Another UKIP rep putting foot in mouth? “A UKIP councillor accused of branding children in care ‘takers’ from society said he was ‘deeply sorry’ after an investigation found him guilty of breaching the members’ code of conduct”. Gordon Gillick, a Cambridgeshire member of the Farage fringe, said “I apologise unreservedly for the distress my ill-considered remarks have caused”.
What had he said? To three looked-after teenagers he told “It was all very ‘me, me, me’ your film. What about your responsibilities – to work, to give back, for example. Can you tell us, how does it feel to be takers from the system?” which, for those of us of A Certain Age, lights up that big flashing neon sign HYPOCRISY. Because Gordon Gillick’s wife Victoria knows all about taking from the system.
Mrs Gillick – this is one case where the subject would undoubtedly object to the use of the term Ms – became, as the late Russell Harty would have put it, “famous, nay, notorious” for her successful application for legal aid to enable her to pursue her campaign on under-16s having access to contraception without parental consent. She later got involved in a long-drawn out libel case.
She lost her initial attempt to have the law changed, and the then DHSS distribute information to GPs about contraception for under-16s. There was a characteristic outburst after the judgment was handed down: “The judge doesn't realise there are a large number of doctors happily encouraging children to be promiscuous”. But she then secured legal aid, and was back the following year.
A compromise was reached in 1985, when the Law Lords ruled that under-16s could be given access to contraception without parental consent in exceptional circumstances (which means she lost). Mrs Gillick was not finished with litigation, though: in 2002 she pursued the Brook charity for what she claimed was a libel in a fact sheet on teenage pregnancy all the way to the Court of Appeal.
And she’s still at it: Mrs Gillick spent seven and a half months keeping watch on Best Kebab on Nene Quay in Wisbech, so she could compile a dossier of evidence with which to rebut an application for extended licensing hours, despite her living a full 170 metres away on the other side of the river. In this, she was, once more, unsuccessful, and once more caused significant public funds to be expended.
Best Kebab’s owner Jack Dennis observed “We are a family-run business. In my whole history I have never had anything like this with one of my shops. She (Mrs Gillick) described us as a honey-pot for criminals. I have never heard anything like that in my life”. Not that the comments were libellous, you understand. So Gordon Gillick knows all about being a “taker from the system”. He married one.
Consistency and high principles appear to be optional in UKIP. No surprise there.