Labour MP Jess Phillips is not universally admired within her own party. She frequently takes issue with the party leadership, and is free of restraint in doing so. But she does not deserve the frankly creepy attention being paid to her by Carl Benjamin, who styles himself Sargon of Akkad, who has been selected by Adolf von Batten’s New Model UKIP to be second on the party list for South West England at the upcoming European elections.
Jess Phillips MP
Benjamin, an exceptionally unpleasant creep of no known principle, has decreed that making “rape jokes” - that phrase is in quote marks as there are some subjects about which one does not make jokes - is fine. The obvious thought - that it is anything but fine to joke about rape - is not allowed to enter Benjamin’s strange little world. Also not allowed to enter is the thought that he might usefully lay off Ms Phillips and shove off.
As BuzzFeed News has told, “Labour MP Jess Phillips has questioned whether UKIP's star candidate Carl Benjamin … should be allowed to run in this month's European elections after new footage emerged in which he talks again about raping her”. Not only did Benjamin Tweet “I wouldn't even rape you, @jessphillips” at her - before Twitter banned him - but he has now returned to the subject.
This face has a message, and the message is CREEP
He has now told his adoring flock “There's been an awful lot of talk about whether I would or wouldn't rape Jess Phillips … I’ve been in a lot of trouble for my hardline stance of not even raping her … I suppose with enough pressure I might cave … But let's be honest nobody's got that much beer”. I did say he was a creep.
So Ms Phillips, in a Tweet that has garnered widespread support from across the political spectrum and beyond, has responded “I'm normally pretty tough, I take the slings and arrows I might just be tired but when asked to comment on this I was really upset. What do women have to do to end this shit, I'm so tired of people legitimising this stuff”.
Well, one source she needn’t look for support is Batten, who called Benjamin’s first “rape joke” as “satire”, then claimed “it was fine because the candidate has said he wouldn't rape the MP” and has added “He wasn't making a joke about rape. He was making a remark of non-intent because he knew that would go to someone complaining”. Bullshit.
Perhaps The Great Man would like to show a little contrition? Well, maybe not: “Once again BuzzFeed position themselves as the progressive joke police. I stand behind David Baddiel's justification about why any subject can be the subject of a joke. The alternative is a world devoid of humour, the essential tool we use to reduce the horror of events that are beyond our control”. It isn’t, Carl. It really, really isn’t. We don’t joke about rape.
Well, grown-ups don’t, anyway. The only silver lining in this entirely avoidable and singularly unpleasant mess - had Batten been rather more than an amateur human being, he wouldn’t have aligned his party with the likes of Benjamin in the first place - is that the new-look Kippers appear to be having second thoughts.
The BuzzFeed article concludes “UKIP declined to comment on Benjamin's latest comments or whether it would continue to stand by him as a candidate” [my emphasis]. It would do the cause of civilised politics a power of good if UKIP disowned him. Followed by Adolf von Batten saying sorry. And finally winding up his party.
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