Mr. Farage and the Cabaret of Diversity.
March 23, 2015 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Anti-Ukip protesters in fancy dress forced Nigel Farage to flee his local pub where he was dining with his family on Sunday afternoon. 'The Ukip leader called the demonstrators “scum”, claiming they had caused his children distress. The group, however, said they were holding a “cabaret of diversity” in support of those Ukip was seeking to marginalise.' Journalist Stuart Jeffries signs up for the 'Farage fracas.' Suzanne Moore has something to say about Ukip's progress as we near the UK general election. Al Murray's Pub Landlord joins in the fun (from last January.) Farage and the breastfeeding conundrum (from last December.) All links from The Guardian.
posted by glasseyes (80 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a little confused about the intent here. They brought babies and small children to a bar?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:46 AM on March 23, 2015


No, to the pub.
posted by Naberius at 11:48 AM on March 23, 2015 [37 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: I think the upshot of this here is that Nigel is a member of what sounds like the UK version of the Tea Party, and a group of people basically went full Jon Stewart on his ass, only in person rather than on TV.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:49 AM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


roomthreeseventeen: policies vary by pub, and some won't serve kids at all, but many pubs are fine places to go eat a meal with the family.

I think it's ridiculous that people so keen to mess around with the lives of others don't understand that their lives are fair game for being messed with as well.
posted by 1adam12 at 11:50 AM on March 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


One last link: UK citizenship test.
posted by glasseyes at 11:51 AM on March 23, 2015


Fascists are never able to cope with humour directed at them.
posted by cstross at 11:56 AM on March 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


From the Pub Landlord link:
On the thorny issue of immigration, (comedian) Murray says that foreigners want to live in the UK because it’s the best country in the world and “the only way to stop them is for a government to change that and make things a whole lot worse”. “Look no further,” he adds.
The boldest of words are often said in (half) jest.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:57 AM on March 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


The Stuart Jeffries piece is interesting, but contains a pretty patent self-contradiction. He wants to suggest that Farage has just spun the story cleverly to garner sympathy:
Suddenly Farage looks like the victim, and the activists – whose cabaret was aimed at drawing attention to how they feel victimised by Ukip’s attacks on their communities – look like aggressors.
But in fact even his own reporting makes it clear that whatever the original intentions of the organizers, the "cabaret" did, however transiently, degenerate into a mob which Farage had every reason to feel frightened by:
The event, which up to this moment had been good-humoured and non-threatening, becomes, just for a moment, something else. Two or three activists bounce on the bonnet of the car. Others surround it, shouting teasingly at Farage.
I mean, he works really hard to spin this ("just for a moment" and "teasingly" for example), but if you're in a car surrounded by a mob of angry people shouting at you and jumping up and down on the hood of the car you're probably not going to think that they're just "teasing."

It's weird how people being bullies can never see that they're being bullies. Farage is an asshole who should disappear back under whatever rock he crawled out from under, but gathering a mob to chase your political enemies down the street and intimidate them physically is just not good old free speech in action. We'd be--rightly--outraged by it if it was Ukip supporters "teasingly" intimidating immigrants or gay activists or whomever. It was simply bad discipline by the event organizers and they ought to issue a public apology.
posted by yoink at 11:57 AM on March 23, 2015 [25 favorites]


Note for Americans: the UK age limit for consuming alcohol is not 21 -- it's a variable limit (with different thresholds under different circumstances). To buy beer, wine, or spirits you need to be 18 or over, but many restaurants or pubs with seated dining areas are licensed to allow 14 year olds and over to consume wine or beer when it accompanies a meal and as long as it's under the supervision of their parents or guardians.
posted by cstross at 11:59 AM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


many pubs are fine places to go eat a meal with the family.


I think you would find it near impossible in the UK now to find a pub that isn't family friendly on a Sunday afternoon.

Fascists are never able to cope with humour directed at them.

Farage, idiotic and ultimately dangerous Poujadiste though he is, actually personally seems to be a pretty funny guy to have a beer with, and has a certain attitude to life having survived testicular cancer in his 20s, being run over, and then photographed emerging from a plane crash on election day. George W Bush was apparently excellent to have a beer with too.
posted by colie at 12:00 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hmmm Farage is very canny and what worries me here is that he knows there will be a large amount of people (the moderate middle- only ever moderate to themselves) who will side with him. This is not an extremist oerverrreacting but a politician recognising that the debates shifted enough for him (and his family!) to attract sympathy. I do kinda dread the election result. UKIP isn't deflating
posted by litleozy at 12:03 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Farage, idiotic and ultimately dangerous Poujadiste though he is, actually personally seems to be a pretty funny guy to have a beer with, and has a certain attitude to life having survived cancer in his 20s, being run over, and then photographed emerging from a plane crash on election day. George W Bush was apparently excellent to have a beer with too.

People should not be basing their choice of leader on that person's ability to drink beer, though.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:03 PM on March 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


GOOD OLD FASHIONED FREAK-OUT SHOWS THE SQUARES A THING OR TWO
posted by Navelgazer at 12:05 PM on March 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Fascists are never able to cope with humour directed at them.

Indeed. This puts a nice point on a thought I was having back in the Wodehouse thread a couple days ago, where - talking about the difficulty of Wodehouse's broadcasts for the Germans during the war - Monsieur Caution mentioned the Roderick Spode character and noted, I think the worst you can conclude about Wodehouse is that he may have been naïve to consider Fascists absurd rather than horrifying.

Whether this was Wodehouse's deliberate intention or not, I think it is exactly the approach to take. Being horrified by fascists just makes them stronger, while ridicule makes them weaker. Dramatically so, as this incident once again demonstrates.

To function at all, fascism must be very serious business. If it can't be that, then it simply doesn't work.
posted by Naberius at 12:10 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fascists are never able to cope with humour directed at them.

No. Humor directed at fascists is painting them as Sir Roderick Spode and his black shorts. This is a bunch of assholes ambushing a politician and his family in their private life because they don't like his politics.
posted by pseudonick at 12:12 PM on March 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm a little confused about the intent here. They brought babies and small children to a bar?

I take it you've never been to Wisconsin.
posted by MikeMc at 12:16 PM on March 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


I do kinda dread the election result. UKIP isn't deflating

They peaked in the polls some time ago, and are currently getting hammered by scandal after scandal. People are increasingly of the opinion that they'll fade into irrelevance. They'll be doing incredibly well to pick up more than 1 or 2 more seats in the election, and may not even manage that.
posted by sobarel at 12:16 PM on March 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


"Glass wants people he believes Ukip targets to “get together to showcase the beauty and diversity of our global community”. He’s invited migrants, breastfeeding mothers, Muslims, NHS workers, anti-fracking environmentalists, disabled people, people from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, intersex and asexual communities, and people living with HIV to take part. He also invited Holocaust survivor Ruth Barnett, author of the recent book Jews and Gypsies, who came to Britain on the Kinderstransport aged four, to speak at the cabaret."

Ah yes, chasing people out of pubs while they're trying to have a meal and jumping on the hood of their car will certainly "showcase the beauty and diversity of our global community."
posted by gyc at 12:20 PM on March 23, 2015


Having read the accounts from both sides this seems like a clever stunt in a different pub that got out of hand when Farrage happened to be near by purely by chance and the protestors got too excited.

If proven the allegations are clearly criminal offences - Jumping on a car is a criminal offence, being so aggressive that you force a family with children out of a pub is an offence (assault in both cases but I am sure there are more serious crimes that would get charged). You can't defend that behaviour in any kind of politics.

I thought it was interesting that the same protest apparently had a woman in a niqab and a topless breastfeeding woman - unusual alliances against ukip.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:25 PM on March 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


If he wants to keep other people's politics out of his private family life, perhaps he shouldn't be trying to put his politics into other people's private family life.
posted by Zalzidrax at 12:25 PM on March 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


UKIP are a protest vote idiot party and will never have any access to real power.

The dangerous guys are still the Tories, who have just had a candidate exposed after devising a plot to work with the EDL covertly before and after being elected as an MP. He was an army captain and likely he has connections higher up in politics and within the police and judiciary as well. The kind of dicks UKIP gets to be candidates have pretty much no connections.
posted by colie at 12:26 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Ukip leader, who is thought to have left in a car driven by his wife, said that a relative had returned to the pub and his children were later found safe.

