You are viewing blog items for April 2014.
posted by: . | on: Wednesday, 30 April 2014, 19:23
Channel 4 News discovers Ukip has been soliciting donations from a businessman from whom the party publicly distanced itself last year due to his "unpalatable" opinions on women and homosexuality.
Last year, Greek shipping and investment tycoon Demetri Marchessini was Ukip's sixth largest individual cash donor – until some of his controversial views were revealed in the UK press, and Ukip distanced itself from the businessman.
However, Channel 4 News can now reveal that Mr Marchessini has made at least one more major donation to the party, on Christmas eve 2013, and is still in contact with Ukip's treasurer.
Mr Marchessini, who is based in London, holds a large number of controversial views.
- He says, for example, that homosexual relationships are never based on love – "only lust", and never involve "fidelity"
- He believes that a husband can never rape his wife – "once a woman accepts, she accepts"
- And he believes women should be banned from wearing trousers – "only skirts excite men"
In February and March last year Mr Marchessini gave Ukip two gifts of £5,000. That was before, however, reports emerged about some of Mr Marchessini's views – including that women should not be allowed to wear trousers.
Marchessini once published a book, Women in Trousers: a Rear View. The book included photographs of women in the street wearing trousers, taken from behind. The aim, Mr Marchessini said, was to show how unflattering women looked in trousers.
Ukip responded, in May last year, by distancing itself from Mr Marchessini. A Ukip spokesperson told the BBC that: "We neither share nor condone these views. He can donate to whoever he wishes to donate to. Those donations do not come with strings attached."
On Channel 4 News, in May last year, the Ukip MEP Roger Helmer also distanced his party from Mr Marchessini's views, saying: "The truth is, and I've been around politics for a long time, you can pick on any party ... and you can find individuals who say things that the mainstream of that party would not be prepared to accept. This is an example."
It is a view echoed today by Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who, when questioned by Channel 4 News over the donations by Mr Marchessini, said: "I don’t know, you'll have to ask the treasurer won't you? I'm sure he gave the money in good faith, the money was taken in good faith."
When asked whether Ukip should take money from a man with these kinds of views, Mr Farage added: "Possibly not, no. Ask the treasurer. I don't run everything."
'Sodomy... a crime'
Ukip distanced itself further in January this year – after Mr Marchessini took out an advert in the Daily Telegraph in which he said "sodomy has always been a crime".
He was responding to an article by Times columnist Libby Purves, which was critical of Vladimir Putin for Russia's laws clamping down on "homosexual propaganda".
Mr Marchessini wrote: "In the Orthodox religion, homosexuality has always been a major sin... The vast majority of Russians are Orthodox, and abhor homosexuality."
There is no such thing as fidelity in homosexual relationships. They just all go out looking for action.Demetri Marchessini
Following the article, Ukip spokespeople were quoted saying they "vehemently opposed" Mr Marchessini's views.
One spokesman told the Huffington Post: "Mr Marchessini's comments are entirely his own and he very publicly divorced from the party the last time we vehemently opposed his eccentric and unpalatable views."
A Ukip spokeswoman was quoted in the Guardian as saying that when Ukip "publicly opposed the crazy female trouser-wearing comments made by Marchessini last year he made it absolutely abundantly clear that he is no longer associated with the party at all".
"Even back then he was adamant that his thoughts were strictly his own. His only connection to Ukip is the fact he is an EU withdrawalist," the spokeswoman said.
However, Channel 4 News has discovered that Mr Marchessini has made at least one further donation to Ukip. And he told this programme that the Ukip Treasurer Stuart Wheeler, a long-standing bridge partner, calls him to ask for more money "from time to time".
'Lust not love'
Channel 4 News visited Mr Marchessini at his opulent Knightsbridge home to ask him about his views, and his involvement with Ukip.
Sitting at a hunting desk, opposite a pair of enormous elephant tusks, Mr Marchessini told Political Correspondent Michael Crick that he supports Ukip because the Conservative Party is now "left wing" and he believes David Cameron to be "incompetent."
He said that Ukip is the only party that guarantees an exit from the European Union.
In what's thought to be Marchessini's first-ever TV interview, he also elaborated on some of his controversial views, many of which he has previously expressed in his blog.
If you make love on Friday and you make love on Sunday you can't say Saturday is rape.Demetri Marchessini
Asked by Michael Crick if he thinks the "nature of homosexual relationships is different", Mr Marchessini said: "Oh completely different, there's no love, only lust - and also the actions they do are completely different.
"They go out at night and they pick up, five, ten, fifteen different partners in one night. Is that love?"
When Crick suggested that many homosexuals are in stable relationships, Mr Marchessini went on: "But it's not husband and wife, they're roommates and both of them go out cruising."
"There is no such thing as fidelity in homosexual relationships. They just all go out looking for action. That's the way it is."
Banning women's trousers
On women, Mr Marchessini was asked if he think women should be banned from wearing trousers, and he said they should – because skirts are the only way they will excite men.
Asked why women should dress to excite men, Mr Marchessini said: "Because that is the only way the world is going to continue. Because if they don't men are going to stop f***ing them.
"Do you understand, and may I tell you with great respect, that the incidents of love making in Western Europe have fallen drastically?"
He said one reason for this was because women wear trousers. He said another reason was "because women work".
He also said that it is not possible for a husband to rape his wife.
"If you make love on Friday and you make love on Sunday you can't say Saturday is rape," he toldChannel 4 News.
"Once a woman accepts, she accepts. And especially when she makes a vow on her wedding day."
More of Mr Marchessini's views, which he also regularly expresses on his website, will be aired inChannel 4 News's interview with him, tonight at seven, on 4.
Ukip's donations have increased with the party's popularity – and most significantly have been coming from Yorkshire businessman Paul Sykes, who funded the party's recent European election poster campaign.
But this hasn't stopped Ukip calling Mr Marchessini for donations, he says.
"The treasurer of Ukip is an old friend of mine and from time to time he rings me up and asks if I'll help."
He says he doesn't keep track of the phone calls he receives, and says he could not recall if the treasurer (Stuart Wheeler) had been called for further donations "in the past few weeks".
The next time he is called, if he is, then he will consider whether or not to donate, Mr Marchessini says.
He said: "I will think about it, but I don't think they need it now they have Mr Sykes. I am much less keen to give when they have endless money from Mr Sykes. Why should we pay? Let him pay."
And he adds that Ukip has no responsibility for his views.
"I am not an official of Ukip," he said. "I have no position at all, and they are not responsible for my views. I can say what I like and they say what they like."
Ukip is yet to give a detailed response to Channel 4 News in relation to Mr Marchessini at this time.
posted by: Tom Payne | on: Wednesday, 30 April 2014, 18:54
One third of Britons believe that Ukip is a racist party, according to a new poll.
The survey, commissioned by ITV News and ComRes, probed the opinions of 2,052 British adults and found that 32 per cent of them think the party was racist.
Nearly the same number of respondents – 33 per cent – think the party is more honest than its rivals, but 38 per cent disagree.
Of those surveyed, 40 per cent believed that Ukip is not a racist party and 29 per cent said they did not know.
And when quizzed on whether they believe Ukip’s policies are sensible, Britons were left divided – 38 per cent think not and the same percentage believe the party does.
The poll also found that nearly half (44 per cent) of those who voted Conservative in 2010 are likely to agree with Ukip’s policies. 34 per cent would disagree.
Ukip has refuted suggestions that the party is racist. Last week, Nigel Farage hit back at claims the party’s latest poster campaign was racist by calling it a “hard-hitting reflection of reality experienced by millions of British people.”
Yesterday, William Henwood resigned as a member of the party after he suggested actor Lenny Henry should emigrate to a “black country”.
A spokesman for the party condemned the remarks and said his resignation was “mutually agreed”.
Posted: 30 Apr 2014 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Matt Chorley and Gerri Peev | on: Wednesday, 30 April 2014, 17:13
Ukip's attempts to purge the party of members with controversial views have sugffered a fresh setback after it emerged two council candidates have questioned whether Mor Farah is British and called for Islam to be banned.
Nigel Farage has spent the week insisting his party is not racist, and yesterday suspended two members for links to far-right groups.
But fresh comments have emerged from candidates in local elections on May 22 which cause further embarrassment to the party.
A UKIP council candidate queried whether Mo Farah was qualified to race for Team GB when he was an ‘African from Somalia’.
The jibe - made by David Wycherley, a Ukip council candidate for Walsall - came just hours after the runner seized the gold medal for the 10,000 metres at the 2012 London Games
The athlete, who grew up in London after fleeing his war-torn country - became a double Olympic champion for Team GB.
But Mr Wycherley queried whether he could be British, asking his Facebook friends to explain ‘how Mo Farah, an African from Somalia who trains in America, has won a Gold medal for Great Britain’.
In another Facebook post, Mr Wycherley, who is standing for the Rushall-Shelfield ward, joked about ‘starving Africans’ while complaining about his water bill.
It also emerged last night that Jackie Garnett, a Ukip candidate for the Royston South Ward in Oldham, suggested that the UK should ‘ban Islam and knock down all the mosques’ in a Facebook post.
A UKIP spokesman said that the party would investigate their posts, adding: ‘Ukip is a non-racist, non-sectarian party and all candidates and members are expected to uphold these values.
'Where evidence is produced about individuals, it will be considered at the earliest opportunity by the national executive committee as part of an established disciplinary procedure.’
The row came just as another candidate, William Henwood who suggested comedian Lenny Henry should emigrate to a ‘black country’, quit his party membership.
Mr Henry had said there should be more people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the creative industries.
In response, Mr Henwood had told the BBC: ‘If black people come to this country and don’t like mixing with white people why are they here? If he (Henry) wants a lot of blacks around go and live in a black country.’
Ukip said that Mr Henwood’s remarks about Mr Henry ‘caused enormous offence and UKIP MEP candidate for the West Midlands Bill Etheridge spoke for many in the party with his strong condemnation’.
Ukip also suspended two unnamed members after it emerged that one had been a BNP member from 2005 until 2010 and another had given money to the English Defence League (EDL).
A Ukip source insisted that the men had a right to appeal which is why their identities were being kept secret.
He added that their links to the other parties had been uncovered by vetting procedures, adding: ‘We will be redoubling our efforts. It’s a tiny minority and we have to keep working hard to make sure the whole party’s reputation is not contaminated.’
Nigel Farage has banned anyone from taking up Ukip membership if they have links to the two extremist parties. The Ukip leader last night revealed he suspected that his party had been infiltrated and that ‘one or two people have joined Ukip with the intention of perhaps not doing it any good’.
‘I’m investigating that, looking at that as we speak,’ he told the BBC.
He has previously resisted sacking MEPs and councillors over controversial remarks.
Roger Helmer, a UKIP MEP, yesterday was forced on the defensive after saying people had as much right to dislike homosexuality as they did certain types of tea.
The politician, who has previously suggested people could have their sexuality ‘turned’ by psychiatrists, was asked by the Sun newspaper whether he stood by remarks that he found same sex relationships ‘distasteful if not viscerally repugnant’.
He said: ‘Different people have different tastes. You may tell me you don’t like Earl Grey tea. That may be a minority view but you are entitled not to like it if you don’t like it.’
posted by: George Eaton | on: Wednesday, 30 April 2014, 09:19
After foolishly boasting that victory in the Newark by-election would force David Cameron to resign, the Ukip leader marched his troops back down the hill.
Having marched his troops to the top of the hill, Nigel Farage has just marched them down back down again. After stoking speculation that he would stand in the Newark by-election by boasting last night that David Cameron would have to resign if he won, the Ukip leader has just told the BBC that he won't be running after all. He said outside his home in Bath:
It was only 12 hours ago that Patrick Mercer stood down, so I haven't had long to think about it, but I have thought about it, and we're just over three weeks away from a European election at which I think Ukip could cause an earthquake in British politics, from which we can go on and win not just one parliamentary seat but quite a lot of parliamentary seats.
For that reason, I don't want to do anything that deflects from the European election campaign, so I'm not going to stand in this by-election.
I want to focus the next three weeks on winning the European elections and also I don't have any links with the East Midlands. I would just look like an opportunist, and I don't think that would work.
Were he being honest, Farage would have admitted that there was one big reason why he chose not to stand: he feared he would lose. The Tories currently enjoy a majority of 16,152 in Newark and a lead of 25,636 over Ukip (which polled 3.8 per cent in 2010). Even with the momentum that would follow victory in the European elections, overcoming that deficit would have been a daunting challenge. Ukip briefed this morning that it fears the elderly, middle-class Conservative vote is "solid", and it is almost certainly right.
Farage made the right call. But having allowed, and even encouraged, speculation to run out of control, he has been unavoidably damaged this morning. There was no need for him to boast that he was powerful enough to topple Cameron, or to declare that winning a Westminster seat would "transform the landscape" for Ukip. He could simply have told reporters that he would "sleep on it" and decide in the morning.
Farage may well still lead Ukip to a remarkable victory on 22 May (indeed,the polls suggest he is almost certain to). But right now the politician he most resembles is Gordon Brown after the election that never was in 2007. For the first time in weeks, Ukip's momentum has stalled.
posted by: Becky Middleton | on: Wednesday, 30 April 2014, 09:11
Ukip "racist" Andre Lampitt is to stand in the Merton elections despite being suspended by his party and publicly derided for controversial comments posted online.
Mr Lampitt is standing as a prospective candidate in the St Helier ward of the borough and nominated fellow Ukip candidate Councillor Richard Hilton.
He was suspended from Ukip last week after "racist" views were posted on Twitter.
A series of tweets posted on Andre Lampitt’s Twitter account branded Islam as ‘evil’, claimed Ed Miliband is ‘not British’ and that he wanted Africans to ‘kill themselves off’.
Mr Lampitt, of Lynmouth Avenue, Morden, is up against seven other candidates from other parties in the St Helier ward.
Mr Lampitt, a Zimbabwean decorator, featured in Ukip’s election broadcast, on Wednesday, April 23, in which he wore a builder’s hat and complained ‘lads from Eastern Europe’ were undercutting him.
Councillor Suzanne Evans, a candidate for Ukip in Hillside ward of Wimbledon, has distanced herself from the controversy.
Coun Evans said: "We did our utmost to get him off the ballot paper but election law won’t allow us to do that.
"It is out of our hands.
"We don’t want his name on the ballot papers but there’s nothing we can do about it."
Coun Evans insists she had nothing to do with vetting the first time candidate whose Twitter account has since been disabled.
Ordinarily a candidate could be withdrawn from standing, but the election nominations closed the day before the news of the comments broke which means he is still eligible to stand for the seat.
It is the latest scandal to hit Ukip in Merton, after Coun Evans and Hilton were excluded from attending the annual mayor of Merton’s charity ball on Saturday, April 26. Primary school teacher Jackie Schneider was investigated and cleared after Coun Hilton reported her for sending "offensive" tweets during a public meeting.
Mrs Schneider live-tweeted the event to almost 4,000 followers, disputing Ukip views on immigration, honour killings and tax.
Nigel Farage, leader of Ukip, has launched an investigation into the incident involving Mr Lampitt and said he was ‘very angry’.
A Ukip spokesman said: "We are deeply shocked that Mr Lampitt has expressed such repellent views.
"His membership of the party has been suspended immediately pending a full disciplinary process."
The European elections and local council elections are on May 22.
posted by: Hugh Muir | on: Tuesday, 29 April 2014, 21:35
If the polls are right, and they probably are, legions of ordinary British people, decent in so many respects, will back Ukip in the forthcoming European elections.
Some will tick the Farage box because they believe the party to be the future, setting out with clarity our country's political, social and economic future. Others will give their endorsement because they have come to despise the other parties and the establishment. Indeed Farage has been encouraging them to turn away from the political elite and to see Ukip as a new way of doing things.
There will be those, genuinely unhappy, who wish for tougher action on migration and a handbrake turn away from Europe. Both are hot-potato issues and Ukip serves up a mash more easily digestible than that available elsewhere.
And then there is the contingent that thinks some or none of these things but will vote for the party as a form of interactive entertainment. "That Farage, he's a good bloke," they will say. "You can have a laugh with him."
