Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Slough UKIP councillor targeted by hate campaign

A UKIP councillor in Slough has been targeted by vandals in what is believed to be a politically-motivated attack.

Cllr Diana Coad's front door was kicked in last weekend and witnesses heard someone say "there's the UKIP car" immediately before the attack. Last year she was subjected to people spitting at her car, which has UKIP logos on it, whilst she was driving.

Cllr Coad believes she is a victim of the anti-UKIP hate campaign that has seen an MEP's windows smashed, Nigel Farage receiving death threats and many other UKIP staff and elected representatives subjected to hatred and threats.

Diana Coad was the Leader of Slough Conservatives when she defected to UKIP in January 2015.

EU orders Ireland to collect €13bn tax from Apple

The EU Commission have ruled that Apple's tax arrangements in Ireland amount to illegal state aid and have ordered the Irish government to collect €13bn in retrospective taxes.

Apple employs 5,500 people in Ireland with a further 38,000 iOS developers registered in the country. They have invested €140m over the last 4 years into their campus in Cork with plans to create another 1,000 jobs. Their Irish operation is used to channel European sales to their head office, taking advantage of a corporation tax regime that allows them to pay very little tax.

The EU Commission has decided that the tax laws that Apple takes advantage of are unfair to other companies who don't have structure or turnover that would let them take advantage of them and has decided that Apple should pay €13bn in back tax. The EU's unelected Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestanger, says that the €13bn is unpaid taxes not a fine but it is a tiny amount of Apple's profit that she has ruled is illegal which undermines that statement.

As EU Competition Commissioner, Vestanger has mainly been focusing her attention on foreign-owned companies but she does list amongst her achievements bankrupting Cyprus Airways when she ruled that a rescue loan and capital injection given to the company by the Cypriot government which owned a majority stake int he company was illegal state aid.

The ruling against Apple - which follows similar rulings against Starbucks and Google - risks jobs and investment that Ireland desperately needs. Unsurprisingly, both Apple and the Irish government are appealing the decision through the EU courts but it is unlikely that the EU courts will rule that the EU has infringed on Irish sovereignty by undermining tax laws dating back to before Ireland even joined the EEA.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Couple stabbed at Oberhausen music festival by man shouting Allahu Akbar

A couple have been stabbed at a music festival in Munich by a man shouting Allahu Akbar.

In a variation on the usual apologist theme, the police say the perpetrator was on drugs rather than mentally ill but he was still taken to a psychiatric unit for questioning. Police all over Europe have been trying to disassociate Islamist attacks from Islam by claiming that the attackers are mentally ill. Aside from it fooling nobody, it is stigmatising mental health problems and risks making people scared of people with mental health issues when so much stigma is already attached to mental illness.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Five terrorist suspects arrested in Birmingham and Stoke

Five men have been arrested by mental health police in Birmingham and Stoke on suspicion of commissioning, preparing or instigating terrorist attacks.

Following the arrests, army bomb disposal experts were sent to a Birmingham hotel near the Bullring shopping centre. The Pentahill hotel was visited by one of the terrorists that was involved in an attack on Paris last year.

The arrests were part of a joint operation between MI5 and West Midlands Police.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Scottish government runs £15bn budget deficit paid for by English taxpayers

Scotland's budget deficit has jumped to £15bn after North Sea oil revenues dropped 97%.

The SNP's economic plans all rest on Scotland investing tax revenues from North Sea oil but whilst just a couple of years ago the Scottish government could expect to lay claim to as much as £10bn in revenues, it fell to just £60m last year thanks to a crash in oil prices and a slow down in production.

Luckily for Nicola Sturgeon she doesn't have to worry about inconvenient things like budget deficits because Scotland's heavily inflated share of public spending isn't linked to the amount of tax they raise. Scotland is guaranteed a subsidy every year under the Barnett Formula which is currently a 16% premium on the UK average. This is a little misleading though because Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all receive more money than they pay in to the Treasury which bumps up the average. The Scottish subsidy is a 19% premium on average spending in England and a whopping 28% premium on public spending in the east of England euroregion which is the poorest funded part of the UK.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Conservative councillor complains about UKIP councillor doing his job too well

A Conservative councillor in Hayling has complained that a UKIP councillor helped a resident get a parking ticket overturned.

