We were all shocked by Godfrey Bloom’s behaviour when he labelled a room full of women as “sluts”. Scrap that, we were not only not shocked, but it would be more shocking if any of us was actually mildly surprised. UKIP try to portray themselves as the defenders of traditional British values and to that end I cannot for the life of me understand why he lost the whip. Surely he did a sterling job of representing traditional British values?
When our white, affluent, male politicians speak of “traditional British values” are they not, after all, referring to a white supremacist, heteronormative, Christian (bordering on the theocratic) mythological Britain of the “halcyon days”. A Britain where the nuclear family ruled supreme, immigration was extremely low to the point of social cleansing, and where a wife prepared her husband a home cooked meal and kept a clean house? Cue proposals to offer married couples tax breaks, Conservative voting against legislation that would improve the lot of LBGT people, or those with disabilities, and add in moves to restrict the agency of women via limiting abortions, to name but few!
When Bloom explicitly makes racist comments about “bongo bongo land” and archaic references to a belief that women need to perform housework to a higher standard, is he not simply being more upfront about what other politicians only dare to express implicitly via bedroom tax; cuts to disability support; and benefits caps. Surely a reference to what Bloom believes is slatternly behaviour is not actually worse than moves by the government to cut legal aid, tax credits and other welfare in real terms, whilst increasing the cost of education, decreasing the social housing stock further and disparaging single mothers and forcing other women to remain in abusive relationships by limiting their scope for finance, independent of their spouses? The incumbent government is doing far worse to women and minorities at present than simply expressing a bigoted belief. Cuts to welfare and higher and further education, inter alia, disproportionately affect women, people of colour, and people with disabilities. Not in theory, not in the distant future, but right now. And let us never forget the government’s total hypocrisy when Cameron visited Egypt to promote democracy, complete with arms dealers in his entourage.
Yes, Bloom’s comments were disgusting and unforgiveable and yes they should be strongly censured- but by us, not by hypocritical political parties who would do far worse to women. The political censure Bloom has experienced is nothing but a PR managed attempt to appear as if the rights of women and minorities are actually important to the right wing so that these parties can attempt to distract the public from all of the damaging policies they not only support, but are already putting into practice. So, on that note, I thank Godfrey Bloom for, even if only for the briefest moment, making the misogyny and bigotry of the right wing so explicit that even the most stubborn denier of such beliefs has to acknowledge them.