Ukip will do well because it can best survive in the polluted atmosphere that engulfs debate about migration and Europe, but also because it's a perfect vehicle for a protest vote. No one takes it very seriously. And that's the sadness. Because Ukip isn't and has never been much of a laughing matter. Here's why …
1. Its stances are bonkers
It appears to dislike everything about the European parliament, except, of course, the money EU taxpayers make available to its representatives (of which more later). Anything born of the EU seems bad. Let's consider some of the things that have been bad in the recent past. In the past few months Ukip has voted against updated rules on cab design and safety, which would make it easier for the drivers of lorries to spot pedestrians and cyclists. Also against requirements that MEPs who draft legislation should publish which lobbyists they have met and their influence on the legislation. It opposed greater transparency for clinical trials data and greater protections for holidaymakers buying package holidays. Also legislation to tackle money laundering and calls for greater public access to EU documents. Things are moving in the right direction, perhaps. The 2010 manifesto, which Farage has called "drivel", called for taxi drivers to be required to wear uniforms, dress codes for the theatre and for the Circle line on London's underground to be made a circle again.
2. It has nasty friends in Europe
Umberto Bossi, formerly of the Northern League. Photograph: Matteo Bazzi/EPA
Farage seems a laugh in that "hail fellow well met" way. But you can tell a lot by the friends he keeps. And some of the types he hangs out with in Brussels would be seen as a rough crowd here. Who are they? There are the figures in the xenophobic and rightwing Italian Northern League, the second largest grouping in the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, which Farage chairs. Umberto Bossi, its founder, once called for illegal immigrants to be shot. Farage knows they can be a bit unreconstructed. He had to expel one of its MEPs from the group last year after racist comments about Cécile Kyenge, Italy's first black minister. She was, said Mario Borghezio, more suited to being a "housekeeper" or a low-level council official than a minister and would impose African "tribal traditions" on Italy.
The True Finns are firm friends too. One of them collided with a spot of bother for floating the idea of mandatory armbands for foreigners to make it easier for police to identify them.
The Danish People's party: more ghastlies. In 2002, MEP Morten Messerschmidt was one of a group convicted of racially motivated offences. Frank Vanhecke is there too. He's the former leader of Belgium's Vlaams Blok, the far-right party disbanded after a court said it broke anti-racist laws. He appeared at a student rally with the BNP's Nick Griffin in 2010. None of them are as obviously clubbable as Nige and he may want shot of them after the election. But they have been his Euro-mates for a while.
3. It's a magnet for unsavoury types here
Andre Lampitt in a Ukip promo film. Photograph: Ukip
Domestically Ukip talks a good game. We only want respectable types, it says. But as Jeremy Hunt has pointed out, it does seem effortlessly able to attract – among the decent – a proportion of rum characters. When they say racist, Islamophobic or plain offensive things, Farage wields the stick. But even he must wonder why they pitch up on his party's doorstep in the first place.
Andre Lampitt, we know. Having starred in the latest Ukip TV ad, he was outed for dismissing Ed Miliband as "a Pole", asserting that Enoch Powell was right, Islam was Satanic and that Africans should be left to "kill themselves". He has since been suspended. And then there was David Silvester, the councillor who attributed the winter floods to gay marriage.William Henwood popped up this week, calling for Lenny Henry, who seeks equality in the creative arts, to emigrate to "a black country". These were outriders, perhaps. But what about fellow MEP Gerard Batten, who called for British Muslims to sign a special code of conduct promising not to engage in violent jihad. Farage said that wasn't party policy.
But Batten's still there, Ukip MEP for multicultural London. And would any other party have welcomed to a senior post Neil Hamilton, the disgraced poster boy of the cash for questions scandal? His election role has reportedly been downgraded, but he's still deputy chair. At the weekend, he was on the BBC wearing his party hat and preaching the Faragian gospel. A strange choice to hoist on to the Ukip soapbox, but not the strangest. Is it worth mentioning that two of Ukip's 2004 intake ended up in jail for EU expenses fraud? The party that isn't like the other parties seems to be like the other parties after all.
4. It has rewarded offence
Godfrey Bloom hits journalist Michael Crick with a Ukip brochure. Photograph: Channel 4 news
Recently the party has taken the stick to those who might tarnish its journey into the electoral mainstream. Perhaps that is because with favourable polls comes harsher scrutiny. But hitherto, it seemed to have little problem with those who caused outrage or offence. Poor Godfrey Bloom had to biff Michael Crick of Channel 4 News with a party brochureto get himself disciplined, but prior to that, the nonstop misogyny and references to aid being sent to Bongo Bongo Land were viewed benignly. In 2010 we encountered Paul Wiffen. He was London chairman of Ukip when he thought to hold forth on Community Care website, addressing those whose views were different. "You leftwing scum are all the same," he said. "Wanting to hand our birthright to Romanian Gypsies who beat their wives and children into begging and stealing money they can gamble with, Muslim nutters who want to kill us and put us all under medieval Sharia law, the same Africans who sold their Afro-Caribbean brothers into a slavery that Britain was the first to abolish (but you still want to apologise for!)." Like Lampitt, he was suspended. And then he was selected as Ukip's London North East candidate for the London assembly in 2012.
He did not win.
5. It hates the EU but cashes in
Nigel Farage claims he uses EU money to hasten its demise. Photograph: Getty Images/Laura Ronchi
The Times and Farage have tussled about all the money he claims from the European parliament, in addition to the average £83,000 salary. It is my entitlement, he says. I use EU money to hasten its demise. Much of the focus has been on the monthly fixed-rate allowance of £3,850 and whether it is used to fund his activities as an MEP or party work. But attention has also been paid to the fact that Farage is one of 38 British MEPs in line for a second EU pension, which could reap them £41,000 a year in addition to the basic EU fund.
"It is not a system that I defend but it is the system," he told the Telegraph.
His take on the allowances, as revealed in the Guardian, is clear and may be instructive. Is this above board, he was asked. "I think I've kept just the right side of the line, albeit pushing right up to it," he replied.
Everywhere contradictions. Last week Ukip's patriotic People's Army toured the country in a-Mercedes Benz.
6. Its MEPs are not exactly worker bees
A busy bee, buzzing off to Brussels. Possibly. Photograph: Papilio/Alamy
Having been elected and having pledged to topple the EU from within, one might think the Ukipians would be assiduous attenders, the better to disparage and critique it. Instead, they are famed absentees.
This seems a badge of honour. They get elected to the European parliament, receive a salary and allowances for being members of the European parliament. And then restrict appearances there on the basis that regular attendances would lend the place legitimacy. Ukip's deputy leader, Paul Nuttall, set out the position on his blog after his spotty record in the EU parliament was flagged up in the Telegraph.
"I'll hold my hands up," he said. "My attendance record is flaky to say the least. But so what?" Dispatched to Brussels, his focus is actually his UK fiefdom. "I treat Brussels with the contempt it deserves."
7. It's as vulnerable to special interests as any other party
Paul Sykes, Ukip party donor. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA
Much of the criticism of what Farage calls the establishment elite boils down to influence and money. He says that the other parties are in hock to vested interests and that chimes. No one wants to see the political process skewed by interests with fat wallets. So what is one to think of the Ukip poster campaign? The multimillionaire Paul Sykes has been generous, as previously he was to the anti-EU Democracy Movement and to the Conservatives before he fell out with them. But the £1.5m publicity campaign – the most visible in the party's history – is as much his as Ukip's. He funded it. Prudent perhaps. One of Britain's richest self-made men, he didn't become rich by wasting his money. But if his input is that important, who calls the shots?
8. It speaks with forked tongues
Leave aside the now acknowledged mistake of featuring Lampitt in the party political broadcast. And the fact that another person described as an ordinary voter in a manifesto document turned out to be a party employee who works for Farage. And the fact that one man featured in the poster campaign turned out to be a migrant actor from Ireland. And the fact that former head of the British Army Lord Dannatt condemned the image of the British flag on fire. Consider the central implausibility of the central claim: that 26 million of the European unemployed are gunning for jobs in Britain. Two million from the total are British anyway. Consider that if an entity save for a political party enjoying exemption from the advertising code of conduct ran that misleading ad, it would have been forced to withdraw it.
Then consider this, from the Sun on 12 April. "In an article MoT fix axe fears (March 30) we quoted a letter from Ukip containing claims that thousands of MoT test centres could close under EU proposals forcing motorists whose cars fail to go to a different garage for repairs. We have been informed that no such EU proposals exist and are happy to set the record straight."
9. Its only plan is Nigel
It's that Ukip man again … Nigel Farage. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Has there ever been a major party so dependent on one sellable character? Farage is, without question, the most dominant and effective party leader in national politics. Erase him from the canvas and what is left? EU stayaway Nuttall? "Liar and a cheat" Hamilton?
The cult of Farage is rivalled only in its potency by the cult of Boris, for like him, Farage is a vivid brand deployed to politics.
Both trade illusions. Boris projects slapstick and shambles when all the time beneath is ambitious focus and a keen-eyed grasp of modern politics. Farage is Everyman; all booze and fags and antennae for the cares and fears of ordinary people. This from the son of a stockbroker, with an often-lamented career in the City behind him; children all privately educated; prosperous product of a village upbringing in Kent.
10. It makes a sensible debate on Europe less likely
Quite the biggest achievement of Ukip has been to shape the ground on which we discuss two touchstone issues, Europe and migration. Both are complex. Both bring benefits and present challenges. But Ukip's reductionist approach has made reasoned and nuanced discussion of both virtually impossible. And so, frightened of being eclipsed, and mindful that a simplistic answer will always trump a detailed one in the 24-hour news cycle, politicians in Farage's slipstream distil their own arguments, minimising maturity and sacrificing logic. Those who present a reasoned argument are howled down or judged to have lost the argument. Perhaps the least amusing aspect of Farage is the impact he will have on parties other than his own.
Posted: 29 Apr 2014 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: wbchris | on: Tuesday, 29 April 2014, 16:30
The United Kingdom Independence Party’s youngest ever party chairman is in hot water after a Facebook photo album from a marijuana-fuelled party was discovered online.
In March 17-year-old Rosie Ward was appointed chairman for the Camborne, Redruth and Hayle branch of the party, but last week an album was spotted on her Facebook profile that could land Miss Ward at the centre of controversy.
She has since responded by saying that her father was present at the party and the weed was brought in by gatecrashers.
In an album on Miss Ward’s profile entitled Punk Party the album caption reads “The amount of baccy and weed I had to vacuum up.
“But all in all a fantastic night! X”
The album was last updated four months ago and lists the location as at The Hideaway Bar in Redruth, a venue which has since shut down.
Cornwall Councillor Harry Blakeley, who Miss Ward took over from as branch chairman, said: “I’m aware that there is a situation regarding a Rosie Ward and a Facebook post.
“Before considering Rosie for the role of chairman we strongly went through her history and she assured us that she had never smoked or taken any drugs.”
On her blog www.rosaleena.co.uk Miss Ward suggests in a post that rules imposed on smokers could drive young people to more dangerous drugs.
She said: “The continued persecution of smokers with these laws has caused another, more pressing issue to rise- the use of marijuana.
“The more rules imposed on smokers, the more young people passively turn against the authority and turn to more dangerous drugs, but the European Union still fail to address the true “war on drugs” and yet totally reject the idea of legalizing them.”
Miss Ward, who has since removed the post, was unanimously elected at a branch annual general meeting back in late March.
UKIP Cornwall's chairman Steph McWilliam said: "I've spoken to Rosie and she's assured us that her father was present at the party and the drugs were brought onto the premises by gatecrashers."
Posted: 29 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: . | on: Tuesday, 29 April 2014, 14:33
Ukip leader Nigel Farage was asked to leave a Bath pub today, the venue having been chosen to host the launch of his party’s European elections campaign in the South West.
After turning up at the Bell Inn on Walcot Street with his entourage and a BBC film crew, Mr Farage was told it was ‘inappropriate’ for the pub to be used for his hustings.
The venue was apparently chosen by Martin Tracy as a way of promoting Walcot Street but pub manager Jamie Matthews objected.
On the pub’s Facebook page, senior manager Mr Matthews wrote: “Just had UKIP leader Nigel Farage and his be-suited henchmen in the pub with a BBC News film crew. Avoiding any actual political argument, I told him that he was welcome as a citizen to have a pint – we are, after all, a public house – but it was inappropriate for him to be using our premises for his hustings. I asked the camera man to stop filming.
“Most of the entourage then finished or left their drinks and went outside. They may have continued filming outside, I don’t know, but that is the public highway and they have every right to.
“Martin Tracy of The Framing Workshop said he’d brought them in as he thought it would help raise the profile of Walcot Street. He had the decency to apologise when he realised how inapt that was.”
The Bell – a favourite with Bath musicians – was saved from closure after residents and regulars raised £600,000 after its owners put the site up for sale.
Posted: 29 Apr 2014 | There are 14 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Tom Payne | on: Tuesday, 29 April 2014, 12:32
A senior Ukip politician has said that people should be able to hate gay people like they do different types of tea.
In the latest controversy to rock the party, MEP Roger Helmer toldThe Sun newspaper that some people find homosexuality “distasteful if not viscerally repugnant.”
And the former Conservative politician even said that gay children were choosing the “wrong gender.”
“Different people may have different tastes,” he said. “You may tell me that you don’t like Earl Grey tea. That may be a minority view but you are entitles not to like it if you don’t like it.”
In a statement on his website, Mr Helmer said he was “deeply shocked” by today’s story, but insisted that it was “morally acceptable to prefer heterosexuality over homosexuality, or vice versa.”
“The mainstream media are engaged in a feeding frenzy against UKIP, and are prepared to twist the facts to suit their agenda,” he added.
It’s not the first time that the East Midlands MEP has caused controversy with outlandish remarks. In 2011, Mr Helmer caused a storm by saying that homosexuality was akin to a mental health problem.
At the time he tweeted: “Why is it OK for a surgeon to perform a sex change operation, but not OK for a psychiatrist to try to ‘turn’ a consenting homosexual?”
Despite his remarks, the MEP told The Sun last night that Ukip’s bad publicity was driven by the “old parties”.
Mr Helmer’s comments come days after a Ukip candidate tweeted racist remarks about comedian Lenny Henry. William Henwood said the comic should go to a “black country”.
Nigel Farage yesterday took to Twitter to insist that the party had been “very tough” on discipline.
Posted: 29 Apr 2014 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Sunday, 27 April 2014, 22:02
As the numerous UKIP nominations begin to roll in from around the country, some of the candidates names raise one or two eyebrows.
A area well known to us here at HOPE not hate is the Mixenden & Illingworth ward on Calderdale council in West Yorkshire.
In the past, we have mounted a number of very succesful campaigns in that ward when it was a stronghold for the local BNP.
Fortunately, we were able to see off that threat but now we see a very different type of politician attempting to get his feet under the table in the area.
Standing in the ward is Calderdale UKIP chairman David Ginley.
Ginley is a well known politician in the area and has a colourful past which is well documented.
A former Conservative councillor, Ginley was embroiled in controversy in 1993 after appearing in court after voting twice in a council election. He was found guilty and was ordered to do 200 hours of community service plus costs. Ginley claimed that as he paid poll tax on two properties he should be entitled to two votes.
In 2003 Ginley again appeared before Calderdale magistrates and admitted two charges of forgery. He was warned by the judge that he could be jailed for the offences which arose from an unpaid plumbing bill following work carried out at one of his many rental properties. Ginley was subsequently handed a 180 hour community order plus costs.
Ginley held the Warley seat on Calderdale Council from 1998 until he lost his seat in 2004. He was again voted back on the council in 2006 and in 2007 was nominated by the Conservatives to be Mayor of Calderdale.
In 2010 he was again arrested by West Yorkshire Police this time on suspicion of electoral fraud. Ginley claimed that confusion had arose following the collection of proxy vote forms.
Two years later in 2012 he was kicked out of the local Conservative Party after accusing him of "unethical practices" after he allegedly asked someone to stand as a “Liberal” candidate undermining the election prospects of the Liberal Democrat Party candidate.
As UKIP's standards are so low they have welcomed Ginley with open arms, we hope the good people of Mixenden & Illingworth are a little more fussy.
posted by: . | on: Sunday, 27 April 2014, 14:22
British National Party leader Nick Griffin has accused Ukip of recycling and softening their hardline anti-immigration policy.
Mr Griffin made the remarks after Ukip council candidate William Henwood told Lenny Henry to emigrate to a black country.
Griffin told the BBC: "If you look at Ukip they are using all our rhetoric, they are using our slogans, they are recycling our posters and people like it.
"The only difference is that Ukip won't deliver. Their actual policy is a 50,000 net increase in immigration every year.
"When they talk about balanced migration what Farage actually means is for every Brit who leaves Britain, they'd be happy to let a Pakistani or an Afghan in, which means their policy is actually about 300,000 new immigrants a year.
