UKIP also aren't evil monsters, and most of them I deal with are not only polite but intelligent too. I don't buy the "UKIP are the BNP/EDL in suits" argument. There are real policies in that party, some of which even I find appealing.
However they don't like to put their best foot forward. When UKIP's Twitter RT'd a picture entitled "Campaign on fire in Soho" showing a UKIP burning a picture of Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick, I tweeted
UKIP burn picture of gay man on the streets of Soho. lockerz.com/s/205836510 - There's definitely a headline in here somewhere.It was, mostly, in jest at the juxtaposition of the act, who was pictured and where it was taken. It was begging for a headline after all!
— Jason Kay (@JaeKay) May 2, 2012
Now I don't think they were burning the picture because they were homophobic, although I admit that is the tone that has been taken by others on Twitter. They were burning it because they were thoughtless morons who don't like Brian Paddick (those two things can be exclusive but not in this instance I fear!).
Burning a picture or effigy of your opponent is, at best, idiotic and thoughtless. At worse it's malicious, hateful and nasty. It's not becoming of a party that hopes to take our country in a new direction. It's not becoming of any decent person. UKIP's response to this criticism? It's not homophobic. The person in the picture is gay. Does being gay excuse you from such an act? No. As I'm gay does that mean I get to go piss on war memorials, spit on posters or do any of the other rather classless things people do to "symbols"? No.
UKIP supporters should have said "No, that's not very clever is it. Sorry we'll have words." Or "Well it's not homophobic but I agree it's not very grown-up".
Alas, they accuse the Lib Dems of being childish whilst failing to take responsibility for the actions. I'd rather have a responsible, decent party in power than one that burns pictures of opponents then fights against criticism by playing the right-wings favourite dog whistle: political correctness gone mad.
And that "But they're gay" card has been played before. It means NOTHING.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist