In June, around 300 members of Libya’s security forces arrived in the UK for training in “basic infantry skills and military leadership”. This week, they were sent home in disgrace after a string of sex crimes committed in the Cambridge area. Five of them will remain in court custody. Two face charges for the Oct. 26th rape of a male civilian, and three others face multiple counts of sexual assault, and one bike theft charge each.
Following the announcement that the training program would be discontinued, one cadet blamed the British government for the problems, complaining that: “They didn’t tell us about British law and what’s the difference between right and wrong here.”
I have some questions about all this:
- Why would anyone need advance notice that raping dudes is frowned upon in the UK? Is it legal in Libya?
- What’s with the bicycles?
- If these guys were “vetted in advance for medical, physical and behavioural suitability“, what did the reject pile look like?
That clammy island nation has given me so much: my husband, my first deep-fried Mars Bar, an unexpected quantity of master’s degrees. (Even, for a time, a job scaring tourists into unconsciousness. Youth!) But even though the UK and I are besties, I can’t give it a pass on this week’s bit of WTF-ery.
You see, it has come to my attention that UKIP gained more than 150 council seats in the local UK elections this week. According to the BBC, polls project that they would have taken 17% in a national election, if it were held today. That seems quite excessive.
“Why,” you ask, “what is a UKIP“?
That would be the UK Independence party, whose political platform is composed largely of xenophobic fear-mongering about “migrants” coming to the UK. Some highlights from their recent political escapades:
- That time when UKIP distributed a flyer claiming that the EU was going to allow “29 million Bulgarians and Romanians to come to the UK,” a surprising claim given that the most recent World Bank statistics peg those countries’ entire populations at 7.3 million and 20.08 million, respectively. (In case you’re wondering, Romanian and Bulgarian immigration to Britain has not, in fact, turned out to be more than the total combined citizenry of both nations.)
- That time when their party leader, Nigel Farage, told the Guardian that British people should “be wary of Romanians moving into their streets,” because of the immigrants’ “culture of criminality.”
- That time when the UKIP MP candidate for Leicester South explained that he thought Islam was “morally flawed and degenerate,” and that “the increase of Islam in the UK is going to be a problem for the welfare state.”
- That time when the UKIP candidate for East Sussex claimed that “The Second World Wide War was engineered by the Zionist jews and financed by the bankers to make the general public all over the world to feel so guilty and outraged by the Holocaust that a treaty would be signed to create the State of Israel as we know it today.”
Oh, okay then.
Seriously, British local-elections voters, WTF?
Apparently, some British people might have accidentally eaten some horse meat, thinking it was beef. This is apparently a Very Big Deal, because British people are civilized and do not eat horses, unlike the barbaric French.
And yet somehow, no one on the internet has posted the “All our horses are 100% horse-fed for that double-horse juiced-in goodness” clip from Futurama. Seriously, internet, WTF?
From the BBC’s guide to voting and polling stations for today’s election:
“CAN I BRING MY PETS WITH ME TO VOTE?
Dogs may not yet be entitled to vote but they are allowed to come and watch as long as they don’t disrupt the vote. According to previous guidance issued by the Electoral Commission, dogs must be in an “accompanying” role rather than “free-range”.
In cases where a voter has two or more dogs and will struggle to control them while casting their ballot, polling station staff may hold the dogs’ leads. Rural constituencies might have cases of voters riding to the polling station. In such cases, horses and ponies should be tethered up outside. There is no guidance on other animals such as rabbits, ferrets or pot-bellied pigs, so any decision will be at the discretion of presiding officers.”
The guide also answers other frequently-asked questions, such as “can I vote if I’m drunk?” (yes), “can I wear a giant rosette?” (no), and “I’m a member of the royal family, can I vote?” (surprisingly complicated, but apparently depends on how fancy a royal you are).