Another Change UK Euro candidate exits over controversial comments

Another day, another Change UK Euro candidate hastily departs. This time is Joseph Russo:

Joseph Russo, the Party’s lead candidate in Scotland, stepped down as a candidate after a string of offensive tweets sent from his account were revealed by journalist Alasdair Clark.

A 2012 tweet from his account read: “Black women scare me. I put this down to be[ing] chased through Amsterdam by a crazy black whore…”…

Last night, MMA fighter and former Tory Ali Sadjady was forced to step down as a candidate over tweets suggesting he would support Brexit if it stopped Romanian pickpockets. [Daily Mirror]

Part of what’s happened to Change UK is not surprising: selecting a large number of candidates at high speed with little time to vet them is a tough ask, as I warned back in March. That standards slipped is not surprising in those circumstances.

Another part of what’s happened is even deserving of some praise for Change UK. Whatever you think of their culpability for those two candidates slipping through their processes, the reaction in both cases was swift, decisive and correct.

What though depresses me is how two people who posted such controversial tweets about those of other races didn’t ever seem to stop and think, ‘this is going to be a problem’ before being caught out in public. Or if they did realise that such comments are so offensive, then they didn’t decide to do anything such as apologise in advance or pull out voluntarily first.

Being deliberately offensive in search of publicity, in a failed attempt at humour or because you lost your temper is bad enough. But to be offensive and then apparently not even realise that you’ve been so? That says a lot about how far we still have to go as a society.

UPDATE: And more candidate trouble for Change UK, this time with Jan Rostowski.

Jan Rostowski's hostile comments about gay people


3 responses to “Another Change UK Euro candidate exits over controversial comments”

  1. Social media is a drug that some people o/d on. Under its influence they get carried away. At the same time everyone wants to make hard hitting comments, particularly wannabe politicians whose nascent ambitions replace their commonsense. Any new party will attract a variety of oddballs who have a deep psychological need to be accepted and respected. Perhaps it is a good thing that with social media such people are now being detected straight away through their ineptitude.

  2. It may be possible to not even remember a single tweet made nine years ago, especially if it was an off-the-cuff remark meant to be humorous.

  3. I signed up to TIG to see what they were up to. I got no ‘welcome’ email back or even any acknowledgement, including automated. What I did get a few weeks later was an invite to put my name forward as a Euro candidate! They did to be fair recognise the obvious problems in asking people they had never met so asked for all your social media handles and the usual question about whether anything you have said or done might cause offence/embarrassment. Though they couldn’t check all the applicants I did think they would apply resources to do due diligence on all social media of the 70 they selected. So far they are not impressing. Apart from anything else what about that logo? Eergh!

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