Richard North, 10/08/2013  

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As you might expect, I've had a few e-mails and other communications on the Bloom affair. And I don't really care what he might have achieved – if anything. The key question for UKIP members is: "do you want to be represented by a racist oaf?". If "yes", then Bloom is the man for you.

If "no", then read Autonomous Mind. But some of the comments are a little depressing, as some of his readers still haven't got it. So let 's be clear. Bloom is a racist oaf. He wasn't strategising – speaking for effect. He speaks as he thinks, and what he said wasn't an accident. That is how he thinks, and he is what he thinks.

That is not so say that one cannot speak for effect, and be quite deliberately insulting. I have done it several times and, in the proper context, it is a valid tactic which can provoke a serious argument. But it is a dangerous tactic and difficult to manage, prone to being misrepresented. Context (and timing) is crucial, as indeed the status of the speaker. 

A lowly functionary can sometimes "get away with" things that an MEP or other senior personnel can't. Elected politicians are in an especially difficult position. Talk to any senior MP and they will tell you that they have to watch every word they utter. In grown-up politics, untramelled "freedom of speech" is something no sensible politician can afford.

The Daily Mirror makes some of the right points. Just because Bloom occasionally articulates views that any right-minded person might agree with does not mean that he speaks for them. A racist oaf is still a racist oaf, no matter what he says.

I would no more pick Bloom to represent my views on foreign aid (or anything else) then I would expect those who oppose meat consumption to accept Hitler as a spokesman on vegetarianism. If I was of a mind to accept vegetarianism, then one could argue that Hitler made a good case for it. But that really doesn't mean that I would want to hear his views on the subject.

And there are really no further points to be made. A racist oaf should not be tolerated in polite society – or in a liberal democracy. A politician who is a racist oaf should not be applauded, even if he says the right things – even if he gets a debate going. He should be shunned. 

Anybody who thinks otherwise should be deeply ashamed.


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