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.