Cllr Jackie Branson said that UKIP councillor John Perry shouldn't have got involved because the resident didn't live in the ward he was elected in. She claims that there is an "unwritten rule that a councillor acts within their own ward".

As a councillor myself I find myself getting involved in issues all over my borough. Residents often feel that they can trust UKIP but not other parties or are impressed with the performance of a particular councillor and would prefer their help. There is certainly no rule, unwritten or otherwise, that prevents a councillor from helping a resident who lives in another ward. I sometimes refer residents to another councillor because they need the clout of a cabinet member or because it's something that they have particular expertise in but I certainly wouldn't do so just because the resident didn't live in my ward!

Instead of complaining about Cllr Perry doing his job, perhaps Cllr Branson should take some time to reflect on why the resident in question decided not to contact her or the other two Conservative councillors representing her ward but approached a UKIP councillor instead.

Derby Conservative jailed for election fraud

A Conservative councillor in Derby has been jailed for two months for giving a false address to fraudulently stand in a local election.

Cllr Richard Smalley successfully stood in last year's local elections for Derby City Council but resigned 10 days later after rumours appeared on social media about his fraudulent declaration.

His solicitor claimed that he was driven to commit the fraud because he was stressed.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Richard Branson outs Jeremy Corbyn lying about "ram-packed" train

Comrade Corbyn released a video a couple of weeks ago of him sitting on the floor at the back of a Virgin train from London to Newcastle.

The train was "ram-packed" according to the man of the people and shows why rail services should be privatised.

Unfortunately for Red Jez, Virgin trains have CCTV and Richard Branson took a personal interest. Virgin have released CCTV stills showing Jeremy Corbyn and his entourage walking through a half empty carriage of unreserved seats to shoot his video before taking seats 15 minutes later with the help of a member of staff.


Germans told to stockpile food and water in case of terrorist attacks

A "civil defence" plan is to be put before German ministers which advises citizens to stockpile 10 day's worth of food and drink for use in a national emergency.

The plan says that Germany is unlikely to face a "conventional" threat but a major security threat couldn't be ruled out so civil defence measures are necessary.

Germany, France and Belgium have suffered from a number of terrorist attacks since Angela Merkel invited an unlimited number of illegal immigrants to Europe. ISIS has used the open invitation to send terrorists into Europe who have then gone on to carry out attacks on the continent including bombings, shootings and knife and axe attacks.

There won't ever be another "conventional" war again where two countries make a formal declaration and the armies of one country fight the armies of another and civil wars are no longer confined to national borders. We are at war now, we've been at war for years and we'll be in a permanent state of war for decades to come at least.

A century ago there would now be a country called by Islamic State, their leaders would have been legitimised, their borders fixed and their leaders would be tied up with internal power struggles and international diplomacy. But now that military imperialism isn't acceptable any more western governments are trying to bring back a status quo that they undermined with the removal or serious weakening of the authoritarian leaders that were keeping the likes of ISIS at bay.

When your government is telling you to stockpile food in case of an attack from terrorists that they're knowingly allowing into the country it's time for a new government.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Racist MP Diane Abbott spent most of her charity's money on a party

Racist Labour MP, Diane Abbott, spent £29k of her own charity's money on a a party and just £2k on good causes according to accounts that she tried to withhold.

Abbott was threatened with £6,500 in fines if she didn't submit accounts for the Diane Abbott Foundation as well as a possible criminal prosecution. She eventually submitted the accounts for 2014 which show a £35k income and just £2k of it spent on good causes with £29k spent on a party in the Houses of Parliament.

