UKIP may be in desperate straits, but are clearly not so desperate to be able to refuse to allow one of their candidates to stand.
Robin Page, who was UKIP's 3rd candidate in the East of England in 2004, claims to have been blocked from standing by the party hierarchy. Page, who used to present BBC's "One Man and his Dog" claims that, after following the advice of UKIP staff, he was ruled out of the internal election process for European Election Candidates, as the instructions he was given were said to be wrong.
In the words of Mr Page: "In my view I have been well and truly “stitched up”. It has, it seems, been a Banana Republic election – apparently having much in common with a Zimbabwean election. I even knew what the result would be before one vote had been cast. There is so much sleaze in UKIP at the moment with people being investigated by the police and OLAF (the European Anti-Fraud Office) for a number of alleged offences – I think the hierarchy wanted to prevent me from standing in case I won a place at Brussels and saw how some of them behave. It is a disgrace; the whole thing has been run like a Zimbabwean election – even the UKIP Returning Officer – former Tory MP Piers Merchant is appalled – but claims he cannot do anything about it: “I seem not to have been given the powers to call the election off”, he says, “but shall be preparing a full report in which I will highlight several areas of inadequacy and also cases such as yours, which need a proper investigation”.
Because of the flawed election process several local UKIP branches are refusing to help with next year’s European Elections and want the Electoral Reform Society to be involved in all future UKIP elections.
UKIP are in dreadful trouble through a combination of vicious and malicious infighting and rank incompetence. But it's interesting to hear the accusation that the party is undemocratic, considering UKIP's regular claims that the EU is remote and as democratic as a banana republic.