Dear Nigel Farage
Dear Mr Farage
Yet again one of your candidates is reported to have made discriminatory comments. This time it wasnt just someone who had once been a member of your party. Who had at some point in the past stood for a council seat under UKIP colours.
No. This time it was one of your parliamentary candidates. Selected to stand in a seat your party is touting as one where it has the best chance of winning come the May 7th General Election.
His name is Kerry Smith. His comments, made in a recorded telephone call, are reported in the Mail on Sunday here.
As you can see, Mr Smith's comments were racist. He was rude about residents of one part of the constituency He was also pretty rude about you. Most importantly for me, he was also homophobic.
Apparently the excuse this time was that he was on medication at the time and somehow didn't understand what he was saying.
These words aren't the language of hallucination. The are not the words of someone afflicted with a passing, chemically induced case of Tourettes syndrome.
They are the visceral, learnt, believed words of someone who discriminates. Someone who looks down on others. Someone who belittles those different to him.
I've been a parliamentary candidate. I've been subject to scrutiny far greater than that which Mr Smith has so far faced. I know the pressures. I also understand that no matter how, when or why I discussed other people I would never, ever use the language he used.
Mr Smith referred to a lady of Chinese heritage as a 'chinky'. He used the term 'poofters' to describe your party's own LGBTQ supporters.
Casual, easy discriminatory language we have seen your members use before.
And yet, once again, given the opportunity to condemn these words you have failed to do so.
Why am I bothered? Let me remind you why that might be the case.
I'm one of those 'poofters'. One of those 'BLT' people.
I'm one who's married. And who, with my husband, has adopted two children. You might therefore understand why I'm just a little offended by Mr Smith's remarks and those of Roger Helmer and John Lyndon Sullivan before him.
I'm gay for the same reason I like the colour blue, love the smell of woodsmoke and hate beetroot. It's part of me. I believe God made me that way.
Certainly, no one persuaded me to like blue, I wasn't 'educated' to like the smell of woodsmoke, I wasn't indoctrinated by beetroot hating adults during my formative years.
The fact is I tried having girlfriends. I tried to conform to the 'norm'. Really, I did. But at the end of the day I just preferred men. And then I had the epiphany of meeting J, my partner.
At that moment my heart leapt. My head spun. My world suddenly seemed so much better, brighter, happier. It really was love at first sight and that love had grown, deepening and widening every day since then. J's two years younger than me, two inches shorter, just slightly wider and a big hairy man!
We 'married'. We then adopted our first child. A little boy, whose previous abuse had been such that he had lost much of the trust he had in women. We, a male couple, were a perfect match for him. Helping our son understand his past. Correcting. Reframing. Reinterpreting the horrors he had seen.
Our daughter, coming from a similar background, has enhanced and enriched our family to all our benefits, most particularly our son's.
Perhaps you can see why my offence is so profound at your members statements. They both individually and collectively condemn my love for my husband. They belittle the love for my family. They make everything that little bit worse.
On previous occasions you have condemned members of your party who have made discriminatory remarks.
Godfrey Bloom made misogynistic comments and was expelled from UKIP. William Henwood made racist comments about Lenny Henry and was forced to resign from the party. Andre Lampitt, used in your election broadcasts, was suspended for making racist comments on twitter.
And yet you refuse to apply the same sanction to homophobes. A homophobe who advocates shooting people because they are different to him. A homophobe who says many people find homosexuality 'distasteful if not viscerally repugnant' and suggests being gay is akin to a mental health problem. A homophobe who refers to your LGBT supporters as 'F***ing disgusting old poofters'.
I think you choose not to condemn your homophobic supporters because you know most people in the gay community don't support you anyway. It's therefore politically expedient of you to suggest you have sympathy with those who agree with your supporters' homophobic views. You bolster your core support that way.
The political cost amongst the gay community is negligible. So it doesn't matter to you.
But it does matter Mr Farage. It matters very much. Your tacit support for a homophobe suggests that it's OK to be homophobic. It's OK to be prejudiced. It's acceptable to despise my lifestyle. It's allowed to discriminate against my family.
And when you don't condemn your homophobic supporters' behaviour it tells people much less pleasant than you that it's OK to continue dreaming of a world where discrimination is entrenched. Where it is supported by the State. Where only their view will prevail.
Our children have been through so much. They are growing and blossoming in a tolerant, accepting, inclusive community.
Mr Smith's, Mr Helmer's, Mr Lyndon Sullivan's comments, and your failure to condemn them, make our children's journey just that little bit harder. That little bit more dangerous. That little bit more like the world from which they were rescued.
Shame on you.