"Our policy is simple: shut the door, we don't want anyone - black, brown, green or white.
"I think if the public get to understand that then Ukip's vote is going to meltdown as they come under the scrutiny they deserve."
Posted: 27 Apr 2014 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Dipesh Gadher,Tim Shipman and Paul Stokes | on: Sunday, 27 April 2014, 11:27
THE millionaire businessman who is bankrolling UKIP’s controversial poster campaign targeting immigration is the owner of a luxury apartment complex that employs Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese workers.
Four out of 10 staff observed last week at the Residence 6 serviced apartments in Leeds city centre were foreign nationals.
The accommodation belongs to Paul Sykes, a property tycoon who recently joined Nigel Farage, UKIP’s leader, to launch a series of anti-EU posters ahead of the European elections in May.
Opposition politicians branded the language and imagery as divisive and racist. The posters include an image of a giant finger pointing outwards beside the slogan: “26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?” Another poster portrays a builder begging on the street after apparently being laid off. It states: “EU policy at work. British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labour.”
The campaign is being paid for by Sykes, 70, at a cost of £1.5m. The fact that foreign staff are employed at one of his own businesses could leave him open to charges of hypocrisy.
Sykes owns Residence 6, which comprises 23 guest apartments in the historic Old Post Office building in Leeds, through a company called Highstone Group. It had assets in 2013 worth £254m according to accounts filed at Companies House.
Promotional material for the grade II listed complex says the flats are aimed at “the discerning business or leisure traveller”, with features including hand-built kitchens, plasma televisions and a concierge service.
Guests trying to find a room at Residence 6 on the Booking.com website are told that staff speak Portuguese, Polish, Lithuanian and English. Just over a third of the employees seen on duty last week by The Sunday Times were from abroad.
Staff on the reception desk included a woman in her twenties from Lithuania and a woman from Poland who said she was unlikely to return to her home country after living in Britain for the past nine years.
Both are thought to have been employed at the complex for at least three years. Their manager, who is in charge of the concierge service, was said to be Portuguese.
One of the housekeeping staff, a man in his mid-thirties, was from Goa, a former Portuguese enclave in India. He said he had worked at Residence 6 when it first opened before he returned to the subcontinent.
He said he he had come back to Britain recently on a Portuguese passport and started work again at the apartments a month ago. The man said he missed his young family, but could earn more in the UK than in Goa.
Six other workers, including the property’s general manager, appeared to be British.
The allure of the apartments — which boast Molton Brown toiletries — and the professionalism of its staff are reflected in guest reviews online. One said: “Excellent service from the staff, especially the girl on reception who was so helpful.” Another wrote: “It was perfect, the hotel was spotless and the management and staff couldn’t do enough for us.”
When UKIP unveiled its poster campaign last week, Mike Gapes, a Labour MP, said he hoped the “racist” material would encourage “decent” people to vote for another party next month.
Farage has claimed that the posters are “a hard-hitting reflection of reality” and only the “chattering classes” would object.
Embarrassingly for UKIP, the “British builder” featured in the begging poster has been revealed as an Irish actor.
Last night it emerged that UKIP council candidates had made a string of offensive comments on social media, including one who suggested that Lenny Henry, who recently complained about a lack of diversity on television, “should emigrate to a black country”.
This weekend Sykes said he was unaware that foreigners were working at Residence 6 until alerted to the fact by The Sunday Times, because it is run by a managing agent. “I didn’t even know I did benefit [from such staff],” he said.
Sykes, who started his working life as a tyre-fitter before amassing a £ 650m fortune, said he did not know how much the staff were being paid, but denied they had been hired because they were cheaper than British workers. “We would never undercut the minimum wage,” he said.
“I’m certainly not removing them. If they are good workers, if they are doing the job right, they deserve the job.”
Sykes said UKIP wanted “controlled immigration” based on skills shortages rather than a complete stop to all labour movement across the EU. He warned that in Yorkshire “these people are just pouring in for reasons only they know and this unlimited immigration is going to end in catastrophe”.
Posted: 27 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Ben Glaze, Colin Cortbus | on: Sunday, 27 April 2014, 10:57
A UKIP candidate has made a u-turn over a series of "aggressive Twitter rants as he desperately tries to revive his election chances.
Ummer Farooq, 29, mocked Remembrance Day poppies as "occultism" and said the US staged the 9/11 attacks.
He also tweeted "every adult in the UK" should be armed and said Israel "created" Palestinian terror group Hamas.
But the latest embarrassment to UKIP boss Nigel Farage back-pedalled on Friday - as the party distanced themselves from his views.
He told the Sunday Mirror he had been "childish" and "aggressive."
Farooq, bidding for a seat in the May 22 local elections, said of his tweets: "They don't help. I shouldn't be saying things like this."
He claimed he had changed his mind and added: "I know many Jewish people through UKIP. They are nice."
A party spokesman said yesterday: "We will investigate Mr Farooq's comments. The views expressed are his own and are not UKIP's."
Farooq, who also tweeted that the Boston Marathon bombers were innocent, made his "apology" three days after UKIP suspended the star of its EU election campaign film over offensive tweets.
Zimbabwe-born Andre Lampitt was one of five supporters who appeared in a party broadcast for next month's poll. But the council election candidate was suspended after he allegedly branded Islam "evil," claimed the Prophet Muhammed was "a paedo" and said Africans should "kill themselves off."
Farooq - aiming to win his party's first seat on Labour-controlled Waltham Forest Council in East London - believes he will avoid the same fate with an apology.
posted by: . | on: Sunday, 27 April 2014, 10:25
A local election UKIP candidate has suggested that British comedian Lenny Henry should emigrate to a "black country".
Enfield candidate William Henwood was responding to recent comments made by Henry that there was a poor representation of ethnic minorities on British television.
On his Twitter account, he tweeted: "He should emigrate to a black country. He does not have to live with whites."
In a statement, UKIP insisted the party was "non-racist, non-sectarian" and that "any comments made by members that fail to uphold these values will be duly investigated and acted upon".
Mr Henwood is not the only candidate to have extreme views revealed in the past week since the party's manifesto was launched.
UKIP Camden candidate Magnus Nielsen claimed that 70% of UK mosques had been "taken over" by "fundamentalists".
According to his Facebook page, he said: "Islam is organised crime under religious camouflage. Any Muslim who is not involved in organised crime is not a 'true believer', practising Islam as Mohammed commanded."
And a UKIP member who appeared in the party's latest election broadcast was suspended after allegedly expressing "repellent views".
Andre Lampitt apparently posted racist and anti-Islamic remarks as well as inappropriate comments about Labour leader Ed Miliband on Twitter.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he was "very angry" that Mr Lampitt had been given a role in the broadcast.
Despite a bruising week of controversies, a poll suggests Mr Farage's party has surged into the lead in the European election contest.
UKIP recorded 31% support in the YouGov survey for the Sunday Times, three points ahead of Labour, with the Conservatives trailing in third place with 19%.
Posted: 27 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Mark Aitken | on: Sunday, 27 April 2014, 10:13
UKIP’s top Scottish candidate in next month’s European elections left foreign students thousands of pounds out of pocket after he shut down their language school.
Right-winger David Coburn left the students from all over the world in the lurch after taking tuition fees in advance.
Coburn, 55, is described in a UKIP election leaflet as an “international freight forwarding business owner”.
He ran the Lexicon School of English in London’s Kensington, which was dissolved in 1993 by the Companies
Registrar after failing to file accounts.
But Coburn improperly carried on trading, despite an outstanding rent bill of £45,000 and was still taking in cash until just before he closed the school.
Angry students said they were left in extreme financial difficulties with one describing Coburn as an “absolute b*****d’’.
After Lexicon’s collapse, other language schools offered the students free courses.
Two of Coburn’s other companies, Heliogabalus and D&C Trading, were dissolved in 2010 and 2012 respectively.
Coburn, now based in Edinburgh, said: “I have had a lot of businesses. Some have been better than others.
“The students all transferred on to other schools. It was the time of the Gulf War starting and everyone was having trouble. Businesses were doing badly all over the place.
“Plus there were lots of cheap language schools opening up which undermined everyone. If you can’t make money out it, you have to close it.”
Scotland has six European seats up for grabs this year and UKIP are hopeful of grabbing one, with Coburn top of their list.
Alex Salmond has previously insisted that an independent Scotland would have more liberal immigration policies than the UK.
Coburn said: “Mr Salmond seems to want to fill the country with people from God knows where.
“That’s what has happened in England where people are desperately unhappy about it and are voting UKIP.”
Coburn also insists that Scots living outside Scotland should have a vote in the independence referendum.
He said: “Salmond is destroying their citizenship. If they don’t get a postal vote in the referendum, it is not worth a candle. It is a fraud.”
Posted: 27 Apr 2014 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: . | on: Sunday, 27 April 2014, 09:57
UKIP launched an investigation into another of its aspiring politicians last night after apparently homophobic and racist comments came to light
Robert Bilcliff, who is standing to be a councillor in Tamworth, Staffordshire, next month, is the latest candidate to cause embarrassment to UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
On March 29, the day gay marriage was made legal in the UK, Mr Bilcliff took to Twitter to declare: ‘Sad day for all us straight people.’
A separate Facebook post in July 2012 allegedly made a joke against Muslims.
Last night Mr Bilcliff admitted he could see how his comments could be viewed as homophobic and racist, but was adamant he was neither.
He said: ‘I am not racist and never have been. I have many friends of different nationalities but I enjoy a joke every now and again.
A UKIP spokesman said the matter had been referred to the party’s national executive with a view to disciplinary action.
Last week builder Andre Lampitt, seeking to become a councillor in Merton, South London and who featured in a UKIP election broadcast, was suspended after making racist remarks on Twitter that the party said were repellent
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Saturday, 26 April 2014, 22:03
Posted: 26 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Cohen | on: Saturday, 26 April 2014, 18:46
Instead of tearing into the preposterous Ukip leader, Britain's famously aggressive media have made him a celebrity
Allow me to sketch you a portrait of a political leader. Even by the lax standards of the powerful, he is England's greatest living hypocrite. He courts popularity by warning that tens of millions from the dole queues of Europe are coming to take British jobs, while employing his German wife as his secretary. He denounces "the political class" for living like princes at the taxpayers' expense while pocketing every taxpayer-funded allowance he can claim for himself, his wife and his colleagues.
He says he represents "ordinary people". But he is a public school-educated former banker, whose policies will help him and his kind. He claims he is the voice of "common sense", while allying with every variety of gay-hater, conspiracy crackpot, racist, chauvinist and pillock. The only sense he and his followers have in common is a fear of anyone who is not like them.
You might expect that Britain's famously aggressive media would tear into his multiple deceits. Yet so tame has their treatment of Nigel Farage been, so indulgent and complicit, viewers were surprised when the BBC's political editor found the courage last week to raise a timorous voice and ask him why he was employing his German wife rather than giving a British job to a British worker. Broadcasters are ferocious when they tackle mainstream politicians, but are as eager to please as wet-tongued labradors when they meet Ukip. To understand why, you need to grasp how the political culture of modern democracies encourages both conformism and zealotry.
Broadcasters say they give Britain's representative of Europe's rightwing wave such prominence because Farage is good on television: a cheeky and witty guest rather than a formulaic political pro. As Hollywood doesn't cast ugly actors as romantic leads and radio producers seldom hire presenters with stammers, accusing broadcasters of double standards because they favour people who are good on television feels as absurd as accusing Brendan Rodgers of bias because he picks gifted footballers to play for Liverpool or publishers of prejudice because they commission authors who write well.
Media managers would have every right to sneer at bland "professional politicians", and promote exciting alternatives, had they not helped create the soundbite-spouting robots they are so keen to denounce. With the arrival of 24-hour news, they had to fill hours of empty schedules. Every ill-considered statement by a politician became a "gaffe"; every disagreement with the leader a "split". Ambitious politicians responded by saying nothing that might be used against them. Social media and mobile phones have accelerated their desire to march in step with the herd. Now a public figure must behave as if they are on camera whenever they are in a public space.
I am not trying to excuse our leaders. Political parties, private companies and public bureaucracies need to relax if they want a hearing in the 21st century, and stop treating the smallest deviation from the party line as an "unprofessional" affront. But it is rich of broadcasters to preach against professional politics when they were its midwives, and sinister of them to promote fanaticism as a cure for the boredom it generates.
For in the kingdom of the bland, the intolerant man is king. British and US TV have turned newspaper pundits into minor celebrities: a curious addition to the Z-list that makes little sense until you realise that the pundit is free to posture and foam and provide the gladiatorial aggression that will keep the audience from reaching for the remote. Extremist politicians such as Nigel Farage and George Galloway serve the same purpose. They don't have to worry about breaking party lines because their parties are their own private personality cults, which believe whatever they tell them to believe.
Mainstream politicians, who have abandoned plain speaking, should blame themselves when viewers turn away, of course. But they cannot be blamed for the broadcasters' abnegation of the basic journalistic responsibility to ask questions without fear or favour.
To pick one of hundreds of examples, Ukip had a party political broadcast featuring "ordinary people" last week. A builder complained that foreigners had taken his job. As you might have predicted, the builder turned out to be an obsessional creep, who thought that Ed Miliband wasn't British because his parents were refugees from Hitler. My friends in the anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate have files the thickness of telephone directories on how Ukip recruits every species of bigot from women-haters to neo-Nazis. They are open for journalists to inspect. But when Farage announced that he was suspending the builder from his party, the media were satisfied and did not ask him why he attracts and retains thousands more like him. They would never let a mainstream leader escape so lightly.
The English have a strong desire to avoid seriousness, a character trait that makes England both an attractive and a remarkably gullible country. We too easily dismiss people as performers putting on a show. "He can't really mean that," we say as the far-left politician salutes Saddam Hussein after he has ordered the genocide of the Kurds, or defends Bashar al-Assad as his forces torture civilians. "He isn't being serious," we say, as the far-right politician declares his admiration for Vladimir Putin and signs up members who want to kick out the blacks.
Experience has taught English media managers in particular to believe that no one means what they say. Editors demand opinion pieces that confirm their readers' prejudices and find willing hacks who will write as required, regardless of whether they believe what they say or not. In broadcasting, BBC researchers call and ask thousands of journalists and intellectuals to take a genuinely held belief and reduce it to absurdity. "Would you come on and say that 2+2=5?" they ask. You refuse. They hang up and phone round until they find someone so desperate for attention that they will say it.
When considering Ukip, we should remember the advice of Lord Renwick, a Foreign Office mandarin and Labour peer. He told young diplomats from good families that their background made them suckers for "the Wykehamist fallacy". When they went abroad, they were in danger of believing that foreign potentates merely struck blood-curdling poses for effect. For all the bombast, they would think that, underneath, these must be civilised men with an ironic sensibility who might have been educated at Winchester. "They haven't," said Renwick. "Actually, they're a bunch of thugs."
The same should be said of Ukip.
Posted: 26 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Patrick Wintour and Decca Aitkenhead | on: Friday, 25 April 2014, 23:01
Nigel Farage has shifted ground on an offer to allow an independent audit of his spending of European parliamentary allowances, denying he ever accepted the suggestion.
In an interview with the Guardian, the Ukip leader instead claims it would be wrong for him to be singled out for a spending audit as it would put him in a different position to every other British MEP.
Farage said it was not the case that a fortnight ago he said he was happy to have his expenses independently audited. He told the Guardian: "I said if every other British MEP wants to, then I would.
"I mean, I am not going to be one out of 73 that is held up as an example of all that is wrong with the European Union. After all, I've been saying that myself for years, so this is absolutely ludicrous. If all 73 people want to go on to a new regime then of course I'll do it, but to be singled out in this way is frankly ridiculous."
But Farage appeared to say something different when he was questioned on 15 April following allegations in the Times newspaper about the misuse of his allowances.
When asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme if spending on his parliamentary allowance was independently audited, Farage replied: "No it is not. It does not need to be. There is no provision within the rules of the parliament for any of this to be audited."
He was then asked by the interviewer: "Would you be happy for that to happen? To say 'Yes, I will have this looked at by an independent accountant?'" to which Farage replied: "If that would settle the argument of course I would".
His new stance was challenged by the Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies who said almost all Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative MEPs commission professional accountants to audit or certify the spending of their allowances.
The audit published on MEP websites is required by all three political parties and goes beyond what is required by the European parliament.
Davies said Farage should stop changing his position.
"He has variously claimed that his receipts have been lost or that he hasn't had the time to complete his expenses. He will not account for many tens of thousands of pounds of public money given to him for office expenses over the years.
