Just when I was beginning to warm to xenophobia (‘Bloody Italians, coming over here, opening excellent coffee shops, flogging their panettone!’) Ukip have only gone and found a candidate that thinks the compulsory abortion of disabled foetuses might be a good way of reducing national debt.
Geoffrey Clark was, until Tuesday night, UKIP’s candidate for Thursday’s elections at Gravesham Council and Kent County Council and had also put himself forward to the UKIP National Executive Committee.
Mr Clark, who I was SHOCKED to discover is a white, Anglo Saxon, middle aged male of the married heterosexual variety, has published a personal manifesto on his website of his opinions on everything from immigration, gay marriage, the NHS, Israel, the green belt, EU, education, and who should win Strictly Come Dancing (not really).
One of his suggestions is this:
"A serious national debate and a government review are required urgently regarding service levels in the NHS, as the NHS risks becoming unaffordable in the future. The review should embrace all avenues for rendering the NHS more cost effective and affordable. Such matters might include....compulsory abortion when the foetus is detected as having Downs, Spina Bifida or similar syndrome which, if it is born, could render the child a burden on the state as well as on the family."
I assume Mr Clark’s idea of "compulsory abortion" would involve doctors saying "I’m afraid the mandatory amniocentesis came back positive Ms Jones, so I’m now going to scrub up and remove the little bugger whilst you lie back and think of England. A white, heterosexual England!" while nurse bursts into a rousing rendition of Jerusalem.
"Burden" is also a heavily offensive word, suggesting that disabled children are a drain on society and their parents. Disabled children are not burdens Mr Clark. It’s the lack of support given to parents and carers of disabled children that is the burden that weighs upon them. The fact that it’s the 21 century and just a few months after the greatest Paralympics we have ever seen and we still have to spell that out to people is depressing.
As for the argument that they would be a burden on the state, it would be wrong to deny there is a grain of truth in what Mr Clark says. Some children do grow up to be a drain on society. Unfortunately, an amniocentesis to detect the faulty chromosome that makes people spout disablist bollocks hasn’t been invented yet.
In the weirdest political strategy to gain the elderly vote I have ever seen, Mr Clark suggests the NHS review might also include "giving free euthanasia advice to all folk over 80 years of age" as medical treatment for elderly people is "disproportionately costly to the NHS". He doesn’t go into further details, but I presume this would mean at 80, you start getting subtle hints from your GP; at 90, Ukip come round to nick your bag of Werther’s Original, and at 100, you get a card from the Queen saying "Congratulations! You’ve had a good life, now time to pop orf! P.S Cyanide pill enclosed".
(Just in case Ukip are reading this thinking I’ve actually come up with something worth looking into, I’ve named this "The Generous Logan’s Run Strategy" and copyrighted it. You can’t have it.)
After his controversial views came to light on Tuesday, his website then included the statement: "I do not, and Ukip does not, endorse any of these ideas: they are suggestions of matters for the review body to properly consider in light of the desire to reduce the national debt." I’ve read that statement several times now and I think it means that he doesn’t endorse his own opinions. Well that cleared that up then.
A Ukip spokesman has since said: "This is a personal manifesto. There are large parts of what he says in it that we entirely disagree with.”
Unfortunately they fail to clarify which parts those are. It may be the part where he says disabled children are a burden on the state. Or the part when he says gay marriage is an "abhorrence". Or it might be that they don’t like his poem on immigration entitled "WE MUST TURN THE TIDE, AND THEN ADVANCE" and disagree with his choice of rhyming scheme.
Ukip further added: “As in any party, our members have a range of views and opinions which may not always accord with party policy. Geoff makes clear that this is a personal manifesto, not a party document. Geoff is a hard-working local activist who would make an excellent councillor."
Then a few hours later they suspended him from standing for Ukip in any future elections and he won’t be representing Ukip in the unlikely event that he wins election on Thursday. So apparently he wouldn’t make such an “excellent councillor” for Ukip after all.