Bloom in 2009
|Member of the European Parliament
for Yorkshire and the Humber
1 May 2004 – 2 July 2014
|Preceded by||Robert Goodwill|
|Succeeded by||Jane Collins|
22 November 1949 |
Lewisham, London, England
|Political party||UK Independence Party (1998-2014)
|Residence||Wressle, East Riding of Yorkshire|
|Profession||Soldier, financial economist|
Godfrey William Bloom TD (born 22 November 1949) is a British former politician who served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Yorkshire and the Humber from 2004 to 2014. He was elected for the UK Independence Party in the European elections of 2004 and 2009, representing UKIP until September 2013, when UKIP withdrew the party whip from him. He then sat as an Independent until the end of his term of office in May 2014. Bloom subsequently resigned his UKIP party membership on 13 October 2014.
During his tenure, he received attention for making remarks considered objectionable by his party leader, for his opinions concerning climate change and for making other controversial comments. On 20 September 2013, UKIP withdrew the party whip from Bloom after he struck journalist Michael Crick in the street with a conference brochure, threatened a second reporter, and at the party's conference jokingly referred to his female audience as sluts. Bloom resigned his party whip from UKIP on 24 September 2013 and thereafter sat as an Independent MEP until the end of his term in office on 2 July 2014.
Bloom was born on 22 November 1949, the son of Alan Bloom and his wife, Phyllis. His father served as a fighter pilot during the Second World War. Bloom was educated at St Olave's Grammar School, the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and the Royal College of Defence Studies. In 1986, he married Katryna (Katie) Skowronek, an equine physiotherapist.
Bloom worked as a financial economist. In 1996 he warned, in Money Marketing, that "split caps" were not the solid safe investment people thought, and later in the year explained in Financial Adviser the dangers of what was to become "precipice bonds". In 1996 he was part of Francis Maude's regulatory consultancy panel from which he later resigned. In his last position, he worked as the director of the investment company TBO in which he is a major shareholder.
In 2004, Bloom's election to the Yorkshire and the Humber seat was UKIP's first seat in the region in the European elections. In 2009, he was re-elected. In the parliament Bloom was a member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality.
On 20 September 2013, during its party conference, UKIP withdrew the whip from Bloom. At a party conference meeting he had jokingly referred to his female audience as sluts. Subsequently, he got into a confrontation with journalist Michael Crick in the streets, hitting him over the head with the conference brochure, and allegedly threatened ITV reporter Paul Brand, by saying, "You treat me badly, you'll get a lot worse than that (Crick's slap) ... that is a threat to any journalist."
On 24 September 2013 he resigned his UKIP party whip, while retaining his party membership. His statement said: "I have felt for some time now that the 'New UKIP' is not really right for me any more". He also threatened Crick again, saying that he was thinking of taking up shooting and that "Michael Crick might be the first cartridge, if it isn't my own party chairman."
Bloom and Crick met again in May 2014. The two shook hands and had lunch together and Bloom thanked Crick, describing the incident as a "defining moment" that made him realise that he "wasn’t really suited to party politics".
In December 2013, as a result of his various controversies, Bloom was awarded the Plain English Campaign's Foot in Mouth Award. A spokesman said that Bloom was "an overwhelming choice" who "could easily have won this award on at least two other occasions... [he's] a wince-inducing gaffe machine and we could fill a page or two with his ill-advised quotes from 2013 alone."
Views and controversies
Banking and financial crisis
Bloom was ejected from the Mansion House in 2009 for heckling Lord Turner for giving staff bonuses after the massive regulatory failure of 2008/9. According to the Daily Telegraph he was the first man to be ejected since John Wilkes in the late-18th century. In a letter to UKIP, Turner wrote that "Mr Bloom will not be receiving any further invitations to Mansion House events nor will be welcome at the Brussels Annual reception [...] As to future Mansion House events we will be seeking a different MEP from UKIP as a potential guest." Bloom signed the petition in disgust at the knighthood for the failures of Hector Sants.
Bloom was a co-author of Wolfson Prize Economics Submission with Professor Pat Barron and Professor Philipp Bagus. He warned that credit agencies would be "castrated" by too much regulation of the EU. Bloom claims that most MEPs have "little or no business experience" and do not understand the consequences of their actions.
A few weeks after being appointed to the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality on 20 July 2004, Bloom told an interviewer that, "no self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age." Around the same time, he said that "I just don't think [women] clean behind the fridge enough" and that "I am here to represent Yorkshire women who always have dinner on the table when you get home." Bloom told BBC Radio 4's Today that his comments were "said for fun" to illustrate a more serious point, that equal-rights legislation was, he claimed, putting women out of work.
