Thursday, January 20, 2005

a quick reminder

Could anyone have predicted the perplexing developments in the career of perma-tanned bigot Robert Kilroy-Silk a mere year ago, when he was just an easily ignorable daytime television presenter? He seems to have gone through more re-births in the last year than most politicians do in a lifetime. Until last year, no-one seemed to much notice his bile, partly because he was published by the Express, where his cretinous views fitted right in - yet it is still remarkable to think that he got away with a litany of abhorrant articles before his racism was detected. When it was, and he was sacked, it seemed his career was over.

A year on, he's gone from being a political outcast to a powerhouse of campaigning energy. He's been credited with turning round the fortunes of a hopelessly disorganised political party - his visibility clearly helped UKIP to their success in the European elections. For a short time the Tories were running scared. He would 'kill them off', he said. His UKIP, he implied, was the future of British politics. Then things started to go wrong. His maniacal grip, it appeared, was fastened not to the collar of his party but to its sleeve; when he tried to increase his grip the party bolted. Today he announced that he is leaving UKIP (having all but destroyed their credibility by exposing them as comically disorganised and desperately incapable of operating like a political party, a kind of Fathers-for-Justice for alzheimers afflicted landowners) and he will - we are told - shortly start his own party, Veritas - which is the latin for truth.

When he does he will doubtless portray UKIP as old-fashioned and past it, reactionary and - probably - racist. His new party, he will say, is not caught up in right-wing dogma (although it will of course exploit it) and has the ambition of revolutionising British politics. When he does, it will be interesting to see which version of Kilroy the media gives us. Will he be presented once more as the celebrity taking on the politicians (as he was in the early days of his UKIP campaign)? Or as the firebrand kicking up a storm and winning people over (as he was after the European elections)? Or will it be the slurry-covered Kilroy, the man who couldn't even persuade his party that he could do a better job than Roger bloody Knapman? Whose ego, unassailable, all but destroyed his new party?

Either way, it's worth going back to those old Express columns, so we can remember - when Kilroy tells us he's a modern man, not a reactionary fart - just which side he's on.

Starting close to home, Ireland, he said, was "a country peopled by peasants, priests and pixies".(9 Nov 1992), with Scots fairing little better. In fact, "Scotland is dying." (9 Mar 2003). He wrote that the French were "devious" (2 Feb 2003), "treacherous... not to be trusted" (16 Feb 2003), that the plight of Africa is "mostly the fault of Africans," (5 Oct 2003), and that "Most of what is good and decent in Africa has been provided by Europe and the United States." Pakistanis, he said, just "want to generate hate" (7 Jul 2002). Why didn't people understand, he wondered, that "Scots are British, that Geordies are British, but that Pakistanis are not. They’re Pakistanis!" (23 Dec 2001).

Iraqis, apparently, are "not worth the life of one British soldier, not one. All they seem to do is moan, incessantly" (29th June 2003), and that paratroopers should be employed to "herd the immigrants together and cart them off to Dover where they are dumped on a secure slow boat to -- wherever" (17 Mar 2002). He complained steadily of "pushy blacks" or "talentless blacks and Asians" (19 Aug 2001.), complaining that "bleating blacks and Asians... [should] stop whining and get a life" (7 Dec 2003). On HIV, he is adamant that "The indigenous population is not responsible. The diseases are being brought here by refugees, immigrants and tourists... It is the foreigners that we have to focus on" (1 Dec 2002). Finally, of course, he said of Arabs, "Apart from oil -- which was discovered, is produced and is paid for by the West -- what do they contribute? Can you think of anything? Anything really useful? Anything really valuable? Something we really need, could not do without? No, nor can I."

You'll excuse me, Kilroy, if I refrain from voting for your kind of Veritas.


Anonymous said...

Spot on I think Jonathan. Kilroy is an ar*e as many Political commentators I think have noted.

But the worst aspect of his character is just how egotistical he is. Started off as a Labour MP believe it or not. That's old skool Labour too. His career is marked by his own disturbing opinions coming to the fore and his inability to win over anyone with more than half a brain cell with his arguments. When his Express column was finally exposed for all its ignorant bile (much of which you highlighted) he started slashing around at the 'liberal elite' who had somehow framed him and who were all in cahoots with Brussels and the Arabs.

Kilroy is a weird fool. I think of him somehow as a cross between Jeffrey Archer and Richard Madeley, a horrid combination I wish to spend no further time giving thought to.

jonathan said...

That is indeed an alarming image, yes.

Apart from as an egotist, I think it's hard to pin Kilroy down in any absolute sense, whether now or then. It's true to say that he was a Labour politician, and old-skool in the sense that he pre-dated Militant and campaigned heavily on stuff like prison reform.

On the other hand he was always persuing a lavish lifestyle, and was quickly targeted by the ultra-left within the party (who spotted that he was a racist even then). When they tried to deselect him Kinnock gave him plenty of support, using him as a key player in his ultimately successful purge of the militant tendency. When all that was done and he had held on to his seat, he suddenly quit and left the battered local party with a byelection at the worst possible time. So he was a treacherous bastard even then.

There was a good quote about him in the paper a while back, by Labour MP Barry Sheerman, which was:

"He has elevated the lack of principle to an art form. I wouldn't have thought he believed [in Ukip] any more than he believes in anything else. Bob is about Bob Kilroy-Silk Promotions. He is very good at it. So I don't take any of his politics seriously really. Well, I take his politics as seriously as he does."

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