Lies, Damned Lies and Newspaper reports

(and “gay cures” on the NHS)


I think it was Enoch Powell who said that there’s no more point in a politician complaining about the media than a sailor complaining about the sea.  He was right, of course.  So I try very hard not to respond to what looks like deliberate provocation, never mind defamatory fictions and lies, in the press — nor indeed the often even more outrageous calumnies in the social media.  Some appalling stuff was published in the papers during the Euro and Newark election campaigns, and for the most part I avoided comment.  But now that both of those campaigns are over, I’d like to respond to a couple of the more egregious claims.

A few weeks before the euro elections, a Sun journalist called me up and asked about my attitude to homosexuality.  I have to say that this was not an issue high on my policy agenda, but being a courteous sort of chap I gave him and answer.  We in UKIP (I said) are a broadly libertarian party.  Whatever consenting adults choose to do together, it’s no business of ours.  But we do condemn prejudice, and discrimination, and hostility, and (especially) violence, against any minority group.

I added, for good measure, that nonetheless we had to recognise the right of the individual to have personal preferences with regard to sexual behaviour, as in any other area or activity or walk of life.

This was reported in The Sun as “UKIP MEP says it’s OK to despise gay people”.  Next day the Independent, without ever checking with me, upped the stakes and made it “UKIP MEP says it’s OK to hate gay people”.  (My emphasis).  How you get from “OK to have personal preferences” to “OK to hate gay people” I’m not sure — especially as in my conversation with The Sun I had explicitly condemned hostility and prejudice.

Then, during the Newark campaign, I was stunned by a headline in The Mail on Sunday: “Retired Colonel, 70, calls for gay cures on the NHS”.  This (you may be surprised to hear) referred to me.

For the record, I have never expressed any view as to whether it may be possible to change a person’s sexual orientation.  I simply have no idea, though I know there are those who assert that it is possible, and others who assert with equally vehemence that it is not.  But I have certainly never endorsed “gay cures”, nor claimed that they are effective, nor suggested that homosexuality is in any sense a disease that might need to be cured.  Still less have I “called for gay cures”.  And I am appalled by the idea of “gay cures on the NHS” (whether they are effective or not).

So what did I actually say?  I merely insisted, as a libertarian, that if an individual believes that such a procedure or treatment (call it what you will) works, or might work, they should be free to pursue it voluntarily, without the sort of strident vilification from the gay lobby that we saw in the press three years ago.

For the Mail on Sunday to report this as “calling for gay cures on the NHS” is perverse, defamatory, and a deliberate attempt (in my considered view) to damage a leading candidate in a high-profile by-election.  It is (again in my considered view) a prima facie breach of electoral law.  In fact their headline is false in every possible respect — except that they got my age right.

The Huffington Post (and other media outlets) repeated the Mail’s story, again without any attempt to check with me, and it has now passed into the social media as an established fact, proving again the clichéd adage that “A lie is half way round the world before the truth has got its boots on”.  No doubt it will be repeated for years.  But it was, is, and remains, a lie.


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24 Responses to Lies, Damned Lies and Newspaper reports

  1. Except of course, these days you can disintermediate the newspapers and publish a blog. Which anyone can look up on google for years.

    Incidentally, are you planning to pursue a case under election law?

  2. Roger Clague says:

    You did very well in Newark. What people remember is that you expressed your views and stuck with them. Congratulations on your new job leading the UKIP MEP’s

  3. Jane Davies says:

    This is an outrage Roger….is there nothing you can do?

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Thanks Jane. I forgot to mention — in each of these cases, we have a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission.

      • Maureen Gannon says:

        Good Glad you are fighting back Roger. it was obvious that a propaganda war was going on , indeed at one stage I thought Geobbels had been reincarnated., so you did more than good to do as well as you did.

      • George Morley says:

        Good for you Roger as I agree with the ladies, Jane and Maureen.
        Totally unwarranted and deserves to be corrected by apology and public declaration of same.