Bloom confessed that he had visited brothels in Hong Kong. He claimed he never consummated the visits, and also claimed "terrified young women beaten into prostitution often from Eastern Europe [...] is only a very small aspect of the flesh trade", and concluded that "in short, most girls do it because they want to."
After inviting students from the University of Cambridge Women's Rugby Club to Brussels in 2004, he was accused of sexual assault, making "sexist and misogynistic remarks" and using offensive language during a dinner party. One student handed a formal letter of protest to the President of the European Parliament, heavily criticising Bloom's behaviour. Bloom, who sponsored the club with £3,000 a year, admitted making misogynist comments, but denied sexual harassment.
In a piece for politics.co.uk in August 2013, Bloom attempted to set the record straight about his earlier comments on gender equality. He argued against quotas for women in boardrooms, claimed that feminism was a "passing fashion" created by "shrill, bored, middle-class women of a certain physical genre" and that any men who supported feminism were "the slightly effete politically correct chaps who get sand kicked in their face on the beach." He said that women were better at "[finding] the mustard in the pantry" than driving a car.
Bloom rejects anthropogenic global warming. He said in 2009: "As far as I am concerned man-made global warming is nothing more than a hypothesis that hasn't got any basis in fact. Every day more scientists are modifying their initial views".
Rainbow Warrior bombing
At the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Bloom was filmed in front of the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior II, saying, "Here we have one of the most truly fascist boats since 1945, well done the French for sinking one of these things." He was referring to the 1985 bombing of the ship's predecessor by French government agents, in which Dutch photographer Fernando Pereira was killed. After criticism, the video was removed from Bloom's YouTube channel and he said he had forgotten about the death.
In December 2008, Bloom was carried out by an intern after making a speech in the European Parliament while drunk, the second occasion on which he was accused of being drunk in the chamber. During the speech, Bloom said that the MEPs from Poland, the Czech Republic and Latvia don't understand economic relations. In February 2012, Bloom interrupted a debate with the question whether the Cambridge University Women's Rugby team should wear their logo on the front or back of their shirts. Later he admitted consuming alcohol and "very heavy" prescription painkillers after breaking his collarbone in a riding accident.
On 24 November 2010, Bloom was ejected from the European Parliament after directing a Nazi slogan at German MEP Martin Schulz who was speaking in a debate on the economic crisis in Ireland. Bloom interrupted Schulz and shouted "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer" at him. He then proceeded to call the latter "an undemocratic fascist", a remark for which he was removed from the chamber. Labour MEP group leader Glenis Willmott described his behavior as "an insult to all those who have fought against fascism" whilst Liberal Democrat group leader Fiona Hall described him as a "national embarrassment".
At the height of the 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal, Bloom complained about the lack of manners of the political class. On his website, he pointed out that, unlike many others, he would not employ family members in his parliamentary staff. Bloom later conceded that three members of his staff were also employed part-time at TBO, the company in which he is a major shareholder, and one of these is his wife's niece. Bloom failed to declare his interest in TBO to European Parliament officials and in 2008 Bloom's company TBO was fined £28,000 by the Financial Services Authority for 'posing an "unacceptable risk" to customers' In August 2014 TBO were fined and ordered to pay more than £2m in damages to a retired couple, having ignored their request for cautious financial planning and "gambled" almost all their clients' money on high risk investments with an almost complete loss.
In July 2013, Bloom made a speech about Britain's foreign aid in which he referred to countries as "Bongo Bongo Land". A video was passed to The Guardian newspaper. A spokesman for UKIP was reported as saying that Bloom's remarks were being "discussed right at the very highest level of the party". After refusing to apologise, he later said he regretted the comments but clarified it by saying that whilst he intended it to be derogatory, he regretted that it had caused offence and he didn't mean it to be racist. Party leader Nigel Farage later asked him not to use the phrase again.
In January 2014, broadcaster Michael Crick stated that while supporting the motion "Post-war Britain has seen too much immigration" in a debate at the Oxford Union, Bloom asked a disabled student who was speaking against the motion if he was Richard III. According to Crick, Bloom told him that the student had taken his remark "in good spirit" with both sharing drinks during an after-debate reception, suggesting Crick confirm this with the student. Crick followed up the suggestion whereby the student accepted Bloom's version of events, stating that, although the comment was not "very nice," he and Bloom got on well, and that Bloom was "a very interesting man to talk to." Fellow supporter of the motion, journalist and author Douglas Murray, described Bloom's comment as "gruesome" and "the cruellest thing."
