Over in Cambridge, the UKIP candidate is apparently one of those who insists that Madeline McCann was killed by her parents. She doesn't have a particularly blemish-free history, this candidate.
That's not the 'oops'. This is:
A UKIP spokesman, quoted in the Sun newspaper, said last night: “Whilst having every sympathy with the McCanns and their predicament, UKIP believes in the freedom of speech.”
I am fully supportive of freedom of speech. So I have no problem with people going around making assertions based on no evidence at all - our government and their advisors do it all the time, so why shouldn't everyone be allowed to do it?
But there is another side to freedom of speech. You can say whatever you like but you take responsibility for it. This means that if you falsely accuse someone of something, and they, for example, lose their job because of it, you would be prosecuted for the harm you cause.
Free speech is not free of responsibility. It does not mean you can shout 'Paedo' at a teacher, get them sacked and go on your merry anonymous way. Well, in Labour's Britain it happens all the time but that's because we are ruled by dribbling loons who wouldn't know 'fairness' if you rolled it up really tight and inserted it into their brains through their nostrils. In a sensible world, accusers would not be permitted to be anonymous unless there was a very good reason for it.
Free speech also carries responsibilites that do not, or should not, involve the law. If you go around making accusations for which you can present no evidence, one consequence will be that people will not trust you. If you accuse the parents of a missing child of killing that child and hiding the body - with no evidence to prove it - then people, on the whole, aren't going to like you very much.
If you do that and then stand for election, well don't get too hopeful about the result.
So the UKIP stance on free speech is fine with me. Say what you like. Remember, though, that there are consequences to using that free speech. There can also be consequences in supporting the speech of others. Even if you don't really support it, but the people you want to vote for you think you do.
This is a potentially very big electoral 'oops'. It doesn't just affect Cambridge. The Sun is not a local paper. It affects every UKIP candidate everywhere.
It should not be simply dismissed by UKIP as 'free speech'. Free speech can offend people and they have no right not to be offended. However, they do have the right not to vote for someone who offends them.
Free speech is a great thing, but it comes with consequences.