Tuesday, December 15

And it continues.............

The European Unions anti-fraud unit has been investigating claims of expenses fiddling by Mike Nattrass. There are claims he paid Dennis Brooks, one of his former aides, through public funds while he was working as a regional organiser for the party, which isn't allowed under EU rules. The Sunday Times also reported that Mr Nattras broke the rules on paying agents for his assistants' salaries. INTERVIEW: MIKE NATTRASS MEP - I did use EU funds to pay Dennis Brooks, it wasn't breaking any rules. I've had a problem with this person - he has taken me to an industrial tribunal and lost, taken me to the Inland Revenue and lost. Then he took an appeal to the Commissioners and lost again. Anybody can start an OLAF investigation against an MEP.
BBC 1 West Midlands, The Politics Show, 06/12/2009, 12:46:56, 00:04:00

It looks from this as though he was breaking the rules and paying Brookes to be a UKIP regional organiser out of his parliamentary assistance allowance.

Besides, only OLAF can start an OLAF investigation into an MEP - that would seem to be fairly logical common sense


UKIPwatcher

Monday, December 14

In a letter to the Western Morning News on 8 Dec,a certain Jeff Beer of UKIP tried to defend UKIP's record of corrupt Members. Ashley Mote, he says, was (eventually) "thrown out of the party" but "under EU rules" still held his seat as an Independent (quite what "EU rules" have to do with it is unclear: British electoral law says, and always has said, that you keep your seat if you change party). As to Tom Wise, he "was caught by party officials who reported him" (but did nothing about it for years).

As to Nigel Farage, Mr Beer is revealing: apparently, we should not worry about reports that Farage was "boasting about his wildly excessive expenses tab", because "Mr Farage has legally and properly spent them on party affairs".

If indeed he is using his parliamentary expenses on party affairs this would be illegal. Can we assume that UKIP officials will now report him too?

Monday, November 30

Who is Lord Pearson and what does he stand for?

In a week in which UKIP has attacked European Council President Herman Van Rompuy for being "unelected", they have chosen an unelected peer, rather than one of their elected MEPs, to lead them. Malcolm Everard MacLaren Pearson, Baron Pearson of Rannoch was elected leader of UKIP with 47.7% of the vote, followed by Gerard Batten MEP with 25.8%. Nikki Sinclaire MEP with 12.2%, Mike Nattrass MEP with 11.0% and and Alan Wood 3.2% .

So who is Lord Pearson and what does he stand for?

According to wikipedia he was born in 1942 in Devizes and educated at Eton. He is chairman of the Pearson Webb Springbett (PWS) Group of reinsurance brokers, which he founded in 1964 and was made a life peer by Mrs Thatcher in 1990, sitting as a Conservative until he was expelled by them in 2004, joining UKIP in 2007. He is also the co-founder of an pro-globalised free trade think-tank, Global Britain. Pearson has been married three times: to Francesca Frua de Angeli in 1965, with whom he had one daughter and whom he divorced in 1970; to the Hon. Mary Charteris in 1977, with whom he had two daughters and whom he divorced in 1995; and to Caroline St Vincent Rose in 1997.

But beyond this, It seems he is not just eurosceptic, but a climate sceptic, an opponent of all muslims, anti-gay and a strong supporter of reversing the ban on cruel forms of hunting. Oh, and there is a little matter of his parliamentary expense claims.

His voting record in the House of Lords, according to "They Work for You" is that he has:

Voted strongly against the hunting ban. votes, speeches
Voted very strongly against equal gay rights. votes, speeches
Voted a mixture of for and against laws to stop climate change. votes, speeches

On Europe, from his own website, his personal manifesto says:

"What of my political philosophy? I am essentially interested in conserving the British constitution against all who threaten it, most particularly from those 'Traitors within the Gate', the British politicians who have betrayed their own people."

"My ambition is for UKIP to do well enough in the General Election to trigger a revolutionary realignment of British politics. In place of our current ‘one party state’, with all the older parties blindly deferring to the EU, we desperately need a new and genuine Opposition."

"UKIP policies should be short and incisive and targeted to emphasise what can only be achieved by leaving the EU. They should also be selected to embarrass the old parties by showing how their political correctitude has left them out of touch with the basic common sense of real people. Examples abound: Their refusal to entrust us with education vouchers or to insist on work permits for foreigners; their failure to maintain our borders and their appeasement of militant Islam."

But it is not just the EU that he hates, it is government in general: "We don't need these monkeys in Westminster," he said bluntly on getting the UKIP leadership. "And we've had enough of Brussels too. We're going to change it." (BBC website article Friday, 27 November 2009).

On climate change, denial is an attitude common to many eurosceptics (for instance BNP's Nick Griffin, UKIP's Godfrey Bloom, the Conservatives' Roger Helmer), all of whom claim that it is an exaggerated conspiracy by the political elite to screw more money out of the taxpayer.

On islam, in the words of the New Statesman blog: "We have blogged before about the odious Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the UKIPer and front-runner for the leadership of that EU-obsessed party. But is Europe its only obsession? The Telegraph's Ed West says that "Lord Pearson told me that, if elected, he will make the threat of radical Islam the major focus" of the UK Independence Party.

It is not "violent Islam" that exercises him; it is the presence of Muslims -- all Muslims! -- in Britain. And I'm sure I don't need to tell you that his alarmist and ill-informed predictions about the Muslim birthrate, and the demonising and dehumanising language ("breeding ten times faster than us"; "resist their demands"), mirror the language employed by the far right about the Jews in the 1920s and 1930s."

In February 2009, he invited Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders to show the anti-Islam film Fitna before the House of Lords. However, Wilders was prevented from entering the UK on the instructions of the Home Secretary. In response, Pearson and Cox accused the Government of "appeasing" militant Islam.

On hunting, he is a supporter of the pro-field sports and conservation Countryside Alliance, serving as chairman of its deerstalking committee.

But questions about his expenses are potentially the most embarrassing for UKIP (especially after two of their former MEPs have already been in jail). According to the Daily Telegraph website, he has made substantial expense claims as a peer. According to the Telegraph:

"The new leader of the UK Independence Party, Lord Pearson, claimed more than £100,000in publicly-funded expenses on the basis that his £3.7 million house in London was his second home while also owning in a 12,000-acre estate with servants in Scotland. He has told the Parliamentary authorities that his estate beside Loch Rannoch, Perthshire, is his “main home”. This enabled him to claim about £100,000 in taxpayer-funded overnight subsistence allowances (“for the purpose of attending sittings of the House”) between April 2001 and June 2007 for staying at his town house in Victoria, one mile away from Parliament in central London, where he had no mortgage to pay.

After selling the flat for £3.7 million In June 2007, Lord Pearson moved to another London flat two miles away in Kennington. He paid £1.2 million for the flat, again without a mortgage. He then claimed another £15,000 in allowances on the basis of his overnight stays there.

Lord Pearson has repeatedly declared in official company documents that his London home was his “usual residential address”.

His London house was also given as the address to which applicants wishing to work as a housekeeper or gardener at the Scottish estate should send their CVs, in an advert placed by Lady Pearson in The Scottish Farmer in January this year.

Lords rules state: “Members whose main residence is within Greater London cannot claim night subsistence.”

As well as claiming £115,683 for overnight subsistence, since 2001 Lord Pearson has claimed £56,685 in “day subsistence” allowances. Peers can claim £86.50 a day for meals, drinks and taxis while working in Westminster, with no need for receipts.

The peer – who was paid £40,000 a year for his remaining City work until being elected UKIP leader – also claimed £48,471 in travel expenses – including £10,064 for the cost of flying between Scotland and London in the last two recorded years alone."

"He said: “My (main) home is in Scotland. I spend almost exactly half the year there.” He said he had cited the London home as his “usual” address in company documents “for convenience” in dealing with business correspondence".

Yet, it is Lord Pearson who warned that the MPs' expenses scandal exposed a “growing gulf between the political class and the British people”.

A newly emerged controversy is about his alleged offer to make a deal with the Conservatives: 'UKIP faces resignations over offer to disband if Tories held EU referendum’ (Times, 30 Nov. p10).
UKIP faces a ‘wave of resignations’ amid grassroots fury over the revelation that its new leader offered to stand down candidates at the next election and disband the party if the Tories agreed to hold a referendum on EU membership. Lord Pearson faces a rocky start to his leadership after it was reported that he proposed a deal to the Tory leader in the Lords. Nikki Sinclaire MEP said that she was being called by outraged members threatening to resign. Gerald Batten said: ‘I am appalled they can offer to sell the party down the river to the Tories — it is a betrayal of the members, and we will probably see a wave of resignations over this. If he had run in the leadership election telling people that is what he had done, he would have come bottom. The membership do not want it and it has caused outrage."

But is he completely mad? Some comments on the blogosphere might lead one to wonder. For instance: "Pearson underwent a profound religious experience in 1977, and has undertaken to raise his banner for the Light in the Manichaean battle between good and evil, and would join battle in the name of Good with the baleful malignity of Ahriman and Lucifer, the twin evils of Euro-Federalism and Jihadist Islam. For Pearson it's about a morality so fundamental that all else is spume."

Interesting times!

