Oriel porter to run for council on UKIP team

Dickie Bird, the Head Porter at Oriel, is running for UKIP in the upcoming Oxford City Council elections.

Bird has been nominated for the position of City Councillor for Blackbird Leys Ward.

Nathan Akehurst, a third-year History and Politics student at Lincoln, said: “It’s disappointing that anyone from the university community is involved in UKIP.”

“Whilst they portray themselves as a party of Euroscepticism and ‘common sense’, they have been linked exhaustively to violent racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism and policies which effectively criminalise poverty.”

Mr Bird, who for the last three years has tried for this position, said: “I am surprised some students have an issue with me running for UKIP in these elections.”

“A man should be allowed to express his political opinion. If he can’t, something has gone seriously wrong.”

“As far as the allegations against UKIP are concerned, people need to see through the web of lies drummed up by the media. Charges that UKIP is ‘racist’ or ‘sexist’ are completely unfounded.”

Aadit Shankar, first-year PPEist at LMH, said: “It is of course ridiculous that at a university that claims to promote equal opportunity, a member of staff is actively supporting a party that continues to be associated with racism and nationalism.”

“Especially after the outrage over Baby Love, I would have thought this is the last thing Oriel were hoping for.”

A fresher Classicist, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I think it’s a good thing that Mr Bird is running for UKIP. Claims that UKIP is not a political party that should be affiliated with an Oxford college is rubbish.”

“People always seem to overegg the party’s links with racism and sexism. Oriel should be promoting the fact that their porters are taking an active interest in politics.” 

UKIP has made the headlines frequently in Oxford recently. Last week it was revealed in the student press that Julian Blackwell, the owner of the Broad Street bookshop, had donated over £100,000 to the party.

Two weeks ago, OUSU President Tom Rutland posted a note on his personal Facebook page criticising the party and saying it contained elements of “racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism”.

The party is contesting the European Parliament elections later this month. In the last round of voting in 2009, it came second.