Given the continuing denigration of Nigel Farage in the media, the following letter, sent to us by a reader, sets the record straight for the event described therein:
Many people will have seen the articles in The Mirror, The Guardian and The Independent on-line, alleging a racist incident at The Mirror Live debate last Tuesday (17th May). [Ed: Here is the video of that debate – it starts at the 1-hour-mark, and here the written report.]
Nigel is being egregiously misrepresented and I would like to explain what really happened for I was present in the audience. The Remain side (Peter Mandelson, John McDonnell and some non-entity whose name I have forgotten) had been extolling the virtues of immigration in economic terms. Nigel, in riposte to Mandelson, wanted to expose that economic benefit had never been Labour’s motive and quoted Andrew Neather’s 2009 comment that Labour had wanted to “rub the right’s nose in diversity”. Mandelson exploded “what’s wrong with diversity” and Dreda Mitchell, a black novelist, blogger etc. who was on the Leave side and sat next to Nigel, also lept at the remark with “how can you say that sitting next to a black person?” with Mandelson then shouting “apologise to her”!
The media have misrepresented this as Nigel objecting to diversity. He said no such thing. Dreda Mitchell is involved in “identity politics” (her self-description) and so seized the opportunity to emphasise her status as a black woman by choosing to interpret Nigel’s quote in exactly the way Mandelson had sought to re-frame it. Thus she contributed to diverting attention from Mandelson’s party’s time in office and to anti-UKIP cartoon politics.
Nigel could say what he did sitting next to a “black woman” because he was merely quoting Labour and not making a racist comment at all. But the energy, glee almost, with which Mandelson and Dreda Mitchell pursued their manufactured indignation drowned out Nigel saying “I was just quoting you”.
Dreda Mitchell continued to wilfully misunderstand with her Guardian article on the `incident’, and the press elsewhere have gone along with it. Mandelson was able to say “I said no such thing, you are making it up” because in the heat of the moment Nigel used ‘you, ‘, referring to the Labour party rather than a particular spokesman, but Mandelson woke from his reptilian sleep to protest that he had not made the remark.
The media reports are a travesty of what happened and I just want your readers to know the truth.
One more revealing thing. Toward the end, Mandelson was challenged for not disclosing that his EU pension terms oblige him to only speak positively about the EU. His response to this exposure of undeclared bias was to make a childish face and mimic a hand clap while leaning toward the Leave side. He looked spiteful and sneering at the same time. In some ways, that lapse into schoolboy immaturity shocked me more that anything else that afternoon.
We tried to support Nigel as best we could among the virtue signalling audience that clapped the Remain side but sitting among people that clapped Peter Mandelson of all people is as awful an experience as I can remember.