"Like the overwhelming majority of British MEPs I publish independently audited accounts for my general expenditure allowance spending. I have done this for many years and will continue to do so."
Jon Ashworth, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, also called for Farage to be open with the public. "Ukip should bring itself into line with the other political parties in the European parliament. It should have its MEPs' allowances independently audited by a professional."
When asked by the Guardian whether he could guarantee that every penny had been spent correctly, Farage said: "I can guarantee one thing; that I haven't done it for personal gain. But how I've spent my time and money, and whether I've spent it because I'm an MEP, or because I'm Ukip, I would suggest to you is a very grey area.
"It's a difficult divide. I've made no bones about it that I would use the wherewithal provided by the European parliament to go round Britain and campaign against Britain's membership of the European Union. I think I'm just about within the rules. I think I've kept just the right side of the line, albeit pushing right up to it, sure."
He said the public was not interested in whether he had spent the monthly fixed-rate allowance of £3,850 for MEPs properly.
"I mean, given the abuses for personal gain that have gone on with expenses in Westminster, I don't think the general public are that interested in whether I've strictly observed the rules on what is campaigning and what isn't. We always knew these criticisms would come at some point, but I have a completely clean conscience. If someone in Brussels wants to martyr me for that then well … well, they won't, they won't."
Davies said MEPs receive an annual allowance of £44,000 which is intended to cover the cost of rents, telephone bills and all expenditure associated with the running of an office. The money is paid into an MEP's private bank account and the parliament trusts individuals to use it in accordance with the rules. There is no requirement for receipts to be kept, although many British MEPs do so and publish details of their expenditure.
Posted: 25 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Friday, 25 April 2014, 14:09
UKIP is embroiled in another racism and sexism row following a Sky News investigation.
David Challice, a senior party official and activist in Exeter, has suggested "cash-strapped Moslems" should have multiple wives, hit out at the "lunacy of multiculturalism", described Greeks as "vile", and said women should stay at home.
It is the latest in a series of controversies to engulf the party, ahead of next month's European elections.
On Thursday, UKIP was forced to suspend a member who appeared in the party's latest election broadcast, after allegedly expressing "repellent views" on Twitter.
Andre Lampitt apparently posted racist and anti-Islamic tweets as well as inappropriate remarks about Labour leader Ed Miliband on the microblogging site.
Mr Lampitt's Twitter account was also suspended.
UKIP also sought to dismiss criticism after it emerged it has used an an Irish actor in a poster about the impact of immigration on British jobs.
The party has stood by Mr Challice over his views.
In a statement the party said: "UKIP is not a party that believes in public debate and conversation being stifled by an obsession with political correctness.
"So the threshold for which the mere expression of opinion merits disciplinary action should be set high.
"That threshold was quite obviously breached in yesterday's furore but it is has certainly not been today.
"Indeed, there are quite legitimate public concerns about the interaction of the benefits system with men who have multiple wives and these have been widely aired in the media."
It also said his remarks about women were intended as a joke and he had taken the comments about Greeks from another author.
Posted: 25 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Dan Hodges | on: Friday, 25 April 2014, 13:34
This morning Ukip’s racism is once again on display. As many papers report, Andre Lampitt, the owner of a construction firm who appeared in Wednesday’s Ukip party political broadcast, was exposed for holding what, even by Ukip standards, are repugnant views.
Statements taken from his various social media sites included “Most Nigerians are generally bad people I grew up in Africa and dare anyone to prove me wrong” and “Miliband is not a real Brit I hope he never gets to be PM! He was only born here”.
Though Lampitt’s comments were extreme, they are not in themselves markedly out of kilter with the ugly, anti-foreigner, anti-immigration narrative that is at the heart of Ukip’s Euro election campaign. A campaign which has been hit by further embarrassment today, with the revelation the British builder supposedly forced onto the streets by foreign workers is himself a foreign worker from Ireland. Nigel Farage’s immigration policy appears to be that the only jobseekers within the EU welcome in the UK are those prepared to take employment with the UK Independence party.
Ukip’s response to the Lampitt revelation consisted of the predictable and formulaic expressions of shock and outrage, followed by his immediate “suspension”. In other words the usual crocodile tears. As I write, Lampitt is still sitting on the front of the Ukip website, proudly trotting out his prejudice on behalf of his party.
When Ukip unveiled its racist campaign posters earlier in the week it created a bit of storm. In particular, it set off a debate about precisely how best the party’s racism should be countered. A number of people questioned whether Ukip’s racism should even be described as racism at all.
In The Guardian, academics Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin – authors of a new book on Ukip, “Revolt on the Right” – said that “Those levelling these charges should remember that their London-focused world-view – confidently cosmopolitan and pro-migration – is the minority one in Britain. The arrogance that can often accompany this outlook is precisely what got Nick Clegg into trouble during his debates with Farage.”
I’m not entirely sure describing as racist a party that uses as a spokesman a man who says “Get over it, slavery was an act of war, you lost, stop being so damn jealous and move forward” is necessarily evidence of overbearing metropolitan liberalism. And as the party’s self-styled official biographers, Ford and Goodwin are clearly finding Ukip’s increasingly naked extremism a bit of an embarrassment.
But they do reflect a strain of opinion which basically argues Ukip’s racism should be given a pass. The reasons for this are varied. Partly it’s because the liberal Left is essentially cowardly. While the hard Left – for all its faults – is prepared to fight for its beliefs, the soft Left prefers dialogue and accommodation.
The soft Left also remains hamstrung by its own middle-class guilt. Opponents of immigration have cleverly managed to recast the debate surrounding it as one of class, rather than base prejudice. And the supporters of immigration have fallen for it. Say “they’re coming over here, taking our jobs” and the liberals recoil. But say “they’re being brought over here by unscrupulous employers to undercut the wages of working-class communities” and the liberals nod sagely in agreement.
This ongoing debate about “how to deal with Ukip” is identical – right down to individual arguments and phrasing – to the debate about how to deal with the BNP during their resurgence between 2005 and 2010. To brand them as racist was, people argued, too simplistic. Their anti-immigration stance resonated widely, we were told. To challenge them directly was to both grant them unwarranted publicity and place them, by default, on the side of public opinion.
It was rubbish. When the BNP were confronted directly and robustly they were defeated. When what they presented as populism was shown for what it really was – bigotry – they crumbled.
Ukip were never going to struggle to generate publicity during these Euro elections. They started the campaign as favourites. Nigel Farage has been a permanent fixture of the BBC’s current affairs output for over two years now. And that was before the rules on election broadcasting kicked in. Actually, those rules might limit Ukip’s exposure a fraction, and give the other parties a much-needed look-in.
The question is not whether Ukip get to put their message across. It’s whether they get to put their message across unchallenged.
In their Guardian article, Ford and Goodwin write: “As the European elections near, Ukip has clearly settled on a strategy of targeting its core voters.” With greatest respect to both men, they haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about.
The whole point about Ukip’s new strategy is that it explicitly isn’t a core vote strategy. Ukip’s core voter strategy involved banging on about the perils of the EU. What the party is doing now is reaching out, trying to broaden its appeal and insert itself into the political mainstream. That’s precisely why they have opted to turn these elections into a referendum on immigration, appealing not to the 2 per cent who tell the pollsters their main concern is Europe, but the 40 to 50 per cent who say it’s mass migration.
And it will work. These Euro elections will show a high level of support for Ukip. As they did for the BNP when the BNP employed the same tactic in 2009.
But the BNP’s success came at a price. As it will for Ukip, if and when the base prejudice underpinning their campaign is highlighted.
The British people are angry about immigration. But they are also angry at politicians who try to play them, and exploit their fears for their own political ends. When Nigel Farage says “the ordinary voters who are worried about immigration aren’t racist” he’s right. And when those voters look at Andre Lampitt, and look at themselves, they know how to spot the difference.
There’s one other reason Ukip’s racism needs to be tackled head on, and it has nothing to do with optimisation of political tactics. In 1995 the writer Aaron Sorkin wrote a film called The American President, basically the forerunner of The West Wing. In the film, Martin Sheen plays chief of staff to Michael Douglas’s President, and throughout the two men have a mantra: “We fight the fights we can win”. As Douglas finds himself assailed on all sides by his opponents he gets into an argument with Sheen about how they got themselves into this mess. “We fight the fights we can win?” Sheen finally retorts. “You fight the fights that need fighting”.
That’s the real reason Ukip’s racism needs to be confronted. It’s got nothing to do with tactics. Or strategies. It's just that every now and then a fight comes along that needs fighting.
Posted: 25 Apr 2014 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Matthew Holehouse | on: Friday, 25 April 2014, 13:00
Nigel Farage faces embarrassment over his plans to radically curb migration from Europe after it emerged one of the actors in a Ukip billboard is an Irish immigrant.
The destitute builder in the party’s latest advert is believed by party officials to be a Dubliner named Dave O’Rourke, a Ukip spokesman confirmed.
Mr O’Rourke is seen sitting on a pavement with a beggar’s cup. The text carries the caption: “EU policy at work. British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labour”.
The poster was launched by Mr Farage in Sheffield earlier this week, where he said he would like to see immigration cut to 30-50,000 people a year. Britain will no longer be subject to European “open-door” immigration but instead install a restrict work permit scheme, he said.
Mr O’Rourke is from Dublin and has lived in the UK for ten years, according to an online profile. He describes himself as “hard working”. Under Ukip proposals he would not be able to move to Britain unless he should show he was "highly skilled".
Many British-born actors struggle to find well-paid work due to high levels of competition within the industry.
It is the second time this week Ukip have faced questions over whether they practice what they preach in calling for an immigration policy that would see far fewer foreigners working in Britain.
Immigration is “good for big business and rich people” because it creates plentiful cheap labour, at the expense of the native working class, Mr Farage claims.
On Tuesday Mr Farage defended his decision to employ his wife, Kirsten, as his £25,000 a year secretary who is paid through European Parliament expenses.
She is German, but Mr Farage denied she was “taking” a British worker’s job, saying he knows of no Briton who could work the late hours that she does.
That claim was undermined after a job advertisement, posted as a stunt by a recruitment firm, for the role of his PA attracted hundreds of applications from UK nationals within hours.
Mr Farage added: "That is a very different situation to the mass of hundreds of thousands of people coming in and flooding the lower ends of the labour market."
Patrick O’Flynn, Ukip’s director of communications, said any criticism of the poster was “Tory party humbug”.
“The vast majority of people used in political poster campaigns are actors. It is totally standard practice. It is nonsense for the Conservative Party to try and depict this as anything out of the ordinary,” he said.
That position, however, appears to contradict comments by Nigel Farage after it emerged another person featured in a Ukip poster was a party employee.
Lizzy Vaid appears in the party’s manifesto as a voter from Devon, but she is in fact Ukip's events manager and an assistant to Mr Farage, who lives with his press officer Alexandra Phillips.
Mr Farage defended her inclusion in the brochure because she is a “sincere” supporter of the party rather than an actor.
"What could be more sincere in literature than somebody who joined the party subsequently got a job in the party rather than an actress or a member of the public?” Mr Farage told the Telegraph. “It's the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard in my life. Most broadcasts for most parties use actors. We use Ukippers."
Separately, the party announced it would not be taking action against David Challice, the party’s Communications Manager, who has suggested that "cash-strapped Moslems" should have multiple wives in order to gain more benefits and described Greeks as "vile".
The comments were a joke, a party spokesman said. "UKIP is not a party that believes in public debate and conversation being stifled by an obsession with political correctness. So the threshold for which the mere expression of opinion merits disciplinary action should be set high."
He added: "There are quite legitimate public concerns about the interaction of the benefits system with men who have multiple wives."
Posted: 25 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Martha De Lacey | on: Friday, 25 April 2014, 09:39
Almost a thousand people have applied for the role of Nigel Farage’s PA… even though the job doesn’t actually exist.
The joke job spec was posted on the website of a recruitment firm after the Ukip leader stated that only his German wife was capable of being his assistant.
Farage was obliged to defend his decision to employ his wife, having just launched a Ukip poster campaign claiming millions of unemployed Europeans were after British jobs.
He told the BBC ‘nobody else could do that job’ which paid ‘a very modest salary for working extremely unsociable hours for me and being available up to seven days a week’.
In response, Xpat Jobs published an ad with similar specifications, to see if anyone in Britain could actually do it – and they received 764 applications in just 12 hours. 649 were from UK nationals, while others came in from Poles, Romanians and Germans.
The job was titled ‘PA Wanted For Top European Politician’, and asked that the candidate ‘be able to work long and some unsociable hours up to seven days a week’.
It described the pay as ‘modest’.
It named the employer as Ukip, and called them ‘a Eurosceptic right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom’.
Rhys Maddock, director of Xpat Jobs, said: ‘With our knowledge of the UK and European employment market, we just knew that what Farage was saying was not true.
‘There are lots of highly-qualified PAs looking for work and many would jump at the chance to work for a politician such as Farage, perhaps seeing it as a stepping stone to a similar role with MPs or ministers.
‘They would definitely be willing to put the long hours in, although they may want to change the sleeping arrangements that go with the current post.’
The firm said it would pass on the best 25 CVs to Mr Farage.
Posted: 25 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Matthew Holehouse | on: Thursday, 24 April 2014, 17:44
A star of Ukip’s latest political broadcast has been suspended from the party after claiming Ed Miliband is “not British”.
In a major embarrassment to Nigel Farage, Andre Lampitt, a Zimbabwean decorator and kitchen fitter who appeared in the party’s television broadcast, posted a string of "repellent" messages online.
Africans should “kill themselves off”, Islam is “evil” and Nigerians are “bad people”, Mr Lampitt claimed.
Mr Lampitt, who describes himself as “Born British in Rhodesia” and speaks with a Zimbabwean accent, was filmed on a building site wearing a hard hat in Tuesday’s television broadcast.
He warned EU migrants are undercutting natives’ wages, saying: “Since the lads from Eastern Europe are prepared to work for a lot less than anybody else, I've found it a real struggle.” He was wearing the shirt of his company, Kamina Kawena Services.
Messages on his Twitter account described the Prophet Mohammed as a “pedo” and say Islam is “an evil organisation respecting a prophet who was a pedo [sic].”
He said Ed Miliband, the son of a Jewish refugee, is “Polish and not British”.
One message read: “Miliband is not a real Brit. I hope he never gets to be PM! He was only born here.” He added: “I believe in being British. It is earned through generations of existence not through birth.”
Another message read: “I was born and grew up in Africa. Please leave Africa for the Africans. Let them kill themselves off.”
Another said: “Most Nigerians are generally bad people.” Another message said: “Enoch Powell was right!”
A Ukip spokesman said: “We are deeply shocked that Mr Lampitt has expressed such repellent views. His membership of the party has been suspended immediately pending a full disciplinary process.”
Mr Lampitt did not respond to approaches for comment, but his Twitter account has been deleted.
The outbursts by a prominent new face of Ukip will be highly embarrassing to Mr Farage, who has repeatedly insisted his party has no place for racists.
He has sought to strike a balance between preserving free speech with his party while presenting an electable face to the public.
He was humiliated after Godfrey Bloom, one of his closest allies, made a series of outbursts describing foreign countries as “Bongo Bongo Land” and women as “sluts".
In response Mr Farage promised to weed out “Walter Mittys” from the party’s candidates to ensure only “reliable, steady, solid people" could run for election.
Posted: 24 Apr 2014 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Ned Simons | on: Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 22:00
Nigel Farage has said there is no reason why Ukip should make clear a woman featured in its campaign literature is actually his assistant, rather than an ordinary member of the public.
Ukip's European election manifesto carries a full page picture of Lizzy Vaid along with her ringing endorsement of the party. "I’ll be voting Ukip because they’re the only party listening to what people want," she says.
Farage was challenged by Sky News' Kay Burley as to why it was not made clear Vaid was not simply a resident of Devon. "When you see that picture of that beautiful girl, you don't actually say that she is a member of Ukip. It looks as though she is a very intelligent beautiful member of society and she has decided to vote Ukip," Burley said.
Farage said it was a "non-issue" and that he did not "see the need" to spell out that Vaid worked for him and the party.
"She is someone in our promotional material who is going to vote Ukip. She joined Ukip. She got a job in Ukip because she believes in what we stand for. What on earth is wrong with that?" he said.
But in the combative interview, Burley added that she did not understand why Ukip had not been "open and transparent". Vaid works as Ukip's events manager and as an assistant to Farage based in Ukip’s Mayfair office.
