You are viewing blog items for March 2014.
posted by: Rowena Mason | on: Monday, 31 March 2014, 19:32
Nigel Farage has repeated his admiration for Vladimir Putin, saying he respects him more than the "kids" who run Britain, as Nick Clegg condemned support for the Russian president as "utterly grotesque".
The Ukip leader said he did not like or trust Putin, or want to live in Russia, but he was doing a better job on foreign policy than David Cameron and the foreign secretary, William Hague.
A number of politicians have expressed surprise about Farage's comments in an interview with GQ magazine, in which the Ukip leader said Putin was the world leader he most admired as an "operator".
"The way he played the whole Syria thing. Brilliant. Not that I approve of him politically. How many journalists in jail now?" he said.
Asked about Farage's comments, Clegg, the deputy prime minister, said: "I just think it is utterly grotesque that Nigel Farage apparently admires – and that was the question to him: 'Who do you admire?' – admires someone, Vladimir Putin, who has been the chief sponsor and protector of one of the most brutal dictators on the face of the planet, President Assad [of Syria], who has blocked at every single turn in the United Nations any attempt by the international community to work in concert to help the many, many millions of people who have been driven from their homes and have been brutalised, and have been tortured and have been killed.
"And to then express his admiration by saying that he thinks that Vladimir Putin has played it all as if it's a game. This isn't a game."
Laura Sandys, a Conservative MP in the marginal South Thanet seat which is facing a strong Ukip challenge, tackled Farage over his comments during an event at Chatham House in London, saying she was "absolutely surprised" to hear him allying himself with the Russian leader.
Asked whether he regretted making the comments, Farage told the Chatham House audience: "I said it just after parliament had voted not to go to war in Syria, thank God. One of the things Putin said did actually change the debate in this country … I did make it perfectly clear. It depends what it means by the word … I said I don't like him, I wouldn't trust him and I wouldn't want to live in his country, but compared with the kids who run foreign policy in this country, I've more respect for him than our lot."
Farage made the original comments when he was questioned for GQ by Labour's former director of communications Alastair Campbell in his first interview in his role as the glossy monthly's "arch-interrogator".
Asked which current world leader he most admired, Farage replied: "As an operator, but not as a human being, I would say Putin."
The Russian has drawn international condemnation over his support for Syria's Bashar al-Assad and annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine.
Last week, Farage said the European Union had "blood on its hands" for encouraging rebellion in Ukraine, Syria and Libya. While stressing he did not approve of Putin's annexation of Crimea, he said EU leaders had been "weak and vain", adding: "If you poke the Russian bear with a stick he will respond."
Farage strongly opposed any British military involvement in Syria at the time of the parliamentary vote last summer.
The Ukip leader also said his party had helped undermine the British National party by stealing a third of its voters. Farage said he was proud his party had given "frustrated" people a choice to avoid the group's racist agenda.
Farage denied taking extremist positions on immigration and pointed out that former BNP members had been banned from joining his party.
"We want no truck with the BNP types at all," he said. "What we did, starting with the Oldham byelection in the north of England, is for the first time ever try to deal with the BNP question by going out and saying to BNP voters, 'If you are voting BNP because you are frustrated, upset with the change in your community, but you are doing it holding your nose because you don't agree with their racist agenda, come and vote for us.'
"I do not think anyone's done more … to damage the BNP than Ukip and I am quite proud of that."
Posted: 31 Mar 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Chris Havergal | on: Monday, 31 March 2014, 16:39
A UKIP councillor who admitted benefit fraud has been sentenced to a community order.
Cllr Peter Lagoda, who was elected to Cambridgeshire County Council in May, was made subject to the order for 12 months at Peterborough Crown Court after admitting making a false representation to gain benefits.
Lagoda had claimed he lived in South Beach, Cambridgeshire, when instead he shared a property in Wisbech with then girlfriend and now wife, Maria Lagoda.
She was also sentenced to a 12-month community order after admitting six counts of failing to notify the authorities of a change in circumstances.
It had been alleged the councillor and his wife falsely claimed £11,565 in income support, £2,346 in council tax and £10,949 in housing benefit.
Lagoda was suspended from UKIP when he was charged but remains a councillor, representing Wisbech South.
The pair initially denied all the charges, which related to the period between June 2008 and November 2010, but changed their pleas last month.
Posted: 31 Mar 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Monday, 31 March 2014, 14:45
As gay couples around the country celebrate the advent of gay marriage, UKIP appear to be continuing on the same poisonous path as always.
Douglas Denny is to be the UKIP candidate in the ward of Drayton and Farlington for Portsmouth City Council in May.
Denny, who is the vice chairman of Portsmouth UKIP used the official UKIP members forum to attack gay sex as “disgusting”. He wrote: “What irritates me is they (sic) way they and their leftie, neo-Commie followers seem to want to force the rest of us to consider them as normal. I just wish they would keep their homosexual nature and practices to themselves and stop trying to ram it down my throat telling me they are ‘normal’ when they are not.”
Posted: 31 Mar 2014 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Daniel Binns | on: Monday, 31 March 2014, 09:16
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has praised Vladimir Putin as the world leader he most admires.
The eurosceptic MEP called the Russian president’s handling of the crisis in Syria ‘brilliant’, despite insisting he did not support his foreign policies.
His comments, made during an interview with GQ magazine, came just days after he said the EU had blood on its hands for ‘provoking’ Russia to invade Crimea – while claiming it had been ‘weak’ on Syria and Libya.
Asked which current ruler he most admired, Mr Farage replied: ‘As an operator but not as a human being, I would say Putin. The way he played the whole Syria thing. Brilliant.
‘Not that I approve of him politically. How many journalists in jail now?’
More than 140,000 people have been killed since civil war broke out in Syria three years ago, with 2.6million now forced into exile, according to UN figures.
Mr Putin has been blamed for prolonging the conflict by selling arms to Bashar Assad and blocking two UN security council resolutions condemning his regime.
During the GQ interview, conducted by former Labour spindoctor Alistair Campbell, Mr Farage was asked to say ‘something nice’ about each of his rival party leaders. He described Tory prime minister
David Cameron as ‘a perfectly nice fellow who stands four-square for nothing’, Labour’s Ed Miliband as a ‘nice chap [but] not very worldly’ and Mr Clegg as ‘a very nice guy [but] just wrong’.
He added German chancellor Angela Merkel was ‘even more miserable’ in private.
Posted: 31 Mar 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Monday, 24 March 2014, 17:55
Sean Howlett, A prospective UKIP parliamentary candidate who is hoping to stand in the North East Hertfordshire constituency shows the caring side behind UKIP.
As long as he gets to work on time, who cares?
Posted: 24 Mar 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: . | on: Thursday, 20 March 2014, 22:21
A UKIP councillor has labelled bisexuals and trans people ‘part time homosexuals’.
Samuel Fletcher, a UKIP town councillor for Bracken Bank and Ingrow Ward in Keighley, had previously admitted to being “baffled” by lesbians in January.
According to TheBackBencher.co.uk, the UK Independence Party politician took to Facebook again yesterday, arguing that bisexuals are “a part-time homosexuals”, and that “a trans-sexual is someone who changes their own sexuality in order to appeal to either of the opposite sex, so that also makes someone a kind of part time homosexual”.
Fletcher also admitted to being “a bit confused about trans-sexuals”, reporting that he had “just realised a man could change himself into a woman in order to attract a man”, which he says “wouldn’t be homosexual at all”.
In his previous comments he had compared gay people to mushrooms, saying: “I used to really hate the texture when I was a child. Now I can tolerate them.”
Posted: 20 Mar 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: . | on: Tuesday, 18 March 2014, 17:43
A breakaway group of county councillors who previously represented UKIP are changing their name in a bid to break all ties with the party.
The five councillors followed Councillor Chris Pain, below far right, when he left UKIP after a split in its leadership last year.
The six formed a new party called UKIP Lincolnshire. This led to a further row with the national party, which objected to the name and threatened legal action.
Mr Pain, who represents Wainfleet and Burgh-le-Marsh and leads the breakaway group, is now in discussions over changing the group’s name.
He said: “A lot of our councillors’ thoughts and beliefs are UKIP beliefs, which we don’t think are now what UKIP is actually striving for, so I don’t think it is appropriate to be called UKIP Lincolnshire.”
“We will have no mention of UKIP in name at all.”
Councillors, below from left, Bob McAuley, John Beaver, Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright, Alan Jesson and Richard Fairman declared their support for Mr Pain after he left the party. They were given a choice of remaining with UKIP or leaving. The quintet formed UKIP Lincolnshire with Mr Pain.
A national UKIP spokesman said none of the five breakaway councillors had since had their UKIP membership reinstated.
She said: “They weren’t allowed to call it UKIP Lincolnshire, I presume they will be thinking of another name. We were in discussions with the chief executive about that. They can call themselves anything as long as it’s not UKIP.”
“To be honest they are ex-members. We are doing great work around the county council.”
The breakaway from UKIP in September meant the party lost its role as official opposition at Lincolnshire County Council. The six still serve in their roles as county councillors.
A Lincolnshire County Council spokesman said the group would still be known as UKIP Lincolnshire until an application to change the name was made.
Posted: 18 Mar 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: . | on: Monday, 17 March 2014, 20:39
A Ukip councillor and would-be MP who is set to be charged over electoral malpractice allegations involving forged nomination papers says he will deny all wrongdoing.
Matthew Smith, who was due to contest the Great Yarmouth seat in next year's general election, will appear in court next month.
The county councillor, who is 26 and from High Street, Gorleston, is set to face seven counts of supplying a nomination paper to a returning officer knowing it to contain a forged signature and three counts of producing forged nomination papers.
The allegations relate to nomination papers for Norfolk County Council elections held in the Great Yarmouth district between March and April last year.
Today Ukip said Mr Smith had been suspended from both the Ukip group on Norfolk County Council and as a prospective parliamentary candidate.
But the councillor said he would deny all the charges and criticised the way news of the allegations had been made public.
He said: "If I am charged - and I haven't been charged yet - I will be denying all charges. I'll be pleading not guilty to everything.
"I want to issue a real cause for concern that the press was made aware of these charges before I was."
In a statement Norfolk Constabulary today said three men in total had been reported for summons. The charges were authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Posted: 17 Mar 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Cathy Newman | on: Saturday, 15 March 2014, 15:08
Nigel Farage, I’ve got something in common with you! We’re both apparently “partial to crumpet”. The only thing is, I like mine toasted with melted butter and liberal quantities of honey.
The Ukip leader, on the other hand, we’re told by his notorious friend Godfrey Bloom, has a weakness for the other sort of crumpet – though whether “thinking man’s” or otherwise your guess is as good as mine.
I won’t spend too long dignifying Mr Bloom’s latest outburst with a response. After all this is just the latest in an entire dictionary of insulting epithets the Ukip MEP delights in applying to women – (“sluts” who forget to clean behind the fridge, in case you needed reminding of his past form).
Mr Bloom no longer has the UKIP whip, though he is still a party member and MEP. And it’s worth remembering the two men shared a flat in Brussels for several years.
There is also the new claim from an old female colleague, that Mr Farage pays his wife and lover out of EU parliamentary expenses.
But it’s the company Mr Farage now keeps and his current attitude to women which remains troubling to say the least.
Of course, the party leader has been at pains to point out that “nobody has done more in Ukip to promote women than I have.” He told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour last month: “The women are slowly but surely taking over Ukip”. And no doubt as the European elections approach, women like Diane James and Janice Atkinson will be taking to the airwaves to hammer home the point.
But if Ukip’s getting a female-friendly image makeover, there are regular and worrying lapses.
A member of the party’s political group in the European parliament has compared “the Muslim woman with her numerous children” to Osama bin Laden. A (female) Ukip candidate for the European elections has suggested business owners should be allowed to turn away women or gay people. And Mr Farage himself said earlier this year that if a woman in the City takes maternity leave “she is worth far less to the employer” because she’ll lose her client base.
All of these views would be offensive enough from a fringe party without any hope of electoral success. But Ukip is now routinely out-polling the Liberal Democrats. It is threatening both the Conservatives and Labour. The broadcasting watchdog Ofcom is requiring TV stations to treat Ukip as a “major party” in the run-up to the European elections in May, giving it the same coverage as the Tories, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Mr Farage will himself go head to head with the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg to debate Britain’s future in Europe.
So Ukip is being taken seriously, as it should be. It’s time, now, to take its leader seriously too.
I remember the first time I interviewed Mr Farage, years ago, before he had anything like a national presence. I asked him how to pronounce his name. “What do you put your car in?” he asked me. “Well I put my car in a garage,” I retorted, pronouncing the last syllable to rhyme with what Ukip housewives are supposed to clean behind. He looked rather crestfallen.
We had a giggle about it, and the interview itself was highly entertaining. When robotic soundbites and “lines-to-take” are too often the thin gruel of political journalism, Mr Farage’s honesty and political incorrectness is a multi-course banquet, washed down with a glass of his favourite Châteauneuf du Pape.
But now he and Ukip have come of age, we the people who interview him have got to grow up too.
Broadcaster Andrew Neil came closest to skewering Mr Farage by interviewing him in exactly the same way as he would the other party leaders. Quoting from Ukip’s own website and official policy positions, he managed to expose the party leader’s ignorance of his own policies.
Eccentric and downright insidious views on women would never be tolerated from the other party leaders. So it’s high time that we stop giggling at Mr Farage the cheeky chappy, and start taking him to task along with the rest of them.
Posted: 15 Mar 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Pete Bryant | on: Saturday, 15 March 2014, 14:14
UKIP councillor Malcolm Small has received a suspended prison sentence for an arson offence committed last month, putting his future at Rushmoor Borough Council in doubt.
Small, who represents West Heath, set fire to several items of clothing belonging to his wife Kim Van Opdorp after a row over a social engagement at his home in Brewers Close, Farnborough, on February 4.
At Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on Friday, he was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.
Kate Prince, prosecuting, told the court the offence was triggered by an argument between Small, 48, and his wife of more than 10 years on February 4 over who they would be inviting to the Mayor’s Ball on Valentine’s Day as their guests.
Miss Van Opdorp left the house and returned to find Small had taken what she estimated as £2,000 of clothes from her wardrobe, including the dress she was planning to wear to the ball and his own tuxedo, and put them on a pallet in the back garden.
Ruth Cassidy, defending, said Small had "seen red" after the argument and regretted his actions.
She said Small had taken only a "handful" of "cheap" clothes, was careful not to let the fire spread and had tidied up afterwards.
“It was a complete moment of rage,” she said. “When he saw the flames he felt very remorseful.”
She said there had been "rather a history" of domestic violence in Small’s marriage, with both parties claiming to be victims, but that neither had ever been charged with any offences.
Miss Cassidy added that Small still loved his wife, but she had said the marriage was over.
She said Small realised he was drinking too much and had approached his GP about seeking help for his behaviour. He is now taking medication for bi-polar disorder and may also be referred for counselling.
“He recognises there are issues he need to address,” said Miss Cassidy.
Small, who runs a business selling hot dogs in Farnborough, had already admitted the charge of arson at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court on February 20.
In the lead up to the sentencing, he had been subject to conditional bail which demanded he not leave his address between 7pm and 7am and not contact Miss Van Opdorp. However, he breached the latter condition and was fitted with an electronic tag on March 3.
At the sentencing, he was said to have one previous conviction for assault. He was also told to pay £85 court costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
He will remain under supervision for two years and must partake in 32 'building better relationships 'sessions. A restraining order was also imposed, forbidding him from contacting Miss Van Opdorp for two years.
Under the Local Government Act, a councillor is automatically disqualified from their position if they receive a custodial sentence of more than three months.
While Cllr Small’s sentence does not exceed this limit, Conservative council leader Peter Moyle has already called for him to resign.
The court heard that Small had discussed his future with Rushmoor chief executive Andrew Lloyd and had been assured he could remain as a councillor if the three-month prison sentence was not exceeded.
Small declined to comment after his sentencing.
posted by: Joe Murphy, Nicholas Cecil | on: Saturday, 15 March 2014, 14:02
Ukip leader Nigel Farage was accused of employing an alleged former mistress on his staff today.
Former Ukip MEP Nikki Sinclaire, who left the party after a fall-out, made the allegation in the European Parliament at Strasbourg.
She asked him: “With unemployment still a problem across Europe and indeed across the UK, does Mr Farage thinks it is a fair use of taxpayers’ money, namely his secretarial allowance, not only to employ his wife Kirsten but his former mistress Annabelle Fuller?
“Is that a responsible use of taxpayers’ money, Mr Farage?”
Mr Farage — who has dismissed the claim as “nonsense” — ignored her and continued taking notes. Asked if he intended to reply, he said: “I don’t want to answer that at all.”
He later told the Standard that the claims were untrue.
He said: “It is complete nonsense and it is malicious. This has been going around since 2006 and it is rubbish. The only change is that it has been said under parliamentary privilege.”
In a statement, a Ukip spokesman added: "The comments by Sinclaire are beneath contempt, and that person has abused parliamentary privilege to do so.
“Sinclaire is on police bail for a serious fraud charge and I believe has no credibility. Sinclaire has been saying the same thing to anyone who would listen since 2006.
“Regarding Miss Fuller, Mr Farage has been asked about this before and the answer has always been No, it is absolute rubbish."
Ms Sinclaire, elected as an MEP in June 2009, left Ukip after refusing to sit with Italian party Liga Nord, which she called homophobic. The gay MEP, who had a sex change at 23, later won a claim of sex discrimination against Ukip.
In February 2012 she was arrested as part of a probe into allowances and expenses by West Midlands police. She denies all the allegations. Ms Fuller, a former senior press officer, is listed in official European Parliament records as one of five members of staff working for Mr Farage, along with wife Kirsten Farage. MEPs can spend up to £205,000 on office salaries.
In 2008, Ms Fuller said that she was the victim of a smear campaign aimed at undermining Mr Farage.
In 2011 she accused a Tory MP of molesting her at his flat after a drink.
posted by: . | on: Saturday, 15 March 2014, 11:37
A video emerges in which Mr Farage boasts about how he is paid more than a Goldman Sachs banker because he employs his wife as a secretary
The video, which dates from 1999, shows Mr Farage saying that "everyone's a winner with Europe".
The emergence of the video has fuelled Ukip concerns that the Conservative Party are orchestrating a smear campaign against Mr Farage and members of his party.
In the video Mr Farage is seen fanning himself with bank notes and criticising the expenses regime in the European Parliament.
He then says that for four working four days and making one journey he can claim £1,900.
He adds: "It's a good job this. I worked it out that because so much of what you get is after tax that if you used the secretarial allowances to pay your wife on top of all the other games you play I reckon this job in sterling terms is worth over £250,000 a year to you - that is what you would need to earn working for Goldman Sachs or someone like that."
Mr Farage's German-born second wife, Kirsten Mehr, is employed by him on a salary of up to £20,000 a year using EU parliamentary assistant allowances that are worth almost £220,000.
Miss Fuller is paid out of the allowance as a "local assistant" working at Ukip's London press office.
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Thursday, 13 March 2014, 09:50
UKIP supporter Timothy O' Callaghan from Clacton certainly does.
Posted: 13 Mar 2014 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford | on: Monday, 10 March 2014, 21:18
For more than a century our politics has been dominated by three parties, thanks in no small part to a first-past-the-post system that stacks the deck against new challengers. Confronted with this almost insurmountable barrier, those who dream of remaking British politics often remain just that – dreamers. More than 400 challengers to the "big three" are registered with the electoral commission, and virtually all will sink without trace.
This is one reason why the rise of the UK Independence party is so remarkable. It is the most successful new party in a generation: the first since the Social Democratic party in the 1980s to attract double-digit support in national polling. In fact, Ukip's revolt is more impressive as the SDP's earlier challenge was orchestrated by people who already sat at the top table of British politics. Ukip has come from below; a genuine insurgency from outside the established party system. It might not yet have won a seat in Westminster, but it has attracted more than one voter in 10 and upended the agenda. This is an extraordinary achievement for a party that for much of its 20-year history has been comically disorganised, eccentric, and paralysed by infighting.
But Ukip is also remarkable because of the extent to which its support is misunderstood. Nigel Farage and his party, we are repeatedly told, are a byproduct of unresolved Conservative divisions over Europe; a second home for disgruntled Tories who are pushed into its arms by their anger at Brussels and hostility towards a Conservative prime minister who supports gay marriage and climate change. Ukip, in short, is a Tory problem.
This conventional wisdom is understandable given that the party began as a pressure group of anti-Maastricht rebels, but it is no longer accurate. In fact, Ukip raises as many questions for Labour as for the Tories.
"This is all Fleet Street," Farage said during one of our interviews at Ukip's headquarters near Bond Street. "This is their obsession and they can't get out of it. But the numbers are perfectly clear: there is now a huge class dimension to the Ukip vote." Farage was drawing on private polling and his experience on the doorstep. He might be regarded as a gadfly and bon vivant, but he has a keen understanding of his party's working-class appeal.
Farage's observations about Ukip's support closely match what we have found over the past year while probing the backgrounds, beliefs, concerns and motives of almost 6,000 of these rebel voters. Much of this directly challenges everything we thought we knew about the roots of this revolt. Forget David Cameron's unpopularity among grassroots Tories; forget the furore over EU migrants; forget single-issue concerns over the EU or the charisma of Farage.
To truly understand Ukip's appeal you need to go much deeper. The roots of this revolt can be traced back over decades. Divides in the social and economic experiences of voters have appeared, their values and priorities have been widening, and a new electorate of "left behind" voters has grown up. These voters are on the wrong side of social change, are struggling on stagnant incomes, feel threatened by the way their communities and country are changing, and are furious at an established politics that appears not to understand or even care about their concerns. And it is these left-behind voters who have finally found a voice in Farage's revolt.
Farage is no catch-all populist; his appeal is concentrated in specific groups and is utterly alien to others. Ukip has virtually no support among the financially secure and the thirty- and fortysomething university graduates who dominate politics and the media. Support is weak among women, white-collar professionals and the young. Ethnic-minority voters shun the party totally.
Make no mistake, this is a revolt dominated by white faces, blue collars and grey hair: angry, old, white working-class men who left school at the earliest opportunity and lack the qualifications to get ahead in 21st-century Britain. That Ukip's core voters are middle-class Tories animated by the single-issue of Europe is the biggest myth in Westminster. In fact, Ukip is the most working-class-dominated party since Michael Foot's Labour in 1983. They struggle financially, worry about the future, and loathe the political class, not just Cameron and the Conservatives.
Don't think of Ukip as just a party; think of them as a symptom of far deeper social and value divisions in Britain. Farage is winning over working-class, white male voters because they feel left behind by Britain's rapid economic and social transformation and left out of our political conversation; struggling people who feel like strangers in a society whose ruling elites do not talk like them or value the things which matter to them.
This should ring loud alarm bells on the left. In a time of falling incomes, rising inequality and spending cuts, such voters should be lining up behind the party that traditionally stood for social protection and redistribution. Instead, they are switching their loyalty to a right-wing party headed by a stockbroker and staffed by activists who worship Thatcher. Those who are getting hit hardest by the crisis and austerity are turning not to Labour, but to Farage for solutions.
One reason for this is that for those left behind, politics is no longer about economics. These voters are not backing Ukip because of their economic concerns; they are backing the party because they see Farage as representing an identity and set of values they cherish but do not see expressed anywhere else. These voters have been left behind not just by wider trends, but the rise to dominance of a university-educated, professional middle-class elite whose priorities and outlook now define the mainstream.
The dramatic nature of this shift is often missed because it has been accomplished over decades. Yet in only 50 years Britain has gone from a society where working-class voters with little education decided elections to one where such voters are now only spectators, and the crucial and decisive battle is fought between middle-class graduate candidates seeking middle-class graduate votes. When Harold Wilson was elected in 1964, working-class voters outnumbered professional middle-class voters two to one; by 2010 the professional middle classes had a four to three advantage. Both Tony Blair and Cameron have sought to revive their party's prospects by appealing to the rising middle classes. Neither has shown much interest in the struggling, left-behind voters, and since 1997 these voters have made their feelings about being marginalised clear: turnout from these groups has collapsed, and dissatisfaction with politics has increased. Ukip's deputy leader, Paul Nuttall, captured this sense of exclusion in a 2013 speech: "In the days of Clement Attlee, Labour MPs came from the mills, the mines and the factories. The Labour MPs today go to private school, to Oxbridge, [then] they get a job in an MP's office."
These changes have been accompanied by a major transformation in the values that dominate the country. Across Europe it is no coincidence that radical right parties similar to Ukip win support from the same working-class voters, and accomplish this by targeting the same issues: national identity; immigration; Europe; and resentment of political and social elites. This is because there is now a deep and growing divide in the values of the left-behind and the professional middle-class mainstream.
The radical right in Europe is making a similar pitch, and for the same reason: the emergence of a large section of the electorate who feel the world they grew up with and valued is fading away, that what is replacing it is alien and threatening, and that no one in the mainstream understands their desire to turn back the tide of change. You cannot just ignore these voters – you need to have a conversation.
When thinking about Ukip, those around Ed Miliband must think beyond the next 12 months to a time when Labour may be in power with a small majority, or as part of a coalition. The party will then face many of the same challenges as the current government: an ageing population; straining public services; high migration from poorer EU states; persistent inequality; and the economic and fiscal overhang of the worst crisis for 80 years. By 2015 Ukip will be a known alternative. After European, local and general elections, it will have consolidated its support and be well positioned to make inroads in Labour-dominated areas by winning votes from those who will inevitably feel disappointment with what a Labour government can achieve.
At this point Labour will be exposed to serious and sustained competition for support in its northern, working-class fortresses. The largest concentrations of core Ukip supporters are not found in Tory seats in the shires but in Labour fiefs like Miliband's Doncaster North. We identified the 10 most Ukip-friendly seats in the country, and eight are Labour. Strategists on the left need to ask themselves – are your local councillors and activists in these areas ready for the first serious challenge they have ever faced? They may be laughing now, as Ukip drive their Tory opponents to distraction, but after May 2015 the men with purple rosettes may be knocking on Labour's doors.
