Friday, September 30

UKIP are Losers in Livingston

Labour this week scored another by-election victory in Scotland - but with a reduced majority.

The Labour candidate in the Livingston by-election Jim Devine had a 2,680 majority over the Scottish National Party. This was a 10.22% swing to the SNP.

The by-election was necessary because of the death of former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

Mr Cook had a 13,097 majority in May's General Election.

The newly-elected Mr Devine paid tribute to his former friend and said: "This is not a place that anyone wanted to be, far less myself.

"Robin Cook was an outstanding parliamentarian within this constituency. Let me say, I hope to continue the work that in particular he did for the constituents of this constituency."

If Jim Devine, who follows in the footsteps of the great European Robin Cook, can take any solice from the victory, it can be that he well and truly thrashed UKIP.

Once again UKIP flopped in their attempt to gain a seat in Westminster, the only Parliament which UKIP officially recognises.

The UKIP candidate Peter Adams trailed home in seventh place, managing to poll an abysmal 108 votes, which was only 0.32% of the vote.

The result is highly embarassing for UKIP, who are struggling to establish a support base outside of England. The party whose aim is to defend British intersts has failed failed to sell its "Lets get our Country back" brand north of the border, with the Scots seemingly unwilling to put their support behind white public schooled English men.

The man with the tan returns!

Not satisfied with sending a letter to the President of the European Parliament calling for the resignation of Robert Kilroy-Silk, East Midlands Tory MEPs RogerHelmer and Chris Heaton-Harris have gone one step further in trying to discover exactly how Kilroy is representing his constituents when hefails to show up for anything.
Kilroy last attended Plenary on April 12th 2005 and has not been seen in the East Midlands since early June. Many were worried he had even been 'kidnapped.'
The two Tory MEPs were offering a bottle of Champagne to the first person who spotted
the bright orange Kilroy.
Their stunt however backfired when a constituent complained that Kilroy was not the
only member wasting time saying "what we need in Europe are MEP's who will campaign for
the benefit of the people of the East Midlands and not waste their time in petty squabbles," referring to Helmer himself, who was recently kicked out of the Tory party in Europe.
Parliament rules state that "members who have not taken part in half the part-session days
will be required to repay 50% of [their general expenditure] allowance"
Mindful of this, all eyes were on September's second Plenary in Strasbourg to see if Kilroy
turned up to sign the register in order maintain his allowance.
There was amazement in Strasbourg when Kilroy appeared in the Parliament chamber - a full 5 months after he was last there. Pleased that Kilroy had eventually found himself, Heaton-Harris crossed the floor to award Kilroy the bottle of Champagne. No doubt corks will be popping at Kilroy's villa on the Spanish riviera this week end. After all Kilroy has just successfully fleeced the tax payer of £65,000 and wont have to work for another five months.

Thursday, September 29

What have UKIP got to hide?

Like their Westminster counterparts, MEPs are obliged to submit an annual declaration of
financial interests. Yet MEPs have to give their permission for their declarations of financial interest to be published on the web. At the beginning of September, The European Voice reported that a total of 47 MEPs out of 732 had failed to give permission for their declarations of financial interest to be published on the web.
Godfrey Bloom, Roger Knapman and John Whittaker all from UKIP all failed to give their
permission. Robert Kilroy-Silk also failed to give his permission, not surprising since nobody knew where he was, as did James Nicholson (Ulster Unionist Party)
The European Voice reported that Nicholson, who is a member of the Tory EPP group, had
said that his failure to put his details online was an "oversight" and that "I have no problem with it and will consider doing so".

Source: European Voice, September 1st 2005

Wednesday, September 28

Who's the hypocrite?

Gerard Batten MEP this week accused Jack Straw of "complacency and hypocrisy" in reaction to the Foreign Secretary's speech at the Labour Party Conference.

In his speech, Straw said that Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe was guilty of "bad governance" and accused the dictator of "indifference to the well-being of his own people".

Mr Batten said "This totally underplays the British government's laissez-faire attitude toward Zimbabwe, and the plight of Zimbabweans. Jack Straw accuses Mugabe of 'bad governance'; I accuse him of brutal tyranny."

