Wednesday, March 05, 2014

UKIP: regretting the use of the word regret

In what can only be described as one of the year's more bizarre contributions to political debate, one of UKIP's candidates for the European Parliament has called for the right of businesses to discriminate as they choose on grounds of ethnicity or gender. And no, it isn't a white, male candidate.

"I believe that all business owners, Christian, Muslim, gay, straight, should be allowed to withhold their services from whomever that choose whenever they choose."

"It's their business. Why should they be forced to serve or sell to anyone?", said Donna Edmunds, one of UKIP's candidates in South East England.

Now, she is entitled to her views, no matter how repulsive they might be, and voters are entitled to discriminate against her because of those views, but it is the way in which she has responded that is probably more depressing.
I regret what I wrote and can see how an essentially libertarian stance could be broadly misinterpreted. 
I in no way endorse any form of discrimination. I believe in cutting red tape for business and I also strongly believe in an individual's personal and religious freedoms, but I stand against any form of prejudice. 
I hope this remark has not caused any embarrassment for the party.
I have to say that "regret' is a rather weak word, especially when it is combined with the hope that she hasn't embarrassed her party. It is the sort of weasel-like semi-apology that brings politicians into disrepute. A proper apology might, for example, touch upon any offence that she might have caused. She might also like to reflect upon the implications of her claimed belief in libertarianism - some of my acquaintances may well scoff at her claims, given her desire not to accept the potential consequences of her actions.

What should her response be? Well, she might like to consider the suggestion she has made to Harriet Harman as a marker. After all, if resignation for allegedly taking an unacceptable view thirty years ago is a resignation matter, espousing one in 2014 must surely be one.

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