Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.Well UKIP in Wales have selected a new leader. Normally I would not have cared. They are a declining force in Wales from the moment Neil Hamilton was elected leader after the last Welsh Assembly elections. Whilst there are no signs of a resurgence in their fortunes the fact that Gareth Bennett was elected leader makes you wonder and worry about what the residual rump of their members in Wales have become.
So let’s go through what he has said.
Linking Immigrants To Rubbish In The Street and Poor Hygiene: This was in an article in Wales Online. It is let’s face it, right wing clichÃ© written all over it. I’ve said before regarding the EU Referendum that nothing fuels the right more than a perception of high immigration whatever the actual truth.
With regard to “poor hygiene” well if you look at a picture of Mr Bennett you will not get a feeling that here’s a man who will adorn the latest cover of GQ. But could he provide proof of this assertion? Of course not.
Ditto blaming rubbish in the streets on immigrants. After all even if we assume that the assertion of a shabby look to Cardiff is correct (and I’ve written about the problems of it’s city centre) the possibility that it’s the fault of the council for not providing adequate services and indeed cutting them does not enter Mr Bennett’s head. He sees rubbish in the streets and assumes immigrants put it there without providing any evidence.
He also described Cardiff ‘s City Road as a melting pot of races unable to get along. Asked to provide evidence he couldn’t.
Perhaps I should follow Mr Bennett’s style in describing UKIP’s membership in Wales as a melting pot of dangerous lumpen Neanderthals and the deluded who believed in a “golden age” of Britain based on Ealing comedies? I can’t provide evidence. But it doesn’t seem to have done Mr Bennett any harm.
Describing Pontcanna As A “Welsh speaking colony”: Mr Bennett believes that the Welsh Assembly should be shut down and the powers reverted back to Westminster (like they have been doing such a good job). But a good example of this distaste for things Welsh is that comment. It shows a contempt for the language of the country he was born in.
Comments On the Burka: In the light on the furore surrounding Boris Johnson’s remarks Mr Bennett described the Burka as “apparitions of pre-medieval culture”.
Now I’d argue that Mr Bennett’s comments are worse than Boris Johnson because there can be no shred of doubt that he knew exactly the effect of his words.
Those of us (and I’m one of them) who are not comfortable with Moslem women wearing the Burka would never act in the way Mr Bennett has. Why? Because unless a Moslem woman does not feel coerced into wearing one then what has to do with anyone else? Freedom of expression as long as non violent is a democratic British right.
It also needs to be noted that in his comment Mr Bennett seemingly is deprived of the classic British quality of good manners.
But perhaps the most telling comment is on transgender people who he claimed were undermining society by their “deviation from the norm”. So in the head of Mr Bennett there is “a norm” and if you’re in any way outside of “the norm” you are presumably “different”.
So in Mr Bennett’s world, based on his own comments, I would therefore presume that you “deviate from the norm” if…
You’re not British by birth. Or that your background is not British
You speak Welsh
You’re not a Christian
You’re not heterosexual
You’re not happy with your gender.
Now if I’m wrong about what Mr Bennett’s view of “the norm” is then it’s up to him to clarify. As far as I can tell “the norm” as I’ve said before is based on a black and white Ealing comedies.
But if I’m right then I’ve broken “the norm” (if we include my unfluent Welsh) three times from the above. Which means I’m different. And I suspect very few people could comply with “the norm”.
Which is why whilst I don’t believe a Gareth Bennett UKIP party would never obtain power the fact that it’s there should shake us not of “the norm” from complacency.
Until the next time.