Andy McSmith's Diary: Fruitcakes, nutcases and the Ukip MEP for Yorkshire Godfrey Bloom


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Indy Politics

When the Ukip leader Nigel Farage told the Parliamentary Press Gallery this week: “Whilst from time to time, we may well attract the odd loony, the odd fruitcake and the odd nutcase, doesn’t every voluntary organisation?” is it possible that an image of Godfrey Bloom, Ukip MEP for Yorkshire and Humber, flashed through his mind?

Mr Bloom is famous for once telling journalists that he wanted to deal with women’s issues because “I don’t think they clean behind the fridge enough” and “No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a woman of child-bearing age.”

Mr Bloom has been accused of taking the wrong attitude towards women, and has decided to knock that on the head by opening a new webpage, entitled “Godfrey Bloom The Misogynist?”, featuring photographs of himself in the company of women, including two that have been given the heading “Godfrey and the girls”.

Perhaps someone could explain to Mr Bloom that the words “misogynist” and “sexist” have distinct meanings.

Praise that Miliband could do without

Ed Miliband must have groaned on hearing that the Respect MP George Galloway had described him to the Evening Standard as “quite impressive, physically and intellectually.” Praise from that quarter is praise he does not need. Galloway was less complimentary about Gordon Brown, whom he described as “sociopathic” and “completely out of place,” with “a smile like a brass plate on the lid of a coffin.”

The man we want back rather than out

While Westminster’s attention was fixed on Abu Qatada, who is still in the UK, in the smaller debating chamber off Westminster Hall MPs discussed the case of Shaker Aamer, who cannot get back here. He has been held without charge in Guatanamo Bay for 11 years. The Tory MP Jane Ellison, in whose Battersea constituency Aamer’s wife and four children live, suspects there is some truth in the suspicion that the Americans do not want to allow Aamer back to the UK because they do not want the public to know what was done to him while he was under interrogation. The Foreign minister Alistair Burt said that “the United Kingdom Government... believes the continued detention of Shaker Aamer is wrong,” but there does not seem to be much they can do about it.

Why bees and  elephants don’t mix

David Cameron caused a buzz during Prime Minister’s Questions by announcing that he is the life patron of the Oxfordshire Bee Keepers’ Association. Their March newsletter contains the fascinating fact that bee keepers in West Africa are co-operating with farmers to prevent elephants from trampling crops. Elephants do not like bees, and stay away from fields where there is a hive.

Appointment opens old wounds

The think-tank Policy Exchange has threatened to reopen an old wound with its choice of new deputy director. He is Mark MacGregor, who was chief executive at Conservative Central Office 10 years ago, when he was one the officials who could not reconcile themselves to the fact that Iain Duncan Smith won the 2001 leadership election. MacGregor left in 2003 and was replaced by Tim Montgomerie, who has never forgiven his predecessor for “Betsygate”, the inquiry into whether IDS had improperly employed his wife as his diary secretary. “Very disappointing appointment by Policy Exchange,” he tweeted. The inquiry cleared IDS.