UKIPwatcher

Sunday, November 22

The mental health of UKIP activists with their obsessive hatred of anything and everything to do with the EU is highlighted by the BBC report of their leadership hustings in Peterborough.

Tellingly, the BBC reporter notes that “every conversation seems eventually to land up in Brussels and its evils”.

He speaks of “hard core political activists whose every moment seems dominated by the threat of a European super state.”

The activists are, it seems, mostly “in their late middle age, but there is a smattering of younger types, dressed twenty years too old for their age”

The BBC reports that “none of the candidates are household names”, but that “whoever wins this contest will have a highly committed bunch of believers” to pursue their policies which one of their activists admits is about “fishing in the same pond as the BNP".

UKIPwatcher

Friday, November 20

Here we go again!

Daniel Foggo (The Times, page 15) reports on yet another UKIP MEP fraud inquiry.

Mike Nattrass is now being investigated by OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud watchdog over how he has used his Parliamentary expenses. Nattrass was elected to represent the West Midlands in the European Parliament in 2004 and the inquiry focuses on whether he paid Denis Brookes, then supposedly his parliamentary assistant, through the public purse while he was in fact working as UKIP's Regional Organiser.

It also seems that Nattrass has misunderstood the very strict Parliamentary rule that an MEP cannot be his/her own paying agent for salaries to staff. It would seem that since 2004 until earlier this year, the staff salaries allowances were put through “the business account of Nattrass Giles, a chartered surveyors in Birmingham which he founded nearly 30 years ago.”

Nattrass claims that although he was a signatory to the account, all the administration was carried out by another partner in the firm. He also claims that Parliamentary officials said it was OK for him to use his Birmingham company.

It seems all UKIPwatcher’s posts at the moment are about MEPs, elected to represent UKIP, either getting jail sentences for fraud or being investigated for fraud. How many more are there?

Ukipwatcher

Thursday, November 12

Hands in the till.....

Tom (not so) Wise now has the dubious honour of becoming the first British politician to spend time behind bars for fiddling his expenses. Today is his first full day at Her Majesty’s pleasure. He is not the only one first elected as a UKIP MEP in 2004 to fall foul of the law. Ashley Mote got off with a 9 month prison sentence for benefit fraud. Mote had claimed £32,000 in income support and a further £35,000 in housing benefit. Neither were allowed to remain in UKIP.

Wise was given a two year prison sentence for embezzling funds from the public purse for his own use. Seems he made good use of it too: the police found that he had spent blown £3,500 of taxpayers’ cash on 19 cases of fine wine — along with £1,000 of his own money, he used £6,800 to clear credit card bills and then squandered £6,400 on a second-hand Peugeot 206.

UKIPwatcher finds it interesting though that Wise had maintained his "innocent" plea all along and only changed his plea just before Farage was due to give evidence against Wise at the trial. What was Nigel going to say? Wise obviously thought it better to cop for a couple of years than have Nigel's knowledge made public. Anyone know what NF was going to say?

Ah, now UKIPwatcher understands why Paul Nuttall didn’t stand for Leader of the party but it is still somewhat confusing. Just exactly does Paul Nuttall want?

First, he wanted to be an MEP, or so he told us when he chose to stand for the European Parliament. Now he wants to be an MP and fight for Joe Benton’s Bootle seat in Sefton, Merseyside. In order to do this he is standing down as Chair of UKIP. In an interview he has given to the Wirral Globe he says: "It gives me the chance to concentrate on fighting for the Bootle seat."

He goes on to say "The North West is a large area and I want to concentrate on giving my time and effort to all my constituents."

Just what is it he is going to concentrate on? Is he going to do his job and represent the citizens of the North West in the European Parliament or is he going to spend his time in Bootle, joining his pal Nigel in a quest for a Westminster seat? Someone should warn the good people of Bootle!

In the meantime, Farage is backing Lord Pearson for the job of Leader, saying “things will be tricky” if one of the other candidates win. Ballot papers are to be returned by 26th November.

UKIPwatcher

Tuesday, November 10

Didn't anyone tell Nikki?

In an astonishing display of either ignorance or denial, Nikki Sinclaire (wannabe Leader of UKIP), said on Radio 5 that “Ashley Mote was not a UKIP MEP”. She then repeated “Ashley Mote was never ever a UKIP MEP”. UKIPwatcher nearly fell of the chair! Elected as one of UKIP's top two candidates in the South East region in 2004, Mote was only chucked out of UKIP when the fraud charges were in the media, after the election. Even Farage, his fellow candidate in the South East, doesn't deny Mote was a UKIP member.

These amazing (and ridiculous) statements were made in response to Richard Corbett saying on the same programme that “Ashley Mote was elected as UKIP”. She declared this statement by Corbett as “blatantly untrue” (For good measure, she went on to claim that the Conservative Party is a “Euro-federalist party”, which will be news to most people!).

UKIPwatcher can fully understand the embarrassment of being associated with Mote, and indeed others, but to blatantly try to rewrite history and deny he ever represented UKIP is bit much.

UKIPwatcher

Wednesday, October 28

UKIPs famous five leadership candidates

The race for the UKIP leadership is officially on. Nigel Farage has not taken his colleague Nikki Sinclaire's request to put party before ego and continue as leader, so the party faces a leadership contest at a time when it is desperately searching the coffers for £750,000 to pay off its legal costs and to pay back its illegal donations, and just six months before a general election.

The five candidates are a deeply uninspiring bunch and precious few Britons will have heard of any of them. Farage may have had an ego the size of Scotland, but he was a slick and skilled media performer and always ensured that the ukip punched above their weight on programmes like the BBC's Question Time.

There will be a handful of decidedly low-key hustings events over the next three weeks, with ballot papers to be returned by November 26th.

The candidates are as follows:

Gerard Batten MEP
Lord Pearson of Rannoch
Mike Nattrass MEP
Nikki Sinclaire MEP
Alan Wood

Of these, Alan Wood is a UKIP councillor in Wiltshire, and Lord Pearson is a loony former Tory peer who is close mates of Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders and has called for Ukip to make "the threat of radical Islam the major focus" of its election strategy. Don't forget though that the ukip is a "non-racist party". Yeah, right.

So to the MEPs who are standing. Batten and Mike Nattrass are two of the least impressive members of UKIPs MEP delegation. In 2008, Batten was UKIPs candidate to be Mayor of London, finishing 6th, and managing a paltry 2% of the vote. He even finished behind the independent Christian Alliance candidate.

Nattrass, meanwhile, is not only a virtual unknown outside ukip circles, but also belies ukip's attempts to describe itself as a "non-racist" libertarian party.

Before joining ukip, Nattrass was a member of the New Britain Party, a party which had close and longstanding links to 'Rhodesian' (sic) organisations promoting racial separatism and South African apartheid such as the Springbok and Empire Loyalist Clubs, was highly anti-immigration and campaigned for the return of capital punishment. New Britain was described as an "avowedly racist party" by The Observer newspaper in May 2001. Nattrass stood as the New Britain Party candidate in the 1994 Dudley by-election, winning a spectacular 146 votes. With this past, it is difficult to see how ukip supporters could justify having Mike Nattrass as leader while still maintaining their mantra as a "non-racist" party.

What is perhaps most significant are the candidates who are not standing. UKIPwatch is surprised that neither party chairman Paul Nuttall or David Bannerman are standing, both of whom have excellent campaigning records and are popular within the party ranks.

All of which leaves Nikki Sinclaire, a newly elected MEP. Sinclaire is the first openly gay Ukip parliamentarian and has rapidly established herself as one of the more politically astute and media-savvy Ukip MEPs. Despite her inexperience, if Ukip members have any sense then she should win. The other parties will, if they are interested enough to follow the leadership contest of a party as tiny as the Ukip, be hoping that Nattrass, Wood or Pearson claims the prize.

UKIP face financial meltdown after court ruling

Little old UKIP sure picked the wrong fight when they decided to take on the Electoral Commission. The party's long running legal dispute with the Electoral Commission seems to have reached an unhappy conclusion: UKIP have been ordered by the Court of Appeal to pay back the £363,000 they received in donations from Alan Bown in 2005, and also to pay legal costs. This decision now appears to have been confirmed, with the party denied the right to appeal to the Supreme Court. The party faces a bill of £750,000 - a fair chunk of cash for either the Tories or Labour to find, but an enormous sum for a party with well under 20,000 members.

Retired bookmaker Mr Bown has been one of UKIPs biggest (and most loyal) donors for a number of years. But the case rests on the fact that, at the time these particular donations were made, Mr Bown was not registered to vote in the UK and so the Electoral Commission followed the letter of the law and declared the donations to be inadmissible. It demanded that the money be paid back.

In 2007, Westminster magistrate's court found that although the ukip were guilty of failing to take "all reasonable steps" to establish that Bown was on the electoral roll, the error had been accidental and that UKIP should forfeit £18,481 on the donation. Rather than hold his hands up, admit the mistake and promise not to repeat it, Nigel Farage threw his toys out of the pram and accused the Electoral Commission of political bias and of being a puppet of the political establishment. Having had its integrity unfairly impugned, the Electoral Commission went to the Court of Appeal, demanding that the monies be paid back in full. Last week, the Court of Appeal found against Ukip, with Judge Sir Paul Kennedy stating that:

"Parliament having decided that the test of acceptability of a donation from an individual should be whether that individual was registered in an electoral register, it seems to me to be irrelevant whether an impermissible donor is or is not making a foreign donation"

UKIP has estimated that its total bill – including paying back the illegal donations and its massive legal costs – will amount to £750,000. This is money that UKIP simply has not got. In other words, Nigel Farage’s ego has financially bankrupted UKIP. Good job for him that he's pre-empted any possible moves to remove his as leader by resigning to stand as an 'anti-sleaze' candidate (now, then, no laughing at the back!) against Tory Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

Predictably, UKIP are furiously arguing that the penalty is disproportionate. Bown is a legitimate businessman who had previously made large donations to the party but had, temporarily, slipped off the electoral register. A clerical error and a demonstration of the sort of rank incompetence that UKIP is famous for, but surely not a crime to merit such a stiff punishment.

As far as UKIPwatch is concerned, UKIP should never have allowed themselves to get in such a mess. The Electoral Commission is, in legal terms, completely correct. Ukip had taken money from an impermissible donor. Had UKIP admitted their mistake an amicable solution could certainly have been found. Instead, Farage's ego took over and they had to portray themselves as poor, embattled UKIP, fighting the political establishment.

Aside from the fairness of the outcome, one fact remains: UKIP will have to find £750,000, and fast. With a party of about 16,000 members, that's one hell of an expensive whip-round. Still, a quick look at the Electoral Commission's website shows that UKIPs MEPs have been funding the party for years. It's time for Godfrey Bloom (who always claims to be loaded), Stuart Agnew (apparently described by Farage as "thick as shit but he has money", and Farage himself to put their hands in their pockets and bail the party out.

Monday, October 12

Godders Bloom in "Paki" race row

UKIPwatch's favourite purveyor of casual racism, Godfrey Bloom, has again hit the headlines after treating Radio 2 listeners to his unique approach to race relations. Godders, who famously described the Archbishop of York, John Semtamu, as "as black as Newgate's knocker", told listeners that being called a "Paki" was no different to being called a "Brummie".
It's not a surprise to hear that Bloom thinks this, but the fact is they are not the same. Calling some a "Paki" is no different to calling someone a "nigger".

Maybe Godfrey should have a discussion with the Rev Arun Arora of St Mark's Church in Harrogate, the heart of his Yorkshire constituency who has penned this excellent piece in today's Yorkshire Post. Perhaps then this witless, offensive cretin would realise that using a term which dismisses any part of someone's personality and reduces them to their skin colour, is not funny or endearing, but poisonous, degrading and offensive.

Still, on a lighter note, we've found three great adjectives that sum up Godders nicely. Although he might attack the BNP's Andrew Brons extremist politics, Bloom's are no different. Poisonous, degrading and offensive.

Wednesday, October 7

Irish Europe Minister - "Farage secured big "Yes" vote for Lisbon Treaty"

Congratulations are due to UKIP for their brilliantly successful campaign for a "Yes" vote in the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty - according to Ireland's Europe Minister Dick Roche. Having poured resources in terms of cash (through its so-called political group, which consists of UKIP, the xenophobic Northern League and a few other barm-pots) and staff, UKIP, in their own little way persuaded over 67% of the Irish people to vote in favour of the Treaty.

Pin-striped wonder Nigel Farage thought that he could match his chum Declan Ganley in masterminding a "No" campaign. As UKIPwatch reported a couple of weeks ago, Ganley told him to get stuffed and then, last Friday, so did the Irish people.

Nigel, not being the sort of chap who takes such a resounding defeat lying down, responded by lecturing the Irish on democracy, comparing their referendum to elections in Zimbabwe, and adding, in supercilious fashion that:

"I fear that you'll look back in Ireland on this day and you'll realise that it marked the beginning of the end of your relatively brief period of independence as a nation".

Ireland's Europe Minister, Dick Roche, responded by giving Nige both barrels, saying that UKIPs maestro had no understanding of the Irish psyche and adding that UKIPs intervention in the referendum campaign had been "hugely beneficial because people were asking: What in the name of God is UKIP doing in this country telling us what to do".

Anyways, back to the drawing board for UKIP, because the Irish referendum, combined with this report that Czech President Vaclav Klaus will sign the Treaty before Christmas, means that their Lisbon Treaty goose is almost certainly cooked.

Oafish Bloom banned by the FSA

The marvellous buffoon that is Godfrey Bloom likes to think of himself as something of a financial expert. It has even been alleged that several of the assistants he pays using his parliamentary allowance, actually work for one of the companies he is associated with (although UKIP could not possibly comment). However, his knowledge, wit and expertise did not go down too well with Lord Adair Turner, director of the Financial Services Authority, at a Mansion House speaker last week.

Lord Turner gave a detailed and carefully prepared speech about lessons to be learnt from the financial crisis. Good old Godders gave Lord Turner a piece of his (small) mind.

The unctuous Bloom (presumably having enjoyed a fine dinner) thus became the first person in living memory to heckle a Mansion House speaker and, consequently, has been banned by the Lord Mayor's office. In a stiffly worded note to UKIP, the Lord Mayor's office said:
"Mr Bloom will not be receiving any further invitations to Mansion House events nor will be welcome at the Brussels Annual reception….at which Lord Turner is the keynote speaker". Ouch:

Needless to say, the oafish Bloom (who, were he fifty years younger and did not affect a bowler hat, would make a high-class football hooligan) was not prepared to take this affront to his dignity lying down. In his words:

"Being censored by the silent sycophants is hardly a punishment is hardly a punishment. Lord Adair heads the failed FSA, and denounces the City. I denounce him".

Touché. Or perhaps I should say touchy!

Monday, October 5

UKIP internal warfare as Sinclaire goes after Farage

As U-kippers cry over their cornflakes, following the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (which saw the treaty endorsed by over 67% of the vote), U-kippers are also facing up to the open warfare of a leadership campaign. Lest we forget, UKIPs most presentable face, Nigel Farage, resigned as party leader last month at UKIPs annual 'conference' in Southport, forcing a fresh contest just over three years after he was elected as leader. UKIPwatcher may despise Farage's politics, but there's no denying that he is a fine media performer (indeed, UKIPs only one).

Farage's decision to resign in order to fight House of Commons Speaker John Bercow's Buckingham constituency, has left a lot of devastated young U-kippers who feel betrayed. Now more petrol has been poured onto the fire by newly elected MEP Nikki Sinclaire, who has written this open letter to Farage begging him not to stand down

Sinclaire has already caused problems for Farage, publicly expressing her unhappiness at the assortment of racists, xenophobes and other fruit-cakes that make up UKIPs new group in the European Parliament. This letter, which by calling on Farage to "honour your pledge to the UKIP members - who elected you for a four-year term - to see out that commitment" adding that "the last thing the party needs now is a couple of months navel gazing", is a barely coded attack on the pin-striped wonder.

Still, impassioned though the letter may be, good grammatically, it ain't - "I respectively suggest" - shurely shome mishtake! Sinclaire has already put her name forward as a candidate to replace Farage, and this letter, which heaps gushing praise on Farage, whilst also implying dereliction of duty on his part by deserting UKIP, is a canny piece of work.

So, if Farage backs down on his commitment he looks weak, if he ignores Sinclaire's letter she shores up a lot of votes as the UKIP unity candidate and greatly undermines him. Smart work. Maybe UKIPs class of 2009 are not quite as dumb as their predecessors!

Friday, September 25

UKIPs lie-ridden Lisbon leaflet ripped apart by the Irish

Although UKIPwatch knew that UKIPs group had sent a glossy leaflet campaigning for a "No" vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum (and had highlighted the bare-faced hypocrisy of UKIP meddling in the political affairs of Ireland), we hadn't been aware of the amateurish nature of some of the fibs they told in it.

The Irish Labour party have done a great job ripping the UKIP leaflet to bits.

So, what have UKIP said? There are a number of glaring lies. Firstly, it is implicitly anti-Muslim (not a surprise, since UKIP remain a racist party), by telling people that the treaty would lead to Turkey joining the EU. They also claim that Ireland will lose control over its immigration policy, conveniently ignoring the fact that Ireland has an opt-out from EU law in this area. That's the spirit UKIP - vote "Yes" and Europe will be full of 'swarthy Turks'!

Similarly, they allege that the treaty is a threat to Ireland's tax rates, despite the fact that every single EU treaty states that tax matters are up to individual countries, and that Ireland will have to pay more to the EU budget, again ignoring the fact that Lisbon would not change the size or contributions to the EU budget.

Again, they repeat the same old rubbish about the Lisbon Treaty turning the EU into a "superstate" in which Ireland, the UK and the rest would merely be 'provinces'. Yeah, right.

Most amusing is their reference to the rulings of the European Court of Justice on the Viking, Laval and Ruffert cases, stating that these rulings mean that foreign workers can be employed in Ireland on lower wages than nationals. It caused UKIPwatch to break into a wry grin for several reasons. Firstly, U-kippers don't mind bringing in foreign workers and treating them like shit - remember former leader Roger Knapman being caught after having imported some Polish labourers to come and do some re-building of his country mansion in order to save himself a few quid! Secondly, of course, is that it's not true - EU law explicitly says that foreign workers cannot be paid less than the rates laid down in national law.

In other words, an amateurish document from an amateur party, although one suspects that a certain flamboyant UKIP spin-doctor by the name G. Towler has been involved in penning it. UKIPwatch hopes not, because, love or loath him, Mr T usually writes elegantly and without talking a load of dishonest bollocks. Maybe it was contracted out to one of UKIPs less cerebral officials (of which there are countless).

Come on UKIP! Surely your research team can do better than that?!

Tuesday, September 22

Irish "No" campaign tells UKIP to get stuffed

On October 2nd, the Irish people will vote for a second time on whether to approve the Lisbon Treaty. It's not the only thing that’s happened twice. Despite shouting their mouths off criticising the EU for interfering with other countries political systems, UKIP have been doing precisely that in Ireland. Next week, for a second time, UKIPs attempt to lead the "No" campaign and interfere in the politics of Ireland will come to an end. Never mind, eh, who ever said that UKIP weren't a bunch of stinking hypocrites?

As in last year's referendum, UKIP and their allies in Brussels have ploughed cash and campaigning resources into Ireland. This time around, they have sent a leaflet to 1.5 million homes in Ireland. Meanwhile, Nigel Farage has been going around the Emerald Isle, unintentionally drumming up support for the "Yes" campaign. This is a hilarious prospect - can you imagine: Nigel in his pin-stripes, Godfrey Bloom in his bowler hat, braying for Britain, and how that would go down with the fine people of Galway, Kerry, and Cork (the latter particularly proud of its role in the struggles around the 1916 Easter Rising)? Do that for a couple of weeks and there'd be no need for anyone else to do any campaigning!

Moreover, the media darling of last year's successful "No" campaign Declan Ganley (yes, remember him) of Libertas, has also taken umbrage at UKIPs antics, telling them to "pack up its tent and go home" and adding that UKIPs interference in the Irish campaign was "unwarranted, unwelcome, unhelpful and unnecessary". Given that Ganley basically bankrolled last year's "No" campaign and was widely expected to make a deal with UKIP before this June's Euro elections, this will be a huge shock for all U-kippers.

They would have been less surprised by Labour Youth and other pro-treaty groups accusing them of being racist and extreme right-wingers.

UKIPwatch was particularly amused by Farage's latest rant in Dublin, in which he accused the EU of forcing Ireland to give up its independence and that it wished to be "a global superpower, both economically and militarily". Maybe he was really talking about UKIP? UKIP must be flush with cash to be able to organise a 1.5 million leaflet drop, and Bloom, Derek 'deadweight' Clark and Mike Nattrass must have some old bayonets hanging around for when the revolution comes!

Wednesday, September 16

Farage resigns UKIP leadership to go after Commons seat

UKIPwatch was as shocked as anyone else by Nigel Farage's decision to resign as UKIP party leader. Farage has always been a slick media operator and performer and has always been effective as the presentable non-barking mad version of UKIP. Politically, he is essentially a hard-nosed, hard-right Thatcherite and a professional politician to his core.

However, after shocking most attendees of UKIP conference (including UKIPwatcher herself) by announcing with astonishing chutzpah his intention to challenge House of Commons Speaker John Bercow to be MP for Buckingham, Farage decided to throw in the towel on UKIP.

In his speech, Farage stated that it was "important for UKIP to get a voice in Westminster", and he is right (the fiasco over Bob Spink MP and whether he did/didn't defect to UKIP) demonstrated that UKIP need to be more careful about who they choose to ally themselves with.

The point is that a Westminster seat would give UKIP more visibility. It wouldn't make any difference to their influence on the political scene. Nobody in the European Parliament takes UKIP seriously, and their MEPs are bone-idle (with the honourable exceptions of Marta Andreasen and Paul Nuttall).

Still, Farage may not be party leader, but he will still lead the UKIP, Lega Nord and assorted crackpot political group in Brussels and Strasbourg. He will also, no doubt, still be their main media performer.

But the sheer chutzpah of telling the world that he will be standing as a 'clean' candidate, untainted by any expenses scandal, is beyond belief. As UKIPwatch has mentioned before, at least five OLAF investigations were launched against UKIP MEPs in the last five years, while UKIP elected MEP Ashley Mote was imprisoned on multiple counts of benefit fraud and former UKIP MEP Tom Wise is currently standing trial for a range of financial offences including money laundering. The notion that this party is 'clean' is unbelievable - UKIP are the most crooked party in British politics.

Moreover, who will take his place as UKIP leader? The obvious choice is Paul Nuttall. Although a new MEP, Nuttall is party chairman, also standing for a Westminster seat, and quite media savvy (although he does have the unhappy problem of physically resembling a young Benito Mussolini!) He would probably be Farage's choice.

Other options include, from amongst the MEPs, David Bannerman and Nikki Sinclaire, both of whom have proved themselves to be effective campaigners, while former Tory peer Lord Pearson of Rannoch has already announced his intention to stand. The rest, frankly, are either too old or too stupid.

In any case, dear reader, the chances of Farage (or indeed any U-kipper) of winning a seat in the Commons are pretty damn remote. UKIP have never finished better than third in a Westminster seat, and Farage himself could only poll 8% of the vote when he stood in the Bromley and Chislehurst by-election in 2006.

And, if that wasn't enough excitement, you can now see how the party membership intend to vote at the wonderful 'Democracy Forum'.

Tuesday, September 15

Marta the Martyr bites the dust as UKIP Treasurer

UKIPwatch was, like most observers, quite bemused by Commission whistleblower turned UKIP MEP Marta Andreasen’s sudden resignation as the party’s treasurer. The official story is that Andreasen fell out with UKIP party chairman and North-West MEP Paul Nuttall over the salary of an unnamed party official.

Nuttall, who is clearly going to run for the party leadership following Nigel Farage's decision to resign and stand against House of Commons speaker John Bercow, seems to be the main subject of Marta the Martyr’s ire. In her words:

“I resigned because I disagree with how the party is being managed at the level of the chairmanship (Nuttall’s job)

“There have been certain breaches in the procedures that I have implemented, therefore I warned the NEC this is not the way I want to handle the finances of the party” adding, finally, that “I do not want to see funds being wasted, and the management of this party needs to wake up.

However, rest assured dear reader, because Marta the Martyr’s sudden attack of the morals and Road to Damascus conversion in seeing what UKIP truly are, does not mean for one second that she will resign as the party’s MEP and give up her 88,000 euro salary.

Andreasen’s resignation is a disaster for UKIP. At one stroke, by getting a Spanish lady and well known whistleblower to stand as an MEP and sort out their finances, UKIP were able to distance themselves from accusations that they were a racist party who hated foreigners, and also to portray themselves as a ‘clean’ party, unaffected by the expenses scandals which afflicted the three major parties. Despite the fact that, at one stage five UKIP MEPs were under investigation from the EU’s anti-fraud office OLAF for misuse of parliamentary funds, that Ashley Mote MEP (who UKIP have assiduously tried to airbrush out of recent history) being convicted on multiple counts of benefit fraud, and that Tom Wise is soon to face trial for money laundering and false accounting, UKIP got away with it in the June elections. Most people did not care about UKIPs dodgy financial history; they only wanted to give the major parties a great big kick in the bollocks because of the expenses scandal. As a result, UKIP, having faced virtual wipe-out just weeks before the election, suddenly found themselves with a completely undeserved poll boost and 13 seats in the European Parliament.

Now, UKIP are humiliated, having lost, along with Farage, their main electoral asset. Indeed, Stuart Wheeler, a gambling millionaire who made one of the world’s worst bets when he give William Hague’s Tory party £5m just before the 2001 election where the Tories got stuffed on a comparable scale to their 1997 drubbing, gave £100k to UKIP earlier this spring on the grounds that “the unimpeachable Marta Andreasen...is now the treasurer of UKIP, and one of the main reasons for voting for them”. Oh dear, there are a few people with egg on their faces now, aren’t there?

One point that UKIPwatch found particularly interesting was Nuttall’s assertion that “I am the party chairman. I get paid to make decisions”. Fair do’s mate, but you’re are also an MEP and your 88,000 euro salary plus expenses is paid for by taxpayers like me.

UKIPwatch was also highly amused by the fact that Marta the Martyr chose to work for UKIP, the most crooked and downright deceitful party in British politics (though not as extremist as the fascist BNP), with two of its elected parliamentarians either jailed or facing trial for financial impropriety, and a long running scandal with the Electoral Commission over illegal donations.

Still, as the lovely Nigel Farage put it, “Marta...is now an MEP and busting EU fraud is a full-time job”. Busting UKIP financial fraud is clearly a job that is too big for one person.

Thursday, August 27

UKIPs enemy of taste lusts after Amanda Knox

Another delightful story - as a UKIP councillor for Merthyr Tydfil has launched a poll on the following carnal question. "Amanda Knox? Would you….?"

Amanda Knox is currently on trial for murder.

Still, in lusting after women with a dodgy past, Councillor Adam Brown is bringing nothing new to UKIP. Godfrey Bloom admitted to lusting after Mussolini's granddaughter a couple of years ago.