The verbal assault on Jack Straw comes with particularly ironic timing. Just as Gerard Batten had lambasted the Foreign Secretary for not doing enought to help the plight of Zimbabweans, UKIP voted against measures before the European Parliament to assist refugees from countries such as Zimbabwe. UKIP MEPs including Batten attempted unsuccessfully to block a report on setting minimum conditions for granting and refusing asylum.

Tuesday, September 27

Keep you Kroes out of it!

Following in the foot steps of Socialist Group leader Martin Schulz' MEP crticisim of EU competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, UKIP's Jeffrey Titford has submitted a written question to the European Commission about the conduct of Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, during the recent German Federal elections.

In a newspaper article, Ms Kroes publicly supported Frau Angela Merkel on the grounds that she is a woman. The comments were widely interpreted as an endorsement.

Commenting on his written question, Mr Titford said: “It is highly inappropriate in itself for a European Commissioner to interfere in the domestic politics of a nation state. However, for Ms Kroes to use gender as a means of expressing her preference is wholly wrong and is, I assume, against EU rules on gender discrimination. I have asked the Commission to inform me of any action it will be taking in the matter.

“I am concerned that the endorsement by a European Commissioner may have seriously compromised Ms Merkel’s results in the German federal elections, not least by disenfranchising the male voters. In addition, many Germans blame the EU for the parlous state of their economy and are hardly likely to react well to interference from the Commission”.

Source: UKIP

Farage gives a frosty welcome to new Member States

UKIP leader in the European Parliament Nigel Farage, gave an icy welcome to Parliamentarians from Rumania and Bulgaria as they attended the Parliament sitting in Strasbourg this week. The MPs from the two countries due to join the EU in 2007, were in Strasbourg to see how their future colleagues work. This is what Nigel Farage had to say to them:

"I welcome our friends from Bulgaria and Romania. They will be warmly received by this ever‑expanding European empire.

I would say this to them: although you are not elected, you will be treated as full members of the European political elite. You will be entitled to the very generous daily allowance; you will find the chauffeur service at your disposal; there will be an endless round of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and drinks receptions. After all that, with your expanded waistlines, the plan is that you go back to your home countries and tell people that all is well with this club that you have agreed to join.

As Marx said – and I mean Groucho Marx, not Karl Marx – 'I wouldn't join any club that would have me as a member'. As far as the EU is concerned that is pretty sound advice, because this is a club whose accounts have not been signed off for the last ten years. This is a club, as you heard from the group leaders earlier, that is treating the voters of France and the Netherlands with absolute contempt as it tries to impose the provisions of a Constitution that should be dead. It is a club that will take away your very rights to govern yourselves and, sadly, is increasingly beginning to resemble the very political system from which you have just escaped. You will hear barracking from those who live on this European Union and who earn far more here than they would ever be worth in the commercial world.

You are here as observers, so just have a look around. What are we doing here today? What a nonsense that we are spending EUR 200 million a year of taxpayers' money on the monthly jaunt to Strasbourg. Have a look tomorrow and on Wednesday and Thursday at the absolutely farcical voting system here and realise that whatever Mr Barroso said last week about deregulation, less regulation and the sixty legislative acts they intend to withdraw, there have been some 2 000 legislative instruments passed in the short period since 1 July, when the British took over the Presidency of the Council.

Please look and go back and tell your people the truth. The ten Member States that joined last year all had referendums in their countries. I understand there is no intention to hold referendums in Romania and Bulgaria. Do not those people deserve the chance at least to vote in a referendum and have a debate? Would it not be a huge, historic mistake to railroad those people into this failing European Union without first telling them the truth? The British people were lied to 30 years ago about this European club. Your people deserve better than that."

(Applause from the IND/DEM Group)

Saturday, September 17

UKIP squander public money

The war of words between Labour leader in the European Parliament Gary Titley and UKIP's Nigel Farage, heated up this week.