So wait, he bolted to avoid the protesters and left his kids behind? What a fucking coward.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:26 PM on March 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:27 PM on March 23, 2015


Ignorant American Question: Why is it written Ukip and not UKIP? It seems odd. Is there some reason for that?
posted by Sangermaine at 12:29 PM on March 23, 2015


So wait, he bolted to avoid the protesters and left his kids behind?

Our beloved PM didn't even have that excuse when he left his daughter in the pub.
posted by sobarel at 12:30 PM on March 23, 2015


Hello from Ireland! Yes, you will see many children in many bars here, and in the UK. Usually at weekends, where families going out for dinner is common. You won't really see them after 7PM though, often as a result of pub policy. Unless it's a hotel bar.

On one hand it's urbane and relaxed, on the other hand we do have a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:32 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


being so aggressive that you force a family with children out of a pub is an offence

This, at least, is unclear:
Farage was with his wife and two younger children when the demonstrators arrived at the George & Dragon pub. As he tried to leave, at least one protester jumped on the bonnet of his car...Farage said afterwards: “I hope these ‘demonstrators’ are proud of themselves. My children were so scared by their behaviour that they ran away to hide.”

The Ukip leader, who is thought to have left in a car driven by his wife, said that a relative had returned to the pub and his children were later found safe.
The timeline looks like the protesters show up, his children run away to hide, and then Farage then...leaves without his kids? To find his kids, or to flee the protesters, or...? (Which might be why "One of the demonstrators claimed Farage was alone at the pub," if his children weren't with him when he left).

The contradictory and incomplete reporting makes it hard to say much about this that isn't qualified by plenty of 'ifs.'
posted by cjelli at 12:32 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Children getting distressed sucks. So, maybe he should also reconsider his glib nonsense about feeling awkward when people don't speak English on trains.

The done thing is not to speak at all, anyway.
posted by ersatz at 12:33 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


My local is not family-friendly on a Sunday afternoon, by virtue of being never friendly to anyone, ever.
posted by cromagnon at 12:39 PM on March 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


They brought babies and small children to a bar?

Apparently, you haven't been to a bar with food in Logan Square at 6PM.

Note for those who aren't bi-English. "Fancy Dress" = "Costume"

Ignorant American Question: Why is it written Ukip and not UKIP? It seems odd. Is there some reason for that?

The Grauniad style guide states that acronyms that are pronounced letter-by-letter are all caps, like BBC, and the ones pronounced as a word are initial capped, like Nasa. The other bit of info you need to know is the name of the party in questions is pronounced "you-kip", not "you-kay-I-P", so, it's rendered "Ukip" in the Guardian. Your paper may vary.
posted by eriko at 12:39 PM on March 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


I do kinda dread the election result. UKIP isn't deflating
They peaked in the polls some time ago, and are currently getting hammered by scandal after scandal. People are increasingly of the opinion that they'll fade into irrelevance. They'll be doing incredibly well to pick up more than 1 or 2 more seats in the election, and may not even manage that.


Which is probably worse. Rather than UKIP taking the wind out of the Tories' sails, and rendering it very difficult for them to get into position to head a governing coalition, let alone form government in their own right, the Tories can now smell blood, and an opportunity to vanquish their annoying usurpers and get all those right-wing voters back. They only have to steal UKIP's red-meat policies and I'm-not-racist-but dog-whistles. It's a tried and tested strategy it would spectacularly well in Australia for the Liberal Party, when faced with their own xenophobic insurgency, One Nation; and back then, the architect may have been the same man who's now advising the Tories, Lynton Crosby.
posted by acb at 12:41 PM on March 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


I tend to think pubs should be friendly to dogs and unfriendly to children, but I am a crotchety northerner.
posted by sobarel at 12:41 PM on March 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Tories can now smell blood, and an opportunity to vanquish their annoying usurpers and get all those right-wing voters back.

Yes this is exactly what they did in the early 80s with the National Front's core support - which had a very high profile and stood candidates at the time.
posted by colie at 12:44 PM on March 23, 2015




True enough acb, and I suspect that's why Cameron has just announced he'll be going in the next parliament - he's never been liked by the headbangers, and this gives them the prospect of getting someone more to their liking if they just back him in the election one last time.