However, UKIPwatch could not hide a smirk when the berk Brown initially told his local paper that the Amanda Knox poll was nothing more than "an example of laddish behaviour on a football message board over two years". On being reminded that the posting in question had actually occurred a month rather than two years ago, he hastily changed tack, denying all knowledge and demanding to revise his statement. Smooth.

Wednesday, August 26

Trial date set for former UKIP MEP

Meanwhile, it looks as though a date has been set for the trial of disgraced former UKIP MEP Tom Wise and his researcher Lindsay Jenkins on charges of false accounting, use of criminal property and money laundering.

It will start on Southwark crown court on November 2nd.

UKIP have spent the past year frantically trying to airbrush Tom Wise out of their history. Wise remains innocent until proven otherwise, but if he is proved guilty he will follow Ashley Mote as the second UKIP MEP to be convicted of financial crimes.

Tuesday, August 25

See you in Southport

Ukipwatch was delighted to receive the details for UKIP conference 2009, which this year is being brought to you from Southport.

This year's treats start on Thursday evening with stand-up 'comedy' from (it's the way I tell 'em) Frank Carson, who will be sure to wow the masses with his unique brand of risqué politically-incorrect humour circa 1974. Ukipwatch will be taking a strait jacket with her to make sure that her sides don't split.

Friday promises to be pretty dull, however, offering us all the opportunity to head down to the beach to catch a few hours of rays, with a series of worthy speeches, before returning for a nice piss-up at the leaders' lunch!

We're most looking forward to the award of party medals on Saturday. Hope UKIPwatcher has been nominated!

Wednesday, August 19

Stuart Agnew and the missing passport

Norfolk farmer Stuart Agnew took over Tom Wise’s UKIP seat for the East of England in June, and has already indicated an ability to rival his predecessor’s reputation for dimness.

Agnew, to whom the rest of Europe is clearly something of an inconvenience, turned up at St Pancras to travel to his first Parliament session minus his passport (either in the belief that he wouldn’t need it, or, perhaps, because he hasn’t ever left fair Blighty).

UKIP members of the European Parliament obviously have their reservations about the institution that they have joined – but you would expect such up-right citizens to assiduously attend their place of work. Forgetting one’s passport is up there with “my dog ate my homework”.

At least Nigel Farage has got more of a sense of humour than the hapless Agnew, telling the Torygraph that, "He turned up at the station, saying, 'Oh my God, I've forgotten my passport,' smiled sweetly at the staff there, saying, 'I've just been elected,' and, would you believe it, they let him through. It has been the cause of a lot of hilarity in the party. How he managed to board the train is beyond me." Dear old thing.

Monday, August 10

UKIPs new far right comrades in Brussels

Although UKIP held their own in the European elections, going from 12 to 13 seats, their allies from the far-right Independence and Democracy group fared less well. Cathy Sinnott lost her seat in Ireland, eurosceptics were wiped out in Denmark and Sweden, and the French sovereigntist Mouvement Pour la France was reduced to just Phillipe de Villiers. Meanwhile, the awful Jim Allister (one of the few unionist politicians to be more extreme than Ian Paisley) also lost his seat having run on the ticket of his personal vanity project Traditional Unionist Voice.

As a result, the Ind-Dem group folded and Farage went around with a begging bowl trying to find other nationalities to form a group with UKIP. The result does little to alter the perception that UKIP keeps company with homophobes, racists and assorted nut-jobs.

The European Freedom and Democracy group brings together UKIP and the Italian separatist Lega Nord as the main components, with the two deputies of the Greek LAOS and an MEP from the Political Reformed Party (Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij, SGP), a party from the Dutch Protestant right emphasising moral issues - both of which were within the old Ind/Dem grouping in the last parliament - as well as two from the Danish People's Party, and one each from the True Finns and Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists.

UKIP is always at pains to stress that it is a cuddly non-racist, mainstream party. Yet, though its new comrades are not quite as beyond the pale as the National Front or BNP, many are either xenophobic, hompohobic or overtly racist.

The Lega Nord may be in government in Italy, but this only highlights how extremely right-wing the Berlusconi coalition is. The party's leader, Umberto Bossi, in 2003 called migrants from Africa "bingo-bongos" and said boats of irregular migrants attempting to disembark in Italy should be fired upon Another of their number, Giancarlo Gentilini, deputy mayor of Treviso and member of the party, in 2007 called for the "ethnic cleansing" of homosexuals. He has also said of immigrants: "We should dress them up as rabbits and go bang, bang, bang with a rifle."

Meanwhile Søren Krarup of the Danish People's Party, has said "Islam has for 1,400 years attempted to conquer and repress European Christianity." In 2007, he described the religion as "a totalitarian regime that has thousands of human lives on its conscience."

"The headscarf is a symbol of this regime and the Qur'an may very well be compared with Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'," he said at the time.

Lovely stuff. Respectable and non-racist? UKIP just got to these low-lives before the BNP did.

Saturday, August 1

Who are the UKIP 13?

UKIPwatch had hoped that justice would prevail and the assorted deadweights, incompetents and fraudsters that constituted the UKIP MEP group would be swept away by the voters this June. A month before polling day, the consensus was that the Conservatives would make significant gains at the expense of Labour, while UKIP would hold just 5 or 6 of their seats won in 2004. No such luck….

So who are the new UKIP MEPs?

There was a marked turnover at the election. Gone are Roger Knapman, Jeffrey Titford, Tom Wise, John Whittaker, while convicted benefit fraudster Ashley Mote, did not opt to stand as an independent this time round. The poisonous Mote will hopefully vanish into obscurity, although UKIPwatch spied him in Strasbourg shaking hands and embracing the two new BNP MEPs - Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons. Good riddance to a total shit.

In for UKIP are seven new MEPs. Nikki Sinclaire became the first openly lesbian MEP to be elected on the UKIP ticket in the West Midlands, while party chairman Paul Nuttall took Whittaker's seat in the North-West. There are two new faces in the Eastern region - David Campbell-Bannerman (who stood against Farage for the UKIP party leadership back in 2006) and poultry farmer Stuart Agnew. Adding a little touch of landed-class to their delegation is the Earl of Dartmouth in the South-West, leaving a distinctly miffed UKIP spin-doctor, Gawain Towler, hoping that either the Earl or Trevor Colman fall under a bus so that he can inherit the seat! The complete collapse of the Labour vote also allowed UKIP to sneak the final seat in Wales, with John Bufton becoming yet another unlikely MEP. Finally, taking Ashley Mote’s seat, aptly enough, was Marta Andreassen, and she will probably be, along with Farage, UKIPs most prominent member in the new Parliament.

Of the remaining MEPs, aside from Farage, only four of the 2004 intake survive - Derek 'deadweight' Clark for the East Midlands; the utterly anonymous Mike Nattrass (who achieved so little in his first term that he struggles even to recognise himself); Gerard Batten; and, finally, the wannabe Colonel Blimp of British politics and arch-buffoon Godfrey Bloom.

So, that is the new motley crew. We’ll be watching them.

Wednesday, June 3

Bloom’s family affair – he scams taxpayer so parliamentary staff work for his investment company

Another missive from UKIPs most gregarious of buffoons, Godfrey Bloom, with the Times exposing the fact that Godders has been gloriously ripping off the taxpayer by paying his parliamentary staff (using taxpayers’ money) to work for his investment company.

Still, why should anyone doubt a man who has the sheer gall to say: “I am pretty well known as the cleanest MEP in town. All of the people who work for me are fully qualified and trustworthy.”

Of particular amusement to UKIPwatch is that Bloom has always claimed that he does not employ any family members, ignoring the fact that one of the three assistants is his niece!

According to the Times:

“Emma Brader, his accredited parliamentary assistant, and Victoria Skowronek, his secretarial assistant, were both working in the York headquarters of TBO Investments yesterday, six days before the European elections. David McLaughlin, another member of his staff, is a director of TBO Investments.”

Indeed:

“(Bloom) confirmed yesterday that Ms Skowronek was his niece and lives next door to him in Wressle, East Yorkshire.

Also good to see that Godders’ renowned charm has still not deserted him. Have a look at this wonderful careers advice he offers his staff should he get deservedly beaten tomorrow:

“Ms Brader, 26, a leading point-to-point rider, wrote on Facebook that if Mr Bloom was not re-elected: “This would mean that Vicki and I would lose our jobs and Godfrey says we’d have to go on the game, but we wouldn’t make much money because we are too old!”

Bloom’s company TBO investment was recently fined by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for inadequate supervision and monitoring of staff providing advice to clients and for inadequate record keeping between December 2001 and October 2007, but that’s a story UKIPwatch will return to……

Thursday, May 28

Media pack finally catch up on sleazy UKIP

After several weeks of being completely ignored, as the MP expenses scandal dominated the headlines, the press are starting to go after UKIP. This is not before time. People need to know about the candidates they are being asked to vote for and, when it comes to transparency and public money, UKIP are the grubbiest of the lot.

