Wednesday, May 21

More to Life than (reading UKIP) Shite

Trawling through the blogosphere can be a mind-numbing but strangely captivating experience. No matter how barmy most blogger comments are, there’s some perverse pleasure to be had from reading them.

The More to Life than Shoes blog, run by UKIP press officer Annabelle Fuller is case in point. Usually consisting of ill-tempered rants blaming the EU (sorry that should be the Soviet/Nazi/Fascist/Socialist EU delete according to which of her prejudices is on display) it’s not a monument to high class discourse or thought but strangely enthralling nonetheless. Ms Fuller is clearly not the sharpest knife in the draw, but this combination of racism and breathtaking ignorance really takes the biscuit.

She really has surpassed herself with this effort, in which she defends the vigilante mobs who have torched a number of Roma camps in Italy on the grounds that “the main issue started when someone from Romania murdered and raped an Italian woman”. So that it makes it ok, eh Annabelle? This very crude eye-for-an-eye approach is pretty low stuff, but sadly typical of the hate-filled, knee-jerk reaction of UKIP politics.

What is happening in Italy (ie a rise in the rule of the mob and far-right) is scary. Moreover, she complains at the comparison of some Italians to fascists Рfair enough, this is slightly wild hyperbolé. But lets not forget that the recent Mayoral elections in Rome (won by a former member of the Italian Social Movement), were celebrated with fascist salutes and chanting.

It’s also amusing that she sees fit to criticise the line -

“I also hope the Slovenian Presidency will find some courage to tell the Italian Government that anti-Romani actions are forbidden to take place in the EU”.

Well – the Roma are a race (and, despite what Trixy/Annabelle might think) they are not subhuman and so discriminating against them is racism. What else can be inferred from this other than Trixy/Annabelle is being a touch racist?

Ah well, UKIPwatcher is consoled by the fact that Trixy (Ms Fuller) obviously has a very limited understanding of European politics otherwise she wouldn’t write this unutterable garbage.

Tuesday, May 20

Venal Mote to pay back fraud cash - but has he received legal aid

Disgraced former UKIP MEP Ashley Mote has been ordered to repay £67,000 of benefits he falsely claimed after losing his appeal at the Court of Appeal. Mote has tried every procedural trick in the book to thwart and delay attempts to bring him to justice, but finally will be forced to pay back the taxpayers’ money he stole.

One question that begs to be asked is where is he getting the money to pay his lawyers. Unless Cashley is getting legal aid his legal bills must be enormous as it is now over three years since he was formally charged with benefit fraud. Indeed, three years of running legal bills would probably make him close to bankruptcy. The other possibility (not completely unlikely since Mote is notoriously pompous and self-regarding) is that he has represented himself. If, however, Mote has been receiving legal aid, then this is a scandalous misuse of public money that must run to tens of thousands of public money. Legal aid is designed to help those who can’t afford a lawyer, not MEPs earning £60,000 plus expenses a year. I think we should be told…..

Tuesday, May 13

Plucky porker Wise caught with his snout and trotters in the trough

UKIPwatch shuddered nervously as it heard that there was a News of the World exposé on Tom Wise. What sordid sex secrets would be revealed? How many times a night would it be? Would there be pictures? Fears of a topless spread fortunately proved unfounded.

It seems that having innocently given a young lady work experience, Wise preceded to jovially tell her about how he takes full advantage of the European Parliament’s expenses system while at the same time admitting he hasn’t got a clue what he’s supposed to be doing.

Of course, the young lady on work experience was actually a reporter for the News of the World and, job wrapped up, the story, complete with undercover tape recording (how exciting!), was published for all to see on Sunday. Ooops.

Now UKIPwatch does not condone undercover reporting. It is deceitful and hardly the mark of a great journalist but if you don't say or do anything worth reporting then you won't be splashed all over the newspapers. And if you read the story it is clear that Tom Wise’s expenses are within the rules, far too lax rules that need changing, but rules nonetheless.

So why the story? It's probably because of the glee Wise clearly takes in grabbing every last cent of expenses for his own pockets while cheerfully boasting about his half-arsed approach to the job.

Having nonchalantly revealed that "Yes, I am milking the system, in as much as I'm overpaid for the amount of expenses I've had" he went on to admit "I don't know what an MEP's job is. No one's ever given me a job description. I've no idea what an MEP should or shouldn't do. So you make it up as you go along."

There is also the implication that Wise 'signs in and sods off' to collect his daily allowance, though UKIPwatch is slightly suspicious at Wise's claim that "You get here at 7am, you sign in...and then you can sod off." 7am? Bollocks, Tom.

The article also begs the question about Wise’s position in UKIP. The News of the World seem fairly certain Wise is no longer a UKIP MEP but then the News of the World is fairly certain people are interested in Lee Sharpe’s sex life (Kim Ryder apparently).

Following the story in the News of the World, Nigel Farage even dusted down his typewriter to distance Wise from UKIP who he asserted was now an Independent MEP. No one seems to have told Wise though, whose website remains in UKIP colours and maintains that he is proud to be a UKIP MEP.

Talking of Wise’s website, his statement in response to the News of the World article shows a level of conceit that even the very worst Apprentice contestents would cringe at. He first congratulates the News of the World for publishing the story and then shrugs off any question that what he is doing is wrong by saying he is merely highlighting the issue of expenses in the European Parliament.

