Critics said his comments represent the “ugliest side of Ukip” and “overlap with the far-right”, in spite of the efforts of party leader Nigel Farage to create a disciplined election machine ahead of the European elections.
Asked on Tuesday about the charter, Batten told the Guardian he had written it with a friend, who is an Islamic scholar, and could not see why “any reasonable, normal person” would object to signing it.
Batten also repeated his view that some Muslim texts need updating, claiming some say “kill Jews wherever you find them and various things like that”.
“If that represents the thinking of modern people, there’s something wrong, in which case maybe they need to revise their thinking. If they say they can’t revise their thinking on those issues, then who’s got the problem – us or them?” he added.
Leave aside entirely whether you or I agree with the statement for a moment (I most certainly agree with the second part of it). Think instead for a moment about it as politics. Is this likely to gain votes or not?
And if it does indeed, as I think it will, gain votes then what on earth can be wrong with expressing such views in a democracy? Isn’t this rather the point of the whole democratic game? To ascertain the wishes, desires and opinions of the demos and then to appeal to them?