Monday, 20 January 2014

Looney Tunes

A year or so ago the Prime Minister, David Cameron, came in for a lot of criticism, in some quarters at least, for describing UKIP as a party that was full of 'fruitcakes and closet racists'.

Now I happen to think that David Cameron was spot on in his assessment because there's no doubt that many UKIP activists are wired to the moon - with this particular UKIP standard bearer claiming that God has punished us all for the wickedness of the Westminster Parliament in legalising same sex marriage.

Not only that, but the leadership of UKIP defend this particular fruitcake's right to say what he wants - no matter how ridiculous - in a spirit of freedom speech. 

I'm a big supporter of free speech, as it happens, but there's a difference between people being able to speak their mind - and people just saying things which are deeply stupid and offensive without being challenged and being invited to back up with what they have to say with sound arguments, facts and evidence.

So, if you ask me this silly old duffer deserves to be ridiculed for spouting such nonsense - and UKIP deserves the same fate for defending David Silvester's right to make a fool of himself using their name and under UKIP's political banner.

UKIP councillor says God sent storms which battered Britain because David Cameron allowed gay marriage to be legalised

David Silvester, 73, wrote a letter to the Henley Standard in Oxfordshire. In it he said storms were God's punishment for legalising gay marriage.

Silvester, former Tory who defected over the issue, defended his view


David Silvester has blamed the recent storms on the decision to legalise gay marriage

A UK Independence Party councillor has blamed recent storms and floods on the Government's decision to legalise gay marriage.

David Silvester, who defected from the Tories last year in protest at David Cameron's support for same-sex unions, claimed he had warned the Prime Minister that the legislation would result in 'disasters'.

The Henley-on-Thames town councillor, 73, said the country had been 'beset by storms' since the passage of the new law on gay marriage because Mr Cameron had acted 'arrogantly against the Gospel'.

In a letter to the Henley Standard he wrote: 'The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war.

'I wrote to David Cameron in April 2012 to warn him that disasters would accompany the passage of his same-sex marriage bill.

'But he went ahead despite a 600,000-signature petition by concerned Christians and more than half of his own parliamentary party saying that he should not do so.'

Blaming the Prime Minister for the bad weather, he added: 'It is his fault that large swathes of the nation have been afflicted by storms and floods.

'He has arrogantly acted against the Gospel that once made Britain 'great' and the lesson surely to be learned is that no man or men, however powerful, can mess with Almighty God with impunity and get away with it for everything a nation does is weighed on the scaled of divine approval or disapproval.'

Mr Silvester wrote another letter to the Henley Standard in April 2012 in which he told David Cameron not to legalise gay marriage and warned of 'disasters' if he did

UKIP said the views expressed by Mr Silvester were 'not the party's belief' but defended his right to state his opinions.

A party spokeswoman said: 'If the media are expecting Ukip to either condemn or condone someone's personal religious views they will get absolutely no response.

Pestilence: Part of the letter in the Henley Standard, claiming recent floods were godly vengeance

'Whether Jain or Sikh or Buddhist or Sufi or Zoroastrian or Jewish or Muslim or Baptist or Hindu or Catholic or Baha'i or Animist or any other mainstream or minor religion or movement, we are taught as a tolerant society to accept a diversity of ideologies.

'Freedom to individual thought and expression is a central tenet of any open-minded and democratic country.

'It is quite evident that this is not the party's belief but the councillor's own and he is more than entitled to express independent thought despite whether or not other people may deem it standard or correct.

'That is what makes the United Kingdom such a wonderful, proud, diverse and free country.'

Henley's Tory MP John Howell, said: 'I thought Mr Silvester's letter was not the sort of thing that he should have written in today's age. He really needs to consider his position.'

Twitter users have reacted angrily to the news, branding him a 'blithering idiot' and questioning his position as councillor.

Sam Bergmanski, a graduate from Cardiff, said: 'What is a man like David Silvester doing in public office? Disgrace.'

Another user calling himself Sisco, from Cumbria, added: 'UKIP Councillor David Silvester says the floods are due to gay marriage. Why do people take UKIP seriously? seriously, how?'

The retired Shell worker, elected in 2010, was unaware of the fury his letter had provoked when contacted by MailOnline today.

He stood by the rant, saying he went to a Bible college in 2004 and studied the work of Jeffrey Satinover, a controversial American psychologist who describes homosexuality as a treatable disorder, against the mainstream opinion of the medical world.

Since Christmas Eve several storms have left tens of thousands without power across the UK, caused damage to homes and businesses and disrupted transport

He said: 'The Conservatives are known as the party of the Queen. The Queen in her coronation oath promised to only to pass those laws that are consistent with the Christian gospel.

'There is a command to love all men, and I hope I love all men.

'But we are also taught to love the person but hate the sin.'

When told that hundreds of people had said his claim about gay marriage prompting floods was crazy, he said: 'That may be so if you are not a person of prayer. I am a person of prayer. I pray for each member of the Cabinet every day and each member of the Royal family every day.'

However, he admitted he 'lost a lot of friends' when he left the Tories over gay marriage.

Richard Lane, spokesman for the gay rights charity Stonewall, told MailOnline: 'Its hardly surprising that we've seen unusual weather patterns in Britain, considering the enormous amount of hot air being produced by some UKIP members'.