Herefordshire UKIP MEP in golliwog controversy

The picture from UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge's book, captioned "The autor with his golliwog friend".

The picture from UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge's book, captioned "The autor with his golliwog friend".

First published in News

“LET’S all work together,” says Herefordshire’s UKIP representative, who had been exiled from the Conservative Party after posing with a golliwog for a Facebook photo.

And Bill Etheridge – who was last week elected to the European Parliament on behalf of the West Midlands – said he stands by his decision to use an image of the controversial doll as the front cover of a book he published three years ago.

Mr Etheridge, a 44-year-old white man from Dudley, finds it “bizarre” that it could cause offence.

He said: “It is bizarre golliwogs are considered as having racist connotations.

“I thought of them as cartoon characters.”

Campaigners have long fought to remove golliwogs from the public consciousness.

Police use the Public Order Act to remove them from shops and online retail giant Amazon was blasted last year for stocking a golliwog fancy dress outfit.

An ugly hangover from minstrel-era colonialism, campaigners and academics have linked the reductive and dehumanising character to the reinforcing of racial stereotypes in children.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission refuse to even use the term 'golliwog'.

An EAHRC spokesman said: "It's an issue of common sense. Obviously an item like this could cause offence."

And, Mr Etheridge himself said he would no longer feel comfortable having one in his house.

However his book, entitled ‘Britain – a post political correctness society’, decries the fact these “loveable rag dolls” had fallen foul of what he refers to as the ‘Political Correct brigade’.

"The only people who have expressed outrage are white liberals," said Mr Etheridge.

However he described his own electioneering among ethnic minorities as increasingly ‘fraught’, to the point where campaigning at what he referred to as "cross-ethnic events" has become problematic.

He said: “The main argument against political correctness is that it divides; as a MEP hopefully I will have the platform to raise awareness.

“The last thing I want is to offend people.

“But we all have a right to have a conversation about this.”

In 2011 the Conservative Party disagreed.

They suspended both Mr Etheridge and his wife for bringing the party into disrepute after they posted pictures of themselves with golliwogs, meant, they said, to spark debate.

However he found a new home with Nigel Farage's party, and is one of 13 UKIP MEPs, two of whom will represent Herefordshire as West Midlands representatives, heading for Brussels.

Mr Etheridge says he has a broad background – with experience sitting on NHS boards and a failed run at the police crime commissioner job – and a wide range of interests.

His now-deleted ‘About Me’ section on his website, for example, featured celebrated African-American general Colin Powell , alongside heavy metal guitarists in a list of people he admires.

Comments (18)

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9:46am Thu 5 Jun 14

mizza21 says...

Ejected by the Tories in 2011 for his views.
Sat on NHS boards and failed to get the Police and Crime commissioner job somewhere.
Now found a home with UKIP.

Clearly a man of conviction and principle. Certainly not just joining the European Parliament gravy train or anything like that, oh no sir!

I'll bet his attempts to woo voters from ethnic backgrounds are "fraught".
I'd love to watch that.
Not that he cares, his populist UKIP ticket has got him his seat at the table of greed. Expense-tastic !

When UKIP fall out of favour because their beloved Nigel fails to win Lincoln next year he'll hop off to the next populist load of cobblers party that'll offer him the opportunity to fleece the taxpayer.

The whole system stinks and UKIP are not part of the solution as is evidenced by this reprehensible, unintelligent, fool.

He has a point about one thing though.
We need to talk about Golliwogs. They represent black people as caricatures of servants and slaves and are demeaning. They are a representation of racial attitudes which are no longer tolerated, just like we don't use the N word or make irish jokes or the myriad other demeaning and belittling things we used to do in the past to people of different cultures or races.

We have advanced past that stage. Well, ...some of us have.
Ejected by the Tories in 2011 for his views. Sat on NHS boards and failed to get the Police and Crime commissioner job somewhere. Now found a home with UKIP. Clearly a man of conviction and principle. Certainly not just joining the European Parliament gravy train or anything like that, oh no sir! I'll bet his attempts to woo voters from ethnic backgrounds are "fraught". I'd love to watch that. Not that he cares, his populist UKIP ticket has got him his seat at the table of greed. Expense-tastic ! When UKIP fall out of favour because their beloved Nigel fails to win Lincoln next year he'll hop off to the next populist load of cobblers party that'll offer him the opportunity to fleece the taxpayer. The whole system stinks and UKIP are not part of the solution as is evidenced by this reprehensible, unintelligent, fool. He has a point about one thing though. We need to talk about Golliwogs. They represent black people as caricatures of servants and slaves and are demeaning. They are a representation of racial attitudes which are no longer tolerated, just like we don't use the N word or make irish jokes or the myriad other demeaning and belittling things we used to do in the past to people of different cultures or races. We have advanced past that stage. Well, ...some of us have. mizza21
  • Score: 9

10:51am Thu 5 Jun 14

Boadacia! says...

