Nigel Farage can blame the 'PC Brigade' for withdrawing the Ukip calypso. Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

How the Ukip calypso drowns out more sinister stories

"Oh, look! Ukip's doing something funny again!" stories only really work to overshadow the party's actual failings.

Ukip has been in the headlines for two stories this week. The first is for its partnership with a Polish MEP from a Holocaust-denying party to save its bloc in the European Parliament from collapsing. The second is a poorly-written, casually racist calypso championing Nigel Farage as the next PM. The song has been withdrawn by the man who wrote it, a Ukip-backing Radio 1 DJ, Mike Read, who apologised earlier today.

A comment on the relation between these two stories from ConservativeHome's Mark Wallace caught my eye:

One tweeter's reply pointed out that the former story works in the party's favour, because it can spin it into a "political correctness gone mad" situation:

Indeed, as reported by the Mail's John Stevens, a party spokesperson commented: "It's a pity those so concerned with political correctness have trodden all over this."

It is the perpetual pitfall of reporting on Ukip's actions. "Oh, look! Ukip's doing something funny again!" is a story that is written again and again as the party and its members, or supporters, do or say something silly. But criticising the party for its gaffes will most likely elicit a "PC Brigade" accusation. Fun, colourful pieces work to overshadow any news that reveals the party's dubious politics – as the unapologetic alliance with a far-right MEP suggests – or lack of policy focus.

What the leader of the Green party, Natalie Bennett – who receives significantly less attention than Farage – said in a recent interview with the Independent highlights this problem:

When I wake up and hear Mr Farage on the Today show yet again, I get angry and, at times, I've considered getting on air and saying something monumentally stupid in the hope of getting some coverage. I have seriously considered that, because Farage and Ukip get so much attention for saying really stupid, racist, way-out-there things.

The saying "no publicity is bad publicity" isn't true. But if dismissing an offensive novelty jingle as a bit of fun is all it takes for Ukip to get away with doing a deal with a party whose leader claims Adolf Hitler was “probably not aware that Jews were being exterminated”, then we're probably giving it the wrong publicity.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

Getty
Show Hide image

Ed Miliband is interviewing David Miliband on the Jeremy Vine show

Sibling rivalry hits the radio.

David was the chosen one, the protege, the man destined to lead the Labour party. 

But instead his awkward younger brother committed the ultimate sibling betrayal by winning the Labour party leadership election instead.

Not only that, but he lost the 2015 general election, and between those two dates, tinkered with the leadership election rules in a way that ultimately led to Jeremy Corbyn's victory

It seems, though, radio can bring these two men of thwarted ambition together.

Your Mole can reveal that Ed Miliband will interview his brother on the Jeremy Vine show, at 1pm during the two-hour show, which starts at 12.

But David, who is president of the International Rescue Committee, is there to discuss something more serious than family drama - his recent TED talk about the refugee crisis.  

Although the Mole understands that although the Miliband brothers will reunite on air, they will still be separated by the body of water that is the Atlantic Ocean...

I'm a mole, innit.

0800 7318496