Monday, February 26

Stealing taxpayers money? Surely some mistake....

UKIP MEP Tom Wise is facing investigations for alleged fraud over staff salary irregularities according to the Sunday Times' latest investigation. Bank documents show that Mr Wise channelled nearly £40,000 of public money into his personal bank account after claiming that it was for an assistant's salary.

From November 2004 until October 2005, Mr Wise directed £39,100 of taxpayers' money into his own bank account, of which he paid his researcher Lindsay Jenkins just £13,555.

A clerical error, no doubt!

Friday, February 23

UKIP go for broke

The BBC reports that: The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has said a legal bid to force it to forfeit £367,697 of "impermissible" donations could leave it "penniless".

To read more click here

Thursday, February 22

Going up in smoke

The farcial repealing of the smoking ban in the European Parliament after just 43 days grabbed headlines across the continent, and who was on hand to proudly crow they hadn't bothered to take any notice of it anyway?

Over to Nigel: "I have been ignoring it since January 1 and I have smoked in more places than before. I don’t want to be told by PC people what I can and cannot do."

Still, it's not like a blasé attitude to rules and regulations could ever do your party any harm is it?

Oh.

Tuesday, February 20

Animal-loving UKIP

What's that Flipper, seven miserable old men want to kill you?

Yes, seven UKIP MEPs joined another 10 MEPs to vote against an EU measures to further curb fishing with driftnets.

Fishing with driftnets is already banned in the EU due to the amount of dolphins and whales they catch (and kill) but the new measure, adopted by a massive majority (633 in favour) will further tighten the rules.

The increasingly amusing and anti-UKIP blog UKIP@Home also gets stuck in on behalf of dolphins and even includes an emotive picture to jolt UKIP members' conscience further.

Lassie is said to be worried.

Monday, February 19

What is the point of Robert Kilroy Silk?

UKIPwatch's favourite disgraced ex-TV presenter Robert Kilroy Silk has been getting his name in the papers recently after his latest pathetic act of self-publicity (by accusing M and S of using mirrors in their changing rooms that "distort" women's bodies), but UKIPwatch feels that the perma-tanned one's campaign might be more to do with something more than his usual self-effacing commitment to public service.

This month marks the half way point in the European Parliament session, with the positions in the Parliament's bureau and committees being re-allocated. Kilroy is now a member of the Culture and Education Committee. All fairly standard fare until you consider that Kilroy has not been a member of any Committee since his election in 2004. For someone elected under the UKIP banner of disrupting the work of the EU institutions at every juncture, it is odd that Kilroy has not used the Parliamentary Committees (where the bulk of legislative work is carried out) to do just that.

However, Kilroy has done so little work as an MEP that his constituents could have been forgiven for thinking that he didn't exist. Instead he has cashed in on his £60,000 salary and picked up his attendance allowance despite the fact that he has not spoken in Parliament since October 2005 (you're more likely to see Lord Lucan speaking in plenary than you are Kilroy).

Still, Kilroy and his erstwhile chums in UKIP seem to have a rare talent for getting elected on the basis of xenophobia and dishonesty about the EU and then giving a v-sign to the British public in taking taxpayers money in exchange for a five year schive.

One financial scandal? Make that two....

One financial scandal? UKIP watcher should have made that two, following the Sunday Telegraph report of an admission from Campbell Bannerman that only 15% of funds raised through UKIP’s call centre in Ashford have been paid into the party’s head office accounts.

Five former members of the party's national executive committee, UKIP's governing body, have claimed that around £500,000 is unaccounted for in this manner.
Of particular interest is that the Ashford call centre was set up in October 2003 by Nigel Farage, who then ran UKIP's south-east regional office. Staff processed donations and annual membership subscriptions.

However, even though the staff processed donations from across the country the money was paid into the accounts controlled by the south-east office.

Members of the NEC at the time said they were appalled that this allowed Mr Farage to control the majority of donations to the party. They also said for a nine month period in 2004 and 2005 Mr Farage declined to provide the NEC with details of how much money the call centre generated.

In the words of former UKIP member Linda Guest in her resignation letter :

"I see no point in supporting any party that is controlled by a leadership that displays such contempt for democracy when it comes to its own members."

UKIP watch would also like to know where the missing money is, Nigel?

UKIP and the missing £118,000

It just gets worse for UKIP, with the Sunday Times and Telegraph reporting more explosive allegations of financial irregularities.