- "Godfrey Bloom quits as UKIP MEP after 'sluts' joke row", BBC News, 24 September 2013
- "Godfrey Bloom To Quit As Ukip MEP After 'Sluts' Row", The Huffington Post, 24 September 2013
- Natalie Clarke "His (many) enemies call Mr Bongo Bongo a sexist monster... so what's it like to be married to him? Wife of UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom reveals all", mailonline, 16 August 2013
- "Godfrey Bloom Leaves UKIP". ITV News. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
- "Selfish Godfrey Bloom's 'sluts' slur has killed Ukip conference, says Nigel Farage". The Telegraph. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "Godfrey Bloom: UKIP MEP Calls Women 'Sluts'". Sky News. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "Godfrey Bloom". European Parliament. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
- "Bloom, Godfrey", Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online ed., Oxford University Press, November 2014 (subscription required). Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- Sarah Rainey (24 August 2013). "I used to beat up lads like the PM, says 'Bongo Bongo' Bloom". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
- "UKIP wins first seat in region". BBC. 14 June 2004.
- "UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom pays assistants who also work for his investment firm". The Times. 30 May 2009.
- "Godfrey Bloom: UKIP MEP Calls Women 'Sluts'", Sky.com, 20 September 2013
- Rowena Mason "Ukip's Godfrey Bloom has whip removed after 'sluts' remark", theguardian.com, 20 September 2013
- "Ukip conference in chaos after Godfrey Bloom hits journalist". politics.co.uk. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
- "Thwack! MEP's blunders derail Ukip party conference", Channel 4 News, 20 September 2013
- "Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom whacks Michael Crick over the head with party brochure", telegraph.co.uk, 20 September 2013
- "'Sluts' MEP quits UKIP with parting shot at party and threatens to shoot reporter who helped bring about his downfall". Daily Mail. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "Friends reunited: Godfrey Bloom & Michael Crick share a beer". Channel 4 News. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
- "2013 Foot in Mouth award winner". Plain English Campaign. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "Foot in mouth gong for Godfrey Bloom, Yorkshire and Humber MEP". BBC News. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "No more Bloom for Mansion House". Daily Telegraph. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- City Diary (3 October 2009). "No more Bloom and bust for Mansion House". Telegraph. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "Home". Vonmisesinstitute-europe.org. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "The Wolfson prize" (PDF). www.godfreybloommep.co.uk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- "MEP: Strict regulation will castrate rating agencies". FTAdvisor. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- Daniel, Mark (2005). Cranks and gadflies: the story of UKIP. Timewell Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-1-85725-209-5.
- Booth, Jenny (20 July 2004). "UKIP man champions a woman's right to clean fridges". London: TimesOnline.
- "UKIP MEP in row over working women". BBC. 21 July 2004.
- "Brothel visit: Euro MP under fire after saying most prostitutes not exploited". Yorkshire post. 22 October 2004. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- "UKIP Man in Brussels faces harassment claim after trying to quash his sexist reputation". The Independent. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- "Harrassment [sic] case MEP brings debate to Bowtell" (PDF). Varsity (Cambridge University student newspaper). 22 October 2004. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- "Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom disparages women drivers, feminists... and mild-mannered men". The Independent. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Comment: Let's face it – men and women are different". politics.co.uk. 20 August 2013. Archived from the original on 24 May 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- Climate change: man-made or myth? Len Tingle, BBC News, 1 October 2009.
- "Rainbow Warrior bombing praised". The New Zealand Herald. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
- "MEP Godfrey Bloom hails Greenpeace ship attack". BBC News. 10 February 2010.
- John Vidal "Godfrey Bloom 'forgot' Rainbow Warrior death during Copenhagen rant", theguardian.com (blog), 5 February 2010
- Hannan, Daniel (10 December 2008). "A drunk Eurosceptic makes more sense than a sober federalist". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- "UKIP MEP makes Euro Parliament speech on booze and drugs cocktail". Political Scrapbook. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- "UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom ejected over Nazi jibe". Bbc.co.uk. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "Political Scrapbook".
- "Former Ukip bad boy Godfrey Bloom 'horrified' as his firm is fined for gambling couple's £2m - New Articles - The Independent". Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- Mason, Rowena (6 August 2013). "Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom criticises aid to 'bongo bongo land'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
- "UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom 'has regret' over 'Bongo Bongo' phrase". BBC. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Peter Dominiczak "Godfrey Bloom says he’s promised Nigel Farage not to say ‘bongo bongo land’", telegraph.co.uk, 7 August 2013
- "Ex-Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom: Ban Jobless and Public Sector Workers from Voting". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
- Crick, Michael; "Godfrey Bloom does it again, only worse", Channel 4 News, 24 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014
- Douglas Murray "My night with Godfrey Bloom", The Spectator (blog), 25 January 2014
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