Wednesday 1 May 2019


As it would take too long to transcribe in full, and as Sue has posted the full video of the interview above, here are just Jo Coburn's questions to Ukip leader Gerard Batten from Tuesday's Politics Live:
  1. Welcome to Gerard Batten, leader of Ukip. We've been talking to all the parties about the local and European elections, people will probably know what your position is as far as Brexit is concerned but what is the point of anybody voting Ukip in the locals? 
  2. Alright. Well, we've looked at some of the policies that you're putting forward in the local elections and perhaps one of the most eye-catching is "Ukip believes that access to local services should be prioritised for veterans and local people with a proven link to their local area". What's the problem you're trying to solve here? 
  3. (interrupting) But they are prioritised, Gerard Batten. Councils already look at whether a homeless person has a local connection to the area when deciding whether or not they have to house them, so this links based on living or working in the area, close family in the area or other special reasons. They also require a proven link to the local area to be established before putting somebody on a list for social housing. So I ask you again, what problem are you trying to solve? 
  4. But those are the people you think are being excluded from services at the moment and your policy is designed to help? There doesn't seem to be anything that you've said so far that differs from what is being done in practice by councils. There may be exceptions of course but policy-wise there's nothing different. 
  5. (interrupting) They ARE given priority according to the LGA. 
  6. So it's about people coming from abroad. It isn't borne out in fact. Gerard Batten. If you look at what the Local Government Association says when it comes to veterans for example, "all councils have signed the voluntary Armed Forces Covenant and are committed to honouring their obligations to those who have served their country." You are putting up a straw man here. 
  7. But, as I say, they ARE prioritised. Councils state very clearly on all of their literature that they prioritise people with a local link, they prioritise people who have lived in the area for a certain amount of time, and they prioritise veterans. Armed Forces Covenant states it. So it IS for you just about excluding people who are immigrants? 
  8. Right, so you are going to do something markedly different. How will you enforce it? 
  9. Let's have a look at the European elections. It all looked very different in 2014. Your former leader Nigel Farage is now leading the Brexit Party and getting an awful lot of attention. Ten former Ukip MEPs now sit for that Brexit Party. Why? 
  10. (interrupting) They didn't actually. I've looked at the dates. At least five or six of them have gone since you became leader. 
  11. (interrupting) Still, but why have they left Ukip, the ones since you became leader? 
  12. Well, just to cite at least three of them - and they've only left on the 15th of April, well into your leadership, and they've actually specifically said it's your leadership and the direction you've taken the party that is the reason they've left and joined the Brexit Party, Jill Seymour, Jane Collins and Margot Parker. 
  13. That's not what Jane Collins said - well, let's take it in good faith for the moment. We've heard what YOU have to say is the reason - SHE has said it's down to one of the candidates on your list who's been pretty controversial, we've talked about Carl Benjamin, but her quote is "To have people like him on the list for the party is something I find disgusting and to hear Gerard Batten on national TV yesterday defending this man's use of rape as satire made me sick to my stomach". 
  14. (interrupting) But what do you say to THAT? 
  15. (interrupting) You don't know that, do you?. 
  16. (interrupting) Well, alright, hang on, what about Mike Hookem? He's still there. He is a candidate, and he's made the following statement on Facebook: "I was greatly disturbed to hear members of my party trying to pass off offensive comments on rape as free speech and satire", which is what you have done. "In my opinion, these comments are neither and I condemn them without reserve". So, putting aside the argument that you are saying that they weren't at the top of the list, this is somebody still in the party who is a candidate and he thinks it's disgraceful. 
  17. (interrupting) Is it responsible for a political candidate to talk in those terms? 
  18. Let's talk about some of the other things he's said because in one video that I've seen he uses the "N-word". Is that funny? 
  19. (interrupting) Yes, but is it funny? Because you've said...You've defended him on the basis of satire, he's a comedian, he's a funny guy. Is it funny to use the "N-word" in any circumstances? 
  20. (interrupting) I'm asking you the question, is it funny? 
  21. (interrupting) Right, you don't think it's funny? You don't think it's satirical?  
  22. That's fine but is there anything he can say that is still acceptable to you? Is there any line he can't cross? 
  23. (interrupting) What is it? 
  24. (interrupting) Well, what is it? I mean, if he said something satirical, in YOUR view, offensive about veterans or the poppy, would that be defendable? 
  25. I'm trying to ask you where your line is, because there's obviously got to be a line where you don't think there is a line to be drawn. You say it's free speech to talk about rape or use the "N-word" in whatever circumstances, so I'm trying to ascertain with you, is there a line beyond which a candidate for Ukip can't cross? 
  26. What is it? 
  27. (interrupting) You've talked about veterans and you feel strongly about veterans, and you feel very strongly about veterans. If someone said something, if Carl Benjamin said something equivalent to using the "N-word" about veterans and the poppy, would you defend him? 
  28. (interrupting) Ah, that IS offensive? That you wouldn't defend?
  29. I have to ask you, Gerard Batten, why are you defending him? What's the benefit to Ukip? I mean, is he worth it, this guy? You've lost good MEPs, as far as your party is concerned. 
  30. Is it worth it? Is HE worth it? 
  31. (interrupting) I'll come to that. You think that will translate into votes, do you?

1 comment:

  1. Monkey Brains2 May 2019 at 14:10

    Coburn the Barbarian is about as subtle as a mallet driving in a tent peg. What a snake! Does anyone think she would have called UKIP MEPs "good MEPs" while they were still there as UKIP members? Of course not!


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