Of course it's a boneheaded move: Cameron's approval ratings are much higher than the Tories as a whole, and their swing to the right under Hague, Howard and IDS went terribly badly for them last time around.
posted by sobarel at 12:47 PM on March 23, 2015


Hmm, that timeline does seem strange In the way it is presented. If Farage lied about having his children there that would be crazy.

More likely I would guess that he already has private security who whisked his children away as soon as any indication of trouble happened and the "farage abandoned his kids" thing is nonsense
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:54 PM on March 23, 2015


Perhaps I am dim, but it does not sound as though the children were in the car; therefore, I support the bonnet bouncing.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:01 PM on March 23, 2015


All this bonnet bouncing in fancy dress makes me want to grab a Cornish pasty before I head down the boozer.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:06 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


People should not be basing their choice of leader on that person's ability to drink beer, though.

Cite?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:22 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah yes, chasing people out of pubs while they're trying to have a meal and jumping on the hood of their car will certainly "showcase the beauty and diversity of our global community."

Given that he and his followers want to do that to people based on race and ethnic origin using the full force of the state, fair game.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:24 PM on March 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


All links from The Guardian.

Because diversity
posted by IndigoJones at 1:26 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Some friends of mine in the UK have created a line of beermats (coasters) with the slogan "UKIP Put Me Off My Beer." The artist explains how issues with UKIP at her local pub had lead to the creation of the slogan and logo.
posted by larrybob at 1:29 PM on March 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Given that he and his followers want to do that to people based on race and ethnic origin using the full force of the state, fair game.

Citation needed.
posted by gyc at 1:32 PM on March 23, 2015


Citation needed.

Try all of the reportage about UKIP for the last two years. If you don't understand that they're a racist party, I don't know what to say.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:43 PM on March 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


And to be clear, I'm not trying to snark. Sorry if it came off that way. I just think they've made a glaringly obvious prima facie case that they're a racist party on the basis of everything their leader and candidates have said.

If you Farage wants to use immigrants as scapegoats for Britain's problems, being heckled by people in constumes doesn't seem like an injustice.

Farage doesn't do any of what he does guilelessly, or with good intentions. He's tapping into a well of hatred (cf National Front and the BNP) to score political points. And notwithstanding UKIP's refusal to expel members of the National Front from its ranks, they make a pretty good case for where they stand, as (sorta) couched as their language can sometimes be. Which I'd argue makes them a little more dangerous precisely because they're not goosestepping down the high street.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:58 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


As someone said on my Twitter timeline, some people backing Farage in his anger at the demonstrating "scum" are the same people who think the furore over Jeremy Clarkson punching someone for not having his steak ready is PC gone maaaad.
posted by billiebee at 2:05 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ukip official was National Front member.

A little something from the a non-Guardian source about NF/UKIP ties.

And the roundup wouldn't be complete without a little Mirror thrown in the mix.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you're going to stand for public office on a platform of stoking the fires of bigotry and resentment, then to cry foul at costumed people heckling you is a little rich.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:10 PM on March 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


As much as I hate UKIP I do have doubts about this sort of thing being a reasonable means of political engagement.

Are politicians always suitable sites for organised protest when in public? I wonder if it would be considered reasonable if say Caroline Lucas (Greens MP) was hounded out of a pub in Brighton by a bunch of fascists? Is that how democracy works?

Its not really how representative democracy is supposed to work.
posted by mary8nne at 2:33 PM on March 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Farage, idiotic and ultimately dangerous Poujadiste though he is, actually personally seems to be a pretty funny guy to have a beer with

Unless you're breast-feeding, in which case he'll make you sit in the corner, apparently.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:59 PM on March 23, 2015


I wonder if it would be considered reasonable if say Caroline Lucas (Greens MP) was hounded out of a pub in Brighton by a bunch of fascists? Is that how democracy works?

Because that's really the same thing entirely.

Farage is a fascist. End off. He's courting exactly the same voters as the BNP and the rightwingier parts of the Tories have courted, his whole party consists of wingnuts who think homos cause flooding, all immigrants come over to sponge off the British taxpayer and take their job (when in fact it's only mrs. Farage who did that) and their policies are actively evil; worse they provide cover to Tory loonies with real power.

His family got a bit scared? Well, no wonder, considering daddy's idiotic views about gays, foreigners (except mummy) and breastfeeding women, they'd likely never seen one.

I'd wish everybody who gets outraged about this horrible abuse would get half as outraged at what the Kippers would want to do to England.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:10 PM on March 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


And Farage isn't fun to have a beer with, he's not your mate, he's the pub bore if he wasn't toff enough to not mingle with oiks. It's a sad indictment of the intelligence of the average media commentator that they take that circus at face value, but then again no tabloid journalist ever earned a living being smarter than their bosses.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:12 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


If we can assume the Guardian's coverage is right, we can gather that Farage was confronted with a costumed conga line. Perhaps a loud one, but still.

I think the fascists would opt for a glassing and boots to the face once their target was on the floor and outnumbered.

Are politicians always suitable sites for organised protest when in public?

Provided it's non-violent, sure. In a representative democracy, citizens have a right to do that.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:12 PM on March 23, 2015


attacked the protesters for targeting him near his home on a Sunday, saying that Farage never involves his family in his political career.

and yet he perfectly fine with involving his political career in other people's families.

Its not really how representative democracy is supposed to work.

it's exactly how it's supposed to work, particularly when your representatives are attempting to divorce you from the democracy.
posted by sexyrobot at 3:26 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes this is exactly what they did in the early 80s with the National Front's core support - which had a very high profile and stood candidates at the time.

I don't know that the situations are comparable though. 30 years on, it's a very different world.

Did you watch that Trevor Phillips documentary that was one Channel 4 last week? Phillips was at a UKIP party conference, and made the point that there's a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the party that you just don't see for the mainstream parties. They have to hire PR people and spin doctors to create a facsimile of that enthusiasm

I've no idea how true it is, but I'm reluctant to write off Phillips analysis. As someone so closely associated with the New Labour project, he hardly strikes me as someone who'd boost UKIP and their chances, just for the sake of it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:31 PM on March 23, 2015


> Its not really how representative democracy is supposed to work.

It's not representative democracy at all, and it doesn't claim to be. It was a political protest. It's a thing that people in representative democracies can engage in.
posted by rtha at 3:32 PM on March 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


The incidence of race-based hate crime in the UK is on the rise, and religion-based hate crime is up by 45% from 2012-2013 to 2013-2014. (pdf)

Nigel Farage is part of that equation.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:47 PM on March 23, 2015


Cite?

....Let me get this straight - you're asking me to cite the source of my own opinion?

Very well:

"People should not be basing their choice of leader on their ability to drink beer" was a comment written at 3:03 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, by EmpressCallipygos (Me) in response to an earlier comment written at 3:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, by one "collie" which noted that Nigel Farage, like George Bush, both seemed like guys that liked to hang out and drink beer.

Neither of these statements, so far as I can ascertain, were statements of fact, and are therefore not legally binding as "fact" by any court of law in either the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or in the United States of America. The opinons for EmpressCallipygos' comment are also not reflective of the staff of Metafilter, nor of any of the moderators or other users of that site, save for EmpressCallipygos. Similarly, Collie's statement is a statement of opinion, solely reflective of Collie's opinion alone and not of any of the moderators or users of Metafilter.*

* In the event another user (hereinafter referred to as "Someone Else") expressly states agreement with either the opinion of EmpressCallipygos or of collie, that user may then be considered to share in the opinion with which they have expressed agreement; however, Someone Else shall be also speaking only for Someone Else's opinion, and not of the rest of Metafilter, its moderators, its other users (save for Someone Else). That agreement also does not constitute a blanket agreement between Someone Else and everything EmpressCallipygos or Collie has said in the past or future, but merely with that one statement. Moreover, Someone Else's expression of agreement does not elevate either statement into the realm of fact. These statements shall remain opinion.

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posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:39 PM on March 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


Ignorant American Question: Why is it written Ukip and not UKIP? It seems odd. Is there some reason for that?

British English tends to do this with acronyms that can be considered proper nouns, so, Ukip, Nato, Aids, but if it's an abbreviation pronounced letter-by-letter then it gets all-caps (the USA, the EU, etc).

Here's the Guardian style guide:

Use all capitals if an abbreviation is pronounced as the individual letters (an initialism): BBC, CEO, US, VAT, etc; if it is an acronym (pronounced as a word) spell out with initial capital, eg Nasa, Nato, Unicef, unless it can be considered to have entered the language as an everyday word, such as awol, laser and, more recently, asbo, pin number and sim card.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 5:28 PM on March 23, 2015 [1 favorite]




I'd wish everybody who gets outraged about this horrible abuse would get half as outraged at what the Kippers would want to do to England.

But who gets to decide which outlandish political suggestions are allowable and which are not? The possibility of radical change relies on a certain level of openness to new ideas which can only be maintained through an openness to the presentation of all ideas.

Whether or not a closed society is a good idea seems independent of whether a group should be allowed to campaign for a closed society.
posted by mary8nne at 1:43 AM on March 24, 2015


MartinWisse - their policies are actively evil

Ukip have not released a policy document yet. They are a political party without policies, which allows for their higher than average flip-flopping.
posted by asok at 2:59 AM on March 24, 2015


[me]:
I wonder if it would be considered reasonable if say Caroline Lucas (Greens MP) was hounded out of a pub in Brighton by a bunch of fascists? Is that how democracy works?

[MartinWisse]:
Because that's really the same thing entirely.


So what would be the same thing? Perhaps fascists was a poor choice of opposition?

Ok, so if instead, she was hounded out a pub be a group of Climate Change deniers reacting to the policies of the Greens rather than BNP style "fascists" would that be the same thing?
posted by mary8nne at 3:18 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


But who gets to decide which outlandish political suggestions are allowable and which are not? The possibility of radical change relies on a certain level of openness to new ideas which can only be maintained through an openness to the presentation of all ideas.

People like Farage are pretty adept at playing the victim card when it suits them. In this case, even absent any evidence he was verbally threatened or physically assaulted, he's managed to convince perfectly reasonable people he was censored in some way.

He's not being barred from accessing the media, and he's able to campaign, run for office and otherwise express his views. He's not being censored. People are showing up in a public place and telling him, a public figure, that his ideas are shit.

In-your-face street theatre may not be everyone's cup of tea, and it's perfectly valid to question its efficacy. But it doesn't amount to censorship. It's a form of political expression.

While quick to cry censorship when people call them out for being racist, UKIP leaves it to the police to threaten people who are opposed to them. They appear to understand the distinction perfectly well.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:06 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


In-your-face street theatre may not be everyone's cup of tea, and it's perfectly valid to question its efficacy. But it doesn't amount to censorship. It's a form of political expression.

I agree, but "jumping on the hood of a car to stop it from getting away" is not "in your face street theater". I'm with you that Nigel's assessment of "where they crossed a line" is way further back then is fair, but a line was still crossed at some point and it will only help the cause to acknowledge that (or at least acknowledge that "we'll look into who may have indeed done that and deal with that one bit").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:34 AM on March 24, 2015


"jumping on the hood of a car to stop it from getting away" is not "in your face street theater"

True. That's fair enough. I was fixated on the conga line.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:46 AM on March 24, 2015


Yeah, I think that's the danger with conversations like this is that everyone kind of goes in with an all-or-nothing approach ("they were standing up for themselves!" "No, they were harrassing someone!") because it's a volatile situation already, and nuance gets lost ("street theater isn't harrassment, so everyone else is cool, but that one guy who slapped him in the nuts with a roast beef sandwich probably went too far"). And it's hard to point that kind of thing out without sounding like you're making a tone argument, too.

I do find, though, that if one side concedes on just that ONE point ("okay, yeah, I agree that the roast beef to the nuts was too far; I think I know the guy on our side who did it and we'll deal with it") it actually makes for a great judo move to refocus the conversation ("but as for the conga line - now, there's no law against THAT, still, remember." "....Yeah, that's true....").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:18 AM on March 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


But what exactly are they "protesting"? They are hassling someone for their ideological beliefs. - Which is actually a lot like harrassing someone for say believing in god.... or say islam, or being vegetarian?

In a democracy, if you disagree with a given political parties policies you have two rather standard options to express that disagreement -
1. Don't vote for them,
2. Join/campaign for/start a party that has opposing views.

or even a 3rd would be to engage with the policies in the public arena. write articles arguing against their policies.

Why is there a need to subvert standard democratic practice in this case?
posted by mary8nne at 9:57 AM on March 24, 2015


But what exactly are they "protesting"?

