UK

Winston McKenzie Defends The Ukip Calypso In The Most Bizarre Newsnight Debate Ever

21/10/2014 08:06 BST | Updated 25/10/2014 05:59 BST

Winston McKenzie has stepped in to defend the controversial Ukip Calypso song in what was arguably the most utterly bizarre Newsnight segment in the show's history.

Ukip's commonwealth spokesman McKenzie, who failed in his bid to get elected as a councillor in Croydon after calling his own constituency "a dump" - got into a heated debate last night with DJ Nihal from the BBC's Asian Network, who did well not to walk away from the farcical argument.

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Discussing former Radio 1 DJ Mike Read's track, which sings the praises of the anti-EU party and its leader Nigel Farage, referred to as "The Guv'nor", the Ukip spokesman told presenter Evan Davis he thought Read was "good man… it's crazy'"

Denying that the track, which features the ex-DJ singing with a mock Caribbean accent, is racist Winston said: "From ever since the beginning of time, the Beatles, Elvis, the Rolling Stones - they've taken up the black man's music."

"Now when I heard this song for the first time, I thought to myself 'a white boy singing calypso - fantastic," the former professional boxer and motivational speaker added.

newsnight

Nihal, Winston and Davis

As Nihal spluttered in horror, Winston, who also fancied his chances of reaching pop stardom on ITV talent show the X-Factor in 2005, said that he hopes Reed will now join him for a duo.

"I can sing the white song, he can sing the black song," he said.

In stark contrast to Winston's infatuation with Read's track, Nihal said that his initial reaction was "that it made my ears vomit."

"It was the naffest I have ever heard," he said, to which a furious Winston exclaimed "get out of here! Come on my man! Get real!"

Telling Winston to "calm down for a minute", Nihal tried to explain that most of the listeners on the BBC's Asian network said they would not vote for Ukip as it is seen as a racist party - a claim not helped by Reed's song, he added.

"It's a joke, a poor joke," Nihal argued. "Have you got Noel Edmonds singing Land Of Hope And Glory," he asked as the debate descended into Winston repeating "Listen to me, listen to me. Listen. Listen."

Launching into a tenuous argument about how Ukip isn't racist, Winston explained: "This all stems from the PCC [sic] brigade and the media, y'know we have got to walk away from this thing, grow up and be sensible."

As Nihal tried to intervene, any illusion of decorum from the Ukip spokesman disappeared as Winston shouted: "My man be quiet" warning "don't get shirty with me man."

As Davis desperately tried to calm the situation, and failed, the interview thoroughly disintegrated into farce as Winston denied he would "mix with racists" by pointing at a knitted fox badge on his jacket.

"This fox is Nigel Farage," he says. "This is the Ukip fox that's come to lay down the policies that people want, that all the people off Britain are screaming."

Nihal, resigned to his fate, sat back in exasperation as Winston repeated that Read's song is "fantastic" and "good luck to him."

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the discussion sparked an internet frenzy with viewers saying the debate made them want to "just go and die quietly in a corner."

And let us never forget McKenzie's enthusiastic bids to stop the legalisation of gay marriage in the UK, when he likened adoption by same-sex parents to child abuse.

Or when the pub he and his brothers owned was closed down after a police raid led to 25 people being charged with drugs and firearms offences. (McKenzie was not arrested or charged.)

Winston was also the shining star of Twitter during the May local elections after this spectacular Sky News interview:

And this wonderful BBC interview:

Look at him go…

Read meanwhile has defended his song, which is 50-1 to go straight in the charts at number one according to bookmakers Paddy Power, as "simply a bit of fun" after listeners took offence.

Read said: "Look, I work in a delightfully multicultural business and adore doing accents. The calypso is simply a bit of fun and not meant to be remotely offensive.

"Apologies of course if anyone has taken offence, but I have worked and sung in Jamaica for the tourist board and often have fun with the guys out there doing the accent.

"Bit of fun ... no offence."

The song, which includes the lyrics "when we take charge and the new prime minister is Farage", also takes aim at the European Union.

In one verse, Read sings: "With the EU we must be on our mettle, want to change our lawnmowers and our kettles".

The former Conservative supporter also warns his listeners against trusting the Prime Minister, singing: "The British people have been let down, that's why Ukip is making ground. From Crewe to Cleethorpes, from Hull to Hendon, they don't believe Cameron's referendum."

Read, who currently hosts an afternoon show on BBC Berkshire, spent more than a decade at Radio 1.

He hit the headlines in 1984 when he refused to play the Frankie Goes to Hollywood single, Relax, because he objected to its lyrics.

A BBC spokeswoman said Read had not breached the corporation's guidelines on impartiality by recording the song.

Read has also turned his hand to musicals, but his show about the life of writer Oscar Wilde closed after one night after dreadful reviews and poor ticket sales.

He is not the first DJ to cause a stir with his political opinions. In the run-up to the 1983 general election, Kenny Everett appeared on stage at a Young Conservative rally wearing a pair of giant foam hands and shouted "let's bomb Russia".

In a dig at the then leader of the Labour Party, he also chanted: "Let's kick Michael Foot's stick away."

Farage provided a link to the track, which is credited to The Independents, on Amazon and urged his followers to "help get the Ukip Calypso by The Independents to Number 1".

Not all the reviewers were complimentary, with one Amazon customer writing: "My god, the musical equivalent of the Ebola virus. Anyway, isn't calypso music a bit foreign for Ukip?"

Another said: "Pretty sick with faux Jamaican accent."

The track did have some fans, with one listener saying: "Brilliant and so true! Love Ukip."