JULIA GILLARD and her anti-misogyny handbag hit squad would choke on their breakfast if confronted with this: a British politician has been thrown out of his party after the latest in a long sequence of questionable comments about women and foreigners. Is this larrikinism, or a bridge too far?
The news overnight that a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has been ejected from UKIP comes as little surprise.
I am posting on this matter this evening because of the real contrast it throws up between the crusade Gillard went on during the last Parliament — railing against “misogyny”, as they believed it personified by Tony Abbott — and the reality of what has been bubbling away at UKIP for years, and which has lately come to an ugly head.
And these issues really are for the perusal and interest of readers, and I would love to know what Gillard would make of them. Her attack dog Nicola Roxon, too, for that matter.
There are some elements — both in the political community and in the wider community generally — who lament the disappearance of the “larrikin” from Australian politics, but I doubt this is the sort of thing to elicit such nostalgia.
Godfrey Bloom — a UKIP MEP from Yorkshire — has apparently exhausted the patience of both his party and UKIP leader Nigel Farage in his latest outburst, decrying the fact Britain spends £1 billion per month on aid to “Bongo Bongo land” and after saying in an address to an event to promote women that “this place is full of sluts.”
The outburst comes as the latest instalment in a colourful career that has featured Bloom having to be carried out of the European Parliament by an aide, too drunk to complete a speech, and using the using the Nazi slogan “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer” to insult a German Social Democrat politician during a separate debate in Brussels.
Readers can access two articles on Bloom’s latest exploits here and here. A YouTube clip of his doorstop press conference yesterday — ostensibly to clarify his remarks, but which (predictably) ended in further controversy — can be found here.
The point is that anything Tony Abbott has ever been accused of by the likes of Gillard, the odious Roxon, and their fellow finger-shaking comrades pales in comparison to this.
But the question, very simply, is whether Bloom has gone too far.
Some will find his remarks — and antics — distasteful in the extreme, labelling him a sexist, racist, xenophobic pig with a bigoted view of the world and a jaundiced perspective on the role of women (and anyone beyond Britain) in it.
Others will take the view that political correctness has all gone too far; that people take themselves far too seriously, and that the likes of Bloom add a little colour to what is otherwise the dour, dull grind of democratic politics.
In any case, it has been many years since this sort of thing was a feature of Australian politics.
What do readers think? Is Bloom out of line, and right to be punted from his party in disgrace? Or is it the case that UKIP being just a bit too prim for its own good, and should take a load off and calm down.
I’ll be interested in people’s thoughts. Keep it clean.