Few will forget the claim made live on air on broadcaster LBC by former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage that the Swedish city of Malmo had become the “rape capital of Europe”. This earned him an Ofcom investigation, not to mention having opprobrium heaped upon him over his flagrant misuse of statistics and deliberate scaremongering. But that didn’t stop Nige telling whoppers.
Squeaky racist dishonesty finger up the bum time
Nor did it have any effect on LBC’s decision to keep him on air, dispensing his unique brand of jolly populist bigotry and pub-bore shit-stirring. So off he went, ranting “Residents of Oskarshamn in Sweden will now be accompanied by armed police officers while out jogging. How did Europe let this happen?” This was, to put it mildly, a highly selective retelling of the reality. The HuffPost went through Nige’s claim and mostly debunked it.
Their report tells “The original report is from Swedish broadcaster, STV News. It details a police initiative in the city of Oskarshamn to voluntarily launch jogging and walking groups for the public … The idea is inspired by an increased feeling of ‘insecurity’, but the man in charge, Inspector Peter Karlsson, adds: ‘It does not happen so much here, but people are impressed by events around the world and feel unsafe when it’s dark’”.
There was more. “As for the ‘armed’ aspect so emphasised by Farage, it is merely a matter of protocol - police must be ‘equipped for service’ on the runs so have to carry weapons, baton and handcuffs”. There had been no increase in crime. There was no compulsion - joggers did not have to be accompanied. And the voluntary Police activity only happens after dark. But The Usual Suspects were already off and running.
4Chan, the home of the infamous PizzaGate conspiracy which ended up with a shooting in a Washington DC pizza restaurant, took up the alleged story. InfoWars went full gaga at the claims, telling its readers what to think. And the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart pitched in too. There was a welter of Muslim bashing rhetoric. And it was total scaremongering nonsense. With a little bigotry on top.
Fortunately, Mr Thirsty is now well-known for his uneasy relationship with reality. Daniel Sanford of the BBC observed “This story has changed quite a long way from its original, having passed through the hands of Breitbart and Nigel Farage” before explaining “Police officer has noticed that people in his town don't go jogging after dark. Says his colleagues will organise jogging groups for members of public who want to run after dark”.
Doesn’t sound quite so shock horror inducing now, does it? And James Savage, who actually lives in Sweden, showed his exasperation at Farage’s fibbing: “As a British journalist who has actually lived in Sweden for 14 years, I'm getting fed up with people like @Nigel_Farage spreading lies about this country to advance their racist agendas”. Nige has a problem with people who aren’t like him, which is rather a lot of people.
And he’s once again been caught lying live on LBC. Why is he still allowed on air?