A jolly time was had by all at the Ukip Party Conference. Who even knew that they had one? They should be glad of all the publicity they can get, but in the mind of Nigel Farage, the man who commands the spotlight, any deviation of attention is unwelcome. Godfrey Bloom was that deviation. He could bend light away from a straight line. He certainly has the attention of the press, who see a good story making machine when they see one.
On the day that Nige was going to give his big speech, which would have been covered by almost no news outlet at all, Godfrey used the "S" word. He was joshing with some admirers at a women in politics forum on the outskirts of the UKIP conflab and they were talking about fridges. Specifically, they talked of cleaning behind them. I have no idea why and have even less of a desire to find out than did the assembled reporters. If they, as journalist professionals, can't be bothered to put things in context, then why should I, an amused amateur?
When it was made apparent that few, if any, of the women in Godfrey's audience cleaned behind their fridges, he said that the room was full of sluts. Cue an ecstasy of fumbling as the reporters sought to get to their phones, tablets, laptops whatever, to report that a man from a party they have marked down as sexist said something that fitted their narrative. Their stance was that Bloom had labelled all the women in that room, and by extension the world, as harlots, sexually promiscuous, as slatterns and of loose morals. It did not occur to a single one of them that the definition they appended to his joke made no sense in context but the press is not big on context. Context throws up all sorts of grey areas and the Fourth Estate do not do grey, they do black and white, winners and losers, right and wrong.
The only definition of the word "sluts" that makes any sense, given the circumstance, is the one offered by the dictionary: a woman of a slovenly nature. The word "slovenly" means untidy or dirty. You can argue until your hair falls out that what he meant was to demean women but what he said, in the framework of the event at which he was speaking, was essentially correct: that women that do not clean behind their fridges are dirty, at least compared to those that do.
The fact that there is no comparable word to describe a man who does not clean behind his fridge is not something that can be blamed on Godfrey. That is the fault of all of us for failing to add to or adjust the language to suit our delicate modern sensibilities.
The tape of the exchange is full of laughter. That the women present seemed to enjoy his jape meant nothing to the press, who sought to protect the women present from themselves. News gatherers did a little giddy dance and reported this exchange, out of context, and completely ignored Nigel Farage's big moment. Nige blamed Godfrey for this snub. He is a rather convenient scapegoat for what was to be a general lack of interest anyway. Godfrey had the party whip removed but remains an MEP. That'll teach him!
The usual eagerly liberal reporters of the "truth" believe Godfrey's sort of language to be beyond the pale and that people who use it are of a singularly neolithic bent and have no support or likeness in society at large. That is because they never venture into society at large. They congratulate themselves on their inclusivity at their mono-cultural dinner parties and are polite to their foreign cleaning staff and think that everybody in the land is as emotionally retentive as they are. It comes as a shock when they notice that is not necessarily true.
I would be willing to bet a considerable sum (£5) that UKIP's fortunes have improved with Bloom's antics. They were already beating the Lib Dems by a small margin. I would wager that they are now seeing Nick's lot recede in the rear view mirror of popular opinion.
The same thing goes for when Bozo the Mayor pipes up about something that his party handlers, PR drones and politically correct filters have not OK'd beforehand There is the usual sharp intake of breath from the party apparatchiks and the self congratulatory arbiters of decency and good taste but the public love it.
After what seems like an epoch, there are actual, honest to goodness personalities emerging to shock life into the dying body of party politics. Finally, there appears to be real life people in the game and not serried ranks of identikit drones and automatons whose main purpose is not to say anything out of step and never ever to offend.
Whether you are appalled or amused, or turned off or intrigued, you would have to admit that politics just might be getting interesting again.