The Diane Abbott Foundation is supposed to make awards to disadvantaged black boys to help them "achieve their dreams". The £35k in donations came from city law firm, Linklaters, which MPs have named as being "culpable" for the collapse of BHS and pensions company Prudential, which is facing strike action from its staff over a plan to outsource jobs to India. Diane Abbott didn't donate any of her own money to her charity.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Corbyn supporters change rules to allow violent conduct

Jeremy Corbyn's stormtroopers, Momentum, have dropped a non-violence clause from their code of ethics (£), leaving the door open for violent revolution.

During the Labour leadership election last year Jeremy Corbyn's supporters orgainsed themselves into the trade union-sponsored Momentum, a bizarre personality cult which has grown up around Red Jez. Until now they've kept the nasty side of their movement fairly low key - threats and lobbing bricks through windows - but now they've dropped their official ban on using violence in the name of "self defence".

The whole Momentum movement has echoes of the early days of the Nazi Party and this tacit endorsement of violence during campaigning will no doubt worry law enforcement agencies as much as the non-Corbynites.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

EU propaganda agency claims Team GB's medals

One of the EU's propaganda agencies have been widely slated for claiming the Olympic successes of member states for the EU in a medals table featuring the European Union in the top spot.

If the EU competed in the Olympics that would be quite an impressive tally but take Team GB's record medal haul off the EU and add it to the rest of the Commonwealth and the EU drops to second place.

Both medals tables are equally meaningless but the EU pales in comparison to the Commonwealth.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Rabbi stabbed in Strasbourg by Muslim shouting "Allahu Akhbar"

A Jewish man, identified locally as a Rabbi named Mr Levy, has been stabbed by a Muslim man who shouted "Allahu Akhbar" as he attacked him.

French police have said that the attack isn't terrorist related and ... wait for it ... the attacker "has a history of mental illness".

The standard response now to Islamic terrorism is to dismiss it as mental illness and it's not only farcical but dangerous to do so. Islamic terrorism is a very real danger and it needs to be taken seriously. Attempting to cover it up by describing every terrorist attack as the actions of a mentally ill person fools nobody and sends a message to Islamic extremists that no matter what they do there will be no wider consequences, no restrictions on their ability to import terrorism and radicalise.

UKIP win back majority in South Thanet by-elections

UKIP candidates took another two seats on South Thanet District Council in by-elections yesterday to secure a working majority again.

The council has been UKIP-controlled since last year's local elections although infighting over Manston Airport saw some UKIP councillors form an independent group, losing UKIP's overall majority. Last night's victories means 29 out of 56 councillors are UKIP, giving the party back its working majority.

As well as the district council wins, UKIP candidates won two vacant seats on UKIP-controlled Ramsgate Town Council which now has 11 UKIP councillors out of a total of 16.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Latest unemployment figures prove Project Fear wrong AGAIN

Figures out today show that unemployment is down, the number of people out of work and not looking for work is down and the percentage of working age people in work is at a record high since records began in 1971.

Project Fear told us that the economy would tank if we voted to the leave the EU, that millions of jobs would be lost and that companies would abandon the UK in droves. Instead, we see fewer people out of work, companies making big investments in the UK and investors putting their faith in our future prosperity.

If things are going this well during a period of economic instability and political uncertainty caused by David Cameron's refusal to plan for Brexit then just imagine what it's going to be like when there's an actual plan and some firm answers on our relationship with the EU and the rest of the world.

Sorry George, did you have something to say?

Nathan Gill resigns UKIP whip in the Welsh Assembly

Nathan Gill has resigned from the UKIP group in Welsh Assembly and will sit as an independent AM.

He made the decision to resign from the group after weeks of infighting which almost resulted in him being expelled from the party but group leader Neil Hamilton's reaction points to the root of the problem.
We'll have to do our best to survive without him - we don't see him much in the assembly so I don't think well notice much difference
There is a time and a place for hardballing rebellious members and this is neither the time nor is the Sennedd the place. Having won the EU referendum, we need to be showing voters that we are the party that can make Brexit happen and happen right. With the pointless infighting in Wales, the shambolic leadership election and a string of ridiculous decisions by the NEC we appear to be anything but competent.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Labour avoided tax on £4.3m profits last year

Today's personal attack on Bill Etheridge MEP is unacceptable

The invasion of +Bill Etheridge MEP's privacy by his ex-girlfriend today is not acceptable.

