first_imgThis ‘spice’ was Bloom’s downfall. He’s been constantly accused of misogyny ever since he stated in 2004 that women “don’t clean behind the fridge enough.”Yet he remains adamant he’s not sexist. “I’ve always been a very big supporter of women, the advancement of women in both sport and business, and I also sponsor ladies’ equestrian sport. All of which is very well documented, but none of which is ever touched by the newspapers because it doesn’t touch the pigeon hole… What it might actually give an indication of is that any accusations that I’m a misogynist are clearly ridiculous.”Nevertheless, his views on gender are undeniably provocative. He constantly refers to gender differences “that we don’t fully understand”. He refers to men’s dominance in music. “If you were to sit down with pen and paper, and I’m a keen classical music buff, you would get your first hundred great works of musical genius and you would not in your first hundred names… come to a female name.” While he hasn’t “the faintest idea why”, Bloom maintains that gender is too inexplicable to legislate on.Since leaving UKIP, Bloom has attacked the party. This week, he told The Times that Nigel Farage has “lost touch”. Today he’s similarly critical of UKIP. “I would like to see an admission that drugs policy both in America and in the United Kingdom in the last couple of years has been a dismal failure… it’s something that UKIP are absolutely determined not to talk about.”“Politicians are only interested in what’s going to happen in 2015, electorally. How can it be that the country has 1.3 trillion pounds of debt? … The answer is that it’s the most unbelievable incompetence, and failure to address fundamental economic issues, and I now feel much freer to address those.”Bloom differs from UKIP economically. He’s an advocate of the Austrian School, condemning Oxford University because “you won’t have a single Austrian economist, not one. There’ll be Keynesians, and some Chicago School, both schools of which have palpably failed completely. But your undergraduates are still being taught the most ridiculous nonsense in their economics classes.” His libertarian agenda has been “side-lined” by UKIP in the last eighteen months. Yet Bloom can’t escape his politician’s mind-set. He refers to UKIP as “we”, and is evangelical about its strengths. “The media tends to worry about Conservatives switching to UKIP, but the long and the short of it is that it isn’t like this. I mean, I won a Labour seat up here – most of my activists are Labour, old Labour. So this Conservative Party splinter group thing doesn’t play.”UKIP has won voters who’ve been “abandoned” by Labour and the Tories, “the artisan classes”, who are “pithead winders or joiners, people like that, the real middle England people who are conservative with a small ‘c’, used to vote Old Labour, and have a picture of the Queen in the parlour.”Bloom’s party career is over. He’s described anybody who enters politics as “insane”: “I went into politics for the same reason my father climbed into a spitfire in 1940 – it was to save the country.”For Bloom, there’s too much emphasis on delivery, not enough on policy. “It’s a bit like you getting a message – I send you a message with a very important letter, and you then spend hours agonising over the choice of envelope, and how I addressed it.” Politicians “need a hide like a rhino. I hide most of my stuff from my wife: she’d be horrified.”This disillusionment with politics doesn’t mean Bloom is leaving Parliament. He’s unsure whether he’ll stand again in 2014, now the whip is withdrawn. “People are asking me to. People are saying for God’s sake, let’s send an Independent! Somebody who doesn’t represent any party, will you stand again? The answer is I don’t know.”Although this optimism about re-election seems delusional, Bloom’s populist ramblings have won him thousands of fans. As he says, he’s been elected by those “completely and utterly disengaged” from mainstream politics – maybe Bloom will be gaffing through Brussels well into his seventies. Godfrey Bloom resents the idea that he’s ever offended anyone. As a man who’s been criticised heavily in the press over the last year, he has resisted the urge to cry “offense” harder than most politicians. As he notes,  “I’ve been vilified and misquoted in the media for the last eight years – I found that upsetting, I found that offensive. We need to get to the point where people aren’t held back from saying what they think because of perceived ‘offense’, mock ‘offense’.”Since