How to respond to UKIP Calypso

UKIP Calypso, a terrible song produced by 80s DJ Mike Read caused a bit of controversy this week. Following accusations that the song was racist due to Read singing in an embarrassing Caribbean accent, the song was withdrawn by Read yesterday. I say withdrawn, but it is still available for sale from Amazon’s MP3 store, and it has reached number 21 in the official mid-week chart.

I asked people on Twitter whether they thought the song was racist or not, and most of those who replied seemed to think it was. I don’t really agree though. I think sometimes people like to get outraged by things, particularly things said by people they loathe. I’ve probably been guilty of this at times myself, but it’s important to look at what people actually say rather than what they are reported as saying. Otherwise you end up looking like your motives are slightly dishonest. I think the Lord Freud story from last week falls into this category. You can disagree with what he said (as I did), but what he said was not outrageous, and calling for his resignation seemed to me to be a little ridiculous.

So back to the UKIP song. It is terrible. Badly produced and sung in the most cringworthy embarrassing way. It’s not racist though. People should be allowed to imitate other people’s accents without fear of being called racist shouldn’t they? I would argue it’s what is being said in the accent that would make it racist or not, and Read’s song was just about UKIP, and his sort of bizarre hero-worship of Farage.

So how should we respond to this piece of shit song? One thing I quite like about Amazon (I know Amazon is toxic on the left because they are evil tax avoiders or something), is that often when there is a really shitty product on sale, reviewers get stuck in a have a bit of fun with it. Here’s one example. The three wolf moon t shirt. Someone bought this for my Dad which he now proudly wears much to my shame. People have also started doing a similar number to Read’s song. Here’s a couple of choice ones:

“Well what can i say, I thought such great lyrical talent and song writing ability were lost with the likes of Freddy Mercury taken from us, but it seems i may have judged to soon. This song is a master piece and maybe even the song of the century if not, then definitely a song of a generation.

I have had this song playing on repeat now for 4 hours and it has still not lost any of its charm and originality, here is to many more hours of audible pleasure and god bless you for bringing this music to us.”


“Not since Jack Black told the kids to “stick it to the man” in the iconic film School of Rock, has anyone used music so effectively as a form of biting political satire.

My voice is hoarse from shouting “YES!” as I drank up every word of Mike Read’s Calypso masterpiece, and my arm is sore from punching it in the air over and over.

Like the Kennedy Assassination or the Moon Landings, in future years we’ll be saying ‘where were you when you first heard the UKIP Calypso.'”

So basically, I’m saying, rather than getting outraged each time someone you don’t like says or does something that’s not really that outrageous, mockery is a far better weapon. If these people are just shut down every time they stray from what is determined ‘permitted speech’ they will take on victim status and others may be persuaded there is some sort of conspiracy against them. Here’s another response to the Calypso I found funny. Jake Yapp tries out his own embarrassing Caribbean accent:


Last 7 Days Reading List 07/12/13

Mostly stuff on the economy this week. First up, I liked this post from Think Left, which includes some nice quotes and a video promoting MMT:

Why do politicians tell us debt/deficit myths which they know to be untrue?

Neoliberal news now, and Guardian columnist George Monbiot informs us about the US/EU trade deal about which I was previously only dimly aware. It doesn’t sound good:

The lies behind this transatlantic trade deal

One of the positive pieces of economic news over the last year has been the increase in employment. The Tories have been trumpeting this with hilarious charts like this (what scale are they using here):employment

Beneath the headline though, what’s less certain is about the type of employment being created. Self-employment for example has risen quite sharply in recent years, but much of it seems to be quite poorly paid, and as a result, self-employed worker’s earnings have been falling:

Self-employed worker’s earnings slump by nearly a third

And in related news, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has been boasting about how many families have been ‘turned around’ by his troubled families programme. The definition of turned around seems as vague as the original definition of troubled families was. Turned around doesn’t seem to include finding work though as this story from my local paper describes:

Government jobs scheme gets jobs for just three in Bradford

On to the autumn statement now, and I liked this blog on George Osborne’s stated desire to run a budget surplus:

Why do the British enjoy committing economic suicide?

The economy does seem to be recovery though, although the OBR say they expect it to slow down somewhat next year. George Osborne vindicated? The FT’s Martin Wolf thinks not (must register to view):

Autumn Statement 2013: Britain’s needlessly slow recovery

And as long as we keep seeing stories like this, any claims of recovery must be dismissed:

Bradford food bank makes urgent ‘help’ plea

Moving on again with the news of Nelson Mandela’s death at the age of 95. I was only 8 when Mandela was released from prison, and I think a lot of people of my generation don’t know much about his life before that point, and how he was viewed by different people. A lot of rewriting of history seems to be going on and I thought this blog was interesting in its perspective:

They come to bury Nelson, not just to praise him

Finally, on a lighter note, the news that Amazon has been trialing drone deliveiesI thought this mocked-up Amazon calling card was well done: