"I think as a nation, we should celebrate how far we’ve come. We should stop beating ourselves up on the issue of racism – regardless of whether other politicians want to keep beating our country up over it or not." - UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP in the Daily Express.
•There's a little bit more about yesterday’s [12.03.2015] media circus surrounding my comments on British jobs and discrimination than meets the eye.
Politics can be a funny old business. I got up on Thursday morning, put the kettle on, made a cup of tea, lit a cigarette, and listened to the 6am news.
My mind was full with the day ahead, and little did I expect the shock that I got with the second news item: “Ukip leader Nigel Farage wishes to abolished all race relations laws in Britain”. I nearly spat my tea out.
I never said that. What on earth were they talking about?
It emerged that the top news line had come from an interview that I’d done with Trevor Phillips as part of a Channel 4 documentary which had been recorded back in September.
To be honest, I’d forgotten I’d even done it. The phone started ringing. Newspapers. TV companies. My press office. And I agreed to get to London and start doing some interviews.
I made the point that I clearly remembered saying in the interviews that I thought the law on employment needed changing.
I believe that employers and especially our millions of small businessmen and women should be able to employ British people in preference to Southern or Eastern Europeans, without fear of breaking the race relations laws.
Yes I am not joking. If a white person from Poland is seen to be discriminated against – that is considered a breach of race relations.
I defended my ground all morning and kept repeatedly saying that I had not advocated the abolition of the Race Relations Act.
As the day progressed, the reactions from our political class grew increasingly hysterical.
Ed Miliband condemned me, and even the Prime Minister took to Twitter to condemn me, perhaps confirming his own warning that "too many tweets…” - you know the rest.
One Conservative MP even compared me to the Nazi propagandist, Joseph Goebbels.
I was still mystified as to why any broadcaster or political opponent thought I’d said we should get rid of all race laws.
Until much later in the day when I actually had time to read the transcript of the lengthy interview between Trevor Phillips – who incidentally I found charming – and me.
He asked me a question which effectively asked if I thought this country was in the same place as we were 40 years ago. I replied, “No. In Ukip, we are colour blind.” And it’s true.
I am proud of the fact that in Ukip we don’t use positive discrimination, we don’t use quotas for women, black people, Asian people, or minorities of any kind. We don’t need to.
We are an open-minded, fair and eclectic political party. We treat people for who they are, and on merit.
And that was the answer that I was giving to Mr Phillips’ question that caused most of the row.
I said I’d be minded to scrap much of the legislation, especially from the European Union, which is complex, convoluted, and puts off potential employers.