Imagine the furore if there were white gollys which were representative of hundreds of years of subjugation, torture, rape and slavery, in a reverse world of non-white domination?

As most UKIP slimy representatives, he's a chancer making a killing from this shyte system of politics we all endure.
Imagine the furore if there were white gollys which were representative of hundreds of years of subjugation, torture, rape and slavery, in a reverse world of non-white domination? As most UKIP slimy representatives, he's a chancer making a killing from this shyte system of politics we all endure. Boadacia!
  • Score: 0

10:53am Thu 5 Jun 14

drewinledbury says...

Great post on a really sad article.

I decry the fact that casual racism was embodied and perpetuated by these "lovable rag dolls".
Great post on a really sad article. I decry the fact that casual racism was embodied and perpetuated by these "lovable rag dolls". drewinledbury
  • Score: 8

11:27am Thu 5 Jun 14

Hugh-G-Rection says...

I will always vote UKIP
I will always vote UKIP Hugh-G-Rection
  • Score: -9

12:50pm Thu 5 Jun 14

Jerome K says...

Mr Etheridge's decision to flaunt the golliwog probably stems from a deep dislike of himself meaning he has to project that self hatred onto someone else. We can only speculate why that is. I'd suggest he's been picked on through his uncanny resemblance to Fred West.....and now he's MEP for one of Fred's own counties - Herefordshire. Let's hope he's not cut from the same cloth.
Mr Etheridge's decision to flaunt the golliwog probably stems from a deep dislike of himself meaning he has to project that self hatred onto someone else. We can only speculate why that is. I'd suggest he's been picked on through his uncanny resemblance to Fred West.....and now he's MEP for one of Fred's own counties - Herefordshire. Let's hope he's not cut from the same cloth. Jerome K
  • Score: -4

1:32pm Thu 5 Jun 14

WYSIATI says...

Nice one mizza and a pretty good article.

UKIP has no real manifesto but a few lines on their web site gives a flavour -

open house for fracking,
social housing for those whose parents and grandparents were born locally (not so great for most of the population even if the target is immigrants),
only private health insurance and education for immigrants and tourists- presumably same goes for any of us wanting to go away.

I wonder where they stand on equal marriage?

No political correctness - so we can expect more of Mr Etheridge's well judged photos and the offence, anger and grief that comes with it - great.

I heard the other day that they want to keep the subsidy system for farmers that comes under the common agricultural policy - not sure how that's going to work out.
Nice one mizza and a pretty good article. UKIP has no real manifesto but a few lines on their web site gives a flavour - open house for fracking, social housing for those whose parents and grandparents were born locally (not so great for most of the population even if the target is immigrants), only private health insurance and education for immigrants and tourists- presumably same goes for any of us wanting to go away. I wonder where they stand on equal marriage? No political correctness - so we can expect more of Mr Etheridge's well judged photos and the offence, anger and grief that comes with it - great. I heard the other day that they want to keep the subsidy system for farmers that comes under the common agricultural policy - not sure how that's going to work out. WYSIATI
  • Score: 7

2:59pm Thu 5 Jun 14

mizza21 says...

Thanks WYSIATI and drewinledbury
Their website quite deliberately panders to the uninformed.
Manifesto 'Promises' like and end to Political Correctness and teaching Children to have pride in their country are designed to appeal to those with latent nationalist tendencies who haven't thought through what they are voting for.
Proud to be British, or English? Am I proud to be part of a constitutional monarchy, or should we have a Republic?
How does scrapping the European arrest warrant help anyone?

We should call UKIP out on all of their policies but we end up talking about immigration and the ECHR.

It's only when you engage with people you disagree with that you can understand them properly. When you understand them properly only then can you dismantle their arguments.
Thanks WYSIATI and drewinledbury Their website quite deliberately panders to the uninformed. Manifesto 'Promises' like and end to Political Correctness and teaching Children to have pride in their country are designed to appeal to those with latent nationalist tendencies who haven't thought through what they are voting for. Proud to be British, or English? Am I proud to be part of a constitutional monarchy, or should we have a Republic? How does scrapping the European arrest warrant help anyone? We should call UKIP out on all of their policies but we end up talking about immigration and the ECHR. It's only when you engage with people you disagree with that you can understand them properly. When you understand them properly only then can you dismantle their arguments. mizza21
  • Score: 14

7:03pm Thu 5 Jun 14

dippyhippy says...

