Steven Swinford and Claire Carter, Telegraph (London), March 2, 2014
Nigel Farage has defended a string of jokes about foreigners and Muslims made by a stand-up comedian at the Ukip party conference and warned against “censoring” humour.
Paul Eastwood, a comedian, appeared at the gala dinner to mark the end of the party’s spring conference and was greeted with rapturous applause.
According to The Sunday Mirror, Mr Eastwood started his set by saying that he had to be “politically correct” and watch his words. He then went on to make a series of quips about Polish people and a joke about a Muslim butcher.
* Referring to the Olympics, Eastwood said: “Poland did well. They took home bronze, silver, gold, lead, copper–anything they could get their hands on.”
* “Team Somalia–they did well, didn’t they? They had to apologise. Didn’t realise sailing and shooting were two different events.”
* Implying the Midlands was mostly populated by Asian people he said: “Any Midlands people here? Wonderful! My favourite accent is a Midlands accent.” The comedian then tried to do an Asian accent and branded the Islamic call to prayer a “traditional Midlands folk song”.
* Eastwood told three Asian women who appeared at the event in Torquay they “looked a little bit lost.”
Mr Farage said he did not hear the jokes and left the dinner shortly after the comedian started his set.
However, he warned against “killing” humour and said Mr Eastwood was telling jokes about “national” rather than “racial” sterotypes.
He said: “I’m not going to comment on individual jokes, but I think we’re in huge danger here. This was a guy telling jokes about national stereotypes, not racial stereotypes. We are heading down a road here where we would kill all humour in this country if we tear things to pieces.
“Enough is enough, let people tell their jokes. If what they say is inappropriate they won’t earn a living because they won’t get booked again.”
The £35 a head black tie dinner was held after the UKIP conference in Torquay in Devon. It was held as a chance for delegates and donors to mingle after the day-long event, and saw many drinking throughout the evening–with one person passing out at a table.