Page 3 Profile: Mike Read, former DJ


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The Independent Online

What’s all the fuss about?

A song, entitled “Ukip Calypso”. The former BBC DJ Mike Read has released the single, in which he adopts a faux-Jamaican accent to rally against the presence of migrants in the UK.

It doesn’t sound particularly in tune with the times…

The ditty warns of “open borders” and “illegal immigrants in every town”, and also cautions against the European Union, advising: “With the EU we must be on our mettle, want to change our lawnmowers and our kettles”. It has been endorsed by Ukip leader Nigel Farage, in a bid to raise money for the party.

Time to change the record?

Mr Read, 67, from Heywood, Lancashire, insisted there was “nothing remotely racist” about the song and defended his decision to perform it in a Jamaican accent.  “It’s a satire and a bit of fun,” the former Radio 1 host told Sky News. “It wouldn’t have sounded very good sung in a Surrey accent,” he added.

Is anyone convinced?

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, accused Ukip of being “tone-deaf elitists”. He said: “Their ruthless pursuit of power, using references to ‘Bongo Bongo’ land one day and cod Caribbean accents the next, will be found out for what it is: a nasty creed of politics based on fear-mongering and resentment.” He added: “Ukip’s claim that they are not a racist party gets more and more incredible with every scandal.”

Career suicide, surely?

You’d think so. But Read doesn’t seem to have been deterred by previous creative flops. In 2004 he staged a record-breaking production of the musical he wrote and directed, Oscar Wilde.

How did that go down?

On its opening night critics described it as “a musical of exquisite awfulness” and “two hours of leaden dross”. Five people purchased tickets for the second night, in an auditorium that held 466, but they never saw the show, because it was cancelled.