Jo Marney has denied she is a 'private racist' and quite right too. She is arguably the leading public racist of her generation

Tom Peck

In fairness to Royal-loving miscegenaphobe turned far-right pin-up girl Jo Marney, she cannot possibly have known, when she opened her Facebook Messenger to racially abuse the Queen’s future granddaughter-in-law, that she was in fact taking the first step in a journey that would lead all the way to the This Morning sofa, where Phillip Schofield would ask her if she was, and this is verbatim, "a private racist".

Record scratch. Freeze frame. Fighting hard the urge not to descend into Tina Turner-inspired parody, let’s back up a bit.

It is five days since Henry Bolton’s unpaid job as Ukip leader was brought to an end, a moment which should have doubled as the precise moment at which the high-speed rolling thermonuclear dumpster-fire that is his private life would have ceased to be a matter of public interest.

And yet, for reasons that can be known only to those involved, somebody at ITV’s This Morning evidently saw fit to call up the now new-opportunity-seeking former Ukip intern, Henry Bolton, and his disgraced no-longer-former girlfriend, and ask them if they wanted to come on for an in-depth discussion of the personal business of themselves and those around them.

The precise chronology of the Bolton-Marney (you’ll never leave!) affair is already a matter of public record, and there are Christmas jumper shots to prove it, but Schofield nevertheless compelled Bolton to walk us through the saga yet again. He had left his wife just before Christmas, he had met Jo shortly after, at a time when “neither of us knew who the other was”.

They began a love affair, which Bolton was then compelled to end live on air via John Humphrys, after Marney’s racist text messages had been in the Sunday papers, but which appeared to have been rekindled around 11 hours later, when the pair dined together at – where else? – the National Liberal Club.

Now – phew! – having been forced to choose between the girl and the unpaid job from which he had been ousted anyway, Bolton confirmed he has chosen the girl.

If we overlook the bit where Schofield read out a statement from Bolton’s wife, in which he was accused of “giving countless statements on his feelings for his lover while still being legally married, while saying to me that he wants our marriage to have a second chance” – it was in some ways an honourable performance from Bolton.

Had this 25-year-old model 30 years his junior not fallen so helplessly for him, her racist text messages would not be in the public realm, and each time one of them was read out in disbelieving tone by either Schofield or Willoughby he did his level best to dive in and ask whether it wasn’t all really society’s fault.

Marney had called Grenfell Tower a “nest of illegal immigrants” and did, she was happy to inform, “regret the words I used” but added: “I think it’s OK to have a debate about illegal immigration in this country.”

Maybe it is, Jo, maybe it is, but as The Byrds sang and Ecclesiastes later plagiarised, there is a season for everything. And the time for a debate about illegal immigrants in this country is perhaps not when they are assumed to have been burned to death in a towering inferno.

Bolton’s interjection at this point, by the way, was to raise Government policy that has given Grenfell residents a year-long amnesty on their immigration status, temporarily allowing them to come forward and receive various services that are usually extended to those whose homes have gone up in a 200ft blaze, but which Bolton evidently feels is not acceptable.

We learned that Marney’s words about Meghan Markle’s “seed” contaminating the royal family and leading to a “black king”, and about how she would “never have sex with a negro” were both “meant to shock”, which indeed they did.

Enter Bolton again, with grave concerns about the “younger generation” who are always apparently abusing one another on social media, writing things “they’d never say in public” as if they were a species from another planet, until he was brought back down to earth by Schofield, who had to ask him: “Are you talking about her?” which he confirmed he was.

This is the problem with the older generation. They leave their wives for the younger generation, sit next to the younger generation on live television then shrug their shoulders in generalised disbelief about the younger generation who they’ve apparently never met in their lives.

Again, we were assured, that these messages were “never supposed to become public”, which Holly Willoughby had to point out “doesn’t make it OK” before, in what appeared to be a genuine attempt to restore sanity, Schofield was prompted to ask: “Well, are you a private racist?”

Marney of course replied she was not. And she was quite right. A private racist? No chance. Private? You don’t get to sit where the Prime Minister was sitting on Monday by being a private racist. She is arguably one of the leading public racists of her generation now – of which there are worryingly few.

Still, with all this leading Ukip business now over, there is perhaps some hope she and her unemployed 54-year-old lover can go back to being private definite non-racists again. But hang on, what’s this? Asked, at the very end, “What does the future hold?”, Bolton was quick to reply, “We don’t know”, adding mysteriously that: “There are a lot of things in my personal life that need to be sorted out and now is the time to do that.”

It is a conclusion of sorts. The short tableau of modern Ukip life. The ousted leader trudging up the family drive for a furtive knock at the door. And for Jo Marney, an electronic ding, and the texting begins anew.