Posts Tagged ‘Des Turner’

Private Eye from 2001 on the Bizarre UKIP Election Pantomime

March 8, 2016

With the Kippers trying to tell Londoners that it’s all the fault of foreigners from Eastern Europe that there’s a shortage of truly affordable homes in London, I thought I’d post up this piece from fifteen years ago in Private Eye for 20th April – 3rd May 2001. It describes the really weird antics staged by UKIP prior to an election debate at the University of Brighton.

As the election looms, the antics of the staunchly Eurosceptic UK Independence Party grow even more surreal.

On 1 April members of UKIP took part in a cross-party debate held at the Sallis Benney Theatre part of the University of Brighton, to discuss the motion: “Britain would be better off out of Europe”.

To get those present in the mood, including Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown Des Turner and UKIP MEP Nigel Farage, the evening kicked off with a performance of a pantomime written, produced and directed by UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Hove, Richard Franklin, entitled “The Kween’s Speech”.

Some of the more traditional party members in attendance were quite taken aback by the political satire starring local actress and gay icon, Dora Bryan, which included a scene in which Black Rod indulged in a lewd sexual act with a fictional Faery Queen of England.

This is really quite bizarre, considering how the vicious hatred of gays in much of UKIP and the weird rants against them that members of the party have sputtered in the recent past. Remember when one of them claimed that the storms that battered Britain’s coasts that year were ‘God’s judgment’ on us, because we’d legalised gay marriage? And Farage and the Kipper leadership as a whole have come across as very staid and traditional in their attitude to the monarchy. It always seemed to me that they were arch-Tories there too, with the characteristic defensive and exaggerated respect towards the Queen.

I realise that there have been some gays in UKIP, including a gay section of the party at one point, and that Brighton has a reputation of being one of the centres of gay life in Britain. It’s still very strange – something you’d expect from a radical student production of the 1960s or ’70s, rather than the dawn of the new millennium; and more suited to the Edinburgh Fringe than the rather more staid atmosphere of a serious political debate about Britain and Europe.

Possibly this is something that may even be an embarrassment to the party today, an unwelcome reminder of some of the shockingly subversive attitudes of some of its members in the past. In which case, it might be no bad thing to keep reminding them of it.