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Letters: ‘Bongo Bongo’ reveals Ukip’s true colours

These letters are published in the print edition of The Independent, 9 August, 2013

Godfrey Bloom’s disgusting “Bongo Bongo land” comment  is the latest outrage which exposes the true character of Ukip.

This comes in the wake of last May’s council election when some of its candidates were exposed as former members and activists in far-right politics.

The Ukip leadership may argue in their defence that they have a policy of expelling members who have demonstrable far-right links. They might want to ask themselves what it is about Ukip that makes it so attractive to the far right in the first place.

It’s possible there may be Ukip members who are not xenophobes, bigots, fascists or racists. But they should look around them and see whom they’re standing shoulder to shoulder with.

Sasha Simic, London N16

The reference to “Bongo Bongo land” by Ukip’s Godfrey Bloom mimics Jim Hacker of Yes Minister referring to a TPLAC (Tinpot Little African Country).

Mr Bloom’s objection to the UK providing foreign aid might be looked at in connection with the issue of past international criminal and imperial acts. British museums, galleries and other institutions contain thousands of artefacts acquired under duress or in dubious circumstances from foreign countries, the export of which is banned under current international law. In the UK we benefit from access to these treasures, educationally, artistically and financially.

Admittedly, there is a cost in maintaining them, but maybe Mr Bloom could calculate the financial benefit to the UK economy of having these items (and the buildings funded by the slave, opium and sugar trades) and compare it with the overseas aid budget, which I guess would be much less.

If we think we cannot afford to send money overseas, we should look at how we raise and distribute taxes to support the UK’s poor and disadvantaged, not deny funds to people who would die without it.

If funds go astray, that is an argument for more careful distribution, not ceasing aid altogether.

Peter Slessenger, Reading

Predictably the PC Brigade and loony, lefty liberals have reacted with fury to Godfrey Bloom’s reference to “Bongo Bongo land” when he highlighted the fact that most of Britain’s overly generous foreign aid payments do not reach the people they are meant to help.

Mr Bloom’s real mistake was in referring to “Bongo Bongo land” rather than “Bunga Bunga land”.

All too often, foreign aid is siphoned off into the pockets of despots or handed out as “bungs” to their cronies and supporters. For all the good this actually achieves, we might just as well flush the money down the toilet.

We need a moratorium on foreign aid until countries receiving it can give cast-iron guarantees the money will go to those for whom it is intended – and won’t end up in the hands of unscrupulous politicians and their families and friends.

Robert Readman, Bournemouth

Confession of an underage ‘predator’

I believe the barrister who stands “accused” spoke the truth as he saw it about the “predatory” 13-year-old girl, unpalatable though it may be to many.

At the age of 11, I became sexually active and knew it was a same-sex relationship that appealed to me.

I heard about two men who lived together “in sin” in my street and I made it my business to get to know them. This led to my first sexual experiences; something I am still happy about.

At first, they did their best to try to keep my advances away, but I was probably more demanding then than I am now.

Then, and to this day, I did not see myself as predatory nor a victim, just someone deeply needful of both sexual gratification and affection (even though I had a happy childhood).

Having now lasted 63 years, I would be terrified if some young person tried to get close to me in such a way; however, that would not stop my understanding why.

I am concerned about the number of “support” groups that immediately assume the younger person is the “victim”.

 I do not condone predatory behaviour, especially anything that is non-consenting, but there are times when there is definitely more than one side to a story.

Robert Ely, London SW6

Young girls may look like and behave as women, but they are not women. They are not likely to be mentally prepared for the emotional upheaval of a sexual relationship, even if they think they are.

The role of adults should be to know this and to resist temptation in the best interests of the children.

Linda King, Colchester, Essex

The law has to draw a line; that does not make it a fact that a 13-year-old is no more capable of encouraging sex than a seven-year-old.

A barrister and a judge, who were actually present at the trial, thought her behaviour was something to be taken into account. Perhaps some of the people who know better would have a different view had they been there.

John Wheaver, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire

The horrific attack on a 44-year-old man by a child’s vagina surely leads us to question whether Western democracy has gone too far in liberating its females. This vagina and its ferocious appetite for gratification would surely benefit from an early marriage at, say nine years old, to ensure a productive employment in the breeding of sons.

Miss E Chambers, London

Cuts take priority over saving lives

Doctors have claimed that a £500m Government bailout for struggling A&E units is merely “papering the cracks”. It does seem as though the Coalition is only concerned about covering its backside.

The current financial state of the NHS is a consequence of successive governments having used PFI to finance hospitals – akin to going to a loan shark for a mortgage. This latest cash injection was described by David Cameron as being a “short-term measure”. Same as it ever was, then.

The regrettable truth is that treating medical emergencies and saving lives aren’t seen as being as politically important as deficit reduction. Besides, NHS “customers” probably don’t vote Conservative anyway.

Our Prime Minister also said that “the money doesn’t go with no strings attached”. Well, quite; hospitals aren’t banks, after all.

Julian Self, Wolverton, Milton Keynes

Following the tragic death of Daniel Pelka, we are once again asking how this can happen.

While we can easily blame all involved, was it not spending cuts, accountants and economics that made him their victim?

My seven year-old grandson is also a victim of these same economics. He is a loving, caring, sensitive boy, who unfortunately has mild learning difficulties. He is not physically disabled or unintelligent, but he is unable to voice the frustrations that arise from these difficulties.

Because of this frustration and his sensitive nature, he can become angry and withdrawn. This can lead to intense self-loathing and violence towards those who love and care for him.

His teachers, doctors and devoted parents all agree that what he needs is one-to-one intensive teaching in a special school environment. Unfortunately, this costs money.

So, although all the specialists agree on the necessary action, it will be the local authority accountant who will decide his fate.

James Doherty, Clay Cross, Derbyshire

DAB will kill radio romance

Concerning budget DAB (“The squawking seagulls that could transform the radio industry”, 8 August), I worked as a radio frequency (RF) design engineer for many years and regard the introduction of DAB as one of the darkest moments in radio’s history.

DAB is simply the marketeers’ dream and it’s clear that most BBC marketing personnel have never been keen radio listeners.

Music is the clue to the popularity of modulation techniques – loads of songs about AM/FM and the pleasure of listening to analogue radio – “I am down on my knees at those wireless knobs” (Van Morrison/Paul Durcan).

And what about the pleasure of a long car journey with one’s lover, sharing those transient radio feedback glances while following a radio play or music programme? The ethereal intimacy isn’t likely to last long if the DAB signal is dropping out every few seconds.

Lawrence Jones, Liverpool

Obama’s duty is to talk to Putin

If there is one man who has the power to take giant steps towards ending the catastrophe in Syria, it is President Barack Obama. If there is any single leader whom he needs to talk to more than anyone else towards that end it is Vladimir Putin.

Obama should have convened direct high-level talks with Putin and others a long time ago. His refusal now to meet with Putin amounts to a dereliction of duty on the part of the man who is the leader of the free world.

Dr Brendan O’Brien, London N21

Double standard

While Ramon Michan (letter, 8 August) may have a point about UK occupation of Gibraltar and what we would think if the Spanish owned a bit of Cornwall, before throwing stones, perhaps he could comment on his own glasshouse of Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish-occupied territories in what is technically Morocco. As he himself says, don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.

John Alvey, Cranbrook, Kent

Cold comfort

Apparently, scientists have proved that if an elderly person is forgetful, two cups of cocoa per day can improve their memory. I am 86 but there is no cocoa in my larder. However, I do enjoy the occasional choc ice. Will that do?

Barbara MacArthur, Cardiff