It’s been a wet weekend in São Paulo, and as I don’t really know anyone here, and the much-needed rain has been a decided discouragement to exploration, I’ve been largely at a loose end, just going to the gym, moseying around shopping centres, and chowing down on awesome mineiro food. Not a great many opportunities for fun.
I was delighted, therefore, to find that the United Kingdom Independence Party has offered its members the chance to not only have fun, but even win prizes, by rating how much they hate—sorry, “feel close to”—different social groups. Groups like “Eastern Europeans,” “Blacks,” “Muslims,” “Asians.” Give ’em a score from 0 to 10! What fun! What good, British, fun.
Alas, the survey has either been taken down or is in a members-only part of the site, so I could not fill it in. But even with the few examples from the screen shots, it turned out to be a perplexing rather than a fun task. For some reason—some hideous, progressive, rational reason—I found myself totally incapable of asserting how close I felt to such large and heterogenous groups.
So, simple-minded man that I am, I decided to have a go at version of my own, using individuals. I know, I know. Such a failure of abstractive ability. I decided to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, how utterly, irredeemably, loathsomely vile I found the following detrita of humanity:
- a man who thinks that women are “sluts” who “don’t clean behind the fridge enough,” refers to countries who receive foreign aid as “Bongo Bongo Land,” and asks a disabled student if he is Richard III;
- a man who calls gays “fucking disgusting old pooftahs” and refers to a woman with a Chinese name as “Chinky”;
- a man who calls immigrants “sandal-wearing, bomb-making, camel-riding, goat-fucking ragheads”;
- a woman who thinks that gay people should “stop complaining and start thanking straight people” and claims that “as for the links between homosexuality and paedophilia, there is so much evidence that even a full-length book could hardly do justice to the subject”;
- a man who thinks that gay adoption is “a form of child abuse” tantamount to the children being “thrown to the dogs”;
- a man who believes in forced repatriation and thinks Gaddafi was a good thing because he “didn’t allow those boats [of immigrants] to come across”;
- a man whose election materials include a picture of the Dover cliffs with the words “Get lost we’re full” written over them;
- a man who thinks that the introduction of gay marriage was “a sad day for all us straight people”;
- a man who says that “left-wing scum are all the same, wanting to hand our birthright to Romanian gypsies who beat their wives and children into begging and stealing money they can gamble with”;
- a woman who describes a Thai woman as “a ting tong from somewhere”;
- a man who thinks that it’s okay for people to find homosexuality “distasteful if not viscerally repugnant”; or
- a man who thinks that the unemployed should not have a vote.
Turns out they all got a 10. But then I had to go and allow an 11 for the man who defends, in part or whole, all these people; who aligns his party with a Holocaust-denier so far-right that the French National Front will not associate with him; who happily co-chairs an EU Parliament group with a man who thinks that Anders Breivik has “ideas … in defence of western civilisation”; who feels awkward when he cannot hear English being spoken in a train carriage; who selects the war-mongering autocrat Vladimir Putin as the statesman he most admires; who would ban migrants with HIV from entering the UK; who thinks that his party only “possibly” should not accept funds from a man who denies the existence of marital rape; who sought the endorsement of Enoch Powell, and twice asked him to stand for his party; whose election materials slam funding of Eurocrats but boasts of having received £2m in expenses, expenses which repeatedly look like they have been fiddled; who thinks breast-feeding mothers should sit in corners and not be “ostentatious”; who poses as a man of the people yet considers his £79,000 salary (before expenses, fiddled or otherwise) makes him “poor”; and who is “proud” that former BNP voters now vote for him.
I think I must have got something wrong though. I didn’t, in the end, find this exercise in hatred any fun at all. I just found it terribly, terribly, terribly depressing.