Vaid is also set to appear in Ukip’s next party political broadcast and earlier in the year she also appeared on literature (top row, second from the right) handed out during the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election.
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 14:36
Nigel Farage has made it clear in the past few days that he doesn't wish to work with the French Far Right Front National led by Marine Le Pen.
Fair enough you may be thinking, Farage ruled out an alliance with Le Pen saying the French party was tainted by anti-Semitism - a reference to the convictions for hate-speech and Holocaust denial of its founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the current leader's father.
Ex UKIP MEP and still UKIP member Godfrey Bloom had no problems working with Marine Le Pen in the past, linking up her in the European Alliance of Freedom group of which Bloom was one of the founding members.
Instead of linking up with the Front National, Farage has chosen to link up with another anti-EU French group, Debout la Republique (Stand Up The Republic), led by Nicolas Dupont-Aignan.
What is interesting is that Dupont-Aignan has just welcomed into Debout la Republique French Assembly member Gilles Bourdouleix.
In July 2013, Bourdouleix caused massive controversy after he claimed that Hitler did not kill enough gypsies.
Bourdouleix is currently awaiting judgement after being prosecuted for the remark.
Nice friends you have Mr Farage
posted by: . | on: Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 12:26
The leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, was asked whether his wife, who is German, was taking a British person's job by being employed as his secretary.
BBC political editor Nick Robinson put the question at the launch of UKIP's European elections poster campaign warning about Europeans taking British jobs.
Mr Farage said "nobody else could do that job", working unsociable hours seven days a week.
He said it was "very different" to the hundreds of thousands of people "flooding" the lower end of the labour market.
posted by: Billy Kenber, Laura Pitel | on: Monday, 21 April 2014, 20:24
Nigel Farage must throw open his books to an independent auditor if he is to remain a “credible” politician, the former head of Westminster’s sleaze watchdog has said.
The Ukip leader is under pressure to explain what happened to almost £60,000 in EU funds which The Times revealed he said that he spent on a West Sussex office given to him rent-free.
This week Olaf, the EU’s anti-fraud office, is expected to decide whether it will pursue a full investigation into the Ukip leader after a former senior party official made an official complaint.
Sir Alistair Graham, chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life from 2003 to 2007, said that Mr Farage must open his books to explain what happened to the money. “I’m sure if he wants to be a credible European candidate in future he should be accountable in that way,” he said. Referring to Mr Farage’s comments on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last week when the MEP said that he would be open to allowing an independent auditor to inspect accounts “if that would settle the argument”, Sir Alistair said: “I think he should keep to his public statement and we can all be satisfied that there’s detailed information to back up his claims that the money has been used appropriately.
He said it was “ridiculous” for Mr Farage to claim that he was being unfairly picked out for questions about his use of allowances. “I just don’t think that’s a tenable argument,” he said. “In the end its public money — whether it’s European money or UK public money it doesn’t really matter. It all comes from taxpayers’ taxes and therefore whoever uses that money has to be accountable for guaranteeing to the public its being used in an appropriate fashion to fulfil your public duties.”
Under EU rules, MEPs receive ¤4,299 a month to pay for an office and expenses incurred in carrying out constituency work in their home country. The money is paid into an MEP’s personal bank account with no requirement to provide the European Parliament with receipts or a breakdown to show it has been spent within the rules.
Criticising the “incredible” arrangement, Sir Alistair said it was a “monstrously loose and ineffective system”.
He added: “It’s a wanton waste of public money that you can allow someone to claim without providing receipts. If you think in the UK system at one time you could only claim up to £250 with receipts and they’ve even stopped that now.”
Sir Alistair said the European Parliament’s system was wide open to abuse.
Ukip also faces questions over nearly £300,000 that was paid out from Mr Farage’s local branch in 2004 and 2005 as unexplained “other costs”, when even payments for as little as £496 on communications were itemised.
Six former officials and whistleblowers have come forward to allege that they were silenced, ignored or forced out of the party after questioning its use of EU funds and donations. Ukip has described their claims as “historical”, derriding them as “very unimpressive people” who the party had weeded out.
The remarks by the former standards chief came as it emerged that Neil Hamilton had been demoted from his role as Ukip’s campaigns director.
The former Tory minister caused a headache for Mr Farage at his party’s conference when the Ukip leader was confronted over the ex-MP’s involvement in the cash-for-questions scandal.
He insisted that Mr Hamilton was merely the “backroom boy”, but Mr Hamilton contradicted him. “I haven’t been in the backroom today, have I?” he asked reporters after coming off the podium.
The decision to axe Mr Hamilton from the campaign role suggests that Ukip is sensitive to suggestions of impropriety, despite attacking last week’s Times reports as a smear campaign.
The former Tory has been replaced by the party’s new director of communications, Patrick O’Flynn.
The negative headlines appear to have done little to damage Mr Farage. A poll by Survation for The Mail on Sunday, showed the party topping a Westminster constituency for the first time. The survey of 506 voters in Eastleigh, where the party came second in last year’s by-election, put Ukip in first place on 32 per cent.
Posted: 21 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: . | on: Monday, 21 April 2014, 18:17
Nigel Farage has hit back at claims a new UKIP poster campaign centred on immigration is "racist".
The party is using £1.5m of funding from millionaire former Conservative donor Paul Skyes to launch a "hard-hitting reflection of reality" publicity drive.
The drive comes ahead of elections in the European Parliament next month.
The posters claim that "British workers are hit hard by unlimited foreign labour" and that 26 million unemployed people in Europe are "after" jobs in the UK.
They also call on people to "take back control of our country" and state that 75% of British laws are made by the EU.
Critics have compared the posters to those used in the past by the British National Party.
Labour MP Mike Gapes said they were "racist" and called for people to register to vote in the elections on May 22.
But Mr Farage defended the campaign.
He said: "These posters are a hard-hitting reflection of reality as it is experienced by millions of British people struggling to earn a living outside the Westminster bubble.
"Are we going to ruffle a few feathers among the chattering classes? Yes. Are we bothered about that? Not in the slightest.
"UKIP is hugely grateful to Paul Sykes for his magnificent contribution to the great cause of restoring Britain's ability to be a self-governing nation.
"The political earthquake I have spoken of is on its way."
Mr Sykes said: "We have the chance to support a party that represents a complete break with the past.
"The other parties, whatever their merits, are content to work within the existing Brussels straitjacket.
"An overwhelming victory for UKIP will break the political mould in the UK, forcing Labour and the Lib Dems to back a full-scale referendum and intensifying the popular pressure for that to be staged as early as general election day 2015."
The posters will run over the next four weeks and there will also be digital advertisements.
Posted: 21 Apr 2014 | There are 10 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Charlotte Meredith | on: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 21:12
A Ukip councillor has sparked outrage after he "publicly humiliated" a six-year-old child.
David Meacock is said to have sent out an eyebrow-raising group email accusing a small child of taking his son's toy, according to reports.
Meacock, a former Tory and newly selected parliamentary candidate for Nigel Farage's party, instigated the "unkind and unnecessary" war of the words over a missing toy, Get Bucks reports.
The Chiltern District councillor for Chalfont Common, who was named last week as the party’s parliamentary candidate for Wycombe in the 2015 General Election, thought it only appropriate to name and shame a child for taking his son’s toy and not giving it back in a group email, the paper said.
However, those in the group of 23 parents CC'd into the email did not take kindly to receiving the correspondence.
The email read:
“Hello everyone, Unfortunately [child’s name and year group] failed to return one of [Mr Meacock’s son’s] toys yesterday, which he had previously taken off [Mr Meacock’s son] as [the child] had agreed to do and as instructed.
“I’d therefore be most grateful if any of you who have contact details of [the child’s] parents could please ask them to either email me or call me to arrange the return of [son’s name] toy.
“With thanks for your help and wishing you a happy and chocolatey Easter. David.”
One outraged parent condemned the councillor for ruining the Easter spirit.
“What an unkind and unnecessary email! Not at all an appropriate Easter sentiment. Since we are no longer at the school please remove me from the email list with immediate effect," the reply read.
The parent went on to object to “being made party to the public humiliation of a young child”.
In the email chain, he added that “more naming and shaming” would perhaps result in less delinquency and “young lives being wasted”.
But furious parents said they failed to see how singling out the boy in an email chain "is a good example to your children.”
The toy is yet to be retrieved, according to the councillor.
A Ukip spokeswoman told the Huffington Post UK that the matter was not one for the party to comment on.
Ukip have previously caused outrage after a councillor reportedly branded children in care “takers” from society.
Posted: 17 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Robert Cumber | on: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 20:56
A UKIP candidate has been deselected over his ‘nutty’ election flyer and ‘disgusting’ online comments, in which he suggested some people were ‘intended by nature’ to be slaves.
David W Griffiths was chosen by Hounslow UKIP Group to represent the party in Isleworth, where he lives on the Ivybridge estate, in the local elections on May 22.
However, group leader Councillor Colin Botterill barred him from representing the group after seeing his ‘nutty’ election literature, featuring the party’s colours and UKIP’s website address, in which he listed his two big issues as ‘old people’ and 'breastfeeding'.
In the flyer, he described women's 'real work' as 'that of the child-bearer and nurturer', saying everything else was 'inconsequential froth'.
Further checks revealed Mr Griffiths had previously stood as an independent parliamentary candidate in Twickenham in the 1992 general election, when he reportedly made bizarre claims about a conspiracy to cover up plans for a nuclear waste transportation staging point in Strawberry Hill.
He also posted comments on an internal UKIP forum - shortly after the death of Nelson Mandela, who fought successfully to end apartheid in South Africa - in which he quoted from Aristotle’s Politics, saying some people were ‘intended by nature’ to be slaves and were ‘marked out for subjection’ from birth.
When asked about his comments on the forum, Mr Griffiths said: “I tossed off three quotations. One from Aristotle, one from William Blake, and one from the Hindu Law Book ‘The Laws of Manu’.
“The thread was moderated and left to run. That moderator found the discussion acceptable, so I can only assume it was.”
Mr Botterill said Mr Griffiths had passed an initial interview and been told he could represent the party but had not mentioned his previous comments when asked if there was anything ‘in his past’ about which the group should be aware.
“A couple of weeks later he sent me a leaflet which was very similar to the one he distributed. It had slightly different wording but was still nutty,” added Mr Botterill.
“I told him to go away and reword it but heard nothing from him. About a week later I received an anonymous email from someone with a copy of the leaflet, which he’d sent out without permission, and links to stories about his past.
“It emerged he had made comments online which weren't acceptable. They were disgusting; no one’s born to be a slave. I made the decision he couldn't stand, and we have since found another candidate to replace him in Isleworth.”
When interviewed in March, Mr Botterill had refused to reveal any names of potential candidates before the nominations were in because he didn’t want to risk anyone ‘saying the wrong things as a candidate’.
Asked whether the group had tightened up its vetting process in the wake of what happened with Mr Griffiths, the group leader said he was confident all 16 candidates chosen to represent UKIP in Hounslow at next month's local elections were ‘honest, hard-working, down-to-earth people’.
“Google is a great research tool and for some reason Mr Griffiths slipped through the net, but everyone else has been thoroughly vetted and we’re very happy with all our candidates,” he added.
“Mr Griffiths has no authorisation to use the UKIP logo or make any reference to the party. We're trying to prove we’re a respectable and serious party. I can’t have anyone like that in my group.”
Mr Botterill added that the party would have 16 candidates in total standing across the borough’s 20 wards in the local elections.
Asked if he planned to stand as an independent, Mr Griffiths responded cryptically: “Would it be too nutty to suggest that CB (Colin Botterill) is some kind of Conservative mole; installed to **** up UKIP in West London? I consider myself to be the REAL UKIP.”
Posted: 17 Apr 2014 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Alexi Mostrous and Billy Kenber | on: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 19:36
Ukip members were silenced, ignored or forced out of the party after questioning its use of EU allowances and donations, it was claimed yesterday.
Nigel Farage and other senior Ukip officials traduced colleagues who raised concerns about how the party handled millions of pounds in funds, whistleblowers and former members alleged.
Mr Farage called a senior female Ukip official a “stupid woman” and told her to “shut up” when she asked for an independent audit into party finances, according to Delroy Young, formerly Ukip’s only black executive. Another member was allegedly physically threatened.
The Ukip insiders spoke out as Mr Farage was confronted by a barrage of questions after The Times revealed yesterday that he was facing an investigation into a “missing” £60,000 in EU allowances
In transparency reports filed on the Ukip website, Mr Farage claims to have spent £15,500 a year solely on utilities, business rates and insurance for his small constituency office in West Sussex. A former office manager said that such costs, which exclude staff salaries, office equipment, phone bills and stationery, amounted to no more than £3,000 a year.
Mr Farage dismissed criticism over his EU spending yesterday as “yet another politically motivated attack from what is the establishment newspaper”. His defence came as:
· The Electoral Commission wrote to Ukip seeking answers as to why Mr Farage’s rent-free office was not declared as a donation for all relevant years;
· The Ukip leader told the BBC that he spent European funds to “push the Ukip campaign” in an apparent breach of EU rules;
· MEPs vote in Strasbourg today on a plan to reform European allowances, amid growing calls for change.
Six former party officials have alleged that Mr Farage presided over a party that reacted furiously to any questioning of its financial affairs.
After leaving Ukip in 2008, Mr Young claimed that he received a telephone death threat, allegedly on the orders of a senior Ukip party executive. At the time, Ukip denied that anyone in the party ordered the threat.
Mr Young told The Times that Mr Farage had a habit of going “berserk” whenever anyone asked questions about money. In 2006 he joined five other Ukip national executive committee (NEC) members to call for “an immediate internal audit of the party finances by members of the NEC with full disclosure”.
The NEC members were reacting to concerns over the use of MEP allowances as well as to questions about donations raised through a Ukip call centre in Kent. Mr Farage has said that the Ashford call centre raised at least £400,000 over three years.
At a subsequent Ukip meeting in Bromley, a female committee member attempted to ask Mr Farage about Ashford and MEPs’ expenses.
“Farage shouted at her, he said ‘Shut up you stupid woman’,” Mr Young, who was at the meeting, said. “He went berserk. I said: ‘Who do you think you are? . . . She has a right to be asking these questions’.”
Ian Gillman, a former member of Ukip’s NEC, said that he had also raised questions about what happened to donations solicited by Ashford and funds raised through the sale of lottery tickets. Mr Gillman described a meeting of the party’s East Midlands committee in March 2008 at which he highlighted his concerns and was then “physically threatened” by a party official in the presence of Derek Clark MEP.
“I never raised my voice, I just persisted with question after question about where our money had gone,” he said. “The official made threats to take me outside the room and beat me up. He darted a ballpoint pen at my eye [and] said how dare you ask these questions.”
Mr Gillman said that he was asked to leave the meeting and thrown off the committee, and was subsequently targeted with a spam email attack by the same party official.
The official disputes Mr Gillman’s account.
Tony Ellwood, who worked as Mr Clark’s political researcher for several years, was also present at the meeting and corroborated Mr Gillman’s account. Mr Ellwood said that in 2006 he was asked to reconcile the national party’s accounts and found that 95 per cent of its funds were being withdrawn as cash for unknown purposes.
He said that he had “kept quiet” in order to keep his job, but after witnessing Mr Gillman’s treatment he confronted Mr Clark about alleged financial irregularities. Mr Ellwood said the MEP “lost his temper” and told him to resign.
The Times has seen a letter from Bruce Lawson, a former national treasurer, to Mr Farage in 2008 urging him to resign as Ukip’s leader. Mr Lawson, who suggested that Mr Farage remain as the party’s top MEP in Brussels, said he was “wholly uncomfortable” with how Ukip MEPs received allowances and “where those monies go”.
Mr Lawson sent Mr Farage an attached document called: “MEPs’ Pay and Expenses — Who wants to be a Millionaire”.
“MEPs [get] an office allowance of about £30,000,” Mr Lawson wrote. “No receipts are required. Some MEPs use it to pay an extra £660 a month into their pension plans from their office expenses money. In theory they are then supposed to reimburse this money from their salaries, but everyone relies on the MEPs’ honesty. There are no checks that any of them actually do repay this money.”
It is not known whether Mr Farage replied.
A Ukip spokesman said: “These historic allegations come from a few very unimpressive people that Ukip attracted years ago and who were gradually weeded out.”
Posted: 17 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Billy Kenber and Alexi Mostrous | on: Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 23:35
Ukip’s call centre, set up in 2003 in a former bookmaker’s office near Ashford station in Kent, has been described by Nigel Farage as the “single most successful thing Ukip has ever done”.