• Revolt on the Right: Explaining Public Support for the Radical Right in Britain, a new book by Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford, is published next week. For a 20% discount, order direct from the Routledge website using the code RTR14
posted by: Rajeev Syal | on: Monday, 10 March 2014, 21:13
Trying to find Ukip's MEPs in the corridors of European power in Brussels or Strasbourg can be a frustrating task, according to former party staff members, because they are allowed to wander at will. But woe betide those who go missing when it is time to donate cash.
As party leader Nigel Farage prepares for what is expected to be a successful European parliament election on 22 May – which may provide impetus for the general election – those who have worked for the party claim the MEPs can do as they please, most of the time.
Some rarely carry a mobile phone while others do not turn their phones on; and one or two, it is alleged, have become involved in "extracurricular work" – managing private businesses – at times when they could have been working for constituents.
"They come and go when they like. For weeks, you may not see one and then they are all there – invariably at a bar occupied by other elderly British men," said one former Ukip employee. "Their primary reason for coming in is to claim money."
But if MEPs fail to donate to the party – the Guardian disclosed on Monday that in 2011 the party insisted they give £10,000 each or risk being deselected – they can be put under acute pressure to leave the group, MEPs said.
Nikki Sinclaire, the West Midlands MEP who left Ukip in 2010, said: "The only discipline the party's MEPs come under is that they must sign up to Ukip and the party's grouping, the Europe of Freedom and Democracy [EFD]. As long as they don't cause him any problems. Generally they don't turn up."
Sinclaire said she had left the party after refusing to sign up to the EFD because some of the grouping's members held homophobic and racist views. She said she had been forced out because the party needed her signature to gain access to EU money. "Nigel and others do expect loyalty when it comes to the party's finances. That is how they fund the party and how they are funding May's election," she said.
According to official figures from the EU and Britain's Electoral Commission, Ukip MEPs have continued to excel in the claiming of EU expenses and generous donations to their party in the UK.
In 2012, the party's MEPs claimed £370,000 for office costs and received nearly £420,000 in subsistence allowances for meals and hotels. In the same period, they donated more than £400,000 of their own money to the party.
All MEPs receive a salary of £78,000 but must appear at a parliamentary building in order to receive various allowances.
Ukip MEPs claimed an average of £35,635 each in "general expenditure allowances" in 2012, which should cover "office management costs". The allowances are in addition to salaries, travel expenses and "daily subsistence allowance". Ukip did not return calls seeking comment for this article, but said last week: "All our MEPs conduct their financial affairs honestly and comply with the rules covering allowances and expenses."
Paul Nuttall, the party's North West MEP, has donated £12,400 to Ukip since election in 2009, according to the Electoral Commission. His allowances claim last year was £40,436. He was among MEPs who have given Ukip donations of £426,000 since the 2009 election.
Godfrey Bloom, the outspoken MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, has claimed £46,722 in allowances and paid £72,000 in donations since 2004. He left the EFD after saying British aid went to "bongo bongo land" but is understood to have remained close to Farage.
Derek Clark, MEP for East Midlands, claimed £56,822 general and subsistence allowances and has donated £187,000 to the party since 2004. Clark was asked to repay £31,800 of EU allowances two years ago after it was found that the money was paying salaries for party staff.
Stuart Agnew, representative for East of England, has claimed more than £78,000 in allowances and made at least £31,000 in donations since 2009; Mike Nattrass, who resigned the party whip in September, has received £59,845 in allowances and donated £96,000 since 2004.
Senior Ukip figures have defended the party's position on expenses, and say they are relaxed about diverting money to the party in Britain.
Last month, Trevor Colman, a Ukip MEP for the South West, told the BBC that allowances were a factor influencing his motivations for appearing at the EU parliament. "I wouldn't say getting the allowances is one of the main motivations, I'm trying to be fair about it, it is a factor, of course it is," Colman said.
He defended his decision not to concentrate on making speeches, saying he was instead concentrating on an anti-EU website. "Why make a speech when you know that it is totally ineffective? That you are there talking to a gallery of about six people, I don't quite see the point in doing that," he told the BBC. Colman, who is standing down in May, employs five full-time staff who mainly work on the website, plus another to cover Strasbourg and Brussels. He echoed the sentiments of other senior Ukip activists when he said European democracy is a farce and he uses its funds to try to shed light on its failings.
Ukip officials say they are coming under intense media scrutiny because of the political implications of their rise. Last week, polls showed the party attracting 14% of the vote, which could rise considerably at May's elections.
The Tories are expected to face the greatest damage as a result of Ukip's rise. David Cameron, who once branded the party's supporters "fruitcakes, nutters and closet racists", has since called for them to return to the Conservatives if they wish to curb immigration and see a referendum on EU membership.
Robert Halfon, the influential Tory backbench MP, last week compared the views of Gerard Batten, the Ukip MEP for London – who believes Muslims should sign a special code of conduct – to those of the Nazis, who insisted Jews should wear a yellow star.
Halfon, who is Jewish, said: "I genuinely find it abhorrent and frightening. I'm amazed that the man is still an MEP."
One party official said the Tories – as well as the media – were panicking in the face of a new political force and brushed off allegations of a misuse of EU funds. "We are taking the Devil's money to do God's work. And the more we are scrutinised and attacked, the stronger we seem to be with the electorate."
posted by: Rajeev Syal | on: Monday, 10 March 2014, 21:08
A leading member of the UK Independence party, which has railed against the European "gravy train", has demanded its MEPs contribute £10,000 each from their parliamentary allowances and salaries towards the costs of the party's British headquarters or risk being deselected.
Alan Bown, a party donor who sits on its national executive committee, wrote to Ukip representatives in Brussels in 2011 suggesting they should be "good value for money" and divert EU cash to the party's headquarters or face the sack, according to leaked documents. He pointedly added that thousands of pounds of EU allowances could be claimed without submitting receipts.
Party leader Nigel Farage and the party's national executive committee subsequently put pressure on the MEPs to pay more to support the running of the party, sources said. Ukip sources say MEPs are still placed under "immense pressure" to contribute to the party.
Bown's proposals prompted a furious response from the party's MEPs, who feared they would be at risk of breaking the law if they diverted funds. Another leaked email shows that the party's immigration spokesman, Gerard Batten, warned Ukip officials that he and other MEPs could face jail if they carried out Bown's demands.
The disclosures are confirmation that the party's MEPs have been under increasing pressure to divert their allowances into the party's UK operations, in breach of EU rules.
EU documents state that allowances "are only eligible when spent on activities and objects which are directly linked to the office of a member of the European parliament". Bown, a former bookmaker, sent an email to national executive members in January 2011 with an attached document titled "MEPs' Financial Contributions to the Party".
He complained that MEPs had failed to contribute to the party and pointed out that it costs £125,000 to get each of them elected, questioning whether they were good value for money.
Arguing that the party's headquarters, Lexdrum House in Devon, spends a lot of money getting MEPs elected, he added: "In my opinion the MEPs have a clear duty to help finance Lexdrum House."
The email points out that to get on a Ukip selection list, MEP candidates have to sign a "code of conduct" document complying with Bown's demand that MEPs "provide substantial financial support to the central party out of income".
A version of the code of conduct from 2008 has been leaked to the Guardian. It says the party's MEPs pledge to "submit to oversight and act on advice from the party regarding the use of parliament allowances and expenses".
In his email, Bown, 71, says: "Most MEPs draw a salary of £80K+ per year plus generous expenses of approximately £320K some of which does not require receipts."
He said he had spoken to fellow Ukip peer and former party leader Lord Pearson and suggested he had agreed that this year's reselected candidates should be judged in part on their payments to the party.
"Before an MEP is allowed to stand for re-election for 2014, the NEC should look at their record over the previous 5 years to see what he or she had achieved and particularly their financial contributions to the party.
"The NEC reserves the right to blackball any MEP from standing again if their record was poor."
Bown's email prompted an angry response from a number of MEPs, insiders said. A few days later, Batten, who has called for Muslims in Britain to sign a pledge of allegiance, sent an email claiming that following Bown's advice would risk a criminal record and jail.
"The staff and office allowance combined is £253k," said Batten. "This money can only be spent according to the rules on staff and offices. Only £42k of that does not require 'receipts'. To use it for personal or political purposes is against the rules. Are you suggesting we should use it illegally? Are you suggesting we should risk prison to help the party financially?"
Two weeks after the email exchange, some MEPs met Bown, Farage and Stuart Wheeler at the Farmers Club in Whitehall, where they were informed that they were each under pressure to increase contributions to the party.
The party argues the EU is a waste of money and calls for Britain's withdrawal.
It comes amid concern that the party's rapid growth in popularity and expensive European parliament election campaign is not being supported by a corresponding rise in income.