"Parliament must act now to end UKIP's purposeful breach of public trust" said Gary Titley, as he called on the President of the European Parliament to investigate UKIP's misuse of public money for a political campaign.

In a letter to President Josep Borrell, Mr Titley, Labour leader in Europe asked him to scrutinise the funding of UKIP's political campaign in Britain urging withdrawal from the EU.

It has been alleged that the money is being taken from a budget intended to fund impartial information for citizens on Europe.

Mr Titley said: "UKIP is making a grave mistake if they think they can pull the wool over tax payers' eyes and squander public money for their own political ends.

"There are strict rules in the European parliament on the use of money. I can't spend parliament's money running Labour party campaigns. Why on earth should UKIP?

"It is typical of UKIP's blaze attitude to their role as elected representatives. While the rest of us are engaged in serious politics, fighting for a better deal for UK citizens, cleaning up our environment, and creating a stable economy for more jobs; they waste parliamentary time, stage silly stunts and now are in serious breach of parliamentary rules misusing public money.

"Parliament must act now to end this purposeful breach of public trust."

Thursday, September 15

Fraudster Mote

This week the European Parliament has been a buzz , as MEPs arrived in Brussels to get on with their Committee work.
UKIP MEPs refuse to sit on any Committees, despite picking up their Parliamentary allowances and office expenses.
This week alleged fraudster and ex UKIP MEP, Ashley Mote was observed by gobsmacked MEPs, as he wondered carelessly into the Parliaments Transport Committee, signed the attendance register and walked straight back out without even sitting down or making any contribution.
He may not have been proved a fraudster as yet in his pending court case for housing benefit fraud, but in the European Parliament he sure has earned the reputation.

Sunday, September 11

Labour demand changes after UKIP receive cash

The row between UKIP and Labour MEPs over the EU's decision to award UKIP €250,000 rumbled on this week.
Labour MEPs are fuming after the Commission decided to award UKIP the money, under a scheme which is to encourage education and the distribution of information about the EU. Instead UKIP aim to divert the cash to political campaigning against the EU.
Gary Titley, Leader of Labour in the European Parliament lambasted the decision as a "inappropriate use of parliamentary money." Other Labour MEPs are demanding the rules should be changed to prevent other campaigns in the future.
The situation was rather different from a week ago when UKIP leader in the European Parliamen, Nigel Farage, shared a platform with Titley, to call for greater openness in EU decision making.
Farage said, "Mr Titley's party and group have consistently mislead and misused vast amounts of public money. All we are doing is a little to redress the balance."

Saturday, September 10

Irony as UKIP receive EU cash

UKIP this week received €250,000 (£170,000) of taxpayers money to help it campaign against Britain's membership of the EU.
UKIP, which has ten MEPs, received the money from a fund for providing “information” to the public, which is given to all EU political groups.
UKIP, which has accused the EU of spending public funds to promote European integration, will use the money to begin a campaign for a referendum to quit the EU.
The "Let the people decide campaign" will start on Monday with a series of advertisements in national newspapers, and a website.
It is thought to be the first time that EU money has been used to push for withdrawal from the union
UKIP's grant was met with outrage from Labour MEPs,who branded it a a “disgraceful abuse of European taxpayers’ money.”
Gary Titley, the Labour leader in the European Parliament,said: “This fund was originally intended for the dissemination of information, rather than for political campaigning. I would seriously question whether this is an appropriate use of Parliamentary money.”
UKIPs leader in the European Parliament Nigel Farage hit back saying: “It is a perfectly valid use of the money — we are delighted with the irony of the situation. I did not hear complaints from Mr Titley when his own group spent their information budget interfering in the referendums in Ireland, Denmark, France, Holland and Malta. All we are doing is a little to redress the balance."
UKIP decided to campaign for a referendum after the government dropped plans for a poll on the European constitution after the French and Dutch no votes. They hope to collect two million signatures, in a petition as part of their campaign to push for British withdrawal from the EU.