  4. Anne says:

    It matters not one jot what anyone else, other than UKIP may have to say-words will indeed be twisted and twisted again what ever YOU or anyone else in UKIP have to say. Like the fool I was, but in my Defence, I used to vote for the Conservatives, (though I am not in any Political Party-never have been and never will be) because of the one and only GREAT Conservative Politician that led us through that last World War. Sadly, present day Conservatives do not even come up to his knees. My vote, as did my vote in the last General Election will indeed go to UKIP.

  5. 1957chev says:

    One of the few things you can count on a Liberal to do, is lie. And it is always done to either slander an opponent, or defraud huge sums of money. No one with a functioning brain, would believe a word they say.

    • Hugh Davis says:

      Except that the Daily Mail and Sun could not be described as “Liberal” in any political sense – for that reason their defamatory claims were all the more shocking!
      The Guardian, Observer, Independent and BBC all deal in lies on a daily basis, but one expects better from newspapers that claim to speak for “the man in the street”.

  6. Sue them, make them pay for their lies.

  7. Jane Davies says:

    I would have voted for UKIP but once again my ballot papers arrived just two days before the election, surely in this day and age one should be able to vote on-line? Twenty days at least are needed to post to Canada and back again and using snail mail robs me and fellow overseas voters of our right to vote. Can something be done before the next election…please?

  8. Charles Wardrop says:

    A very sad and dishonest lying-twisting of your statements, which needs to be dealt with by the PCC, who are, one hopes, not made up of “liberal” apologists of a psychopathic attitude to truth and falshood.

  9. catalanbrian says:

    It seems to me that the only people who have a congenital disposition to have a psychopathic attitude to truth and falsehood are the climate change denying, anti EU (and pretty much everyone else) UKIPPERS. Perhaps I am wrong but that is what I interpret from the blogs of RH.

    • ian wragg says:

      What a nasty small minded post. Believing in Britain and against most of the PC crap is nothing to be ashamed of. Having just returned from Europe and seen 1st hand the youth unemployment especially in Italy and Spain it is obvious the EU is a joke. The people of Croatia are against joining the Euro and the locals are asking for payment in Kuna. More people wakening up to the train crash of EU membership.

      • catalanbrian says:

        Just read the postings from the UKIP supporters on this blog to see nasty small minded posts. Being anti UKIP and pro EU does not in any way mean that I do not believe in Britain, and I am not ashamed of it. On the other hand those who obsessively “believe in Britain” to the exclusion of everyone else should be ashamed of themselves. As to the “PC crap” that is all a matter of perception. The youth unemployment in Spain (I do not know about Italy, but suspect it is similar) is down to the austerity measures forced upon this nation as a result of the greed of bankers who gambled with our money and lost.

      • Maureen Gannon says:

        Well said Ian, always makes me laugh when called a deny-er when the pro’s do not see the reality of their utophia.

    • George Morley says:

      cantalabrian underlined.
      Actually climate change is happening all the time but throwing money at it will just make you poorer but you are happy to throw it obviously like you do insults which shows a lack of intellect but that is you.

      • catalanbrian says:

        The insults to which you refer, George, are a direct quote from a post that was originally made by Charles Wardrop on this blog. So it is OK for UKIPpers to be offensive but not OK for the same words to be used about UKIPpers? Mmmmm.

    • Charles Wardrop says:

      Good for you to admit you might be in the wrong!
      Not a bit common in people of your persuasion, in my experience, but intellectually and morally realistic, unlike most with leftish views.

  10. Jane Davies says:

    If I use a quote I find it best to allude to the person who made the original comment, that way there is no misunderstanding.

  11. George Morley says:

    They were your words catalanbrian and you were not ‘quoting’ or you would have said so as normal people do but obviously you cannot think for yourself. Plagiarism comes to mind.

    • catalanbrian says:

      Clearly you do not read this blog. Just read it to see where my words came from. Clearly you wish to be offensive, well that is your problem. As you said that shows a lack of intellect – see your post above.

      • George Morley says:

        The truth will out I say. Re read it yourself. (not hiding behind a pseudonym – real name)

  12. George Morley (realname) says:

    Clearly some people do not like to hear the truth about themselves and hide behind a pseudonym.

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