Lorraine Chew posted a picture of Viagra with a box showing that it had been prescribed to Etheridge on Twitter, accusing him of having an affair. She later deleted the picture along with tweets endorsing his rivals in the leadership campaign.

Bill is thick skinned but it was a very personal attack on him and goes far beyond what elements of their personal life a public figure should be expected to accept being made public. No matter how upset you are with someone, this sort of behaviour is unacceptable and the press should certainly have recognised that this simply was not a matter of public interest and shouldn't have been given the oxygen of publicity.

Jonathan Arnott withdraws from leadership election

Jonathan Arnott has withdrawn from the leadership election, saying that he could only finish second at best and urged fellow candidates to step down and reduce the number of candidates to help maintain some unity in the party.

Arnott's withdrawal leaves Bill Etheridge, Diane James, Elizabeth Jones, Lisa Duffy and Phillip Broughton still in the running.

Despite failing to attend any of the leadership hustings events organised by the party and listing her own leadership tour, Diane James remains the favourite to replace Nigel Farage. Her decision to go it alone with the hustings has attracted some criticism from members who have described it as disrespectful.

FTSE 100 & 250 approaching record highs

The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 share indices are racing towards record highs, demonstrating strong investor confidence in the UK.

Despite the Bank of England's best efforts to derail the post-referendum boom, the FTSE 100 finished up 25.17 points at 6,941, fast approaching its record high of 7,089 points in April last year. Similarly, the FTSE 250 finished up 7.89 points at 17,929 which saw a record high in May last year of 18,192.

In a further show of confidence in the economy, the Bank of England failed to meet the bond buyback target it set itself because investors don't want to sell them. The BoE's latest intervention was to create £1.17bn of free money and use it to buy back bonds but they didn't bank on investors being reluctant to sell their bonds and ended up more than £50m short of their target.

The pound will increase in value as time goes on but at the moment the weak pound is a good thing. The Bank of England is pursuing a policy of devaluing the pound (hence it magicking £1.17bn out of thin air) to drive up exports and attract foreign investment. What we sell costs about 10% less to buy in the major currencies since the referendum which increases demand. This in turn creates jobs and new businesses as well as increasing the profile of UK goods and services around the world. Higher prices for imported goods means that it becomes cheaper to buy domestically produced goods and services which again creates jobs and new businesses. The weaker pound is putting us on a much stronger footing for when we eventually leave and the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations is behind us.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

British government guarantees funding for farming and science

The British government have announced a funding guarantee for science and agriculture to protect organisations and businesses in receipt of funding via the EU after we leave.

The EU makes money available to farmers and landowners via the EU Common Agricultural Policy. It pays them to farm certain things, not farm certain things and sometimes not to farm at all. They pay out about £3bn a year in susbsidies with the big money going to the largest and wealthiest landowners who can claim more than £1m each for their extensive land holdings.

Scientists and researchers can apply for funding from a pot of money called Horizon 2020 which mainly funds scientific research. Again, the big money goes to the large multinational corporations, pharmaceutical companies and prestigious universities.

The Treasury says it will guarantee to match and continue funding secured via the EU for the duration of the funding agreement as if we were still EU members for applications made before the autumn statement. Plans for future funding going forward will presumably be included in the autumn statement.

Because the EU redistributes more than half of what we pay in to its budget to other countries, the Treasury is able to guarantee current funding levels with a surplus that could be used to improve public services, reduce taxes or provide state aid to protect strategically important industries which is illegal under EU law. All the Leave campaigns - UKIP included - said that this sort of arrangement should be expected once we'd voted to leave and here it is. The Remainiacs said that farmers and scientists would be abandoned and driven to bankruptcy without EU handing our money out to them. They were wrong.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Welsh members will decide Nathan Gill's fate

Nathan Gill has been given a temporary reprieve by the NEC over his double jobbing as an AM and MEP. He will be allowed to keep both jobs until the membership in Wales are given an opportunity to vote on the matter.