Poor old UKIP are now being reminded about what UKIPwatch has been saying for ages: that UKIP MEP Ashley Mote went to prison for benefit fraud; and that UKIP MEP Tom Wise is being prosecuted for money laundering. Even Nigel Farage has copped some serious flak after being caught admitting that he had taken £2m in expenses and couldn’t account for it. The eurosceptic Tory think-tank Open Europe has weighed in, including 6 U-kippers in its list of the 10 worst offending MEPs. Bloody hell, even the Sun is saying they’re a bunch of crooks.

The redoubtable Trixy (who after being forced out as a UKIP press officer last September has now come back working for gorgeous Godfrey Bloom in an unofficial capacity) staunchly defends her former boss Nigel Farage. She has a point about his work-rate, as Farage works his nuts off for UKIP, but UKIP deserve to be taken to task.

It is also an open secret that UKIP use their assistants’ allowance (and IND-DEM group money) to fund their party activity. You only have to take a quick look at the IND-DEM website to see evidence of this.

Paul Nuttal is apparently the IND-DEM official on the ECON legislative committee (a full time job for anyone who is doing it properly) but is also the Chairman of UKIP (surely also a full time job for even a semi-serious political party). This can mean that one of the following is happening: Nuttal takes his IND-DEM salary (which as an EU civil servant will be pretty generous) and doesn’t take a salary from UKIP. In which case, the taxpayer is paying him to be UKIP Chairman. Or, he’s taking home two salaries, which I don’t think is within the rules as an EU civil servant. Either way, the taxpayer is getting royally swizzed.

Similarly, Ralph Atkinson and Gawain Towler are also IND-DEM officials – paid by the taxpayer – despite being, ahem, very prominent in UKIPs activities.

Even so, unless you’ve been watching the party election broadcasts on the telly, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there wasn’t an election campaign going on.

Tuesday, May 19

UKIP clowns - Why the UK should leave the UK

UKIP may have been given an undeserved boost by the MPs’ expenses saga, (although the press are now starting to cotton on to the fact that, having had one MEP jailed for fraud and another facing trial for money laundering and false accounting, UKIP make the other parties look as pure as the driven snow) but there are familiar reminders of their incompetence.

This link to their website deserves to be posted in full –

http://www.ukip.org/content/video-zone/1050-trevor-colman-on-why-uk-should-leave-uk


Kind of says it all, really.

Monday, May 18

What became of the UKIP 12?

With the MPs’ expenses scandal dominating the news and doing enormous damage to the three main parties, it looks likely that one or more of the minor parties will get a big boost in support at next month's European elections.

But if anyone wants to register a protest vote against the major parties and thinks UKIP are a decent bunch of people who can be trusted, they should read this and think again. ‘What became of the UKIP Twelve?’ is a catalogue of corruption, fraud, jail terms, incompetence, racism and much more. A collection of UKIPwatch's 'greatest hits' if you will. Ahem.

The British people have been let down by some of their MPs, but also by the 12 UKIP MEPs, most of which fall into one of the following categories: useless, corrupt, bigoted and extremist. To any right-thinking person, voting UKIP on June 4th is definitely not the answer.

Happy reading!

What%20became%20of%20the%20UKIP%20twelve.pdf

Tuesday, May 12

Godders' answer to population growth - smoke yourself to death

The amusing Hugh Muir has this little piece in the Guardian poking fun at UKIPwatch’s richest source of fun, Godfrey Bloom. His description of Godders as “the self-styled Andy Capp of the European Parliament” is particularly apt.

It seems as though Godders’ solution to halt global population growth is to get people smoking cigs. In Godders’ words, “we are too many on this planet anyway and we are also getting older, who is going to pay for all those pensions if smokers are not dying?” Well said Godfrey, we should all be as selfless as you and smoke ourselves to an early grave.

With high quality English and first rate logic like this, it is amazing that Godders’ has not enjoyed a stellar political career.

The magnificent Mr Muir also draws attention to Godders' binge-drinking prowess. Godders, lest we forget, tried to outdo William Hague's 'I drank 16 pints' claims by telling his local paper that he maintained a proud record of at least one session of 8 pints or more each week. UKIPwatch now realises why Godfrey looks about twenty years older than his 59 years, but worries about the effect on his liver from an estimated 17,472 pints.

As Hugh says, while UKIPwatch would miss Godfrey immensely if he were to lose his seat, "looked at from this perspective, wouldn't more free time for Godfrey suit everybody?"

More UKIP panic after by-election thrashing

Nigel Farage has pledged to resign if UKIP win fewer than 10 seats – a stiff ask and one which none of the media give him a prayer of achieving.

The general consensus among the pundits seems to be that UKIP will struggle to hold more than half the 12 seats they won in 2004. Polling day is still over three weeks away so it’s way too early to make any predictions of a UKIP wipe-out, but if things are still looking bleak at the start of June we can expect the fur to start flying over at the Democracy Forum.

In the meantime, the only polling barometer is the result of this by-election in one of UKIPs strongest wards in Hartlepool. UKIP have a councillor in Hartlepool, and achieved their best performance in a Westminster by-election there in 2004 following the resignation of Peter Mandelson.

However, in a seat where UKIP had polled 373 votes in May 2008, with Labour winning with 488, this time UKIP could only manage 300 votes to Labour’s 532, despite having spent the last couple of weeks campaigning in earnest for the Euro elections. By-elections are not necessarily reliable barometers of public opinion, but UKIP would surely have expected to either take the seat or run Labour very close.

Hartlepool Borough - Rossmere: Lab 532, Ukip 300, Lib Dem 166, BNP 157, C 102. (May 2008 - Lab 488, Ukip 373, Lib Dem 258, C 197). Lab hold.

Swing 4.8% Ukip to Lab.

Wednesday, May 6

UKIP seek posthumous endorsement from legendary British federalist

UKIP have, predictably, co-opted Winston Churchill to appear on their billboards for the Euro elections, causing Tory MP and Churchill's grandson Nicholas Soames to splutter that his grandfather is being cynically exploited.

As observers of the party of 'racists, cranks and gadflys' will be aware, most U-kippers are fairly stupid and possess what could reasonably be described as a limited understanding of history.

If they had any knowledge of history they would be well aware that during the Second World War, Churchill sought a union of France and Britain for the duration of the war. And after the war he agreed with Jean Monnet that structures should be put in place to bring Europe closer together to avoid further conflict. The same Churchill who UKIP are so cynically exploiting, told Conservative party conference in 1947 that:

"I strive for three great systems-the British Commonwealth of Nations, the European Union and the fraternal association with the United States. I believe that…this island will be the vital link between them all."

This would be the same Winston Churchill who said in 1946 in Zurich that:

"We must build a kind of United States of Europe" and:

"If Europe were once united in the sharing of its common inheritance there would be no limit to the happiness, prosperity and glory which its 300 million or 400 million people would enjoy"

All of which begs the question: how can UKIP possibly associate themselves with a man holding such views. If any Tory politician said the same things now, Farage and co would immediately denounce them as a traitor to Britain!

In any case, is there anyone of even remotely Churchillian stature in UKIP? They've only got one decent politician in the whole party. Aside from Farage, most of the rest of them are still desperately searching for the family brain cell.

Tuesday, April 28

Wise in the dock

UKIPs 'plucky porker' Tom Wise finally appeared in court yesterday to face charges of money laundering and false accounting. He pleaded not guilty and has been released on conditional bail to reappear at the court on 8 June. UKIP are trying to distance themselves from Wise, with Farage telling anyone who'll listen that Wise was promptly expelled from UKIP when the allegations became public. Shame it's not true, eh Nige?

Indeed, despite the rubbery-faced Farage's claims, it seems that Wise is still chair of his local UKIP branch.

Is Tom Wise still a UKIP member, because this is just beyond a farce.

Bloom back in form

UKIPwatch was getting a bit concerned that Godfrey Bloom was going a bit soft in his old-age - mellowing, perhaps. He hadn't insulted anybody for weeks. We were delighted to see this wonderful, rambling, oafish speech from the mighty Bloomman.

Starting as he means to go on, Godders', in characteristically pompous style, tells MEPs that "I have spent 40 years in financial services, so I think perhaps I know a little bit about what I am talking about here".

40 years? No wonder our financial services sector is fucked!

What follows is a gentle, meandering ramble before Godders gets to the real meat of his short speech. You see, talking about legislation is too boring, demeaning even for a berk of his calibre. What Godfrey really wants to do is ignore the debate and shower everyone with a torrent of invective and abuse.

And here we are: Solvency II, which will, in his eyes, consist of "ignorant bureaucrats, Scandinavian houswives, Bulgarian mafia and Romanian peg-makers".

May God bless this stupid, boorish cretin.

Tuesday, April 21

Tom Wise charged with money laundering and false accounting

Not a great day for Nigel Farage, who woke up to the news that Tom Wise has been charged with two counts of financial irregularities.

This saga has been going on for over four years: Wise is alleged to have pretended that his own bank account was actually that of his researcher Lindsay Jenkins against EU rules. From November 2004 until October 2005, he is alleged to have channelled £39,100 into his own account, from which he paid Ms Jenkins £13,555, and spent some of the money on a new (French!) car. When the allegations surfaced in the newspapers, Mr Wise began repaying £25,530.