It was reported by the Times on Saturday that the EU authorities have been asked to investigate whether some of Ukip's staff in the UK are being paid from EU money, in breach of regulations.
The disclosures will prove embarrassing for the party as it tries to portray itself as a realistic and influential political force. Some party officials have privately voiced concern that money pledged by Paul Sykes, the former Tory donor, has not come through when they need to fund the European election campaign. Neil Hamilton, the former Tory MP, told the Observer this month: ""So far we haven't seen the colour of his money."
Ukip has come under increasing scrutiny over its alleged misuse of EU expenses. Tom Wise, the party's former MEP for East of England, was jailed for expenses fraud after paying himself £36,000.
Two of the party's senior members have repaid more than £37,000 meant for office staff after diverting it to party workers based in the UK.
Nikki Sinclaire, MEP for the West Midlands, told the Guardian last year that Farage told her the party would not be able to gain access to extra funds meant for a new political grouping without her support.
The party denied her claims.
Batten told the Guardian on Friday that he has never broken the rules.
"My donations to the party are made out of my personal income," he said. Ukip said: "Alan Bown is an extremely generous donor to Ukip and is one of 16 members of the party's NEC. He is well known for seeking to encourage other members of the party including MEPs to seek to emulate his own outstanding levels of generosity. All of our MEPs conduct their financial affairs honestly and comply with the rules covering allowances and expenses. Any donations they make to the party come from their post-tax salaries."
Bown is in the US and did not respond to requests for a comment.
posted by: Rowena Mason | on: Monday, 10 March 2014, 20:57
Members of Nigel Farage's political group in the European parliament have compared childbearing Muslim women to Osama bin Laden, spoken at a rally with the BNP's Nick Griffin, and defended some of the far-right views of the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.
Farage is facing a decision after the May elections over whether to keep Ukip in the Europe for Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group, an alliance of parties from different countries of which he is co-president, amid criticism of the extreme positions of some of its MEPs and examples of anti-Islam rhetoric on its website.
Ukip argues that all British political parties are forced to have "strange bedfellows" in Europe as it allows parties to qualify for more speaking time in the EU parliament. However, MEPs in any such alliance must have "political affinity" or risk being disbanded by the EU and losing their funding.
Some anti-Islam comments appear on the EFD's own website. In one video, Magdi Cristiano Allam, an MEP from the I Love Italy party, is translated as saying that Islam is not a religion but an ideology "that preaches hatred, violence and death, but that is something we're not allowed to say". His comments are made in response to a speaker at an EFD "study day", who argues against "caving in" to Muslims in Europe and warns of the threat of "Islamisation" of western society.
One politician in the EFD, Slavi Binev from Bulgaria, spoke at Ukip's conference last year. An interview with Binev on his website says: "If Osama bin Laden symbolises the cruellest aspect of the Islam for the Americans, then the Muslim woman with her numerous children are his European equivalent."
The group also contains Frank Vanhecke, a Belgian MEP, whose former party Vlaams Blok was disbanded after a court found it violated anti-racism legislation in 2002.
Vanhecke, now an independent, appeared at a student rally with Griffin, the BNP leader, in 2010 and told the Guardian he believes "Islamisation" is a serious problem for Europe.
Another politician in the group is Morten Messerschmidt, a Danish MEP whose youth organisation was given a conviction for incitement to racial hatred in 2002 after it argued crime such as rape was a product of a multi-ethnic society.
Ukip's biggest partners in the EFD group are the Italian Lega Nord, which is reportedly considering leaving the EFD after the May elections for a tie-up with Marine Le Pen's far-right French National Front. Farage's co-president is Francesco Speroni, an Italian MEP from Lega Nord, who defended some of the views of Breivik in 2011 saying: "If [Breivik's] ideas are that we are going towards Eurabia and those sorts of things, that western Christian civilisation needs to be defended, yes, I'm in agreement."
Earlier this year, one of the Italian anti-immigrant party's MPs, Gianluca Buonanno, "blacked up" in the country's parliament to make a point about the level of benefits for ethnic minorities.
Ukip said Lega Nord would be leaving the EFD alliance after the May elections, but Speroni told the Guardian last night that "any saying about this matter is very premature, nothing has been decided yet". He also said the EFD would have to check whether it has enough MEPs and member countries to remain "alive" under EU rules after the next election.
The rhetoric of some EFD parties contrasts with Farage's emphasis that Muslims are welcome in Ukip. The Ukip leader has said he will not go into an alliance with Geert Wilders, the anti-Islam Dutch politician, or the French Front National and publicly rejected the suggestion of Gerard Batten, a senior Ukip MEP, that Muslims should sign a code of conduct.
Arun Kundnani, an academic at New York University and author of The Muslims are Coming!, said it was worrying that a mainstream party such as Ukip has links to people who have expressed ideas of the Islamophobic far right.
"The argument that Islam is not a religion but a totalitarian ideology is the standard line of the US far-right Islamophobic conspiracy theorists," he said. "The term 'Islamisation' also has the same pedigree."
Mary Honeyball, a Labour MEP, added: "Ukip's decision to sit alongside such unsavoury groups as Lega Nord speaks volumes about where they really stand in relation to the extreme right."
Former Ukip MEP Mike Nattrass said the "undesirable" views of some EFD members was one reason he left the party. "All that to me is outrageous," he said. "Yes, [Farage] did need the numbers to make up the group," he said. "But [they] don't need these people. The problem in that group is they don't all really share the same views. Ukip isn't anti-Islam actually, though it might be in league with people who are."
Asked about his views, Vanhecke said he did speak at a Ghent rally "in company of Nick Griffin and MEPs from other rightwing parties" but he does not consider himself anti-Islam because he respects other cultures and would describe himself as a Flemish and European rightwing patriot.
"I do not remember if the theme was Islamisation (I rather think it was not) – but had it been so it would not have been a problem for me," he said. "I do consider Europe has a serious problem with Islamisation, a threat to fundamental democratic values such as the separation of church and state... and the strict egality between men and women."
Asked about his views on Muslims, as well as the conviction for racial hatred in 2002, Messerschmidt said: "The board of our youth movement, to which I belonged at that time, was convicted. The text was that a multi-ethnic society would lead to more crime, etc. There was no pointing in the text at specific groups, but a concern about the multi-ethnic ideology, something similar to what Cameron and Merkel have addressed."
A Ukip spokesman said: "The EFD group is a loose marriage of convenience formed in order to get more speaking time in the European parliament.
"Ukip is a libertarian party which condemns racism and xenophobia. The party does not share a common political platform with others involved in the EFD. All British political parties have strange bedfellows in the European Parliament. For example, the Labour Party participated in a Party of European Socialists (PES) summer camp in 2012 in which gay delegates were confronted with rampant homophobia and threatened with violence. Let Ed Miliband explain that."
The party said the speaker on Islam at an EFD study day was not an MEP, assistant or adviser to the EFD Group but merely giving a personal view from her experience.
Posted: 10 Mar 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: . | on: Sunday, 9 March 2014, 18:43
A former UKIP politician and teacher, who resigned from the party after abusing Scottish people on Twitter, has now been banned from the country’s classrooms for life.
In a decision announced on behalf of Education Secretary Michael Gove, Ron Northcott, a former election candidate in Plymouth, was banned from teaching.
The order follows a disciplinary panel finding that he was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.
Mr Northcott, 66, who was working at a Catholic school in Plymouth at the time, was found to have made abusive comments about Scottish people, Catholics, muslims and immigrants.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) professional conduct panel found that he published on the internet “views that undermined tolerance of and respect for the rights of others and tolerance of and respect for those with different faiths and beliefs”.
Mr Northcott, who is from Plymouth, had admitted the allegations, but denied that the facts amounted to unacceptable professional conduct or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute. He did not appear before the panel.
The findings said: “The case concerns an allegation that whilst registered as a supply teacher with Ranstad Education, Ronald Northcott posted on Twitter numerous derogatory and offensive comments, among other things, about Scottish people, Catholics, muslims and immigrants both on an account which was ‘protected’ but apparently accessed by many ‘followers’ and a further account accessible to the general public which was not protected in any way.
“Some of the comments posted contained abusive phrases and descriptions. At the time of posting some of the comments Mr Northcott was actually employed as a supply teacher at a Catholic college and his conduct led to a number of parents contacting the college.”
Mr Northcott submitted that the disciplinary proceedings were brought about “by politics and not education,” maintaining that what he tweeted was “fact and not malicious” .
He claimed that no personal, political or religious beliefs had ever been imparted in his classroom.
But recommending that he should be banned from teaching panel chairman Mary Speakman said: “We have very carefully considered the nature of the Twitter posts for which he has accepted responsibility.
“We find many of the views expressed to be in conflict with fundamental British values. Much of the language is inflammatory and abusive. Many of the posts express intolerant attitudes to ethnicity, religious beliefs and nationalities. They totally offend against the standards to which teachers should have regard.