The NEC had previously issued an ultimatum to Gill, instructing him to stand down from either the Welsh Assembly or the EU Parliament or face expulsion from the party. He refused as the only person left on the UKIP list who isn't now an AM resigned from UKIP to campaign against the Welsh Assembly meaning that his replacement as an MEP would either be someone who isn't a UKIP member any more or would have to be chosen in a by-election at a cost of about £5m to the taxpayer.

In deciding to refer the decision to the membership it would appear that the NEC want to be seen to be addressing complaints that they aren't involving the membership in the decision making process. It's a shame that it's taken a campaign to remove them all from office to remind them that they're working for the members and not the other way round.

I have every confidence that Welsh members will back Nathan Gill and appreciate the value that being an MEP can bring to Brexit planning in the Welsh Assembly in a way that the NEC apparently can't.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Deadline day for Nathan Gill to resign as an AM or MEP

Today is the deadline the NEC have set for Nathan Gill to resign as either an MEP or AM and he has made it clear he intends to do neither.

At the time of the Welsh Assembly elections earlier this year Gill agreed that he would stand down as an MEP if he was elected as an AM but since the referendum has declined to do so.

Gill was the face of UKIP in Wales during the Assembly elections and is leader of UKIP Wales. He has a huge following in the grassroots Welsh party but Neil Hamilton controls the political side of things.

Neil Hamilton, who is leader of the UKIP delegation at the Welsh Assembly, says that the two jobs are not compatible and that Gill can't represent Wales when he's in Brussels. However, it appears that Hamilton can not only represent Wales but lead UKIP's AMs from his mansion in Wiltshire.

If the jobs of AM and MEP were incompatible then it would be illegal to hold both positions. As a former MP, Hamilton will be aware that there is a legal bar to sitting as both an MP and MEP due to the two roles being considered incompatible. No such bar exists for members of the devolved governments who can not only sit as MEPs but as MPs in addition to their role in the Sennedd, Scottish Parliament or Stormont.

There is nobody left on the UKIP party list who is still a member and not an AM to take Gill's place as an MEP if he resigned from that position. The NEC believe that a by-election would be held to replace him but the relevant regulations say that the next person on the list as at the last election will be invited to take the vacant seat with no requirement for them to still be a member of the party whose list they appeared on. That means UKIP's vacant seat would go to a former member who resigned from the party to stand against UKIP in the last election.

This is another fight that the NEC has started that didn't need to be. We will likely lose an MEP and AM today because Gill is determined not to stand down. There is no benefit to the party from Gill resigning one of his roles but there is considerable damage from losing a high profile elected representative and the collateral damage that will cause. It is the latest in a string of poor decisions that show that the NEC is not fit for purpose and that a fresh election is needed for existing members to seek a mandate from the membership or for new members to come on board.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Race for the Leader'kip.

Keep up with developments in the UKIP Leadership competiton with

But it is very exciting - maybe a trial run for the democratisation of the UK? Sweeping in to remove an unrepresentative elected body NEC/Parliament and put in place a mechanism for the public to exert direct democracy!

For direct democracy the missing link on the practical side is electronic voting. The recent referendum shows the time, effort and cost of using our traditional, reliable and trustworthy (postal votes not withstanding) system. I have long opposed all the electronic voting systems I have seen, having been a candidate I would not trust them over our existing system.

However, I have since created a method of running electronic voting that is simple to use, and allows voters to verify the result of the vote as complete and accurate without having to trust anyone else on the collation and counting of votes (not even the vote organisers!).

So the battle lines have been drawn following the retirement of the revered emperor Nigel Farage who for many years, somehow, successfully herded cats while coping with deafening heckling and barracking from opposing spectators, and often from his own. Being cats, they could not be commanded to the level required for one man and his dog, but they were managed well enough to get into the pen marked brexit, which stunned everyone. Although, in practice the game is not technically over until they exit the other side, via the gate marked Article 50 (or through the tunnel marked 1972 Act).