I don't comment on here much anymore, but reading this I just had to.

Mizza, you have said everything I wanted to. Well said.
I don't comment on here much anymore, but reading this I just had to. Mizza, you have said everything I wanted to. Well said. dippyhippy
  • Score: 5

8:23pm Thu 5 Jun 14

hydey44 says...

When I was a child, we had gollywogs on jam jars and could even send away for a gollywog badge. The fact that it is now seen as "racial" comes from the PC brigade, who"s minds are so obviously warped that they only see the dark side of totally innocent toys. Before long Humpty Dumpty will need the necessary safety equipment to sit on the wall!
When I was a child, we had gollywogs on jam jars and could even send away for a gollywog badge. The fact that it is now seen as "racial" comes from the PC brigade, who"s minds are so obviously warped that they only see the dark side of totally innocent toys. Before long Humpty Dumpty will need the necessary safety equipment to sit on the wall! hydey44
  • Score: 1

9:55pm Thu 5 Jun 14

PopulistAllianceParty says...

Gollywogs didn't present a problem prior to mass immigration.
Gollywogs didn't present a problem prior to mass immigration. PopulistAllianceParty
  • Score: -5

10:05pm Thu 5 Jun 14

oldergit says...

I've still got my golliwog badge and I'm 77. Can I expect a knock on the door from the "Thought Police?"
I've still got my golliwog badge and I'm 77. Can I expect a knock on the door from the "Thought Police?" oldergit
  • Score: 0

9:52am Fri 6 Jun 14

mizza21 says...

No folks, you should not be prevented from representing your views. I can then challenge them because they are wrong and you can realise why they are wrong. This is healthy discussion.

Hydey44. Robertsons do not have them on the Jam Jars any more because they are a dehumanising racist caricature. Robertsons, Trebor and the others have moved on with the times and how attitudes to racism have changed.
I do understand though that if you are of that older generation you may find it difficult to move on and change your views because it involves accepting you were wrong.

These toys were meant to socialise children into accepting the same racial attitudes as their parents which I find rather chilling.

How we choose to caricature other races and cultures is a measure of our humanity. These belittling and patronising images are part of a shameful episode in our past.
Lets not forget but lets not be confused about what they are.
No folks, you should not be prevented from representing your views. I can then challenge them because they are wrong and you can realise why they are wrong. This is healthy discussion. Hydey44. Robertsons do not have them on the Jam Jars any more because they are a dehumanising racist caricature. Robertsons, Trebor and the others have moved on with the times and how attitudes to racism have changed. I do understand though that if you are of that older generation you may find it difficult to move on and change your views because it involves accepting you were wrong. These toys were meant to socialise children into accepting the same racial attitudes as their parents which I find rather chilling. How we choose to caricature other races and cultures is a measure of our humanity. These belittling and patronising images are part of a shameful episode in our past. Lets not forget but lets not be confused about what they are. mizza21
  • Score: 6

10:00am Fri 6 Jun 14

saidflo says...

Am interested why this story, especially the photo, has been dragged up.
It is deeply offensive in my opinion and should not be published.

Mizza21 brilliant observations and comments.

This article has two strands, encouraging UKIP supporters and conversely alluding to some sort of racism encouraging anti-UKIP.
Personally I believe the article should have been binned.
Am interested why this story, especially the photo, has been dragged up. It is deeply offensive in my opinion and should not be published. Mizza21 brilliant observations and comments. This article has two strands, encouraging UKIP supporters and conversely alluding to some sort of racism encouraging anti-UKIP. Personally I believe the article should have been binned. saidflo
  • Score: -1

10:23am Fri 6 Jun 14

mizza21 says...

Thanks saidflo,
I think people ought to able to air their view however reprehesible you find them.
How else can you have a healthy discussion and grow?

You may choose to lazily characterize what I have said as political correctness. I choose to call it tolerance and understanding.
I characterize the golliwog apologists as unintelligent and boring.
Thanks saidflo, I think people ought to able to air their view however reprehesible you find them. How else can you have a healthy discussion and grow? You may choose to lazily characterize what I have said as political correctness. I choose to call it tolerance and understanding. I characterize the golliwog apologists as unintelligent and boring. mizza21
  • Score: 2

11:31am Fri 6 Jun 14

WYSIATI says...

hydey44 wrote:
When I was a child, we had gollywogs on jam jars and could even send away for a gollywog badge. The fact that it is now seen as "racial" comes from the PC brigade, who"s minds are so obviously warped that they only see the dark side of totally innocent toys. Before long Humpty Dumpty will need the necessary safety equipment to sit on the wall!
And when I was a child there used to be signs up saying no Irish, no blacks on doors, some shops, some houses to rent - thankfully we got over it and moved on (well most of us did at least).

