Ukip integration policy launch descends into full integrated fiasco | John Crace

John Crace
Paul Nuttall is ushered into a room as he is pursued by journalists after Ukip’s integration policy launch. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

“Are you coming out, Mr Nuttall?” a dozen reporters shouted. The Ukip leader was going nowhere, having barricaded himself into a room at the central London hotel where he had just launched his party’s election policy on integration. There was only so much integration a chap could take, and Nuttall was all integrated out. He wanted to be on his own.

A couple of party activists went into the room to try to entice him out. Nothing doing. As the door opened, the hacks peered in, trying to take photographs. “Are you coming out, Mr Nuttall?” they cried again. Silence. “Will you be standing in the election?” Silence. Two more Ukip members went into the room. Nuttall still stayed put.

Having worked out there was no chance of Nuttall escaping via a window, the press pack chose to wait him out. The standoff ended after about 15 minutes when Nuttall eventually appeared. Immediately, all hell broke loose as he was chased down the corridor towards the main entrance. This sort of attention is one of the downsides of being the only professional footballer with a PhD. David Beckham didn’t know he was born.

“Are you going to stand, Mr Nuttall?”

Nuttall stared resolutely ahead, willing the corridor to miraculously shorten itself.

“Are you going to stand, Mr Nuttall?”

The Ukip leader finally broke. “I’m going to speak to the national executive committee later in the week,” he said. “The story’s about our integration policies today. It isn’t about me.”

But it was. “So are you going to stand, Mr Nuttall?”

Nuttall went into standby mode, repeating in a sad monotone that he would be talking to the NEC later in the week. Someone then pointed out that he was the leader of the party and surely it was up to him to tell the NEC if he was going to stand. If he wasn’t going to bother, why should anyone else go through the effort to lose their deposit?

“Ukip leaders have done pretty well in the past without becoming an MP,” Nuttall added. In fact, it would be a sign of weakness if Ukip were to get any MPs, so it was probably just as well he didn’t stand. Just in case. Besides, if he didn’t stand, no one could ever accuse him of being a loser.

Satisfied he had seen off the press, Nuttall headed off in a taxi. Though not before first having to eject a Daily Telegraph reporter who had climbed in with him. As a fully integrated fiasco, the integration policy launch couldn’t have gone any better.

An hour earlier, Nuttall had explained to a crowded room that Ukip had always been 10 years ahead of everyone else and that its policies would soon be those of the other mainstream parties. In which case, 2027 will look something like the 1960s sitcom Till Death Us Do Part. Anyway, with the Tories having annexed their policies on recreational bigotry, Ukip had now decided to mainline class A racism.

It was left to the unfortunate David Kurten and Margot Parker, Ukip’s education and equalities spokespeople, to supply the details. “Islamism is a poisonous ideology,” said Kurten. How did he know? “Because some children are taught to show friendship to Christians in public and hate them in private.” It rather sounded as if Ukip were taking a leaf out of the same playbook.

The trouble with Muslims was that we’d been far too nice to them. We’d given them multiculturalism and they’d just taken advantage. British identity was under threat. It was far better that Britain should be poor and pure than be rich and full of immigrants. There should be no more Islamic faith schools until they could prove they were Christians at heart. All children should be sent for annual female genital mutilation checkups. Even the boys.

Muslim men should get extra-long sentences for raping white women. If Muslims wanted to commit rape, they should at least have the decency to stick to women from their own community. All documents should be written in English so foreigners didn’t know they were going to be deported until it was too late.

And don’t get Ukip started on the burqa. Women in veils were security risks. Or in danger of being mistaken for suicide bombers. Which was much the same. So anyone wearing a burqa should … should … should … Parker wasn’t quite sure what. She hadn’t yet worked out if they should be arrested, imprisoned or merely fined.

“What about beekeepers?” yelled one journalist. “Should they be arrested if they are out in public?”

“Or brides in wedding veils?” said another, not altogether helpfully.

Would there be exemptions for members of the Ku Klux Klan?

This was too much for Peter Whittle, Ukip’s deputy leader, a man who has the pinched expression of a golf club secretary who still can’t believe women are allowed in his clubhouse. “Now you’re just being silly,” he said crossly.

Bit late for that. Ukip had already managed to do that on their own.

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