But the emperor having now retired and the machinery to replace him having been dusted down (and wire brushed to remove the rust), two opposing generals have emerged, one Douglas Carswell MP and one Mr Arron Banks. They each have their loyal staff, but the warlords and foot soldiers of UKIP are free to choose which side (if any to join). Their battle is for control of a the UKIP party infrastructure - which may or may not include some or all of its current members/supporters, as they are always free to come or go as they please - as are officers and electees.

While the generals are not themselves competing to replace the emperor, they each have declared favourites in the race, alongside some independents and other contenders for the crown.

First, Douglas Carswell MP (UKIP). Douglas is a contentious figure in UKIP, as UKIP's only MP he gets a lot of media coverage, even though he has made clear he only represents the people of Clacton, and despite a large (winning) vote for him in the General Election, how many of those voters are UKIP'pers rather than his own personal following or just anti-EU'ers is not clear (I wonder if the local party membership figures are available?).

Douglas's set includes core members such as Suzanne Evans (former temporary leader, currently suspended) and Patrick O'Flynn MEP (UKIP), his team includes others who may (or may not) be on his side more to oppose Arron Banks and co, than to actively support Douglas - such as Neil Hamilton WAM (UKIP).

Douglas has several books to his name, produced over the years, often with co-authors, setting out a vision for a new structure for politics in the UK - one recent book, with many co-authors, Direct Democracy 'A New Model Party' is available as a free download on his website. He certainly appears to know what he wants from politics and from UKIP and for the country, unfortunately substantial parts of it don't match what many existing UKIP supporters want - particularly as Brexit is now seen as a fait accomplis.

His champion in the competition would almost certainly have been Suzanne Evans who he employs as 'UKIP Head of Commiciations - Westminster', but due to her suspension from the party cannot run. She was suspended for bringing the party into disrepute, and like Douglas himself has a record of attacking the UKIP party leadership and UKIP members who supported it.

So their champion is Cllr Lisa Duffy - while she is relatively (totally?) unknown nationally/generally she is part of UKIP history as the leader of the first UKIP group to lead a council in the UK - any UKIP'per who didn't know this should be ashamed!

On the opposing hill, astride his horse, binoculars out is Mr Arron Banks - a man who made his fortune in insurance (founding major companies, not just gambling!), and who now collects diamond mines as a hobby.

Arron's main notoriety in UKIP is as a major donor, friend of Nigel Farage and founder of Leave.EU which headed Grassroots Out the 'other' leave campaigners in the EU referendum campaign - and as an activist(!).

Arron's likely preferred champion, Steven Woolfe MEP, like Douglas's preferred champion, is not in the competition. In Stevens case he was excluded because the application forms for his candidacy were logged as being received by UKIP after the (well publicised) deadline.

It is thought Woolf  had been the most likely candidate to win the leadership (but who trusts polls nowadays?) with his hard core supporters having said they would leave UKIP if he was excluded from the race, which he now has been.

This has caused a lot of friction in the party - with one member of the NEC finally issueing a public statement on Steven's exclusion. This account is particularly interesting as it says that in the closing minutes between Steven's successful payment of his deposit and late submission of his papers, another candidate got their papers in(!). So he was not the only candidate to leave it to the last minute...

However, the dissatisfied supporters, rather then leaving the party are now in a move to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), a move strongly backed by Mr Banks. The broad plan for which seems to replace the existing UKIP constitution with a new one - which would remove the NEC (who ruled that Woolf's late entry was grounds for exclusion - as per the UKIP rule book) and put in place mechanisms to give members a more direct, hands on say in the running/position of the party, rater than relying on the elected representatives of the NEC.

Getting an EGM is a huge task - with many, many members needing to want it and get their branch to ask for it - but Mr Banks, has contact with a very large section of the UK membership via his Leave.EU organisation so has put this in train.