Not being offensive and racist is not in any way linked to health and safety except in the propaganda of those who want to sweep up the votes of the angry and disaffected. We owe it to ourselves to think more carefully than that and make sure we are given the facts and not a few sound bites designed to appeal to our dark side.
[quote][p][bold]hydey44[/bold] wrote: When I was a child, we had gollywogs on jam jars and could even send away for a gollywog badge. The fact that it is now seen as "racial" comes from the PC brigade, who"s minds are so obviously warped that they only see the dark side of totally innocent toys. Before long Humpty Dumpty will need the necessary safety equipment to sit on the wall![/p][/quote]And when I was a child there used to be signs up saying no Irish, no blacks on doors, some shops, some houses to rent - thankfully we got over it and moved on (well most of us did at least). Not being offensive and racist is not in any way linked to health and safety except in the propaganda of those who want to sweep up the votes of the angry and disaffected. We owe it to ourselves to think more carefully than that and make sure we are given the facts and not a few sound bites designed to appeal to our dark side. WYSIATI
  • Score: 11

11:47am Fri 6 Jun 14

mizza21 says...

WYSIATI
I agree with you mostly but I don't think this sort of thing appeals to latent racism.
I don't suppose any of the people who have commented on here lamenting political correctness and suggesting this is a lot of fuss over nothing are racist really.

i think this sort of thing appeals to the dissaffected as you say, but by appealing to some notion of how things were better in the past. In this case, before this undefined notion of political correctness.

We all recount our youth to modern day kids as though it was better than it was of course, because that';s the way we would like to remember it. There ain't nothing wrong with that.
WYSIATI I agree with you mostly but I don't think this sort of thing appeals to latent racism. I don't suppose any of the people who have commented on here lamenting political correctness and suggesting this is a lot of fuss over nothing are racist really. i think this sort of thing appeals to the dissaffected as you say, but by appealing to some notion of how things were better in the past. In this case, before this undefined notion of political correctness. We all recount our youth to modern day kids as though it was better than it was of course, because that';s the way we would like to remember it. There ain't nothing wrong with that. mizza21
  • Score: 0

6:32pm Fri 6 Jun 14

WYSIATI says...

Mizza - I didn't mean that the UKIP man and his pictures appealed to latent racism - I meant that the mixing in of the various messages by UKIP and others can all too easily appeal to racism - I see that the BNP vote collapsed when the UKIP one went up. Now that doesn't mean that everyone who voted UKIP is racist - far from it - but I suspect it means that the racists voted UKIP.

That's the danger - you play around with the nasty fringe and you get some unpleasant things in your party.

As for remembering our youth with rose tinted specs - a risk for everyone - though being cold and beaten probably doesn't look that good from anywhere. But looking back and seeing that some of the things that we saw a lot of were wrong is surely a good thing - I am very glad that the open racism has decreased, there's much less sexism and general prejudice and I think the world is better for it. And some of that comes from being politically correct - ie thinking about what you say and what it means to those hearing it too.
Mizza - I didn't mean that the UKIP man and his pictures appealed to latent racism - I meant that the mixing in of the various messages by UKIP and others can all too easily appeal to racism - I see that the BNP vote collapsed when the UKIP one went up. Now that doesn't mean that everyone who voted UKIP is racist - far from it - but I suspect it means that the racists voted UKIP. That's the danger - you play around with the nasty fringe and you get some unpleasant things in your party. As for remembering our youth with rose tinted specs - a risk for everyone - though being cold and beaten probably doesn't look that good from anywhere. But looking back and seeing that some of the things that we saw a lot of were wrong is surely a good thing - I am very glad that the open racism has decreased, there's much less sexism and general prejudice and I think the world is better for it. And some of that comes from being politically correct - ie thinking about what you say and what it means to those hearing it too. WYSIATI
  • Score: 3

10:59pm Mon 9 Jun 14

D Mouse says...

What a load of claptrap.

Middle class liberals getting offended on behalf of others, who likely neither know nor care.

Get a life, join a football team, get a hobby or something.
What a load of claptrap. Middle class liberals getting offended on behalf of others, who likely neither know nor care. Get a life, join a football team, get a hobby or something. D Mouse
  • Score: -1

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