Source: The Times, Sept 10th 2005

Wednesday, September 7

UKIP collaborates with it's rivals

"We're all reformers now" said UKIP's Nigel Farage yesterday, as he stood along side other party leaders in the European Parliament.
In a rare move UKIP have agreed to work along side the likes of Labour, Tories and the Lib Dems to push for greater transparency in EU decision making.
At present Ministers from all 25 countries meet regularly behind closed doors in the European Council, and debate and vote on EU legislation.
After they have reached a general agreement, they usually give wildly different views of the debate, each explaining how they triumphed.
In attempting to put an end to this secrecy, Farage found himself in agreement with Labour's Gary Titley, who described the decision making process as "almost medieval."
Farage was in full support stating, " While we are in the EU, we want it to be as open and democratic as possible."

Monday, September 5

UKIP seize on plans to curb extremists

The European Commission has put forward plans to make immigrants to Britain and other member states swear to be faithful to EU laws and its Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The so called "oath of faithfulness" to the United Kingdom and the European Union was seized up on yesterday by UKIP as a new reason for Britain to quit the EU.
A defeated sounding UKIP MEP Gerard Batten said, "with Brussels taking control of British policy, it is questionable whether any newcomers to Britain needed to show any loyalty to the country rather than to the EU itself. "


Source: The Sun, September 4th 2005

Friday, September 2

Anyone seen Kilroy?

The Telegraph spy column writes:

While his chameleon-like behaviour may amuse, the former talk-show host stands accused of not taking his job in the European Parliament seriously.
"How exactly is he representing hisconstituents in the East Midlands?'' asks Chris Heaton-Harris, a Tory MEP for the region.
"He rarely visits the European Parliament and I'm not aware of him doing anything in the East Midlands since the general election. I think he's letting down both his constituents and the country. I'll offer a bottle of champagne to the first person to spot Kilroy in the East Midlands.''

Any claim should be e-mailed to cheaton@europarl.eu.int

Source: The Telegraph Sept 1st 2005

UKIP outspent the big boys in 2004

They may have been paupers in the recent general election, but it seems that UKIP were amongst the big spenders when it came to last years Euro elections.
UKIP won 12 seats in the European Parliament in the June 2004 election, outspending every other party except the Conservatives in their election campaign.
A report by the Independent Electoral Commission has shown that UKIP spent £2.3 million behind the Tories £3.1 million on campaigning. They paid out double the £1.1m spent by the Liberal Democrats and spent £600,000 more than Labour.
The majority of UKIP's money came from Harrogate business man Paul Sykes, who donated £900,000 towards bill board advertising. However, since then Sykes has scaled down his support for UKIP by refusing to supply them with cash towards constituencies with a euro sceptic Tory MP.
In contrast to the euro elections, UKIP's piggy bank dwindled for the recent general election. UKIP received a poor £235,000 worth of donations for the May 2005 poll, despite fielding 451 candidates. It is likely that UKIPs donors felt short changed by their investment towards the European election campaign and therefore kept their wallets firmly closed.
UKIPs MEPs are notorious for their poor attendance in Parliament and have made little headway in Britains withdrawl from the EU. On top of that two of their MEPs have quit the party, with former chat show host Robert Kilroy Silk, using them as a platform for his own personal gain.

Source: The Guardian, September 1st 2005

Clarke is backed by UKIP

He may be facing "back biting" from within his own party, but Ken Clarke has been officially given UKIP's blessing in the Tory leadership battle.
The UK independence party, which has in the past criticised Clarke for his pro-European views, is now welcoming the prospect of Clarke as Tory leader.
"Ken Clarke is a man of great principle and experience, and has support from a very broad range of voters," said UKIP MEP Nigel Farage.
"He says he's the best man for the job and we at UKIP agree wholeheartedly."
In recent weeks UKIP have warmed towards Clarke after his criticism of the Euro.
However some cynics believe that UKIP's latest move is a way for their supporters to infiltrate the leadership camapaign of this most staunch pro EU Tory.
It would seem that Farage's statements have caused unrest amongst UKIP's grass root supporters. Many have began to question Farage's integrity, which could indeed spark UKIP's very own leadership battle.

Source: The Independent