It was designed to raise funds and bolster the party’s support, and Mr Farage has said it raised at least £400,000 and doubled Ukip’s membership.
Staff worked from the phone numbers of people who had contacted local Ukip offices, canvassing supporters and soliciting donations. However, it was the source of controversy over its “aggressive telephone manner” and high running costs.
“It caused all sorts of rows on the national executive,” Martin Haslam, a former Ukip branch treasurer, said.
Officials complained that the staff — telesales professionals who had no allegiance to the party and were paid by commission — hounded members with requests to stump up more and more cash.
Ian Gillman, a former member of Ukip’s national executive committee, said concerns about the centre’s “aggressive telephone tactics in raising money” had been raised by the committee. “There was this constant call for money, we would constantly get letters from Farage and the leadership. I was asking where was the money going. We couldn’t get any straight answers.”
Tony Ellwood, a former regional organiser who became a researcher to Derek Clark, MEP, said: “They were so assertive with the membership that many members actually resigned.”
He said they also told members that their money would end up with their local regional branch but claimed that this did not happen.
In 2005 the party’s internal magazine carried an article acknowledging that “when the Ashford call centre first opened, it is fair to say it was the centre of some controversy within Ukip”.
The centre was closed after three years when Douglas Campbell-Bannerman, then the party’s deputy leader, found that high running costs meant that only 15 per cent of donated funds were paid over.
He said he felt that it “was bleeding the party dry”.
Posted: 16 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: George Eaton | on: Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 22:33
In an attempt to portray the Times's investigation of Nigel Farage's EU allowances as part of a sinister establishment plot, UKIP yesterday published a series of disparaging profiles of some of the paper's senior journalists (Daniel Finkelstein, Matthew Parris, Alice Thomson, Hugo Rifkind, Rachel Sylvester, Tim Montgomerie and Alexi Mostrous).
It drew particular attention to the fact that six of the seven were privately educated, an odd line of attack given that its leader was schooled at the none-too-shabby Dulwich College. And Farage isn't the only senior Ukip figure to have passed through the nefarious public school system.
Two of the party's other MEPs, Stuart Agnew and William Legge, were educated at Gordonstoun and Eton respectively. In addition, all three of its peers were privately schooled (Eton, Stowe and Institut Le Rosey), its treasurer, Stuart Wheeler, is another Old Etonian and its defence spokesman, Alexander Fermor-Hesketh, was educated at Ampleforth College.
As I said, a dubious line of attack indeed.
Here's the full list.
Nigel Farage (Leader): Dulwich College
Stuart Wheeler (Treasurer): Eton College
Alexander Fermor-Hesketh (Defence Spokesman): Ampleforth College
Stuart Agnew (MEP): Gordonstoun School
William Legge (MEP): Eton College
Lord Stevens (Peer): Stowe School
Lord Pearson (Peer): Eton College
Lord Willoughby de Broke (Peer): Institut Le Rosey
posted by: Paul Calahan | on: Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 21:53
A Conservative MP who claims that he was falsely accused of sexually assaulting Nigel Farage’s ‘former mistress’ has spoken for the first time about how the incident cost him his marriage and family.
Andrew Bridgen said that Annabelle Fuller, a Ukip spokeswoman, had ‘ruined his life’ after claiming she was groped on the balcony of his Westminster flat in June 2011.
Police were told by an informant last month that Miss Fuller, 32, had concocted the claim after stealing his phone and later confessed she had ‘stitched him up’.
Last week it emerged that detectives have launched a formal investigation into the matter, and Miss Fuller could face being prosecuted for perverting the course of justice if the claims are proven.
After leaving the House of Commons on June 8, 2011, Mr Bridgen stopped for a drink at the Marquis of Granby pub opposite his flat.
He said that going to the pub ‘was probably the biggest mistake of my life’.
After being introduced to Miss Fuller and meeting a civil servant at the pub, who was a mutual acquaintance, the three later went back to Mr Bridgen’s flat.
Mr Bridgen said that Miss Fuller used the bathroom a number of times to make phone calls and on one occasion began complaining about a man she called ‘the bane of my life’.
He said: ‘She added something about the difference between a girlfriend and a mistress is that a girlfriend can start to relax after the third or fourth date, but a mistress has to be perfect all the time.’
Mr Bridgen, 49, who now lives apart from his wife Jackie and their two sons, said he couldn’t talk much more about the incident because of an ongoing police investigation.
After the balcony incident, Miss Fuller left the flat and within hours police had arrested Mr Bridgen.
He spent ten hours being quizzed at a police station, where he had a DNA swab and his blood taken.
The case was dropped within days when Miss Fuller gave police a statement saying that her behaviour could have been construed as flirting.
Later that month, she chose to break the anonymity which is afforded to alleged victims reporting sexual offences to tell her story to a national newspaper.
In that interview she claimed she grazed her head as she ran barefoot from the flat and a security guard made the call to police after seeing her distressed.
She said she didn’t know Mr Bridgen was an MP when she met him in the pub and only took the MP’s phone and Commons security pass as evidence of where she had been.
She added she never wanted the case against the MP to go ahead and that she had been left ‘suicidal’ after Mr Bridgen threatened to sue over the false accusations.
Six days after the incident, police told him they would not be pursuing the complaint, Mr Bridgen said, but the damage to his reputation had been done as his name was already in the news.
‘Every time you Google my name that incident comes up,’ he said.
‘She waived her anonymity to give her salacious version of what happened.
'I never had the option of my name not appearing.
‘I was a falsely accused man with nowhere to hide.
‘Those two-and-a-half hours with Annabelle Fuller have ruined my life.
'The events of that night and the huge media intrusion of my wife and children that followed led to the end of my marriage.’
He added: ‘I believe the moment I was introduced to her as an MP I was targeted.’
Last month, MEP Nikki Sinclaire – a former Ukip member – used parliamentary privilege to claim that Miss Fuller had been Mr Farage’s mistress.
The pair have always denied the claims.
Mr Bridgen added that he completely sympathised with former deputy speaker Nigel Evans, who was cleared in court of rape and other allegations on Thursday.
A police spokesman last night said: ‘The Metropolitan Police received information relating to an alleged false claim of sexual assault.
'The man who was the subject of the allegedly false claim was informed that this has now moved forward into a formal police investigation.’
Last night, Annabelle Fuller said: ‘I have not been arrested, interviewed or questioned by police in regard to this matter.’
posted by: Tom McTague | on: Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 21:41
Under fire Nigel Farage yesterday insisted his party could spend taxpayer-funded EU handouts “how we want” after being confronted about his expenses.
The UKIP leader said he was taking legal advice over allegations that £60,000 of “missing” expenses have been paid into his personal bank account since 1999.
Like all MEPs, Mr Farage receives a £3,580 a month “general expenditure allowance” from Brussels. But he rejected claims this was supposed to be used to run his constituency office in Bognor Regis, which he was given rent-free by local UKIP supporters.
Mr Farage said: “We do not claim expenses for running offices or any other activity that takes place within our member state, the United Kingdom. We get a fixed-rate allowance and we can spend it how we want to. We don’t have to provide receipts for it.”
The European Parliament rules state that the cash: “May only be used for activities linked to the exercise of a Member’s mandate. It may not be used to cover personal expenses or to fund political grants or donations.”
Mr Farage, who said he would hand over expenses claims for independent scrutiny, insisted this did not mean he could not spend the cash travelling the country speaking against the EU.
He added: “I could have refused the money but I couldn’t have spoken at public meetings all over the UK because I am not wealthy enough to have funded that myself.”
His defence was in stark contrast to angry outbursts during the Westminster expenses scandal. Last year he said: “The country is disgusted with this expenses scandal. Those Members of Parliament should be prosecuted.”
The Electoral Commission last night confirmed they will write to Mr Farage to find out whether his free office should have been declared as a donation.
Posted: 16 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Rowena Mason | on: Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 21:28
Ukip leader Nigel Farage is facing questions over the £15,500 in expenses he claims annually for office costs after it emerged he pays no rent on the small Bognor Regis property where he works.
A former manager of the West Sussex office told the Times that upkeep of the converted grain store in terms of bills and other non-rental costs only amounts to £3,000 a year. That leaves £12,000 a year apparently unaccounted for.
Ukip said Farage, a European parliament member, was "confident he has abided by European parliamentary rules at all times when spending allowances."
Farage said: "I don't pay rent on the office but I obviously pay for everything else. Whether it's the burglar alarm or electricity."
He added: "About £1,000 a month is roughly what it is. Exceptionally I put more money in as and when it's needed."
However, the Times reported he has been referred to the European expenses watchdog by a former Ukip official over how he has spent about £60,000 of office expenses since transparency declarations about expenses began in 2009.
MEPs are not required to provide receipts proving how they spend their expenses, with the EU saying it is a "matter of honour" that the money is spent correctly.
The allegations emerged with Ukip riding high in the polls at around 20% as the Conservatives appeared to have taken a hit over former culture secretary Maria Miller's wrongly-claimed expenses.
Last week, Farage said Miller had "taken the mickey out of the system" and called for David Cameron to allow the public to sack MPs who perpetrated serious wrongdoing.
Challenged about Ukip's own expenses scandals among MEPs, he said: "In the cases of the two individuals who behaved badly, I removed the whip and kicked them out of the party a long time before they were found guilty of anything."
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 21:24
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Friday, 11 April 2014, 17:38
It's good to know that UKP have a high standard when it comes to selecting their prospective candidates for this May's elections.
The London Borough of Havering has seen a recent upsurge in UKIP activity, just this week three councillors Eric Munday, Lynden Thorpe and Peter Gardner defected from the ruling Conservative group over to UKIP, causing the Conservatives to lose overal control of the council.
Another well known Tory has also just defected to UKIP, but the Conservatives are less likely to lose any sleep over this particular switch in allegiance.
74 year old Alby Tebbutt was a Conservative councillor for 24 years but left the party in 2012 during a bitter struggle between the old guard that Tebbutt represented and its younger members.
Havering UKIP group leader Councillor Lawrence Webb has welcomed Tebbutt into the party with open arms saying “He will give us a tremendous boost. He’s a very colourful character, and he has a vast amount of experience. He will only help us should we get a large number of councillors elected.”
Tebbutt, from Romford will stand as a Havering UKIP candidate in the council elections this May
I wonder if Webb has his tongue firmly in his cheek when he says that Tebbutt is a "colourful character" ?
As far back as 1991 Alby Tebbutt received a conviction for actual bodily harm according to The Havering Post newspaper.
In 2005 Alby Tebbutt was suspended for bringing the council into disrepute over allegations he intimidated and swore at a fellow Tory and insulted his wife. He had earlier been cleared of common assault in connection with the incident.
Also in 2005 Tebbutt was referred to the audit commission for racking up a £6,500 council mobile phone bill while holidaying in Hawaii.
Again in 2005 Alby Tebbutt received a reprimand from The Standards Board after a breach of protocol on probity in planning matters. He was to be punished again just a year later for committing the same offence.
In 2007 Tebbutt was found guilty of threatening behaviour after an electioneering bust-up in which he told a man "I'll bury you" and sentenced to a year conditional discharge and £400 court costs.
The Conservative Party suspended Tebbutt following a conviction for common assault in December 2009. This was overturned on appeal and is something he always strongly denied.
Finally, in 2013 Alby Tebbutt made the national headlines after he vowed to go on a grey squirrel killing spree after one squirrel chewed through the wiring on his garage and burnt it to the ground.
He seems such a nice man.....
Posted: 11 Apr 2014 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Tomas Jivanda | on: Friday, 11 April 2014, 14:38
A local branch chairman for Ukip has defended a councillor candidate who called gay people “abnormal” and said he wished “they stop trying to ram it down my throat”, all while discussing whether the word “sodomite” should be used.
Ukip candidate Douglas Denny, 66, who is set to run for councillor in Portsmouth City Council’s elections next month, was initially caught out by The Sunday Mirrormaking anti-gay comments on a private Ukip forum last year.
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.”
Local Ukip Portsmouth Chairman Stuart Potter has now thrown his backing behind Mr Denny, claiming his comments have been manipulated by the media.
He told The Independent: “I’m backing him because he’s not a homophobe. The words that the press have used have been twisted.
“They have taken content from the forums and made what they want out of them. They’re doing it to slur the name of Ukip and Doug Denny as well.”
Earlier this week Mr Denny also attempted to defend his comments, arguing that he had labeled gay people “abnormal” because they were a minority of the population.
He told Portsmouth’s The News that he was not anti-homosexual and that his comments were taken out of context.
He said: “There was a story in The Sunday Mirror castigating Ukip for being racist and homophobic and all this stuff.
“There was a discussion on a forum open only to Ukip members about homosexuality and in particular the use of the word sodomite.
“I believe homosexuals have a perfect right to live their lives and wander around like everyone else and do not deserve any discrimination because of their sexuality.”
He then apparently felt the need to reiterate one of his earlier comments: “I wish that they wouldn’t try to keep ramming it down my throat that they are normal in their sexual practices.”
Portsmouth Lib Dem councillor Margaret Foster told The News she was “astounded” by the comments.
“I’m absolutely dumbstruck that they would let anybody stand in the elections with that attitude,” she said.
Posted: 11 Apr 2014 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Friday, 11 April 2014, 09:37
Posted: 11 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: John Elworthy | on: Thursday, 10 April 2014, 19:05
A UKIP county councillor who described his sister to fire fighters as a ‘w**’, spoke of relatives who were ‘Mongols’ that had children with ‘slanty eyes’ has been condemned by an independent inquiry.
Cambridgeshire County Council said tonight that the independent member of its standards committee had reviewed a complaint against Councillor Peter Lagoda and found he had brought the council into disrepute.
Cllr Lagoda made the remarks during a visit to Wisbech fire station and a council statement said the review concluded that “the remarks by Cllr Lagoda could be interpreted by a reasonable person as racist, derogatory and discriminatory in nature”.
The statement added that the comments were “not acceptable in every day use. It was also the view of the independent person that Cllr Lagoda breached the members’ code of conduct of treating others with respect and bringing their office or authority into disrepute”.
The findings also made a “strong recommendation” that Cllr Lagoda – recently given a 12 month community order for a benefits offence- should write a “sincere apology” to Cambridgeshire Fire Authority.
The council statement added a further recommendation that Cllr Lagoda should attend training on equality and diversity issues.
“It was noted by the independent person that Cllr Lagoda did not dispute he had used the words but these were part of a private conversation and not in the public arena.
“It was also highlighted that the councillor had shown remorse and that the fire authority personnel had indicated the approach suggested by the independent person was acceptable to them.”
Cllr Lagoda always admitted to using the words but insisted they were in the context of a private conversation and that he must have been “misunderstood” by the firefighters.
He said after the incident had been reported: “Yes, my cousin married Mongols and now all their little children are ever so cute and they have slanty eyes.
“They’ve taken it the wrong way and my English must be far greater than theirs because I looked in the dictionary and a person from Mongolia is called a Mongol. It’s always the British that bastardize words.”
He denied his remarks were racist and said he had answered “honestly about my family and my roots. If I’m asked in future about my family I think I have learnt what to say- nothing.”
Labour MEP Richard Howitt said the remarks were “very shocking” and “deeply offensive”.
Posted: 10 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Asa Bennett | on: Thursday, 10 April 2014, 18:21
Ukip MEP William Dartmouth showed a "lack of candour" in his "vague" explanation of his connection to a Yorkshire onshore wind farm application, Lib Dem MEP Graham Watson has warned.
Sir Graham, a fellow MEP for the South West of England, said that the Earl of Dartmouth left a "number" of questions unanswered when he denied that he would benefit financially from three 300ft wind turbines being built on Slaithwaite Moor near Huddersfield, as he claimed the precise site was owned by a relative.
Any revelation that Dartmouth was financially benefitting from wind turbines would be politically fatal given Ukip's vehement opposition to wind farms. Professor Tim Congdon was forced to stand down as a Ukip parliamentary candidate after it emerged that he had signed wind-farm deals on his Scottish estates.
Dartmouth transferred the land on which the Valley Wind Co-operative hope to build turbines on to a company called Rosscroft Limited, according to a Land Registry document dated 10th February 2011. Rosscroft is currently run by offshore directors based in the Bahamas and Monaco.
Questions were raised about Dartmouth's links to the Valley Wind Co-operative project after the MEP was named as a relevant tenant in the wind farm's planning application to Kirklees Council, suggesting that the turbines would be directly built on his land.
Sir Graham Watson said: “I am not suggesting the Earl of Dartmouth has done anything illegal.
“However I believe his statement leaves a number of questions which remain unanswered. Does William Dartmouth have any financial interest in Rosscroft Limited who stand to gain financially from this application? Does he deny that he transferred land from his own estate to Rosscroft Limited back in 2011 knowing that the land was potentially subject to application to build windfarms on?
“UKIP and the Earl of Dartmouth have been consistently opposed to onshore wind farm development. In last week’s debate with Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage criticised land owners seeking to earn money by hosting wind turbines.
“There appears to be a lack of candour on his part. Dartmouth says that he “derives no benefit to the land as it stands”. Yet he has been vague in answering what his interest in Rosscroft Limited is. Particularly given that Land Registry documents show that the land transfer from Dartmouth was ‘not for money’.
“Some people may conclude it would be hypocritical for anyone to be a senior member of a political party vehemently opposed to wind farms on one hand, whilst being connected to a planning application to build 300 foot wind turbines on the other.”
Dartmouth claimed that he had been added in error to the planning document as a relevant tenant, despite the public document being available publicly and uncorrected for several months.
Kirklees Council told HuffPostUK that the Earl's incorrect inclusion did not jepoardise the application, but that he could still try and influence the project.
"The purpose of the certification requirement is to enable those who have an interest in the land which is subject to a planning application to be notified of the application so that they have knowledge of it and can therefore make representations. It does not imply consent to the application," a council spokesperson said.
"William Dartmouth has now indicated that he is not an owner/has another legal interest in the application site but we are advised that the application is not invalidated by wrongly including him."
In response, Dartmouth said: "It is completely over the top to be accused of hypocrisy by Sir Graham Watson, a man who accepted a knighthood from Her Majesty whilst an active Republican and who campaigns against the Monarchy.
"In his statement Sir Graham rightly points out that I receive no benefit from the land as it stands. Typically he omits the last part of that sentence which reads 'or if the application was granted'."
"He also says I am 'connected" to the application. I have made it perfectly clear that I have not made any application and that I do not own the land."
"Perhaps Sir Graham would be better served if he concentrated on trying to save his seat as a Lib Dem MEP in the forthcoming Euro elections."
Previously, the Earl of Dartmouth said in a statement: "I am not the applicant. I do not own the land in question.
"The land which is the subject of the planning application is owned by a relative. I derive no benefit, financial or otherwise, from the land as it stands, nor would I if the planning application were successful.
"An adjacent piece of land, which is owned by me, was erroneously included in theapplication.This strip of land would not be involved in the wind turbine application in any shape or form.
"As a UK Independence Party MEP I fully endorse the party policy to oppose onshore wind turbine development.
"The reason that the name Rosscroft Ltd appears on the above planning application, as well as in relation to land which I do own, is that they represent the entire extended Dartmouth family as well as many other clients.'
Posted: 10 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Dominic Gover | on: Thursday, 10 April 2014, 17:12
A would-be Ukip politician defended calling homosexuals "abnormal" and called on gays to stop "ramming it down my throat."
Douglas Denny, 66, was called out for "unacceptable" comments he made on a web forum for members of Nigel Farage's anti-EU party.
Ukip members were discussing sodomy when Denny posted his own view on the matter.
The prospective Portsmouth City Council politician insisted his objection was rooted only in the semantics of the word 'normal' – and not that he personally objected to homosexuality.
Denny claimed that being a minority sexuality meant homosexuals were by defintion abnormal, telling The News: "There was a story in the Sunday Mirrorcastigating Ukip for being racist and homophobic and all this stuff.
"There was a discussion on a forum open only to Ukip members about homosexuality and in particular the use of the word 'sodomite.'
"'I wish that they wouldn't try to keep ramming it down my throat that they are normal in their sexual practices.
"I believe homosexuals have a perfect right to live their lives and wander around like everyone else and do not deserve any discrimination because of their sexuality."
Denny is hoping to unseat a Tory incumbent at council elections next month.
A rival politician said it was "astounding" he would stand following his remarks about gays. Cllr Margaret Foster said: "I'm absolutely dumbstruck that they would let anybody stand in the elections with that attitude."
Ukip has faced controversy over its members' views on homosexuality before. Recently, a councillor claimed gay marriage was to blame for flooding which hit parts of the country.
Posted: 10 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Thursday, 10 April 2014, 13:43
Posters claiming that local people are being denied employment whilst immigrants receive higher wages have started to appear across the city of Belfast.
According to the BBC UKIP have claimed that the posters reflect community frustration as more than 500 foreign workers are being employed on an oil rig contract at the Harland and Wolff shipyard.
UKIP's David McNarry said they reflected resentment about skilled Northern Ireland workers being denied job opportunities at Harland and Wolff shipyard.
McNarry claimed he knew who was behind the racist posters.
Anna Lo of the Alliance Party said the posters were giving out misinformation, at a time, when ethnic communities are already concerned about racist attacks.
"I'm absolutely outraged," she said.
"I think this is ridiculous putting up these unsubstantiated lies, accusations of immigrants coming into Northern Ireland, particularly at a time when we have seen recent racist incidents in south and east Belfast."
Posted: 10 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Emily Dugan | on: Tuesday, 8 April 2014, 22:10
A woman who was heralded as the “future face” of Ukip says she can no longer face campaigning for the party because of their illiberal stance on immigration.
Alexandra Swann was supposed to represent the party's new, younger membership when she publicly defected from the Conservatives at Ukip's spring conference in 2012. Nigel Farage introduced her to a jubilant party faithful, boasting: "I'm very pleased to say that the Swann has migrated to Ukip".
However, it seems the Swann has migrated again. She told The Independent: "I can't bring myself to campaign for them."
The party's increasingly incendiary rhetoric on immigration has pushed Ms Swann, 25, away. She says: "The focus moved to immigration. It was difficult with the anti-gay marriage stuff. Now so much of their argument is anti-immigration which didn't sit well with me.
"The rhetoric wasn't so much about it when I joined. I think we should be discriminating on the skill level [of immigrants] as opposed to what country they're from."
Speaking of her decision not to represent the party anymore, she said: "I haven't officially left or fallen out with anyone but I can't bring myself to campaign for them. I'll probably still vote for them...[but] I don't want to be identified as that Ukip girl... I just don't really want to be affiliated with the party in an ongoing way."
Her shift in allegiance emerged as she was about to appear on the London Live show, Headline London, on Monday lunchtime. Ms Swann vehemently insisted that she did not want to be introduced by presenter Claudia-Liza Armah as a member of Ukip, explaining that the party's immigration stance meant she no longer wanted to be associated with them.
Previously deputy chair of Conservative Future, Ms Swann had been prominent in the Tory youth movement before moving to Ukip. She stood as a Ukip candidate for Farnham North in the Surrey County Council elections last May but lost out to a Conservative in a close-run race.
Her move was seen as a major scalp for Ukip and she was frequently invited to speak on behalf of the party on television and radio. Newspapers described her as "the future face of Ukip".
Despite this, she tried to play down her departure from active campaigning. "I don't want to make a song and dance about it," she said, adding: "I'm technically still a member".
However, the news will be an embarrassment to Ukip, given how much they used her defection to argue that she represented a new wave of young people attracted to the party.
Her current unease at the party's immigration policy is in contrast to her speech at the Ukip spring conference in March 2012. She said then: "We need to tell people that Ukip is probably the only party that can be trusted to defend its people... we put the human rights of British people over the apparent rights of convicted terrorists and illegal immigrants."
She added: "What we really need to do is to remove the smokescreen that's been placed by the liberal left-wing media that Ukip is a far-right party like the far-left BNP, because we're not. Ukip is a party of liberty, of small state."
In the same speech she said that the party stood for the individual and that for that reason "I'm so proud to be a member".
A Ukip spokesman said the party would not comment.
Posted: 8 Apr 2014 | There are 4 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Lucy Clapham | on: Monday, 7 April 2014, 17:29
The case against a Norfolk UKIP councillor and two other would-be candidates who are accused of electoral fraud has been sent to crown court.
Matthew Smith, who was elected in May and represents Gorleston St Andrew’s division on the county council, is accused of six counts of making a false statement in nomination papers and three of making a false instrument with intent.
The charges relate to nomination papers put forward in the Norfolk County Council elections held in the Great Yarmouth district between March and April last year.
Smith 26, of High Street, Gorleston, appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court today alongside Michael Monk and Daniel Thistlethwaite.
Monk, 60, of Freeman Close, Hopton, and Thistlethwaite, 19, of Station Road South, Belton, each face a charge of making a false statement in nomination papers.
The trio did not enter a plea.
They were given unconditional bail to return to Norwich Crown Court on April 22.
Posted: 7 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Alexi Mostrous, Billy Kenber, Laura Pitel | on: Saturday, 5 April 2014, 22:03
Police are investigating claims that the alleged former mistress of Nigel Farage falsely accused a Tory MP of sexual assault.
Annabelle Fuller, until recently a Ukip spin doctor, had previously accused Andrew Bridgen of inappropriately touching her at his Westminster flat in 2011. Mr Bridgen, who denied wrongdoing, was arrested but no charges were brought.
The case went quiet until Monday, when Scotland Yard officers spoke to Mr Bridgen for 50 minutes about allegations that Ms Fuller, 32, had fabricated the claims against him.
The allegations were made by Jasna Badzak, a former Ukip press officer and parliamentary candidate. Other claims by Ms Badzak against Ukip, including allegations of “financial irregularities” at the party, are also under investigation by the police.
Ms Badzak was convicted in October of defrauding Gerard Batten, a Ukip Euro MEP and her former boss, out of £3,000. She received a 12-month suspended sentence but is appealing.
Last night Ms Fuller said that Ms Badzak’s claims were “the lies of a proven fraudster”.
In June 2011 Ms Fuller met Mr Bridgen, the MP for North West Leicestershire, in a Westminster pub before returning to his flat with a mutual acquaintance, according to an account she gave at the time. She alleged that the MP reached up her skirt and touched her on the bottom and leg.
A week later Ms Fuller withdrew her allegations, conceding that her behaviour could have been construed as flirting. Later that month she waived her right to anonymity to tell a newspaper that her life had “been destroyed” after Mr Bridgen threatened to sue her for “ludicrous and false” allegations.
She said she had gashed her head fleeing from Mr Bridgen’s apartment barefoot after taking his Westminster pass and BlackBerry phone. When a security guard asked if she wanted to call the police, she said she replied: “I just want to get the hell out of here.”
Police officers are now looking at whether Ms Fuller stole Mr Bridgen’s BlackBerry and pass. Ms Fuller said she took them to prove where she had been.
It is understood that police inquiries are at an early stage. A spokesman said they were “looking into” the allegations and that no arrests had been made.
“It sounds like someone is just trying to make another attack on me, which I’ve had in the past few weeks,” Ms Fuller said. “I’m not going to say any more because I haven’t actually spoken to the police about this.”
Ms Badzak said she first contacted police with her evidence in July 2011 and was contacted this year by David Manning, an acting superintendent at Scotland Yard.
Mr Farage, the Ukip leader, already faces an inquiry into allegations that his party may have breached parliamentary rules by using taxpayers’ money to fund its political operations.
Both Mr Farage and Ms Fuller deny having an affair after an ex-colleague claimed she was his “former mistress”.
Mr Bridgen declined to comment.
posted by: Belinda Ryan | on: Saturday, 5 April 2014, 21:22
Cheshire East is reviewing its policy on councillor conduct following what it termed the ‘deplorable’ behaviour of Ukip’s Brian Silvester.
As revealed exclusively by the Chronicle a month ago, Cllr Silvester had been campaigning against development in the green gap while trying to sell his own countryside land for housing.
Emails obtained by the Chronicle and since passed on to Cheshire East and to Ukip, show the Willaston and Rope councillor even used his council email address while trying to set up land deals on a greenfield site he co-owned with his brother in Shavington.
An investigation by Cheshire East Council’s legal team has found that while Cllr Silvester did nothing illegal, there could be a perception of wrongdoing.
The authority is now reviewing its policies in the light of what it referred to as Cllr Silvester’s ‘amoral’ negotiations to sell his land.
Council leader Michael Jones said this week: “We deplore the behaviour that Cllr Silvester has demonstrated in his role as trusted councillor for the Willaston and Rope ward in Crewe.
“In my opinion, he has misled a trusting public to believe that he is in post to fight for their best interest.”
The furious council leader added: “While using his council email to carry out these amoral negotiations to sell his land is currently not breaking the law or members’ code of conduct, it has prompted Cheshire East Council to thoroughly review these policies to ensure that this cannot happen again.
“We cannot allow the perception that members can use their political influence and persuasion to profit personally while publicly performing an opposing stance.”
Cheshire East was quick to ask the Chronicle for copies of the emails we had obtained revealing Cllr Silvester’s attempted land deals. These were then passed to the authority’s monitoring officer as part of the investigation.
Cllr Jones said yesterday: “Cheshire East Council is not prepared to spend taxpayers’ money judging this matter further – rather we urge the public to be the ultimate judge and show your disapproval at the ballot box.”
Ukip too requested the emails and has launched its own internal enquiry.
The outcome of that investigation has not been revealed.
posted by: Dan Hodges | on: Saturday, 5 April 2014, 20:52
Nigel Farage has just completed a fascinating phone-in with Telegraph readers. The discussion was wide-ranging, and the Ukip leader engaged with it in his usual avuncular style.
That is until the conversation turned to his professed admiration for Vladimir Putin. At which point, not to be put too fine a point on it, he fell apart.
It was like watching a rerun of Sarah Palin’s career-defining – and ending – interview with Katie Couric. Asked about her take on foreign affairs, the Republican vice-presidential candidate famously started rambling on about how she could see Russia from her home state of Alaska.
Farage began rambling on about how Britain was an island. Russia, we had to understand, wasn’t an island. So Putin’s aggression in Ukraine was understandable.
In fact, he’d been provoked. Not just by the EU. But by William Hague. The mobilisation of the 76th Russian Airborne Division, the 31st Airborne Brigade and 18th Mechanised Brigade were all because our hitherto inoffensive-seeming Foreign Secretary had been “very provocative” towards Vladimir Putin and his people.
Though the EU was obviously responsible as well. It had asked the Ukrainian people if they wanted to be part of the EU. Which Farage seemed to imply was almost a declaration of war in itself. Especially when nobody in the Ukraine wanted to join the EU anyway.
At this point the moderator, Tim Stanley, finally felt the need to step in and question the assertion that nobody in Ukraine supported EU membership. “Well,” the great tribune of the people responded, “maybe a substantial minority do want it. But we shouldn’t have offered it to them.”
And so it went on. Asked about Barack Obama’s statement that he wanted Britain to remain a part of the European Union, Nigel Farage responded “Everything the Americans have asked us to do since 1945 is wrong.”
Everything. Since 1945. Like when they asked us not to invade Suez. Or when they asked us to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the fight against communism. Or when they asked us to help expel Saddam from Kuwait.
If it was left to Ukip, Britain would fight fewer wars, he said. And get the public finances under control. Although yes, Ukip did have a policy of increasing spending on the Armed Forces by 40 per cent. Because although we wouldn’t be fighting any wars, the world was a much more dangerous place. And so we had to have lots more troops. To not fight those wars.
Except maybe in the Falklands. What would we do if Argentina invaded? Although they probably wouldn’t because now the Falklands were well defended. Any attack by the Argentines would “cost them heavily”. Even though our Armed Forces had been effectively neutered. But what if they did successfully invade? What would we do then?
What indeed. Sarah Palin was once a new and refreshing political voice. She was “taking on” the establishment. She spoke directly to “the ordinary folks at home”.
Remind me. Whatever happened to her?
posted by: Rajeev Syal | on: Thursday, 3 April 2014, 18:35
Nigel Farage is using a private company to reduce his tax bill on his
media appearances, it has emerged.
The Ukip leader diverts money from appearances in the media and on the
lecture circuit into a firm called Thorn In The Side Ltd.
It means that last year he paid only 20% corporation tax on profits of
£45,000, instead of 40% income tax.
Farage has previously criticised people who try to avoid tax as the
The details of his tax affairs emerged on Mail Online ahead of his
live TV debate with Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.
The use of personal service companies is not illegal, but has been
criticised across the political spectrum as a way to reduce tax bills.
Companies House records show that in 2012-13 Thorn In The Side Limited
made a profit of £45,488.
If this had been declared as income he would have paid £21,883.03 in
40% income tax and national insurance.