Is this sarcasm?

It's clear that they were protesting: racism, homophobia, misogyny and xenophobia. A party that peddles all of these things as solutions to Britian's problems.

Why is there a need to subvert standard democratic practice in this case?

That third or fourth option extends to peaceful public protest (bonnet-bouncing and roast-beef-sandwich-nut-slapping wouldn't qualify as peaceful protest.)

You could well argue that this wasn't a terribly effective protest, or indeed a counterproductive one. I don't think it's a subversion of democracy. It's rather a symptom of living in a democracy.

If you don't think racists should be hassled for their beliefs, that's unfortunate.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:06 AM on March 24, 2015


But what exactly are they "protesting"? They are hassling someone for their ideological beliefs.

....I'll admit I'm not writing from the UK, but it sounds more like they are hassling someone not for his beliefs in and of themselves, but the fact that he is seeking to legislate his beliefs as a national standard.

Kind of like - it'd be one thing if a random nutbag believed that abortion is immoral, but that nutbag kept those beliefs to themselves and never voted and was just living off the grid and never interacting with people, if he just....had that belief but that was it. However, the people who believe that abortion is immoral do things like try to pass laws restricting other people's access to it, or making it illegal, and that is where people tend to have the problem.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:20 AM on March 24, 2015


And it's not an academic exercise in that he, if polls are any indication, stands a chance of winning a seat in May.

Not that UKIP is highly likely to form the next government or opposition, but still.

And by "hassling," I don't mean shoving somebody around. I mean going up to him and saying "You're a ridiculous bigot. What's your problem?" Or not doing it, if that seems impolite or improper. YMMV.

But the guy's running for public office. Public demonstrations against (or for) him, even if ill-considered or downright rude are not beyond the pale of permissible conduct in a democratic society.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:28 AM on March 24, 2015


> In a democracy, if you disagree with a given political parties policies you have two rather standard options to express that disagreement -

What? No, in a democracy, you are not limited either by law or custom to just these two options. Have you been away for the last hundred years, if not longer? Or are you advocating that people unhappy with a political party ought to be limited to the two options you laid out?
posted by rtha at 10:39 AM on March 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


[me]:But what exactly are they "protesting"?

Is this sarcasm?

It's clear that they were protesting: racism, homophobia, misogyny and xenophobia. A party that peddles all of these things as solutions to Britian's problems.

[me]:Why is there a need to subvert standard democratic practice in this case?

That third or fourth option extends to peaceful public protest


Its not sarcasm - they aren't protesting "racism" in general, how can you protest an idea? Its like protesting against "cowardice"?

I think it is one thing to protest against the current government's policies and activities, or to protest against what say a company is actively engaged in doing. But in this case UKIP are not the government they are a minor party campaigning (presenting) various (currently unpopular) xenophobic policies. Its one thing to protest against say systematic and institutional racism but another to say intimidate someone for presenting particular ideas within a framework in which this exactly what is supposed to happen.

So the protestors are protesting against the mere presentation of a certain set of policies, or say ideology that is deemed unacceptable in the current liberal cosmopolitan mindset.

I can't see how this is not merely an attempt at intimidation, for presenting a particular political alternative that is unpopular. Much as civil rights activists or trade unionists are variously intimidated or threatened with job loss for attempting to change the current political climate.

This certainly seems an attempt to shame Farage or scare him into not presenting particular policies.
One legitimate protest could be from your own constituency - Are the protestors actually from Farage's electorate? One could protest against an elected official not living up to their policies. But this does not seem to be the case here.

It just seems like this activity is merely a kind of thought police enacted by the majority or various separate minorities on another minority. To say that certain political options such as a closed society are simply not allowable even if the majority did happen to want that.

What exactly would be the ideal successful outcome for the protestors ? It seems that it would be Farage' withdrawal from politics entirely. This does make it seem like mere intimidation. a suspension of democratic procedure.
posted by mary8nne at 2:46 AM on March 25, 2015


Because diversity
Not that I don't read the Mail occasionally but I'm not going to link to them unless it's about turnip festivals or baby jumping.
posted by glasseyes at 4:26 AM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't see how this is not merely an attempt at intimidation, for presenting a particular political alternative that is unpopular. Much as civil rights activists or trade unionists are variously intimidated or threatened with job loss for attempting to change the current political climate.