Brave, brave Mr Wise gobbling-up every cent of taxpayers money (in the recording he claims to be making a profit of nearly £2000 a week from expenses scams - that's £1/2 million over his five year term) it is possible to squeeze and wring from EU citizens, while chuckling away at the fact he is still clueless about how to do his job.

But you remember this people, the plucky porker is doing it for you!

Monday, May 5

Nattrass for Crewe as UKIP unveil their own 'quiet man'

So Mike Nattrass has been selected as UKIP's candidate for this month's by-election in Crewe and Nantwich. This is a bit of a surprise as Nattrass represents the West Midlands in the European Parliament and has no link to Crewe. He is also one of the least assiduous MEPs - he has made a grand total of 3 interventions in the Parliament in 2008 and has one of the worst attendance records. The obvious candidates to stand would have been John Whittaker, UKIP MEP for the region Crewe is in, or Nigel Farage.

Farage fought the Bromley by-election in 2006, following the death of Tory Eric Forth but took a measly 8% of the vote despite spending £70,000 on the by-election campaign. Rumours that most of this largesse was spent providing 'entertainment' for renowned UKIP party boys Farage and Godfrey Bloom remain unconfirmed.

By selecting Nattrass, who has achieved precious little since becoming an MEP (save for being taken to court by one of his employees), UKIP are clearly going to do this election on the cheap.

UKIP spinner convicted fraudster

So, not content with electing convicted benefit fraudster Ashley Mote it seems that fraud is something that runs in the UKIP family.

Clive Page was UKIPs press officer during the Hartlepool by-election in 2004, when UKIP councillor Stephen Allison beat the Tories into third place to achieve UKIP's best ever by-election result. He was then appointed as UKIP's Deputy Communications Director. Just months earlier, Page had been sentenced to an 80 hour community punishment order after being convicted of over £5,000 worth of benefit fraud.

A poor man's Ashley Mote - now there's a novelty!

Knapman and Farage feud on whether to keep it in the family

One of UKIPwatch's helpers came across this intriguing letter from Roger Knapman in last week's Western Daily Press. Knapman welcomes the vote in the European Parliament to ban MEPs from employing family members as assistants, adding that "UKIP has a rule that MEPs should not employ their wives, agreed at the start of the 2004 Parliament". Indeed, Knapman goes on to say that "MEPs expenses should not be channelled into the pockets of their own family. That is a misuse of taxpayers' money".

This "rule" was agreed when Knapman was still leader of UKIP. However, his successor has shown less respect for the principle of not employing family members. Nigel Farage employs his wife Kirsten as a home based secretary and pays her an alleged £24,000 per year from his parliamentary allowance. It's fair to say that Knapman's "rule" is not being applied.

Roger also makes a not-so subtle dig when he says that "it seems some MEPs are paying their wives when little or no work is being done". To whom could he possibly be referring?!?!

Of course, it's no secret that Knapman and Farage hate each other. They had bitter disagreements over the handling of the Tom Wise scandal (when Knapman threatened to resign the whip) and it is rumoured that Knapman was responsible for telling the Sunday Times that Farage was employing his student son, a story which Farage refuted and the Times now seems to have agreed was baseless, as the story can no longer be found on the paper's website.

Honestly, can't they just play nicely?

UKIP play the blame game after poll drubbing

The London Mayoral election and local elections were pretty awful for the Government, but the unnoticed disaster was UKIP's performance with the party's candidate finishing seventh in the Mayoral race and the party being wiped out of the Assembly. In the town hall elections across the UK, they finished with a grand total of 8 councillors, fewer than, for example, the BNP, Greens, the old Liberal party and the Kidderminster Health Concern party.

UKIP had spent the weeks leading up to polling day claiming that they were the fourth party in London. Back in 2004, boxing promoter Frank Maloney polled 6% in the mayoral race and 115,000 first preference votes. Last Thursday, however, the hapless Gerard Batten picked up a paltry 22,000 votes - 0.9% - well behind the Greens, the BNP and the Christian People's Alliance.

The BNP picked up 5.3% of the vote and 1 seat on the Assembly. It is hugely disappointing that an unreconstructed fascist party like the BNP has won a seat on the Assembly, but the vote share picked up by the extreme right in London has declined significantly since 2004 when UKIP took 10% and 2 seats and the BNP took 4.7%, narrowly missing out on a seat.

UKIP press officer Annabelle Fuller puts up this threadbare and deeply embittered defence, blaming (no, this isn't a joke) the media for the Greens finishing fourth and the BNP winning the battle of the extreme right, because by giving cursory coverage to the Greens and the reviled BNP, UKIP were denied the media spotlight. No, Annabelle, the Greens get more coverage than UKIP because they have more elected representatives and get more votes. She also describes the party of Caroline Lucas and Darren Johnson as "the Communist Green Party". It's fair to say that Ms Fuller has never read any Marx…..

It is also interesting to see her endorsement of Boris Johnson - "I'm not a Tory, but I think Boris is a bloody good bloke". Fuller, of course, was involved in Conservative Future until a couple of years ago. With UKIP so obviously a busted flush, does she think defecting back to the Tories will be a good career move?