Godfrey Bloom, a Member of European Parliament (MEP) for the anti-EU British party Ukip, is in a bit of trouble.
On Tuesday the Guardian published a video taken at a meeting of Ukip supporters in the West Midlands in which Bloom suggested the United Kingdom needed to stop sending aid to “Bongo Bongo Land.”
Bloom argued that the residents of “Bongo Bongo Land” were spending the aid money on “Ray-Ban sunglasses,” “Ferraris,” and “apartments in Paris.” While Bloom never explicitly said where “Bongo Bongo Land” was or who these people were, the video caused a storm and Ukip were forced to tell Bloom to never use the phrase ever again.
It’s a tricky situation for the nationalistic, anti-Europe party — they are frequently accused of being the party of xenophobic (if not racist outright) and they do a lot to avoid that stigma.
Party leader Nigel Farage even personally expelled an Italian MEP from an alliance after the MEP said Italy’s first black MEP had created a “bongo bongo” administration. “We have sent out an unmistakable signal that racist comments are unacceptable,” he said at the time.
To make matters worse, Bloom appeared on Channel 4 news tonight hoping to explain himself.
It didn’t go well. Saying that he didn’t feel like he had done anything wrong, that he didn’t understand if it was a “racist” phrase, and suggested he might have said it in reference to the late President Omar Bongo of Gabon.
In the end, Bloom walks out of the interview, telling host Krishnan Guru-Murthy that he wants to talk only about the serious issues.
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