The Times reports that the party is being investigated over donations worth £118,000 that party treasurer Bruce Lawson was unaware of and never appeared in UKIP’s bank accounts. Lawson threatened to resign, writing in a letter to Nigel Farage and deputy leader David Campbell Bannerman that:

“I joined UKIP because I though we were different to the other parties but even on the grounds of expediency I will not be associated with this sort of behaviour.”

With his customary mendacity, Farage merely contends that “the party’s internal bookkeeping was not what it might have been.”

The irony is that after spending years lampooning the EU’s finances, UKIP finds itself mired in its own corruption scandal. You would have thought that a fringe party with a small and declining membership (16,000 at the last count) should be able to keep its books in order.

Thursday, February 15

Barmy Bloom's latest denial of climate change

UKIPwatcher has come across Godfrey Bloom's latest nugget of wisdom on the science of climate change in the Yorkshire Post .

In this Bloom uses the same arguments as his story-telling chum Frederick Forsyth did on Question Time last week along the lines that climate change is a myth cooked up by politicians and spin doctors (and, in Nick Stern's case, former World Bank chief economists) and that there is nothing to worry about.

Most of us, however, prefer to attach more weight to the consensus among scientists that man-made "greenhouse" gas emissions are having a marked effect on the earth's climate, and the fact that the ten hottest years on record have all occurred since the beginning of the 1990s.

Bloom has history as a neanderthal when it comes to the environment. In a speech in the European Parliament in October 2006 he completely dismissed the possible role of renewable energy claiming, somewhat spuriously, that -

"It is a scientific fact that most of our renewable energy technology does not work. Wind farms are absurd. Any scientist independently retained will tell you it is complete and total nonsense to expect the UK to produce 20% from a renewable source".

Godfrey's head-in-the-sand approach to climate change and renewables may be good for a laugh but illustrate again just why he is one of the biggest nuts in the UKIP fruitcake

Monday, February 12

Election watchdog investigates UKIP "financial irregularities"

So, UKIP is being investigated by the Electoral Commission for alleged financial irregularities. This news should not surprise readers of UKIPwatch where this was predicted (although it may surprise Devil's Kitchen, the blogger/crank who has a shorter fuse than Colonel Gadaffi and talks as much sense)!

The election watchdog, which says it is also investigating a series of "separate issues", was concerned that UKIP's accounts were filed more than six months late (not surprising - how hard can it be for a party with just 16,000 members to count its membership subs?).

Of further intrigue is the Sunday Telegraph's investigation which revealed that former bookmaker Alan Bown has been bankrolling the party to the tune of £1 million, providing 40 per cent of the party's declared funds over the past four years.

As well as bankrolling UKIP, Mr Bown is a member of the party's national executive committee and the main organiser of UKIP's campaigns. He also pays for the party's day-to-day running costs (including staff wages) out of his own pocket and intends to continue to do so. While Mr Bown's donations have been properly recorded, over £1 million has fallen below the Electoral Commission's radar because UKIP claims they are under the "reportable limit".

Nigel Farage's take on this has been to blame UKIP's tardy accounting on its lack of a full-time treasurer. If Farage expect people to believe his pleas of poverty, when his party spent more than Labour and the Lib Dems at the last European elections and continues to take cash from multi-millionaire donors, then his powers of self-delusion are more impressive than we thought.

Tuesday, February 6

New name, same old hypocrisy

So UKIP leader Nigel Farage feels that the best way for his party to broaden its appeal is to change its name - although after floating the name-change idea to the Independence Party, he appeared to have a change of heart, promising a full consultation with party members over a new name. It is interesting that the self-styled 'straight' talking party sees the need to change its name rather than its policies - but not entirely surprising in that UKIP consistently deceives the British people with its lies and misinformation about the EU.

If Farage thinks that a re-branding exercise will fool Britons into believing his nonsense he's more deluded than we thought.

P.S On a frivolous note, its nice to see the Financial Times has offered a helpful suggestion to UKIPs motley crew by suggesting that they call themselves UKOAP, given that the average age of their ten MEPs is 60. Catchy and accurate!

Friday, February 2

Bearing in mind that the main focus of UKIPs message is "unelected European Commissioners shouldn't have a say on our laws", it is somewhat ironic that they are celebrating the recruitment of two unelected Peers to their ranks. Afterall, if UKIP dislikes unelected law-makers so much it would be supporting current reforms to create an elected second chamber.

Such news is made all the more hypocritical with the understanding that members of the House of Lords have far more influence over the actual text of our laws than European Commissioners, who merely have the power to propose.