“Mr Northcott’s views received wide local coverage and criticism both in a prominent local newspaper and in various blogs published on the Internet. His offensive opinions therefore must have reached a wider audience than just those persons who had simply accessed directly his Twitter accounts.”
“The college which employed him received a substantial number of complaints from parents of pupils who were concerned by his inappropriate activities.”
Referring to newspaper articles that resulted from the Tweets, she said: “It appears to the panel that for a period his activities became quite high profile. We therefore have no doubt that this is a case of conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.”
Giving the final decision on behalf of the Secretary of State, NCTL official Paul Heathcote said: “His behaviour evidences a serious departure from the personal and professional elements of the Teachers’ Standards, specifically showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others; and not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
“He has failed to recognise his behaviour as being unacceptable and the volume and spread of his inappropriate views indicate a deep seated attitude. I agree that a prohibition order is an appropriate and proportionate sanction.”
The panel had recommended that Mr Northcott should be allowed to apply for the order to be set aside after five years.
But Mr Heathcote said : “Mr Northcott has evidenced a deep-seated attitude, lack of insight and wide-ranging intolerance and I have decided, taking account of the public interest, that it is both appropriate and proportionate that the order should be without opportunity for review.2
The decision means that Northcott is prohibited from teaching indefinitely in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
He has a right of appeal to the High Court.
Posted: 9 Mar 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: . | on: Sunday, 9 March 2014, 18:33
A Tory MP has revealed he contacted the police after he was sent an offensive email from his UKIP opponent, in which the family of murdered Stephen Lawrence were compared to apes.
Peter Luff has said that John White, who stood for UKIP in Mid-Worcestershire at the 2010 General Election, emailed him to ask if it was "a joke" that Baroness Lawrence had received a peerage. He attached a rant by a man named Pete Lucas who said that the peerage made him "ashamed to be British."
"Mrs Lawrence should be elevated higher than the indigenous Brit, which she would normally be, due to the preference of her species for dwelling in high places," the commentary states, apparently referring to monkeys.
‘Pete’ describes the peerage as "ludicrous", claiming Baroness Lawrence has only been awarded due to her skin colour and for "the distinction of having had a son murdered (sic) by white-men."
Last night Mr White, 71, confirmed he had been visited by West Mercia over the email, but defiantly stated: "As far as I’m concerned we have freedom of speech in this country and I will say what I think."
Ukip has said White is no longer a member of the party. He attracted over 3,000 votes in the 2010 election.
His comments came as it emerged that members of Ukip's governing committee backed a proposal for an electoral pact with the far-right British National party (BNP)
Party leader Nigel Farage told the authors of Revolt Of The Right, Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford, that the pair backing the move were "the angry old men of Ukip who thought Ukip was doomed".
Posted: 9 Mar 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Joe Churcher | on: Saturday, 8 March 2014, 18:14
The UK Independence Party said its use of European Union taxpayers' money was "entirely legitimate and within the rules" as a Liberal Democrat said he would seek an official investigation into claims it may have breached Brussels regulations.
Edward McMillan-Scott told The Times he would refer claims made by a whistleblower about the alleged misuse of funds for party political work to the authorities.
The claims surround public cash received by Ukip as part of the right-wing Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) grouping in the European Parliament.
It is not supposed to be used to fund political parties at an EU or national level but The Times said it had seen evidence that some members of Ukip's London staff were paid directly from EU funds in 2012 and 2013.
The newspaper quoted a former party official as saying money was paid directly to his bank account from the EFD.
A Ukip spokesman insisted however that the party had "always worked hard to ensure that demarcations between EFD employees and party employees are properly observed" and defended its actions.
"For the avoidance of doubt, Ukip MEPs are careful to observe European parliamentary rules when spending resources on advancing the goal of British withdrawal."
Attacking what it said was a pre-European election "smear campaign" in response to its rapid rise in popularity, he added:"Ukip has from the outset been the biggest constituent part of the EFD group and Nigel Farage is the group leader.
"It is wholly legitimate and within the rules for some EFD staff to work out of London and indeed staff from other groups that include other British political parties do the same.
"After the rapid growth of the party, UKIP has now put in place a bi-annual review as an extra check to ensure that staff responsibilities remain appropriately demarcated and that the actual work patterns of staff remain consistent."
Yorkshire and Humber region MEP Mr McMillan-Scott - a former Tory leader in Brussels who is a vice-president of the European Parliament - told the newspaper: "This appears to be a misuse of funds.
"I will...ask the relevant authorities to look into it."
posted by: Daniel Boffey | on: Saturday, 8 March 2014, 17:12
A new book has revealed that Ukip considered forming a pact with theBNP five years ago, with two members of the party's national executive committee at the time in favour of the idea.
In 2008 Nigel Farage acknowledged that the BNP had proposed a deal for the European elections the following year, but insisted it had been unanimously rejected. Farage told reporters then: "I'm simply amazed that the BNP thought we would even consider such a thing."
Now the new book – Revolt on the Right, the most definitive account yet of the Ukip movement – reveals that the BNP's proposal was canvassed among 17 members of the party's NEC. Two members supported the proposal, it has emerged.
Farage, who said he had been against a pact, told the authors: "There were a lot of people saying to me at that time: 'You've got to do a deal with them.' I even had Tory MEPs saying to me, 'Nigel, you've got to do a deal with these people.' We were being beaten by them regularly in local elections. So there was huge pressure on me. The nature of the deal was the BNP would stand in some regions in the European elections in the north, and Ukip would stand in the south, and that would be the electoral pact, we wouldn't oppose each other."
Of the members who offered support for the pact, Farage said: "They were the angry old men of old Ukip who thought Ukip was doomed."
The political predicament of Ukip in 2008 contrasts with its potential today, the authors say. In the book, published this week, they say the party has emerged from the crash with the potential to attract a third of the electorate.
Around 30% of voters are now believed to be both Eurosceptic and opposed to immigration, or Eurosceptic and politically dissatisfied, the defining themes for Ukip. Such sentiments are continuing to grow in strength among the electorate, according to the authors, who draw on the biggest pool of data so far amassed on the political movement.
The book provides evidence of the share of voters holding Eurosceptic views and at least one other radical right belief being up by around five to seven percentage points since 2008.
Ukip is widely recognised as not having a credible manifesto and has faced serious questions about the calibre of its MEPs, the authors note.
This weekend, the party was dogged by claims that it had misused EU funds in paying staff working in the UK. Yet Dr Matthew Goodwin, from Nottingham University, and Dr Robert Ford, of Manchester University, say that the "army of potential supporters for Ukip is growing in size" and is being aided by continued anger at Labour's record in power and disaffection with the Tory leader.
They argue that Farage and Ukip face huge challenges in the first-past-the-post electoral system and in the party's continued unpopularity among women, ethnic minorities, graduates and the young.
However, Ukip is now the favoured electoral option among those who strongly disapprove of the EU – 20% of all British voters.
Over the past three years, the party has also performed better than Labour among older, working-class and financially struggling voters. The party is using tactics similar to those once successfully deployed by the Lib Dems, the authors say, in that they seek to deepen their vote in particular areas by getting into local councils and building strongholds.
It is claimed that, of the five constituencies where Ukip stands its best chance of general election success, four are Labour seats (Great Grimsby, Plymouth Moor View, Ashfield, Walsall North) and one is Tory (Waveney). The consistent feature in these areas is a splintering of the traditional vote and the existence of a large, older, blue-collar demographic.
The book suggests that the potential for Ukip's rise can be clearly seen in societal changes that developed decades ago. The authors write: "Its seeds lay among groups of voters who struggled with the destabilising and threatening changes brought by deindustrialisation, globalisation and, later, European integration and mass immigration."
Farage, the academics claim, is fusing three issues to make a coherent message. The authors write: "Farage's party now encourages voters to say 'no' three times: no to the Eurocrats in Brussels and Strasbourg; no to the politicians in Westminster; and no to immigration.
"This is not a grand ideological vision – there is no 'Farageism' – but it is a coherent and highly effective message."
They add: "Ukip is not a second home for disgruntled Tories in the shires; it is a first home for disaffected working-class Britons of all political backgrounds who have lost faith in a political system that ceased to represent them long ago."
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Saturday, 8 March 2014, 15:39
North of the border, UKIP's civil war refuses to go away and the feud has now cost the party at least £30,000 in legal fees according to The Daily Record Newspaper.
Paul Henke, UKIP's former Scottish chairman was given a 100 year suspension by UKIP chairman Steve Crowther after Henke and a number of other UKIP members signed a letter which refused to accept the appointment of London based David Coburn as the party’s Scottish candidate in the European elections.
UKIP decided that Paul Henke had brought the party into disrepute and claimed that Henke along with others intended to sabotage the UKIP campaign in Scotland.
