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Ukip 'bongo land' MEP unrepentant
A UK Independence Party Euro MP has dismissed the furore over comments he made about overseas aid and joked that he will apologise to the ambassador of "bongo bongo land" if anyone is offended by what he said.
Godfrey Bloom, Ukip MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, was recorded questioning the UK's overseas aid payments, claiming the recipients spend the money on luxuries. He told a meeting of supporters in the Midlands those who received aid spent the money on "Ray-Ban sunglasses, apartments in Paris, Ferraris and all the rest of it".
Asked what he would do if Ukip said "mind your language", Mr Bloom told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I'd say, 'Righto, sorry, sorry everybody'. If I've offended anybody in bongo bongo land I shall write to the ambassador at the Court of St James's and apologise to him personally. Look, my job is to upset The Guardian and the BBC - I love it, I love it."
Mr Bloom said charity begins at home and he believed he was standing up for "ordinary people" who are unrepresented in the current political system.
He said: "What I am suggesting is when a country has £1 trillion of debt and we're cutting our hospitals, our police force and we are destroying our defence services, that the money should stay at home and people who want to give money to worthwhile charities...
"What I would argue is that is for the individual citizen, it's not for the likes of David Cameron to pick our pockets and send money to charities of his choice. If I want to send money to charity, I will do it of my own accord, thank you."
He added: "There are people in this country who can't get treatment for cancer. There are people who are waiting in a queue for dialysis machines. All I'm saying is, and I think you'll find most of your listeners will agree with me rather than The Guardian, that money should stay at home. Charity begins at home."
Laura Pidcock, from campaign group Show Racism the Red Card, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think what Godfrey needs to understand is that intention is irrelevant in defining the outcome of prejudice or the existence of prejudice and actually who defines what political correctness is. Political correctness is not homogenising people, is not saying that they are the ones who need to be civilised - they are still part of this colonial idea of bongo drums.
"Actually he needs to understand that it is highly offensive and what he meant by it isn't important - it's the outcome that's important."
A Ukip spokesman told The Guardian Mr Bloom's comments were being "discussed right at the very highest level of the party". Chairman Steve Crowther said: "We are asking Godfrey not to use this phrase again, as it might be considered disparaging by members from other countries. However, foreign aid is an extremely important debate that needs wider discussion."