UKIPwatch has been following the story closely and got a lot of indignant abuse from the likes of UKIP press officer Gawain Towler and Bob Feal Martinez. Towler accused us of writing "unsubstantiated mud" when our posts referred to the allegations against Wise. Perhaps we can expect some apologies now that the Crown Prosecution Service has decided, after a lengthy investigation by Bedfordshire police, to charge Wise and his researcher Lindsay Jenkins with money laundering and false accounting. Wise and Lindsay Jenkins will appear in court next Monday

UKIPs internal handling of this matter has been marked by staggering incompetence. Wise was suspended by UKIP, then exonerated by an internal inquiry led by new South-West MEP Trevor Colman, then had the whip withdrawn in March 2007 following fresh revelations, before being reinstated again, and was finally kicked out in May 2008.

Wise has been a walking embarrassment for UKIP, especially after he was exposed by an undercover reporter for the News of the World, boasting about how little work he did and the ways he ripped off his expenses claims.

This means that two out of the twelve UKIP MEPs will have faced criminal charges for financial irregularities, while it is also alleged that Jeffrey Titford and Derek Clark are also subject to OLAF investigations.

It goes without saying that Wise has not been convicted: he remains innocent until proven guilty. But the criminal charges against him are a hammer blow to UKIPs European election campaign. How can they possibly claim that they are 'sleaze free' and working to under 'EU corruption' when the reality of UKIP representation in Brussels is embodied by Ashley Mote jailed for fraud, and Tom Wise in the dock for money laundering and false accounting?

Thursday, April 16

Animal loving UKIP - part two

UKIPwatch was delighted to be shown this press clipping from the Kidderminster local paper indicating that UKIPs Mike Nattrass has finally seen the light, calling for the EU to slap a total ban on the use of all animals in scientific experiments

Praise be to Mr Nattrass, who says that he will support a revised EU directive on scientific experiments provided it includes a total ban on the use of primates, although his conversion may cause some consternation among other UKIP MEPs and party members who don't recognise the legitimacy of the EU. Maybe Nattrass will try and convert his huntin' and shootin' friends...

Tuesday, April 14

UKIP activists: stand for another party or don't vote

U-kippers will be distressed to see what has become of their former favourites Robin Page and Gregg Beaman. One Man and His Dog star, Robin Page is standing for the breakaway party United Kingdom First Party (UKFP) that, after being formed by former UKIP chairwoman Petrina Holdsworth and a handful of other disaffected UKIP activists, is standing candidates in the South East and Eastern regions where UKIP have 2 seats, while Beaman, UKIPs organiser for the North West from 2004 to 2008, has urged people not to vote UKIP in the European elections this June.

Page, or the "Vocal Yokel" as he likes to be called, wanted to be a UKIP candidate this year but then threw his toys out of the pram when Nigel Farage refused to let him. Neither Page nor any other UKFP candidates have any chance of being elected but this collection of people who were too bonkers even for UKIP are sure to provide some humour during the Euro election campaign.

Beaman, meanwhile, was elected as UKIP's No 1 candidate on the North-West list and could (with sitting MEP John Whittaker standing down) have claimed to have a small chance of being elected. But, being the transparent and democratic party that it is, the UKIP leadership 'persuaded' Beaman to stand down and allow Paul Nuttall (who, by sheer coincidence, had just been appointed as Chairman of UKIP) to take the No 1 spot instead.

Both Beaman and Page are united in believing that UKIPs MEPs have been a complete waste of space and have achieved nothing in Brussels other than securing decent pensions for themselves, going 'native' and getting on the 'gravy train'. Still, you'd think that such fervent EU haters would be prepared to hold their noses and vote UKIP one more time….

Things really must be getting desperate when UKIPs most prominent activists are either standing for other parties or urging people not to bother voting in the European elections.

Thursday, April 2

Farage acknowledges that UKIPs game is up?

Nigel Farage has been getting himself out and about recently and has been interviewed by Tory blogger Iain Dale in this month's GQ. Nige is pretty much the only UKIP MEP to get any press coverage or TV appearances (presumably because he is the only elected U-kipper who can string a coherent sentence together without sounding like a swivel-eyed lunatic). However, while he and his minions have been talking a good game about the Euro elections, he seems a bit more candid in this interview.

Farage plaintively says, "if we do badly, then I’ve tried my hardest, and that’s that. It will be time for someone else to do it” and then adds “I have tried to change the party, to modernize it, change the attitude and outlook." Given that he has to deal with the collection of nut-jobs and cretins that frequent the so-called Democracy Forum of UKIP supporters, it almost makes you feel sorry for him.

Still, it seems as though Farage has realised that the game is up. Let's hope so.

Tuesday, March 31

Wise still on police bail

For those wondering what has happened with UKIPs 'plucky porker' Tom Wise following the police inquiry into alleged fraud, the answer is - nothing much. Wise's bail was due to run out on March 27th, but has now been extended to May 20th. The way things are going, it looks as though he will still on be on bail when the European election takes place on June 4th.

An ignominious end to his political career that mirrors UKIPs decline since 2004 - arriving in Brussels in a blaze of publicity and bluster, ended quietly in 2009 on police bail.

Thursday, March 26

Bloom in bar room fracas? Surely not....

An anonymous conspirator sent UKIPwatch this story which is funny enough to deserve being posted in full.

Enjoy!

Godfrey Bloom got it horribly wrong in a Brussels bar recently, when he had to be physically restrained from attacking a young gentleman. The man who once threatened to "do" Labour MEP Richard Corbett in a Strasbourg bar, had, unfortunately for him, turned on an undercover journalist.

"He's BNP" shouted fellow drinker Nigel Farage gleefully as Bloom went on the attack. The Yorkshire MEP, described by one of those who did the restraining as having "the physical presence of a marshmallow" is now almost permanently drunk, according to regulars of O'Farrell's bar in Brussels. Farage and Godders have a combined age of over 100 - which is probably about the same as their combined IQ - and are surely old enough not to have to behave like a couple of pissed-up students.

Perhaps the credit crunch has hit the MEP who once drunkenly lambasted east European MEPs in Strasbourg for not fully understanding hedge funds. How ironic.


Brilliant stuff!

Monday, March 9

Bob Spink - UKIP MP, me? No I never even joined

U-kippers will be crying into their coffee following the news that Bob Spink will not be leading the UKIP charge at the next general election.

Spink, who (apparently) defected to UKIP from the Conservatives last March, told the House of Commons last week that “I belong to no party. I am an independent” and asserts in his local paper that he has never been a member of UKIP (although he does admit to supporting their stance on EU withdrawal). In his words, “I never formally joined UKIP and do not intend to do so”.

This came as news to UKIP spinner Tim Worstall who claimed that Spink was a party member, but conceded that “He has been issued a membership card, but he’s never actually paid for membership.” Unbelievable. UKIP have fewer than 15,000 members and a couple of parliamentarians. They must have known that Spink wasn’t actually a party member. UKIPwatch has said it before, but this kind of farce could only happen to UKIP.

No doubt the news will also come as a nasty shock to Nigel Farage, who welcomed Spink with open arms last year, and expressed that he was “delighted to welcome the hard working and deeply principled Bob Spink as our first Member of Parliament”. Oh dear, not quite so “principled” now is he Nigel?

As a side-note, UKIP don’t seem to have recognised the news – Spink still appears on their website as a UKIP MP. UKIPwatch will let you know when they finally get round to changing this.

Spink has also committed another volte face. Last year he said that he was looking forward to support from UKIP activists to help his doomed battle to keep his Castle Point seat. Having now recognised that this would kybosh any remaining chance of him even losing with dignity, Spink now says that he would not accept any activists’ help or financial support from UKIP. A wise move, Bob, but your career’s finished whatever you do.

Perhaps Tim Worstall or Gawain Towler could confirm that Lord Pearson and Lord Willoughby de Broke, UKIP peers in the House of Lords, are actual Party members and are not ‘considered’ to be members just because they think Britain should withdraw from the EU. Come to think of it, if UKIP are going to go around claiming people as party members because they are anti-EU why haven’t they claimed the Wintertons, Bill Cash and Richard Shepherd as members?

Monday, March 2

UKIP collapse continues with new breakaway party

Trouble in the UKIP heartlands as the Fenland branch of UKIP has been dissolved with its chair Len Baynes backing the break-away party launched by Tom Wise's assistant Peter Coles called United Kingdom First. Baynes claims that his branch had recently lost two-thirds of its membership of over 100 because of growing unrest about Nigel Farage's leadership.

Although UKF is probably going to struggle for cash, it still plans to put up candidates in two regions.

Once again, the green-ink brigade are in fine and furious form if anyone with a few minutes wants to read a handful of crazed men, united by the hatred of the EU, hurl abuse at each other.

The good ship UKIP continues to flounder on the rocks

Robin Page has provoked more slanging-matches between U-kippers with his resignation from the party. Page, known to millions from his time presenting "One man and his dog" on BBC 2, was (although only a few would have noticed) a leading light in UKIP.

In this piece in the Telegraph, he blames the corruption and 'gravy train' mentality of the 12 men elected as UKIP MEPs in 2004 and Nigel Farage's attempt to turn the party into his own personal play-thing and crushing any dissenters.