Henke contested the decision and successfully took the party to court, with a decision being made at the Central London County Court ordering the xenophobic party to lift the suspension on their former Scottish chairman.
UKIP wrote to Henke informing him that he had been accepted back into the party with no blemishes on his record and no stains on his character.
The Judge ordered that UKIP pay most of Henke’s court costs, thought to be in the region of £30,000 and refused UKIP permission to appeal the decision or the award of costs.
Henke has also lodged a damages claim for £4,000 which has still to be heard at court.
With a standard UKIP membership costing £30, I make that 1,000 UKIP membership fees wasted by Crowther and UKIP in their quest to silence their own internal critics.
posted by: Pete Bryant | on: Saturday, 8 March 2014, 15:08
UKIP councillor Malcolm Small has been made subject of an electronically-monitored curfew after breaching his bail relating to a charge of arson.
Rushmoor Borough Council's elected member for West Heath appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on Monday (March 3) after contacting the victim whose clothes he burnt at his Farnborough home on February 4.
This was a breach of the 48-year-old's bail conditions, imposed when he admitted the arson charge on February 20 at Aldershot Magistrates' Court, and the curfew which was subsequently put in place forbids him from leaving his Brewers Close home between 7pm and 7am daily.
He was also told to hand over his mobile phone and not apply to get a replacement to ensure he does not commit the same breach.
The curfew, and a condition that he live and sleep each night at his home address, will be electronically monitored. The curfew will not impact on any scheduled public council meetings that he is required to attend.
Small will be sentenced at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on Friday (March 14) after admitting burning Kim Van Opdorp's clothes.
Leader of the local UKIP group, and fellow West Heath councillor, Cllr Mark Staplehurst told the News & Mail that the case had been "blown out of proportion" and that no decision on his future was likely until after the sentencing.
Council leader Cllr Peter Moyle, however, has said Small should already have resigned over the "serious and significant crime".
According to the constitution, Small will have to step down if he receives a prison sentence, even if this is suspended. Any other sentence would leave Cllr Staplehurst to decide whether he should resign and a by-election held to replace him.
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Saturday, 8 March 2014, 11:28
Thought I'd share this great leaflet from Unions Together celebrating International Women's Day.
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Thursday, 6 March 2014, 22:37
Can you remember when UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom embarrassed the party so much that they withdrew the party whip?
The Yorks & Humber MEP was censured after he hit a journalist, threatened a second and labelled female UKIP members as sluts at the UKIP party conference last year.
Well it seems Godders is back or at least it looks that way.
Bloom visited Beverley last week to address a meeting of the Beverley and Holderness UKIP Branch.
Accompanying the abrasive MEP was Mike Hookem, EU candidate and Yorkshire regional chairman and Jane Collins, Yorkshire Regional Manager and Yorks lead candidate for the EU elections.
Has the clown prince of UKIP been disowned by the xenophobic party? It doesn't look like it.
Posted: 6 Mar 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Michael Davies | on: Wednesday, 5 March 2014, 07:57
A UKIP councillor believes business owners should be allowed to refuse to serve women and gay people.
Donna Edmunds, a Lewes district councillor and MEP candidate for the South East, said business people should be allowed to refuse service to anyone they want for whatever reason they want.
Responding to a post on an internet forum Coun Edmunds said they should be allowed to refuse service, including because a customer is gay or a woman.
She had been asked to state whether she supported remarks by Henley-on-Thames UKIP councillor David Silvester who said the floods this winter had been caused by the Government’s support for gay marriage.
After saying she did not agree with her party colleague, she added: “I believe that all business owners, Christian, Muslim, gay, straight, should be allowed to withhold their services from whomever that choose whenever they choose.
“It’s their business. Why should they be forced to serve or sell to anyone?”
When asked by The Argus to clarify her statement the EU election hopeful said it would be ok for a shop owner to refuse to serve her based on no other fact than she was a woman, or if service was refused to a gay person.
She said: “I’m a libertarian so I don’t think the state should have a role on who business owners serve.
“I wouldn’t refuse to serve gay people. I’m not saying their position is a correct one. I’m saying they should be free to make that choice themselves.”
This is not the first time the Lewes councillor has garnered controversy after making statements online.
In 2011 she was forced to stand down from her role as lead councillor for communications in Lewes after labelling a constituent a “village idiot” on Twitter.
Before that she was criticised after telling a constituent to “pay your taxes to die of cancer if that’s what you want” during an online row about the NHS.
Nigel Carter, chairman of Brighton and Hove UKIP, said any action to be taken against the councillor within the party would be taken at a higher level but said her views did not represent the majority of those involved with UKIP.
James Ledward, editor of Brighton-based GScene magazine, described the views as “horrendous”.
He said: “I’m flabbergasted. There is no place for views like this is 2014.
“It is worrying because with proportional representation in the European elections someone like this could get in.
“It’s all well and good getting the government legislation through but we have to win the hearts and minds of people like this. It’s clear there is still work to do.”
Posted: 5 Mar 2014 | There are 10 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Grant Feller | on: Tuesday, 4 March 2014, 18:20
Posted: 4 Mar 2014 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Tuesday, 4 March 2014, 12:48
Dudley UKIP announced in their local newspaper that a former Labour Party branch chairman has defected to the Euro sceptic party.
Steve Daniels has been selected to stand for UKIP in the coming local elections in the Netherton ward where he hopes to win a seat on Dudley Council.
Daniels said: “I have decided to accept the invitation to join UKIP because their values match mine".
We wonder which values Daniels refers to as we can reveal the new UKIP recruit appeared on the leaked BNP membership list.
The local Labour Party in the area discovered his far right links and launched an investigation but Daniels left the party before the investigation had concluded.
Daniels in his defence claims that the Steve Daniels that appears on the leaked list is not him and is in fact his son who was living with him at the time.
UKIP Halesowen and Dudley chairman Dean Perks said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Steve to UKIP. "
Posted: 4 Mar 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Monday, 3 March 2014, 21:48
Boston and Skegness UKIP have selected an ex National Front member as their new chairperson.
Victoria Ayling hit the headlines at the end of last year after she admitted attending National Front meetings in the past.
According to her own mother and ex husband, Ayling joined the far right party in 1977 and regularly attended their meetings, marches and rallies.
Stephen Agar a friend of Ayling's who attended meetings with her added: 'Victoria was a card-carrying member of the National Front.
'She didn’t just go along, she was engaged in it in a way that I was too for a while.
Posted: 3 Mar 2014 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Alistair Kleebauer | on: Monday, 3 March 2014, 16:22
The UKIP activist who mocked Ilford residents by claiming “you won’t understand what they’re saying” is a “young, inconsequential member that had too much to drink,” according to the party’s Redbridge chairman.
Sean Howlett, 21, has brought unwanted attention on the party after an undercover sting in a national newspaper exposed him slating Ilford.
At a reception marking the end of the party’s spring conference, Mr Howlett claimed residents’ accents made it hard to hold a conversation, the Sunday Mirror reported.
Mr Howlett said: “You won’t understand what they’re saying.”
Today, Michael McGough, the chairman of UKIP Redbridge and Waltham Forest, said the comments were “absolutely appalling”.
Mr McGough said: “He’s a young inconsequential member that had too much to drink. It’s people trying to big themselves up. I think what he said was absolutely appalling. I have no truck with it whatsoever.”
Mr McGough played down Mr Howlett’s importance within the party, saying “he’s a member from Hertfordshire. He doesn’t have an official role, he’s not a branch chairman”.
Mr Howlett, who invited a female undercover reporter on board an 80ft motor cruiser docked at Torquay Marina for the reception, also reportedly said Essex had “a lot of Arabs” and “a lot of Afghans”.
When he was told many could be refugees, he said: “Depends what you mean by a refugee.”
The party is looking to make electoral gains in Redbridge, with Hainault councillor Edward Griffin recently defecting from the Conservatives to join UKIP.
Regarding the impact the comments will have on voters in Redbridge, the borough chairman said: “[The reaction] is either going to be neutral or do us harm, which I’m unhappy with.
“It’s not representative of our party view in Ilford.”
He also did not know whether Mr Howlett will be disciplined by the party.
Mr McGough said: “If no official action is taken I’m sure people will have strong words with him.
“And I’m sure they won’t offer him a drink.”
Cllr Wes Streeting (Lab, Chadwell), Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Ilford North, condemned the comments yesterday and said UKIP leader Nigel Farage should visit Ilford.
Cllr Streeting said: “These comments reflect the true face of UKIP.”
Posted: 3 Mar 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Steven Swinford | on: Sunday, 2 March 2014, 13:42
Nigel Farage has has defended a string of jokes about foreigners and Muslims made by a stand-up comedian at the Ukip party conference and warned against "censoring" humour.
Paul Eastwood, a comedian, appeared at the gala dinner to mark the end of the party’s spring conference and was greeted with rapturous applause.
