'No sane person would go into politics now', says former Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Saturday 28 September 2013
Former Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom has said no “sane” person from a professional background would enter politics now because they face being vilified for holding convictions.
Not one to shy away from controversy, Mr Bloom is now an Independent MEP for Yorkshire and Humber after facing a storm of criticism for comments that women who did not clean behind fridges were "sluts" and for hitting the Channel Four journalist Michael Crick over the head with a conference programme.
He was also condemned for referring to "Bongo Bongo Land" when discussing overseas aid, a comment he stridently defended on national television by claiming it was not a racist comment because "a bongo is a white antelope living in the forest".
Writing in the Yorkshire Post newspaper, Mr Bloom said the media coverage he received will ensure that "no sane individual from a successful professional background would now go into" politics.
He argued: "The vilification and lies overwhelm anyone with conviction."
The politician said the outrage expressed in the media was not felt by members of the public, who he asserts "flooded his office" with overwhelming support for his remarks.
He asked: "Is Bongo Bongo Land offensive? Only if I say it. Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor, used it in his book Live From Downing Street last year and no one said a word.
"But of course he isn't me."
Mr Bloom claimed his "sluts" comment, which he stresses was a joke, was met with more "mock outrage" from the media, but not from the public, and insisted that when people read "what he had actually said" his "post bag was laden with support".
He then described his encounter with Mr Crick, who asked why there was an absence of black faces on the cover of the Ukip party conference agenda being as "harassed by an awful little man with a camera in a London street".
Mr Bloom continued: "I swat him with a magazine, more horror and mock outrage."
He also hit out at those who "tagged" him as a "misogynist", by pointing out that the fact he has "been a leading sponsor of women’s sport since 1992 remains unreported" is "not very convenient, is it?"
He claimed to be relishing returning to the back benches but pitied the electorate who will only have a choice of "grey, boring, stand-for-nothing politicians whose names you cannot even remember".
He concluded his article by telling the audience: "You're welcome to 'em."
When Mr Bloom decided to stand down as a Ukip MEP the party leader Nigel Farage said: "I'm very sorry it has come to this, he's been with us for 15 years, he's sat in the European Parliament since 2004, he absolutely 100 per cent believes in everything Ukip stands for and he's been a good, loyal MEP for us.
"It's a sorry state of affairs."
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