Dear West Country Bylines,
I don’t know whether people have had the chance to view the ‘Farage at Large’ show broadcast on Thursday 18th November, with Anthony Mangnall MP.
It raises some serious questions over judgement as well as how we, either as ‘regular’ individuals or as Constituency MPs with responsibilities for the way we act, challenge issues such as racism.
There is a serious question to answer over the MPs Code of Conduct as well as public perception and messaging over ‘what is OK’ and the continued lack of challenge towards racism.
Farage with Mr Mangnall on Azeem Rafiq:
Mr Mangnall is on camera, apparently smirking, whilst Mr Farage compares the attacks of systemic and institutional racism on Azeem Rafiq to ‘banter’ over ‘having ginger hair’ or being ‘fat’ or ‘thin’.
Mr Mangnall is on camera sitting there allowing Farage to disparage Rafiq as he goes on to spread the claims he says he heard ‘from sources’ that Rafiq had gambling debts to pay off and that this was the root cause of his claims of racism. [Farage attempts to cover his own back by adding “And I am sure it’s not true” which begs the question as to why mention it, then. Ed]
I am not the only person struggling to understand how a Constituency MP is simply sitting there and not challenging a set of views that are extremely offensive. It is everyone’s duty to challenge racism.
I am seriously disturbed by this, as well as, frankly, the fact that Mr Mangnall has chosen to promote this appearance with Farage as a ‘highlight’ of his week on Social media knowing full well the content of what happened in this show.
At best this sorry episode demonstrates appalling judgement. At worst, it opens up disturbing questions about the party and its attitudes, institutionally, to racism. Ironically, it is the same lesson that the Azeem Rafiq affair should have taught us in the first place – that racism simply has to be called out and challenged at every single opportunity.
[Mr Funnell has written to the MP asking him to explain his stance and his willingness to sit passively without challenging Farage’s position or the unsubstantiated claims. Ed]