You are aware that there are plenty of demonstrations on both sides, yes? Like anti-war demonstrations in 2001 prior to us going to Afghanistan, and more such demonstrations prior to us going to Iraq? Pro-climate-change marches just before economic summits?

The staging of a weird theater thing is perfectly legal. The people who chased him to his car and jumped on it may have crossed a line, but their initial march was legal.

What exactly would be the ideal successful outcome for the protestors ? It seems that it would be Farage' withdrawal from politics entirely. This does make it seem like mere intimidation. a suspension of democratic procedure.

If your measure of "intimidation" is "it causes someone to withdraw from politics," then voting itself could be considered intimidation, because plenty of people drop out of political life if they lose an election.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:52 AM on March 25, 2015


This certainly seems an attempt to shame Farage or scare him into not presenting particular policies.
Farage is quite obviously shameless and I find it hard to believe he is that easily scared, even by breasts. The instant political capital he was able to make of the incident, as well as the questionable nature of some of his details (his children were so scared they ran away and were lost, while he drove away without them?) point to a much more hard nosed operator than your fears for democracy allow for.

I'll remember next time I challenge someone in my daily life for their racism or homophobia or misogyny or what have you, never to dress up or get angry while I'm about it in case that turns me into the thought police.
posted by glasseyes at 4:55 AM on March 25, 2015



[me]: I can't see how this is not merely an attempt at intimidation, for presenting a particular political alternative that is unpopular. Much as civil rights activists or trade unionists are variously intimidated or threatened with job loss for attempting to change the current political climate.

[EmpressCallipygos]:You are aware that there are plenty of demonstrations on both sides, yes? Like anti-war demonstrations in 2001 prior to us going to Afghanistan, and more such demonstrations prior to us going to Iraq? Pro-climate-change marches just before economic summits?


Did you read my post? It was exactly pertaining to this kind of protest: I was trying to point out that there is something very different between:
a) Demonstrations by constituents to sway a sitting elected government to act in a certain way in response to concerns of the day (war, environment, etc)

and
b) demonstrations by non-local-constituents to try and stop a political party from participating in democratic elections entirely.


The staging of a weird theater thing is perfectly legal.

I didn't say it was illegal - I said it seems anti-democratic.
posted by mary8nne at 5:22 AM on March 25, 2015


[glasseyes]: I'll remember next time I challenge someone in my daily life for their racism or homophobia or misogyny or what have you,

But has Farage actually done racist things or acts? Or merely does he have racist thoughts? The protestors are trying to intimidate him from acting within the law to change certain ideological structures of UK society.

I think the desire for a closed society is somewhat legitimate. Why is it definately off the table? It cannot even be suggested as an alternative to contemporary cosmopolitanism.
posted by mary8nne at 5:29 AM on March 25, 2015


I didn't say it was illegal - I said it seems anti-democratic.

It's not anti-democratic to protest against terrible policies before they are put into place; it's very democratic.

I'm not a UK citizen, so I'm not fully up on the details, but Mr. Farage leads a political party that advocates for very unpopular, and in the opinion of many, damaging social policies. So those who oppose his social policies have every right to protest those policies before they are instituted, so as not to lead the country in a direction they oppose.

It's absolutely in line with protesting terrible laws before they are instituted, and also voting against them. Whether or not you agree with Mr. Farage's positions is beside the point.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:19 AM on March 25, 2015


If all he has is racist thoughts no-one would know about them eh. You seem to be claiming that debate and argument itself is anti-democratic. It is not. Farage is a publicly elected MEP and it is perfectly legal for the public to come up to him - in public - and make their feelings known. The protest itself was a fine example of democratic activity. I'll remind you that the EDL among many other groups is entitled to demonstrate and gets police protection when it does so.

The jumping on the car was not so irreproachable - if it's illegal to jump on a car bonnet I'm sure there are enough photographs floating around for the police to prosecute if necessary. It shows that people in demonstrations should be mindful of the principles they're upholding, not that having demonstrations is wrong.
Though after the Mark Kennedy affair who's to know exactly who got carried away and why?
posted by glasseyes at 7:08 AM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think the desire for a closed society is somewhat legitimate.

Honest question: why?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:29 AM on March 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


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