According to the Oxford Dictionary the definition of misogynist is 'a person who dislikes, despises, or is strongly prejudiced against women'. Therefore, it's odd why UKIP's Godfrey Bloom is described as one.
Having worked with Godfrey - and I would have no truck with a misogynist - it makes me smile to see how factually incorrect stories are dredged up from 2004 to belittle the party ahead of the local elections.
Godfrey hates women so much that all of his staff, bar one part-timer, are women. He was fully supportive of Jane Collins who fought Barnsley and Rotherham for UKIP, he encourages me to stand for the party and actively promotes our views (although I prefer to take a more behind the scenes than elected role these days). Our party director is female, our Eastleigh candidate was female, our Corby by-election candidate was female and our Chief of Staff in Parliament is a French woman. And we get there without quotas.
So let's correct some of the misleading stories out there.
A few weeks after his appointment to the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality on 20 July 2004, Godfrey told an interview in Strasbourg that, "No self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age. That isn't politically correct, is it, but it's a fact of life. The more women's rights you have, it's actually a bar to their employment." Around the same time, he was reported as commenting, "I just don't think [women] clean behind the fridge enough" and that "I am here to represent Yorkshire women who always have dinner on the table when you get home."
Godfrey told BBC Radio 4's Today that his comments were "said for fun" to illustrate a more serious point, that equal-rights legislation was in fact putting women out of work. Gofrey claimed that MEPs had "little or no business experience" and did not understand the consequences of their actions.
Godfrey clarifies his point with published research material, available on his website []. Following this publicity he received hundreds of emails and letters from employers, including many women, who confirmed they they were operating discriminatory practices on the employment of women because of 'costly employment legislation from the EU which was damaging to women's employability, even if they were the best person for the job'.
Godfrey subsequently challenged the TUC's Sarah Veale on Friday, 14th September 2012 when they debated employment rights on the BBC's Three Counties Jonathan Verron-Smith Show []. Sarah Veale clearly stated twice, and would not withdraw her comments, claimed that Godfrey had said: "Women should not go to work but should stay at home and clean behind the fridge". Godfrey stated that this was simply a lie and asked that she apologise unreservedly. She claims he said this in a Women's Hour interview in 2007. Godfrey offered £1000 to the charity of her choice if she can find a transcript or recording of him saying this. He's still waiting.
This week the hacks turned on Nigel Farage for having the audacity to admit to visiting a lap-dancing bar. A few days later it is Godfrey they are turning their typepads on. UKIP must really be upsetting the cosy tripartite status quo of politics.
The trouble with UKIP is that they are the party of common sense, which is what I have been saying for some years, hence the title of their local election campaign, 'Common Sense'. Straight no-nonsense politics, giving the stark facts of reality of where we are, how we got here and what we need to do about it. That resonates with the public who are fed up to the back teeth with spin, lies and political correctness. With the three other parties fighting for the centre ground where politics has become one homogenous melting pot of blandness the public are looking for leadership and truth.
I know some Tory MPs and councillors who firmly believe women should not have a role in politics or even work (none will admit to visiting lap-dancing bars). I can remember one prominent female MP and recent former cabinet minister who, when standing for selection in a south east safe seat in the 1990s was asked, "my dear, when you are sitting on the green benches who will be looking after your husband and children?" It's a generational thing and thankfully dying out.
Godfrey, Nigel and others, carry on being politically incorrect, the voters trust you, not the rest of them.