A University of London lecturer has compared Nigel Farage and UKIP to the regime of Hugo Chavez, the late Venezuelan communist dictator. However, Dr Ryan Brading – a teaching fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) – was seemingly unaware that one of the posters he used to make his point was in fact a satirical fake, reading: “Guess whose children EU migrants want to eat… Vote UKIP on Thursday May 22nd.”
Dr Brading is an expert on the Chavez’s ultra-socialist regime, and the lecture drew comparisons between the former dictator and Nigel Farage. Chavez was widely suspected of the murder of political opponents and the disappearance of others.
The lecture was entitled “From populist rage to institutional norms. The case of Venezuela and UKIP” and was delivered on day three of a conference entitled “Populismus: analysing political discourse”.
Dr Brading appeared unaware that the poster was a fake, with an out take now appearing on YouTube much to the amusement of UKIP supporters. When he showed the slide of the poster he said: “So this starts to become very very aggressive and getting right to the point.”
He went on to use this as evidence to claim UKIP had a policy specifically against the Roma community, despite the ethnic group not having been named. Brading also used the term “gypsie” to refer to them, which is generally considered to be derogatory.
He said: “Eat: they want to eat your children, the EU immigrants, all the gypsies. I think they are talking about the Romanians, all the gypsies.”
Later on, Brading also repeated the claim that UKIP had said every man, woman and child from Romania and Bulgaria would come to the UK when they gained the right of free movement. In fact UKIP repeatedly said that 29 million Romanian’s and Bulgarian’s would only have the right to come here, not that they necessarily all would.
This was the centre of their claim that the EU had “opened the door to 29 million Romanian’s and Bulgarian’s”.
“Populism” is a favoured insult thrown as those opposed to European integration, as pro-Europeans claim parties are pandering to the wishes of the public rather than doing what is right. Those opposed to the EU argue that in a democracy political leaders have a duty to follow the public’s wishes.
Dr Brading did not reply to our requests for a comment.