Time to confess a guilty pleasure of sorts: I am something of a fan of Godfrey Bloom. “Fan”, admittedly, is perhaps the wrong word; keeping up to date with Bloom’s escapades is more on the lines of keeping an eye on a particularly bad forest fire fuelled entirely by discarded copies of the Daily Mail.
Bloom’s habits include compulsive letter-writing to the local press, whingeing about climate change, foreigners and feminism, and occasional appearances in the national media over one high-profile gaffe or another. Oh, and serving as UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber.
Some of Bloom’s more notable moments have included:
- Using his first day in the EU Parliament to hold forth on the subject of gender relations, proclaiming among other things that “no self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age” and promising to stand up for “men’s rights.”
- Interrupting a fellow MEP, the German Martin Schulz, with the wonderfully tactful slogan “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer” and describing him as a “national socialist”.
- Dismissing man-made climate change as a “myth”.
- Addressing the European parliament while, by his own admission, “drugged up” on a mixture of prescription pills and alcohol.
- And, of course, praising the French government for the way they dealt with Greenpeace’s “Rainbow Warrior” ship in the 70s – “dealing with”, in this case, consisting of “bombing“:
So, a delightful chap all round, then.
Bloom is also, however, part of the European Alliance for Freedom, a “Euroskeptic” party within the EU Parliament. Fellow EFA boardmembers include, among others, representatives from the Flemish Vlaams Belang, the Sweden Democrats, and a number of other “Euroskeptics” whose main reason for coming together is a sense of mutual hatred of all things foreign. Including, presumably, one another. Must make for some interesting dinner parties.
Earlier this year, members of the EAF – including Marine Le Pen, president of France’s National Front and seemingly determined to carry on her father’s legacy when it comes to race relations – took part in a ball held in Vienna by the far-right Austrian Freedom Party, an event which happened to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day. Anti-racist campaigners, unions and other related troublemakers for some reason didn’t seem to take too kindly to this particular evening’s revelry. Bloody spoilsports.
Of course, we’re not that fond of any politician, whether they come in red, blue, yellow or whatever other part of the spectrum one could name. What with the whole anarchy thing and all. But there is something particularly unpleasant about the company Bloom chooses to keep, even by UKIP standards.
Oh, Godfrey. Whatever will we do with you?