About once a week, a UKIP councillor puts one or both feet in their mouth so hard they either have to be disciplined or dismissed. This column is a semi-admirable, quasi-regular effort to keep track of such people in the run-up to the General Election.
Who? Ya boy Patrick Bergin.
Where? The borough of Gosport, where Bergin is the councillor for the ward of Rowner and Holbrook.
What's He Done? Shared a load of Facebook posts by far-right nationalist party Britain First ("WELL DONE TO BOLTON COUNCIL! THE COUNCIL HAS VOTED TO ENCOURAGE SCHOOLS TO FLY THE UNION FLAG AND SING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IN ASSEMBLIES! SHARE IF YOU THINK EVERY COUNCIL SHOULD BE DOING THIS!") on his public Facebook page, as well as joining the Pegida UK Facebook group and posting a big long bore about "the Muslim threat" in this country and how something needs to be done about it.
In His Defence? In his defence, the Britain First Facebook page is clearly run by some very savvy social media minds, who could probably walk into a £40k digital ad agency job if they could just figure out how to make a Facebook post that isn't a picture of a Spitfire and some curlicue handwriting that says "Our Boys". Their racism is really shareable.
Oh But Also: But also, as Hope Not Hate reports, Bergin's Facebook page is littered with Roy "Chubby" Brown jokes, like, "Got a new Jack Russell pup today – he's mainly black and brown with a small white area, so I called him Bradford" and "The lead actor of the local pantomime production of Aladdin was anally raped by the gay genie on stage last night – to be fair the audience did try and warn him", which doesn't even make sense as a joke.
How Are UKIP Coping with This? Steven Crowther, the UKIP chairman who told all the UKIP councillors to stay off Twitter and Facebook back in December, is probably just holding the bridge of his nose really hard and reaching for his desk whiskey, because they are yet to comment.
How Is Patrick Bergin Coping with This? By yawning open his mouth as wide as it will go, swallowing both feet and sending an incensed email to Hope Not Hate, where he reiterated his belief that all every Muslim in the UK has to do to get him onside is publicly renounce jihadism. That's all they have to do.
"Today, I are mostly proper pissed off with the attention that I have got from the powers that be, simply because Hope not Hate have published an article about me," he wrote on Facebook [sic]. "My PPC has been told to unfriend me, "The News" (the main local paper in my area), have called me to say they are doing a piece on Monday, so would I confirm or deny the postings that have been attributed to me. I haven't had time to cook myself a breakfast yet and the world appears to be closing in." Tenner bet says the man has a Full English every day.
He added in the letter (also published on Facebook): "I absolutely stand by my opinion that Muslims in this Country need to step up to the plate and denounce the would be jihadists, and I absolutely stand by my view that unless the Muslim community in the UK have the courage to denounce the jihadists, then things could get really ugly." He then added that all the jokes he shared on his Facebook page were just that, jokes – "I do post jokes that I get from a number of sources [...] if they make me laugh then I tend to share them" – which is alright, isn't it? It's like saying you're not racist, you just really enjoy explicitly racist jokes. Bergin also offered Hope Not Hate out for a debate at his ward, the "see you in the pub carpark" of political score-setting.
What Next for The Berg? Not clear, yet, but to say UKIP have form for getting rid of embarrassing councillors – Rozanne Duncan was kicked out of the party in December after telling the BBC she had a problem with "negroes" because there was "something about their faces" – Bergz can either expect whatever the political equivalent of a P45 is or, at the very least, a curt phonecall telling him to go to Facebook dot com and l o g o f f.
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