But by using Thorn In The Side as a personal service company, he will
have only paid £9,097.60 in corporation tax, plus taxes on his
As an MEP, Farage also earns £78,000-a-year from Brussels and employs
his wife Kirsten on the taxpayer, on a salary of up to £20,000.
Thorn In The Side Ltd was incorporated in 2011 and Farage is the only
director, owning 100 per cent of shares.
Last year Farage was branded a 'hypocrite' after admitting he opened
an offshore trust fund to slash his tax bill while campaigning against
He set up a scheme on the Isle of Man for '"inheritance purposes" but
later claimed he never used it, adding: "It was a mistake. I'm not
The BBC has faced criticism for allowing star presenters to have their
wages paid into such companies, which means they end up paying less
tax. Ukip did not respond to telephone calls asking for a response.
Posted: 3 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: . | on: Thursday, 3 April 2014, 14:01
A UKIP county councillor representing Redditch has resigned from his post after calling his former party's policy on gay marriage "disgusting".
Martin Jenkins was elected to Redditch Arrow Valley East on Worcestershire County Council in May last year but has now stepped down from the position saying the UK Independence Party is "on the wrong side of history and needs to move into the 21st century".
"As a libertarian I am a firm believer in freedom and true equality," said Mr Jenkins.
"Instead of seizing the chance to support gay marriage, the party are using EU laws as a reason for not supporting it. So, as the party whose fundamental principle is to take the UK out of the European Union, UKIP is using a scenario that would not exist if it were in power as a reason for not supporting same sex marriage.
"This seems a huge contradiction on their part and it would appear UKIP simply do not support gay marriage, full stop.”
UKIP supports civil partnerships but opposes legalisation of same-sex marriage because of concerns that a law change could mean faith groups and places of worship would be forced to perform same-sex marriages.
"If UKIP made its policy clear that it does not support gay marriage in its current form, whilst we are a member of the EU, but it would support gay marriage under a new set of rules outside of the EU, then the party would have my continued support," added Mt Jenkins.
He also said that an increasing number of public meetings taking place at a time when he was at work meant he found it difficult to represent his constituents.
UKIP enjoyed a surge in the local county council elections in May, 2013 winning four seats in Worcestershire.
Less than 12 months later the party is doing less well in the county as only one of the councillors is still in office. As well as Martin Jenkins' resignation, Eric Kitson, ex-councillor for Stourport-on-Severn, resigned after admitting sharing offensive material about Muslims on Facebook andTony Barker, representing St Marys in Kidderminster, died only a month after taking office.
This leaves only Stuart Cross, representing Redditch South, as a standing UKIP councillor in Worcestershire.
Bill Etheridge, west midlands regional organiser of UKIP, told the Advertiser he was disappointed with Mr Jenkins' decision.
"The party has been firm on the issue since before Mr Jenkins stood for election. We are not saying we are in favour of gay marriage, we are saying that the moment has passed in time and we are moving on. We allow individual members to have their view and have no prejudice against gay people whatsoever," he added.
A spokesperson from Worcestershire County Council said that it anticipates a by-election to fill the vacant seat will be held on the same day as the European and Redditch Council elections on May 22.
Posted: 3 Apr 2014 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Emma Barnett | on: Wednesday, 2 April 2014, 16:37
I had heard Godfrey Bloom would be charming when I met him, despite some of his questionable and downright offensive views, and he didn’t disappoint.
En route to his gentleman’s club, where his wife knows he is “safe” just supping pints with the boys (heaven forbid he was allowed to mingle with crumpet – his word not mine), Mr Bloom paid me a visit at Telegraph Towers a few days ago.
What followed was a 45 minute verbal sparring match, in which I tried to challenge Mr Bloom on his various views about women, their rights and their ‘place in the world’. (For instance Mr Bloom, a former TA officer, does not for instance think it “appropriate” for UK women to serve on the frontline- but really struggled to articulate why not).
Occasionally I received some clarity but mostly I found myself baffled into stunned silence as Mr Bloom ended many of our arguments abruptly with one of these three refrains:
1. “Well my wife agrees with me.” (yes of course she does Godfrey)
2. “Well fiddlesticks then.” (right-ho)
3. “Emma, you are too sensitive/liberal/politically correct (please don’t lazily confuse political correctness with politeness and intelligence" – as previously brilliantly noted by Matthew d’Ancona)
While Mr Bloom was perfectly affable before and after our chat on air, and I could well imagine going for a pint with him (Ukip seriously need to get a beer donor on board; between Godfrey and Nigel Farage, they are single-handedly saving the British pub) I was surprised by his very politician-esque tendency to try and blind me with his jargon-filled financial knowledge gleaned from his City days.
This was nowhere more prevalent than when came to discussing the matter of maternity leave. In a nutshell he thinks having a baby is a “lifestyle choice” for women and us wimmin are selfish for expecting maternity leave or pay. We are preventing other women from getting jobs, you see.
While I am well aware of the burden maternity leave puts on smaller businesses, Mr Bloom was unable to clearly articulate why maternity leave was also wrong-headed for bigger businesses to handle.
In a nutshell, I didn’t find many of his answers, when I pushed him hard, that sophisticated.
In fact the only time he found himself totally and utterly lost for words – in a silence which seemed to last hours – was when I asked him whether Nigel Farage is intelligent. He simply couldn’t process the question and stared at me in bug-eyed hush. But when pressed, he admitted that his old flatmate, should no longer lead the party – the subject of our news story today.
I came away from our chat totally bemused by Mr Bloom. If he was an old family friend with some massively anachronistic views, I wouldn’t have been worried about having been slightly charmed.
However, he’s not an old family pal. He’s an MEP and therefore has more of a platform than most people. And with that platform comes responsibilities. Moreover he worryingly has a knack for making unacceptable views sound vaguely acceptable.
Mr Bloom, as I have read before, is totally drunk on his own rhetoric. He lives by the quip and while a good laugh down the pub I’m sure, in political office? Not so much.
Posted: 2 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Patrick Wintour and Rowena Mason | on: Wednesday, 2 April 2014, 10:02
Nigel Farage's near monthly appearances on state-owned Russia Today have come under scrutiny after his expression of admiration for Vladimir Putin this week.
In one of his 17 appearances on the channel seen by the Guardian and transmitted since December 2010, he claims Europe is governed not by elected democracies but instead "by the worst people we have seen in Europe since 1945".
The Ukip leader has appeared so frequently that he is cited in literature for the TV station Russia Today as one of their special and "endlessly quotable" British guests. "He has been known far longer to the RT audience than most of the British electorate," Russia Today claims.
The Ukip leader did not issue a word of criticism of Russian democracy in any of the Russia Today interviews viewed by the Guardian. Last August he told the channel that British intervention in Libya and Syria would go ahead regardless of any vote in the UN, and said he was still not sure President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons.
Farage's relationship with Russia has been under the spotlight since his comments last week on Ukraine. In a TV debate with Nick Clegg (pictured above) he said Russia had been provoked and that the EU had blood on its hands for trying to force Ukraine to choose between itself and Russia. The Lib Dem leader is expected to challenge Farage further on the subject in a second debate, this time for the BBC, on Wednesday.
Chris Bryant, the former Labour Europe minister, said: "One of the most stupid adages for politicians to believe is my enemy's enemy is my friend. Putin closes down the free press, jails journalists with impunity and has enriched himself beyond the dreams of Imelda Marcos and has territorial ambitions. Farage is rapidly becoming the Berlusconi of Britain."
Russia Today was set up in 2005 by the Russian government as a 24-hour news programme and has been accused of being a propaganda tool of Putin. Earlier this year one anchor, Liz Wahl, quit on air, saying the channel always wanted extremist voices hostile to the west.
In many of his lengthy interviews Farage predicted the breakup of Europe, adding that EU leaders "are not undemocratic. They are anti-democratic. These are very bad and dangerous people They are the worst people we have seen in Europe since 1945". In another interview he claimed "they are the most dangerous people in Europe for 70 years".
His interviews, and warnings of the EU's imminent collapse, are often conducted against a backdrop of footage of police suppressing anti-austerity riots.
He also suggests that the EU is likely to attack other countries in the Middle East, such as Bahrain and Yemen, following the intervention in Libya. He said: "International law itself is not going to stop the British and the French and, perhaps, the Americans, if they choose to do something."
He also agreed with his interviewer that the attack was largely due to a need to capture oil supplies, and agreed that the western attack will lead to collateral damage.
Asked why so few British politicians opposed the attack in Libya he says: "What we've got in the House of Commons is a political class – they all go to the same schools, get the same jobs in research, spend their lives in politics and have never had a job in the real world. So when it comes to it, they all vote like sheep. We do not have enough independent thinkers sitting in the House of Commons preparing to think of counterarguments".
Before the Syrian vote he told Russian TV: "Probably, there are stronger hatreds between some of the opposition groups than there are against the Assad regime." He said it was probable Assad had used chemical weapons but added: "We ought to be slightly cautious and we ought to absolutely make sure that it was Assad who used those weapons."
Either way he opposed the use of force saying: "I have to say that ever since Tony Blair's time, starting off with Bosnia, we seem to go in for foreign wars with alarming regularity, often having no really clear objectives or any idea how we are going to withdraw. Just to prove that point – we've now been in Afghanistan for longer than the first and the second world wars added up together."
In March last year he advised viewers to disinvest from banks and property in the EU after the Cypriot bailout. He said: "Don't invest in the eurozone. Do not invest anywhere in eurozone. You've got to be mad to do so, because it's now run by people who don't respect democracy, who don't respect the rule of law, who don't respect the basic principles upon which western civilisation is supposed to be based."
The frequency of his attacks on European economic and foreign policy has drawn him to the attention of the Russian deputy foreign affairs minister, Alexander Yakovenko: the two men met in May last year.
Farage caused surprise at the weekend when asked by GQ magazine which politician he most admired. He replied: "As an operator, but not as a human being, I would say [Vladimir] Putin." He defended his approach at a Chatham House event in London. He pointed out: "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."
Clegg 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]."
Farage is hardly likely to be personally sympathetic to Putin's politics, but the confluence of the two men's dislike for the European Union has made Farage a desirable figure for Russian state-run broadcasters.
Farage's views on the EU's role in the Ukraine are shared by some Tory Eurosceptic MPs. In a Bruges Group film on how the EU has blundered in the Ukraine, John Redwood says: "The EU seems to be flexing its words in a way that Russia finds worrying and provokes Russia into flexing its military muscles."
Posted: 2 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Georgia Graham, Emma Barnett and James Kirkup | on: Wednesday, 2 April 2014, 09:31
Nigel Farage is not up to the job of leading the UK Independence Party and should step down to make way for a younger replacement, his former flatmate has said.
Godfrey Bloom, who was elected as Ukip MEP but now serves as an independent, said that Mr Farage was a "salesman" who lacked the ability to properly lead the party.
His comment, in an interview with the Telegraph, came as Mr Farage prepared to meet Nick Clegg in his second televised Liberal Democrat leader over Europe.
Mr Clegg told the Telegraph he believed he can “unsettle” Mr Farage, suggesting his opponent is unable to cope with proper political scrutiny.
Mr Bloom, who shared a flat in Brussels with the Ukip leader for several years, had the party whip withdrawn after he referred to women as "sluts" and struck a journalist on the street.
He said that although Mr Farage acted as a "charismatic" and "articulate" salesman for the Ukip brand he is not up to the role of "managing director or chairman of the board."
Asked if he believed Mr Farage was intelligent, Mr Bloom replied: "In what way?"
By contrast, Mr Bloom said there were many "bright young people" waiting in the wings of Ukip but that Mr Farage was blocking their chances of coming "to the surface" of the party.
He added: "Nigel has been doing it for twenty years, I think perhaps one might argue that's too long.”
If Ukip does badly at next year’s general election, Mr Farage “will go anyway," he said.
He added that Ukip would struggle at the 2015 general election unless the party "sharpens its game".
Mr Farage clashed with Mr Clegg last week in a live debate and will face the Lib Dem leader again tonight in a BBC event.
An opinion poll suggested that Mr Farage won last week’s debate, but Mr Clegg said he is undeterred, believing he “unsettled” the Ukip leader last week by bombarding him with statistical claims about Europe.
Mr Clegg told the Telegraph that Mr Farage is touchy and unable to cope with the pressure of real political debate.
“The more I set out the facts, the more Nigel Farage became agitated and unsettled,” he said.
“He clearly is not accustomed to having people point out that a lot of his assertions are not grounded in fact.”
He added: “He likes to cast himself as some plucky outsider. He is not able to deal with the facts so he resorts to bluster.”
Mr Clegg said that Mr Farage has so far avoided the same political scrutiny as the leaders of bigger parties.
“He likes to play the outsider, but he is very much the establishment figure,” Mr Cleg said. “Nigel Farage has been treated with absolute kid gloves. He is not the outsider who has had a tough time.”
As an example, he cited Mr Farage’s remark earlier year about female salaries in the City.
In January, Mr Farage said women who have children are "worth less" to firms in the financial sector.
“If a woman has a client base and has a child and takes two or three years off work, she is worth far less to the employer when she comes back than when she goes away because her client base cannot be stuck rigidly to her,” Mr Farage said at the time.
Mr Clegg described that as a “Neanderthal view”, adding: “He has been able to repeat these extraordinary claims completely unchallenged.
Posted: 2 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Tuesday, 1 April 2014, 19:27
Nigel Farage, UKIP leader has said that he is “proud” that his party have claimed a third of all BNP voters.
Speaking at an event at London’s Chatham House, Farage denied taking “extremist” positions on immigration, pointing out that former BNP members had been banned from joining his party.
He went on to claim that “We want no truck with the BNP types at all,” he said.
We were a little surprised by that statement, seeing as his xenophobic party has countless former members and supporters of far right parties in the ranks of UKIP.
Take for instance former UKIP candidate David Rimington from Harrogate in North Yorkshire.
Rimington stood as a UKIP candidate in the picturesque town of Knaresborough last year in the North Yorkshire County Council Elections.
Fortunately he failed miserably, finishing in 6th place but what the good people of Knaresborough didn't know was that David Rimington had a deep dark secret, his name and address appeared on the leaked BNP membership list.
However, what is even more shocking is the fact that Harrogate & Knaresborough UKIP apparently knew of Rimingtons links to the far right party and by all accounts attempted to hide the facts from the public.
Rimington's telephone number, postcode and BNP membership number are also included on the list. The postcode matches exactly the postcode of the UKIP candidate who stood in Knaresborough last year.
We rang the telephone number included on the BNP list and Rimington confirmed that he was still a UKIP member, confirming that the details were correct.
We wonder if Harrogate & Knaresborough UKIP intend to stand David Rimington as a candidate in the future, we also wonder if the entire branch of UKIP will be disciplined for attempting to hide the fact that one of its activists was previously a BNP member?
Posted: 1 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Tuesday, 1 April 2014, 10:24
Posted: 1 Apr 2014 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Alexi Mostrous | on: Tuesday, 1 April 2014, 09:44
Police are investigating claims of “financial irregularities” at Ukip,The Times can reveal.
The Metropolitan Police said they were looking into a series of allegations made against Nigel Farage’s party by Jasna Badzak, a former Ukip press officer and parliamentary candidate.
David Manning, an acting detective superintendent at Scotland Yard, outlined five claims that he intends to investigate in an e-mail sent to Ms Badzak last week. They include financial irregularities “regarding the funding of the party” as well as a number of other allegations made against individuals associated with Ukip.
It is understood that Mr Manning has already interviewed at least one person named in connection with the complaints. A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said that no arrests had been made.
Mr Farage already faces an official inquiry into allegations that Ukip may have breached parliamentary rules by using taxpayers’ money to fund its political operations.
A former member of the UKIP press office, who is not Ms Badzak, claimed that staff were improperly paid out of funds received by the party through its membership of a political group called Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD).
European Parliament rules state that such funds must not be used to “finance political parties at national and European level.”
“I was paid by the EFD group in the European Parliament, even though I worked exclusively for UKIP in the UK,” the whistleblower said. “The money was paid into my bank account directly from the EFD group.”
A Ukip spokesman last night declined to comment on Scotland Yard’s inquiries.
The party has previously stated that its MEPs are “careful to observe European parliamentary rules when spending resources on funding the goal of British withdrawal” and that it was “wholly legitimate” for some EFD staff to work out of London.
Ms Badzak was convicted in October of defrauding her former boss, Ukip Euro MEP Gerard Batten, out of £3,000. She received a 12-month suspended sentence. She is currently appealing the conviction.
Posted: 1 Apr 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments