I Went To The UKIP Diversity Carnival And It Was A Total Disaster

Nigel Farage’s party organised a racial diversity event in Croydon. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

1. Welcome to Croydon on Tuesday afternoon, where UKIP is holding a racial diversity carnival.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

Nigel Farage’s party have had a few issues with race, so they’ve decided to put on a carnival, complete with steel band, to show that they don’t have any problems with race.

2. Just to ram the point home, the carnival was being held outside Croydon’s Whitgift Shopping Centre, with this tasteful sign.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

3. First problem: The steel band weren’t told this would be a UKIP event when they were booked.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

UKIP candidate Winston McKenzie apparently told them they were playing outside a shopping centre. They deny knowing anything about politics but bravely agree to play on and stay out of it.

(McKenzie is a former boxer and peripheral figure on the fringes of UKIP who has previously been involved with the Conservatives, Lib Dems, Labour and Veritas. This is his show.)

4. Second problem: Opponents soon turn up. And they’re not going to shut up.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

5. The band are ordered to get playing by a female UKIP press officer who’s looking nervous. Under orders they start drumming, reluctantly, in the name of UKIP racial diversity or something.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

6. And we’re off. CARNIVAL!!!

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

7. CARNIVAL!!!!

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

8. CARNIV— Oh. This UKIP man isn’t really getting into the spirit.

9. In fact it’s all going a bit wrong. No one’s smiling. Everyone’s getting angry. Where is the love?

UKIP carnival seems to be over after 3 minutes. Now just men shouting "not racist" at cameras.

— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson)

10. Basically within about three minutes the event is in disarray.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

11. Winston McKenzie is now involved in a pitched argument with most of the UK’s political correspondents, a couple of passersby and sometimes his fellow UKIP candidates.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

12. This bloke on the left is with UKIP. He’s just realised that he’s got a disaster on his hands, and Nigel Farage is due to turn up any minute now.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

There are easier ways to make a living.

13. After one tune the drummers down their sticks and start arguing with McKenzie for allegedly booking them on false pretences.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

14. Somewhere in the middle of this a man has turned up and is calling for total class war.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

15. McKenzie tries to reassure the band he booked that EVERYTHING IS OK. (It isn’t.)

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

16. Meanwhile this UKIP candidate emerges from the scrum. She tells BuzzFeed she left Labour because it moved to the right under Tony Blair and UKIP is now the only party for her.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

17. We ask another voter to explain what’s going on. Apparently oblivious to the shouting behind him, he says this is the main reason to vote UKIP.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

18. An advertising van turns up to display pro-UKIP slogans. A rumour starts to do the rounds that Nigel Farage is within the van, about to jump out as if he were in a giant wedding cake. No such luck.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

19. Instead we turn to Winston McKenzie to keep the party running.

20. Which works well for about 30 seconds until Anthony St Croix turns up.

21. He starts getting angry about comments a UKIP candidate made about Lenny Henry having the option to leave the UK.

22. So, in the name of CARNIVAL SPIRIT, Winston McKenzie wades in to explain that UKIP’s not racist.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

23. Meanwhile this UKIP supporter keeps asking a woman to take down a sign comparing the party to the Nazis. “That’s not on.”

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

24. Everyone’s forgotten about the band, who have now packed up and are pretty pissed off.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

They’re also wondering whether there’s any chance of them getting paid for the afternoon’s work. Right now it’s not looking hopeful.

25. This is Peter Kirby, the local UKIP branch secretary. He’s pretty optimistic about the whole thing and just wants to talk about EU budget figures.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

26. Unfortunately not many other people want to do that right now because it’s still kicking off.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

27. The UKIP press officer on the left admits Nigel Farage is now unlikely to turn up. Because it’s a total disaster.

This UKIP man says 90% sure Farage not coming, Michael Crick suitably saddened as a result.

— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson)

28. Dirk Muller, a UKIP council candidate who is originally from Germany but has lived in Britain since the ’80s, said Nigel Farage should apologise to people for not turning up in Croydon.

His wife doesn’t quite stick to the script. Regarding Farage’s comments over Romanians, she says: “I don’t think the apology was strong enough” and calls for him to go on the news and apologise for flirting with racism.

29. Winston McKenzie, who shows no sign of realising that he’s organised an event that will go down as one of the greatest disasters in recent British political history, keeps battling.

Winston McKenzie refuses to confirm that he was on phone to Nigel, says Croydon is "too dangerous" right now.

— Jim Waterson (@jimwaterson)

30. THE EARTHQUAKE IS STILL COMING, with or without the CARNIVAL, he explains.

McKenzie, UKIP candidate for Croydon council, goes on to explain that Croydon is “unsafe” for Nigel Farage to visit and is also “a dump”.

Just to make things better.

31. And then the local schoolkids arrive and we’re left with a handful of UKIP activists having the piss taken out of them by children.

32. But the worst bit? Endurance, the band booked to provide the Carnival vibes to help UKIP overcome their image issues, admitted to BuzzFeed that they hadn’t even been paid.

Jim Waterson / BuzzFeed

Members of Endurance Steel told BuzzFeed that the event had left them £350 out of pocket as McKenzie did not return with the fee that had been promised.

33. Still, same time next year?

update

After reading this article XPatJobs, an employment agency that specialises in overseas job listings, has agreed to cover the £350 fee to the steel band that UKIP did not pay.

“It was a decision made after seeing the circumstances the steel band were expected to play under and then hearing via BuzzFeed they had not been paid as promised,” a spokesman said. “XPatJobs has offered to pay the band and will sort out arrangements in the next couple of days.”

Our cheque is in the post to @EnduranceSteel for the fee that UKIP failed to pay for the #ukipcarnival @jimwaterson

— Xpatjobs (@xpatjobs)

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Jim Waterson is politics editor at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.
 
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