There is plenty of evidence to back this up. There were serious allegations of malpractice during the members' ballot that determined UKIPs regional lists for the Euro elections. Several party members were kicked off the list following the election (including most notoriously Gregg Beaman elected by party members to top the list in the North-West only to be forced to stand down to be replaced by Party Chairman Paul Nuttal). Even disgraced Tory MP, now UKIPs Returning Officer, Piers Merchant admitted the election was "flawed".

Even so, Page's article can't quite be taken at face value and there is more than a whiff of sour grapes - basically he's resigned because Farage wouldn't let him be a candidate. Needless to say, his public resignation has caused a predictable slanging match between the assorted cretins that post on the Democracy Forum website. Indeed, if anyone has a penchant for watching the English language being mercilessly butchered it's worth checking out the mangled ramblings of Bob Feal-Martinez (who is a big fan of this site)!

With three months to go before the Euro elections, UKIP need to pull a rabbit out of the hat if they are to avoid disintegration. The party has no money (receiving a meagre £72,000 in the final quarter of 2008), a membership list that continue to fall (now down to 14,000) and are facing a real challenge for the far-right vote from the (even more) vicious BNP. UKIPwatcher is crossing her fingers that the big money donors stay away and UKIP are finally wiped out in June.

Monday, February 16

'Non-racist' and 'non-sectarian' - UKIP just can't help themselves

Oh dear. UKIPs overworked PR bods would be excused for breaking down and weeping when they saw this. Having spent years trying to play down their longstanding links to the racist extreme right, and claiming to be a 'non racist' and 'non sectarian' party, their tireless work is bring rapidly undone by reality. First they cosy up to Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders and now one of their senior members is revealed to be openly racist.

David Challice is not only the chairman of the UKIP branch in Exeter but is also Administration Manager at UKIPs head office. His latest offering to the local Express and Echo newspaper urges 'cash-strapped Moslems (sic)' to have multiple wives in order to claim an extra £33.65 per wife in benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions. David Challice is obviously one of those people who thinks that casual racism is funny.

You would expect all parties (bar the BNP) to immediately sack an employee who made such overtly racist remarks. But 'non racist' UKIP? Don't hold your breath.

UKIP 'non racist'? Oh, please

UKIP peer Lord Pearson has had his 15 minutes of fame in the media following the decision by the Home Office to ban the racist Dutch MP Geert Wilders from broadcasting his film Fitna, which makes the Koran out to be an incitement to terrorism. UKIP have done a neat smoke and mirrors exercise in the media to try and portray themselves (and Mr Wilders) as martyrs.

The side issue, aside from the important argument as to whether Mr Wilders should have been allowed into Britain on free speech grounds despite his 'quasi-BNP' views, is that by associating and allying themselves with a man who is not much more than a Dutch Nick Griffin (and believes in forced repatriation of immigrants and attacks on Muslims), UKIP have displayed more evidence of the racism that lies at their core. 'Non-racist' and 'non-sectarian'? Oh, please don't insult our intelligence.

Monday, February 9

Shameless Mote in new 'prize arsehole' bid

The utterly shameless Ashley Mote has put in yet another bid to cement his position as the prize arsehole of UKIPs 2004 intake, bleating that his opponents are using his criminal convictions for benefit fraud to ‘denigrate’ his reputation.

Laughably he has the audacity to complain about an occasion in the Constitutional Affairs committee when another MEP made ‘derogatory’ remarks about him about his attendance record. Although Mote claims to be a regular attendee of the committee, as UKIPwatch as noted several times before, Mote has developed a nasty habit of signing the attendance register and then sodding off (often without even taking his seat!)

One does feel a bit of sympathy for Mote: he clearly has no sense of reality or an ounce of self-awareness.

His assertion that since returning from the slammer he has been subject to a campaign aimed as “denigrating both my professional and personal reputation” is scarcely credible. No, Ashley – you destroyed your reputation when you committed multiple counts of benefit fraud.

The other tragedy of Ashley Mote is that he is still convinced of his innocence despite the fact that he has exhausted every single legal avenue.

The good news is that Mote’s career as an MEP only has four months left to run at which point he will return to the obscurity from whence he came.

Thursday, January 29

UKIP save Strasbourg seat and help waste €200 million

UKIP are fond of complaining about waste in the EU, but were split on one of the most embarrassing examples - namely, the monthly trek to Strasbourg for four days of plenary sessions.

Written Declaration 75/2008 was launched by the One Seat campaign (which rose to prominence when it quickly gathered over 1 million signatures for its petition calling for the abolition of the Strasbourg seat) following the success of the extra Parliament sessions in Brussels when the Strasbourg Parliament was closed for building work in September.

This issue is gradually gaining prominence. The first Written Declaration (the EP's equivalent of an Early Day Motion) in 2006 got 199 signatures, with the latest getting 286.

It is also a matter where MEPs tend to divide on national lines. Every French MEP refused to sign, as did most German and Spanish. With these three countries having well over 200 MEPs between them, getting a total majority of 393 MEPs to sign a written declaration on Strasbourg (which would then make that the official position of Parliament) is extremely tough.

65 of Britain's 78 MEPs signed the declaration - all of Labour's 19 MEPs, 23 out of 28 Conservatives, 9 out of 11 Lib Dems. UKIP were delightfully split with 5 of their 9 remaining official members signing the declaration with 4 (including their party leader Nigel Farage) against.

The trips to Strasbourg waste over 200 million euros a year. So the next time UKIP go on about EU waste, people should remind them of their sickening hypocrisy.

Wednesday, January 28

Is amiable Godders Bloom helping big tobacco? Surely not....

UKIPs beloved buffoon Godfrey Bloom has made some more unwelcome press lines with this exposé in EU Reporter.

He attempted to help launch the grandly titled World Conference on Prohibition, with the assistance of The International Coalition Against Prohibition (TICAP) - a conference which was, incidentally, banned at the last minute from taking place on European Parliament premises. All well and good you might think - Godders is famously fond of a dram and a ciggie and believes that people have a right to smoke without any government or other interference.

But closer inspection raises some serious questions. One of the key players in TICAP is a pro-smoking group called Fight Ordinances and Restrictions to Control and Eliminate Smoking (FORCES). Bloom and Nigel Farage have also been on trips to the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute, both of which are heavily funded by tobacco giants including Philip Morris, R.J Reynolds and British American Tobacco, and are keen supporters of FORCES.

A little look at the list of speakers is also interesting. Among the expected speakers at the TICAP conference is Dr Gio Gori, a man whose career has, it seems, involved being paid large amounts of money by big tobacco companies, some of which is detailed here. Indeed, back in 1978 when Dr Gori announced that cigarettes could be smoked in "tolerable" amounts without ill effects he was publicly rebuked by the US Surgeon General.

So, should we take a lecture from Dr Gori on "the passive smoking fraud" at face value? Perhaps not.

And what about the wider question: is the seemingly amiable buffoon really a wolf in sheep's clothing? Is his so-called 'libertarianism' genuine, or is there something more sinister to it?

Electoral Commission won't give up on UKIPs illegal donations

The row about whether UKIPs will have to pay back over £360,000 in impermissible donations rumbles on, with the High Court granting an appeal requested by the Electoral Commission.

The case concerns total donations of £363,697 made by a retired bookmaker Alan Bown although he was not on the electoral register.

It seemed as though this case had run its course back in August 2007 when a district judge ruled that UKIP should pay back over £18,000 in inadmissible donations but that the party's breach of the rules was only accidental. If the Electoral Commission, who have pursued this case really strongly, wins the appeal then UKIP will be virtually bankrupt.

Monday, January 19

Godfrey Bloom unites Yorkshire and Lancashire



Lovely to see that while Gorgeous Godfrey Bloom may be against EU co-operation, he is doing his bit to reconcile one of the oldest and bitterest rivalries to divide England: Yorkshire and Lancashire. Bloom, in a statement that will probably surprise both sides of the Pennines (Lancastrians on the grounds that he's not one of their MEPs and Yorkies because he does so little that nobody's heard of him)has apparently now become the MEP for Yorkshire and North Lancashire!

Maybe Godders was recovering from a heavy night out when he sent this one. Or maybe he really does have a new job healing the emnity between England's two great northern counties.

Wednesday, January 7

Godders' new Britain - Let's abolish the minimum wage and bring back wage slavery

The ever delightful and publicity shy Godfrey Bloom took to the airwaves of the Jeremy Vine show over the festive period to proclaim that the national minimum wage should be abolished, adding in true faux-magisterial style that "If I want to employ somebody at £4 an hour that's my business". Fantastic, Godfrey, let's get that Union Jack out and bring back wage slavery!

However, UKIPwatch wonders whether Godfrey did his sums before making this claim. Maybe someone could point out to Godders' that if someone worked a 45 hour week at £4 an hour their annual wage would work out at a fraction under £9.5k before tax (roughly £8,500 after tax). Even Godfrey, as a self-proclaimed expert on all things finance related, should be able to recognise that there is no way anyone can be expected to live on this.

It's also quite a contradiction for Godders, the renowned bon viveur, to suddenly turn into Mr Scrooge. One law for him and one for everyone else, I guess.