UKIP 'calypso' song criticised by some as racist

The song which exalts Mr Farage and is at the heart of the controversy

A new song titled the ‘Ukip Calypso’ which has been promoted by Ukip party leader Nigel Farage is the cause of fresh claims that the party, or at least some of its members, are racist.

The so-called ‘calypso’ anthem is sung by former Radio 1 DJ Mike Read in a mock-Jamaican accent and includes the lines: “Leaders committed a cardinal sin, open the borders let them all come in, illegal immigrants in every town, stand up and be counted Blair and Brown.”

Mike Read has been forced to defend the song and his intent when singing it after being accused of racism, including one critic who said: “Pretty sick with faux Jamaican accent. Shows UKIP in its true light as a nasty racist party.” Mr Read has respond to such accusations saying, “I don't have a racist bone in my body. I work across all cultures and creeds, I travel the world. […] I’ve got so many chums out in the Caribbean. I’ve spent a lot of time out there.” Read added, "At the time it was a bit of fun, and that’s how you sing calypso. Looking back on it, maybe I shouldn’t have done it like that, I should maybe sung it straight or whatever, but it was just meant to be a bit of fun, and the fact that people are taking it like that is abhorrent to me."

Mike Read performing

Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who posted “Help get the UKIP Calypso by The Independents to Number 1” on Twitter, has denied claims that the song, or Mr Read’s performance of it, is in any way racist. Farage said, "No, of course it’s not [racist]. Mike Read has worked for the BBC for several decades, he’s in fact one of your corporation’s great stars, and he’s made a calypso song, and he said himself if he was doing a Bob Dylan song, he’d do Bob Dylan’s accent. It is meant to be a bit of fun."

Ukip’s Commonwealth spokesman Winston McKenzie, who was born in Jamaica, has adamantly defended the song and the way that Read chose to perform it. McKenzie, a black Ukip member, appeared on Newsnight and said: ‘What [Read] has done is fantastic and the PC brigade have to grow up and get with it. The guy has made a song.’

So far the song, which is being sold for 79, has appeared high in the iTunes chart at number 15. 20p from each sale of the song will be donated to the political party.

A spokesman for BBC Radio 1 would not comment on whether the song would achieve airplay on its weekly Top 40 show if it achieves sufficient sales.

Read has apologised for offending anyone with the song, which he insists was meant to be innocent fun. He said, "If anyone has taken it the wrong way, many apologies. But it was never meant to be remotely racist."

What appears to be Ukip’s latest attempt to undo perceptions of itself as a racist party, by using Caribbean music, is almost an exact repeat of when the party tried to put on a ‘carnival of colour’ in Croydon back in May in a bid to prove that Ukip celebrates diversity in Britain. The party hired a steel band to perform as part of the ‘carnival’ but the band refused to continue playing once they found out that the event was supporting Ukip.

Ukip is a long way from ridding itself of its racist reputation.

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