arriving as a UKIP MEP in 2004, this ‘offense’ has dominated his career. Last month, a decade of gaffes culminated in his expulsion from the party.In June he’d referred to UK aid sent to ‘bongo-bongo land’, and at conference in September he jokingly called a group of women ‘sluts’, before hitting journalist Michael Crick with a party programme. The whip was withdrawn on 21st September.Bloom blames the political climate for his treatment. “We seem to take the most shallow view of politics. I mean, when I raised in my speech in Birmingham, for example, the fact that we’re sending one billion pounds a month in overseas aid with no audit trail, when they are closing A&E wings in hospitals … all people wanted to talk about for the first twenty-four hours was the fact that I’d used the word ‘bongo.’“Who was offended? The answer is nobody was offended. That’s the truth of it, nobody was offended.”The media are also culpable. “The people who write these things, I think you’d agree, tend to live in more metropolitan areas. It’s in London, not even all of London, where everybody around the dinner table agrees and everybody in the Westminster-bubble agrees with what they’re saying, even if it’s out of touch with the rest of the country.” The media are unrepresentative, he notes, “I’ve never had a bad piece written about me by somebody who had taken the trouble to get the train up here.”But Bloom has also chosen his notoriety – he’s aware of the political value of generating controversy. He describes the need for ‘spice’ in articles and speeches. “People need to be outraged, even if it’s fake most of the time; they need to be outraged, or amused, or laugh. Otherwise I wouldn’t sell an article… My articles need a bit of spice, otherwise nobody would read them.”last_img read more


first_imgROALD DAHL FANS might have a new reason to be “whoopsy whiffling”, as Oxford University Press has published a new dictionary compiling Dahl’s words to celebrate the centenary of the illustrious storyteller’s birth.The Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary features almost 8000 real, and invented, “extra-usual” words known as “gobblefunk”, that Dahl used in his work for children. The dictionary is also illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake, and its release is an opportune precursor to the upcoming Steven Spielberg film adaptation of The BFG.The dictionary was researched and compiled by a team led by lexicographer Dr Susan Rennie over a period of five years. It showcases Dahl’s literary artistry, such as his adoption of spoonerisms and malapropisms, and his play with puns, sound and much more.Examples of such literary creativity include “delumptious”, which means delicious, “whoopsy whiffling”, which means exciting, and “rotsome” which means unpleasant. “Dahl’s literary creations also were reflective of his personal life”, Head of OUP Children’s Dictionaries Vineeta Gupta told Cherwell.An example of such would be that in Matilda, a parrot called Chopper actually alluded to Dahl’s real-life Jack Russell terrier. “Matilda” also means “mighty in battle” and was a frequent name given to tanks used in North Africa during WWII, where Roald Dahl served as a RAF pilot.Gupta said the dictionary was meant to be an insight into Dahl’s creativity, and in particular to encourage children aged eight and above to “write more”. It also has the “rigour” of a “real and fully-functioning dictionary”.“Roald Dahl’s work is timeless and he is the number one children storyteller in the world. How can we not have made such a compilation? We hope that this dictionary will be enjoyed by children, parents and grandparents alike from all over the world”, she said.“I think it’s absolutely great that one of the wittiest, most creative, and most jubilant authors of all time has been featured in his own dictionary.” said Jonathan Yeung, a second-year PPEist at Oriel.“Language leaves such a big impact on all of us, and every good language needs to have people who are willing to stretch it, give it dynamism and life. Roald Dahl is one of these people”, he continued.Michelle Sum, a second-year lawyer also at Oriel, thought the same and told Cherwell, “Oxford is proving itself not to be archaic and boring by giving its seal of approval to Roald Dahl’s creations.”“Children around the world can now rejoice in knowing that they can call their teacher who give them too much homework a cracfficult oompa loompa. What will be next? Perhaps a sign for a Harry Potter dictionary to come?”last_img read more