Phillip Collins has been reinstated now, but things were still a bit awkward.
Last week, it was reported that I'd played a part in getting my local UK Independence Party (UKIP) chairman fired, after an interview for VICE in which he expressed concerns about Muslim breeding rates and explained why every city needs holding cells for illegal immigrants. Phillip Collins is the (recently reinstated) chairman of UKIP Bristol and an ex-judo instructor who is built like a brick shit house. He also threatened to "make [me] unhappy" if I misrepresented his views, which made the idea of a follow-up interview slightly intimidating.
Initially, Phillip was quite angry when I called to arrange a second meeting – he said I'd misquoted him (I hadn't) and that I didn't mention I'd be recording our conversation on a dictaphone (I had, and it was on the table the entire time). He also said that the part at the end of the interview where he'd threaten to come find me if I misquoted him wasn't a threat of violence at all. He meant that he'd "come and see" me and "tell me [his] views", rather than beat me up. Although obviously if he wanted to he could, he said, because he's "a 3rd Dan judo instructor". Luckily, he's also "not a violent person".
After the initial awkwardness, Phillip didn't seem to mind too much that the world thought he'd been sacked and banned from UKIP as long as I bought the coffees and didn’t interrupt him mid-rant. The guy's loud, stands about two inches from your face and gets quite red-faced when he talks – it's always awkward, but in all honesty no more than that.
Since our first interview ran on VICE, and the quotes from it were picked up by the BBC and the Huffington Post among others, Phillip has been on the radio with UKIP Executive Chairman Steve Crowder, who’s now backed him to run in local elections next May. He was also keen to show me email and SMS inboxes on his phone that were apparently full of messages of support, so we thought we’d give him another opportunity to explain himself.
VICE: Hi Phil, what's up? What’s happened since last week’s interview?
Phillip Collins: I was suspended until investigation. The press office jumped the gun. I have been misrepresented by certain media which only used a small part of what I said. You should see my phone; I’ve had loads of messages of support from complete strangers. I’ve been getting phone calls in the night, emails from people I don’t know...
[We read a couple of Collins’ phone messages together]
Have you seen the piece online?
I haven't, it's only what people told me because I've been on the TV and I've been on the radio. More importantly, UKIP have not suspended me, they've re-instated me.
How has that worked?
I'm a committee member...
I didn't write the follow-up reports, but I've seen them. It says you won't be able to run in May.
They have said that I can stand next May. UKIP have apologised to me because the press office panicked.
In that case, could you clear up your views on the UK’s immigration policy for us?
It’s like trying to fit a pint and half of milk into a pint glass – it won’t fit. We haven’t got enough housing or schooling, and we’re shutting places down now because we can’t afford it. There are three million unemployed people and there are jobs for everyone if a certain number of immigrants went home.
Some of your potential voters in Bristol are going to be EU nationals. Does that worry you?
It doesn’t bother me at all. I’m here to represent the people of Bristol and the British community. I’m not here to represent everybody. I’m here to represent the large majority of British people that don’t want any more people coming to this country.
What are your thoughts on the next year and how UKIP will perform?
I believe in the May election we will win an awful lot more seats than people expect. People need to stand up and be outspoken and not be scared of what people say. A lot of British people don’t say what they want to say because they’re frightened; they don’t feel they have free speech any more. There’s nothing wrong with it. I have nothing against any person of any nationality, race or colour. I’ve got nothing against Muslims, Sikhs; God is God for anyone, whatever form it comes in. But I, as with the majority of the British public, don’t want this country to turn into a [religious] majority country other than Christian.
In certain countries women have to clothe up, don’t they? They can’t drink, they can’t do whatever. What you have to remember is that if, in 20, 30 or 40 years' time, Britain becomes a Muslim majority country, they’ll make British Christians dress up and make us do what they do in their countries. I have a UKIP DVD that says within 30 years this will be a Muslim country.
What about the Conservatives' plan to hold a referendum on membership of the European Union?
The vast majority of British people believe that David Cameron said if he gets re-elected in 2017 there will be a referendum. That is not what he said; he said that [we’ll have a referendum] under the provision that he doesn’t get the things he wants from the EU. We don’t know at this stage whether he wants a horse pasty or a packet of crisps. No way would Cameron openly give a referendum, it’s a carrot to get people to vote for them.
What do you think about the local Conservatives? Do you have any time for them?
You’ve never voted Conservative?
I have many, many years ago, maybe 20 years ago. Having got into politics in the last three years, I’ve realised that they [all the political parties] are all pretty mainstream now.
Can you see a situation where they go more to the right?
All the parties have got on the bandwagon of Europe. All the parties are saying about immigration, they have to because UKIP are doing so well.
Do you think that will undermine UKIP?
Follow Chris on Twitter: @MediaSpank
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