According to The Sunday Mirror, Mr Eastwood started his set by saying that he had to be "politically correct" and watch his words. He then went on to make a series of quips about Polish people and a joke about a Muslim butcher.
* Referring to the Olympics, Eastwood said: “Poland did well. They took home bronze, silver, gold, lead, copper – anything they could get their hands on.”
* He continued: “Team Somalia – they did well, didn’t they? They had to apologise. Didn’t realise sailing and shooting were two different events.
* Implying the Midlands was mostly populated by Asian people he said: “Any Midlands people here? Wonderful! My favourite accent is a Midlands accent.” The comedian then tried to do an Asian accent and branded the Islamic call to prayer a “traditional Midlands folk song”.
* Eastwood told three Asian women who appeared at the event in Torquay they “looked a little bit lost.”
Mr Farage said he did not hear the jokes and left the dinner shortly after the comedian started his set.
However, he warned against "killing" humour and said Mr Eastwood was telling jokes about "national" rather than "racial" sterotypes.
He said: "I'm not going to comment on individual jokes, but I think we're in huge danger here. This was a guy telling jokes about national stereotypes, not racial stereotypes. We are heading down a road here where we would kill all humour in this country if we tear things to pieces.
"Enough is enough, let people tell their jokes. If what they say is inappropriate they won't earn a living because they won't get booked again."
The £35 a head black tie dinner was held after the UKIP conference in Torquay in Devon. It was held as a chance for delegates and donors to mingle after the day-long event, and saw many drinking throughout the evening – with one person passing out at a table.
Posted: 2 Mar 2014 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Ben Glaze Francesca Cookney | on: Saturday, 1 March 2014, 22:38
Nigel Farage and hundreds of his UKIP supporters roared with laughter – as a comic cracked a string of offensive jokes about foreigners.
The party’s leader clapped as Paul Eastwood took swipes at Indians, Muslims and Poles at a gala dinner marking the climax of its spring conference.
Referring to the Olympics, he told guests: “Poland did well. They took home bronze, silver, gold, lead, copper – anything they could get their hands on.”
To claps and cheers he went on: “Team Somalia – they did well, didn’t they? They had to apologise. Didn’t realise sailing and shooting were two different events.”
Eastwood then asked: “Any Midlands people here? Wonderful! My favourite accent is a Midlands accent.”
He then attempted an impression of an Asian voice. Eastwood chanted an Islamic call to prayer, mocking it as a “traditional Midlands folk song”.
The scenes were witnessed by Sunday Mirror investigators who joined 200 guests at the £35-a-head black-tie feast. The dinner was a chance for delegates, donors and officials to mingle after the day-long conference in Torquay, Devon.
Earlier our reporters were invited to an exclusive boozy bash on a £1million yacht.
We listened as a UKIP backer claimed Essex was “full of Arabs”.
He complained that people in East London were impossible to understand. Our team was also told UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall “failed to prepare” for his keynote speech – and had to be helped by an “incredibly hungover” young adviser who had been drinking until the early hours.
The conference highlight for many guests was the boozy dinner where Eastwood cracked his offensive jokes.
Despite initially moaning about “bloody political correctness” and claiming: “I’m under strict instructions about what I can and can’t say tonight”, he rattled off a 45-minute routine littered with stereotypes and tasteless gags.
Guests guzzled £39 bottles of Taittinger champagne as the comedian told an old gag about a lazy Slovakian cleaner and a bad-taste joke about a Muslim butcher.
Eastwood told three Asian women at the party, held at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay, that they “looked a little bit lost”.
In farcical scenes his stand-up routine was interrupted when a guest passed out at a table where deputy leader Paul Nuttall was sitting.
Nuttall later told our team the guest was “s***-faced”, adding that the diner had been “drinking since 1pm”.
Other guests had been drinking for more than 12 hours by the time they headed for their hotels early today.
Earlier, rising star Sean Howlett, 21, invited our undercover female reporter to a reception on board an 80ft motor cruiser which was docked at Torquay Marina.
Those on board the “777” boat spent two hours being wined and dined with a sumptuous spread of sushi, prawn sandwiches and Italian cold meats.
Soon empty champagne bottles lined the cabin where self-proclaimed party “fixer” Howlett tucked into a trifle and said of parts of Essex: “I’ve been there twice in my life, twice too many.” He also claimed the county had “a lot of Arabs”.
Removing his glasses he explained there were also “a lot of Afghans”. When it was suggested many were refugees he quipped: “Depends what you mean by a refugee.”
He slated Ilford, a working-class part of East London which UKIP has targeted, claiming residents’ accents made it hard to hold a conversation.
He mocked: “You won’t understand what they’re saying.”
Clutching a glass of chilled white wine, Howlett then explained why Nuttall – seen as his party’s “Northern voice” to highlight its appeal to those outside its traditional South of England territory – wasn’t on the boat.
“As a Liverpudlian working-class man – Paul Nuttall, deputy leader of UKIP and member of the European Parliament for the North West – he was meant to head this,” said keen-to-impress Howlett.
“If the Press photographed him on a yacht with champagne in the background they would say, ‘fake working-class man pretending to stand up for the people’.
“They would’ve destroyed him. So he had to bail out. I told Paul to bail out.”
Glugging chardonnay, financial adviser Howlett boasted to the 777’s captain of his role in the party: “I’m a member and I assist our shadow chancellor Steven Woolfe.
“He’s a very good friend of mine. It’s a massive bonus I work in financial services. I’m a massive asset to him – not to blow my own trumpet!”
He also revealed how he helped the deputy leader pen his conference speech – despite Howlett propping up the hotel bar until the early hours of Friday.
“I was incredibly hungover,” he admitted. The deputy leader, Paul Nuttall – he basically failed to prepare.”
Howlett arrogantly claimed he and his pal, UKIP supporter Dan Jukes, 18, would win Commons seats within a decade. Patting Jukes’ shoulder, Howlett said: “He will be elected to Parliament. In 10 years’ time he will be an MP.”
Howlett said he aimed to run for the North East Hertfordshire seat, crowing: “I’m going to stand for Parliament in 2015 but I won’t win. I’ll come a good second.”
During his alcohol-drenched day and evening he boasted of his role in securing a £500,000 donation to UKIP from a rich finance chief.
Gary Robinson, who stood for Parliament in 2010, told our reporter his home town Wigan was “not nice” but that he lived in a “posh area”.
Posted: 1 Mar 2014 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: James Lyons | on: Saturday, 1 March 2014, 19:16
UK Independence Party chief Nigel Farage borrowed a slogan from the BNP as he launched a bid to top European election polls.
The party claimed that they were “reclaiming” the “Love Britain” message which was prominently displayed at their spring conference in Torquay today.
UKIP leader Mr Farage said: “To hell with the BNP... it’s our slogan now.”
But he went on to claim migrants had made Britain unrecognisable to many families in his conference address.
Mr Farage later complained about having to share a train carriage with people who were not speaking English.
He also said he would “do a deal with the devil” for an EU referendum and dismissed the row over a councillor who claimed gay marriage caused the flooding crisis.
And one activist demanded to know how anyone could be Muslim and English in a fringe meeting as the party displayed their true colours.
With David Cameron’s pledge to cut immigration in tatters Mr Farage is seeking to exploit people’s fears to make history and see UKIP become the biggest party in Brussels at the May elections.
He claimed families are paying an financial price for the “irresponsible” failure to curb numbers in his conference speech.
And the UKIP leader demanded: “What about the social price of this?
“The fact that in scores of our cities and market towns, this country in a short space of time has frankly become unrecognisable.
“Whether it is the impact on local schools and hospitals, whether it is the fact in many parts of England you don’t hear English spoken any more.
“This is not the kind of community we want to leave to our children and grandchildren.”
That echoes Enoch Powell’s infamous 1968 claim that large scale immigration could change homes and neighbourhoods “beyond recognition”.
Mr Farage later said he felt “awkward” on a recent train journey in central London when he heard only foreign languages spoken by his fellow passengers.
Speaking in a questions and answers session , he said: “I got the train the other night, it was rush hour, from Charing Cross, it was the stopper going out.
"We stopped at London Bridge, New Cross, Hither Green.
“It wasn’t until after we got past Grove Park that I could actually hear English being audibly spoken in the carriage.
"Does that make me feel slightly awkward? Yes.
“I wonder what’s really going on. And I’m sure that’s a view that will be reflected by three quarters of the population, perhaps even more.
“That does not mean one is anti immigration, we’re not anti immigration, we want immigration, but we do absolutely believe we should be able to judge it both on quantity and quality.”
Mr Farage lasy night boycotted Newsnight and failed to show for an interview.
Farage said he had dropped out because, ‘Instead of asking about the elections or policy they focused on admin’.
However, other tweets suggested he had a clash with reporter Zoe Conway before the interview aired.
Posted: 1 Mar 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments