views on the NHS ("recalcitrant elephant"), the education system ("bewildered termite") and the UKIP itself ("tremendous bull").


Mind you, having said that, there was evidence this very day that the corrupt octopus has wiggled its tentacles even into the rhetoric of politicians. Nicholas Cleggolas, the political equivalent of the girl someone's going to end up going home with when the nightclub chucks out whether they like it or not, observed that if one of the two main parties were to win with a slender majority and started imposing cuts then this might lead us, the General Public, to switch off our television sets, go out and do something more riot-y instead, as I believe Why Don't You..? would have put it. The exact phrase that Cleggolas used was that such an election result could lead to "Greek-style unrest."

Greek-style unrest? Is that like Greek-style yoghurt and Feta-effect cheese? Well, thank-you Brussels for your labeling legislation. Next week: Andy Burnham gives a speech on Labour's plans for the future of the National Health Service-style Organisation.


  1. I saw Cleggolas' "Greek-style" quote, but my purile mind wandered towards an unrest more bum orientated (type 'greek style into google...)

  2. I done a lol. Thank you, you are a very nice man.

  3. As a member of her majesty's unemployed, I have a certain amount of time allotted each day to the activity known, chiefly by my wife, as "Twatting About On The Internet". Having discovered your blog this morning, I have spent some time reading it. I try to be reasonable in my time TAOTI, not spending more than 14 hours a day in so doing, and I have used up a fair proportion of today's TAOTI time catching up on your backlog.
    In return for this, I hope that you will pledge to keep me informed about the forthcoming election. It will save me having to read about it elsewhere, leaving me time to TAOTI in a more comprehensive fashion. You seem to have picked up the general trend of things. Well done! (If in the unlikely event of anything important happening during the election period you could send me an email about it so I do not find out too late I would be obliged).
    Your writing style is reminiscent of the tones used in the splendid BBC documentary "The Thick of it". Are you familiar with this programme?

  4. I think what the British public want is to stop having their attention grabbed in such a puerile fashion.

    Undeniably, my attention would be grabbed by someone pulling their pants down in the street shouting, "look at my bum" but you know, I wouldn't vote for him.

  5. Perhaps the best thing written about how crap UKIP is, because they are very crap indeed.

    If only words could make a political party cease.

  6. "Might I respectfully suggest that if the British people want to discuss left-wing scum, Romanian gypsies and Muslim nutters they find out whatever pub Richard Littlejohn drinks in"

    It's a long trek to Florida...