The timings around Steven Woolf's application are most odd - that a last minute entry came in, and then his application was late... could it be he was effectively bowing out and handing on the baton? The only real surprise candidate in the competition is Diane James - while she is well qualified to run, she showed no inclination to do so before hand, so one wonders if she is the late entry? It would also be interesting to see which 50 members proposed each candidate, and when! But I doubt that will be publicly available...

As I see it, people should have the leader they want - UKIP members should have the leader they want, if UKIP doesn't have the right leader, maybe they need a new party to have a different leader?

But it is very exciting - maybe a trial run for the democratisation of the UK? Sweeping in to remove an unrepresentative elected body NEC/Parliament and put in place a mechanism for the public to exert direct democracy!

For direct democracy the missing link on the practical side is electronic voting. The recent referendum shows the time, effort and cost of using our traditional, reliable and trustworthy (postal votes not withstanding) system. I have long opposed all the electronic voting systems I have seen, having been a candidate I would not trust them over our existing system. However, I have since created a method of running electronic voting that is simple to use, and allows voters to verify the result of the vote as complete and accurate without having to trust anyone else on the collation and counting of votes (not even the vote organisers!).

[First published at]

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Why the UKIP leadership debacle is a sign of the party’s strength, not its weakness

This week would appear, to the casual observer, to have been a pretty disastrous one for UKIP. The power vacuum opening up in the wake of the colossal personality of Nigel Farage is sucking in the best and the worst that the party has to offer. The results have been explosive already, and the leadership race has technically only just begun.

Steven Woolfe’s rejection by the party’s NEC as a result of his late submission of nomination papers has sparked fury among the membership. Polling before the event showed he was the clear front-runner and the favoured candidate for a substantial portion of the party’s grassroots. The move has been seen as an example of cynical manoeuvring by those at the top of the party with personal agendas.

We now face the prospect of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM). This stems from a provision in the UKIP Constitution whereby if 20% of UKIP branches sign a letter requesting such a meeting, it must be held. It’s likely that the topic of discussion will be a substantial restructure to the NEC, and perhaps the party itself.

There is much talk in the media of rivalling factions within the party, and it’s been widely reported that UKIP, as a result of this dispute, may split or crumble. Aaron Banks has spoken freely on the topic of starting a new party and there has been open debate on how many members would join him in such an endeavour.

In reality, the current situation is unlikely to be caused by warring factions. It’s actually altogether simpler than that, and it boils down to the sort of person that typically joins UKIP.

I’ve often heard UKIP referred to (sometimes disparagingly) as The People’s Army. Perhaps unintentionally, there is an inference with this branding towards the militant nature of your average ‘Kipper. UKIP has always strongly promoted individual liberty, shunned the nanny state, and demanded transparency and accountability from our elected representatives.

This libertarian cocktail is particularly alluring to the sort of voter who isn’t afraid to speak their own mind, who wants their opinion to be heard and who is willing to put in the effort to make sure that it is. The result is that in comparison to members of the other main political parties in the UK, the wider UKIP membership is significantly less tolerant towards any perceived slight from those above them in the party hierarchy.

This upcoming EGM - or even its threat - is a demonstration of exactly the sort of accountability that UKIP wants for the whole of the UK, where if a large enough portion of the population disagrees with a decision made by anyone in a position of seniority, the decision can be overturned.

The media are reporting on a party in chaos. I disagree. This is UKIP showing that it really is the party of the ordinary people. The party members have a voice, and currently they are using it to tell the NEC exactly what they think of their decision. I hope that one day we will be able to hold a UK government to account with such fervour.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Police say no evidence of terrorist link in Russell Square attack but deploy counter-terrorism squad in response

The Metropolitan Police are downplaying any suggested link between last night's knife attack in London and terrorism, saying that it was probably "triggered by mental illness".

This is what police said in France and Germany after terrorist attacks there last month. Mental illness seems to be the new official excuse for terrorism to deflect attention away from the fact that the terrorist is a Muslim.

The man responsible for last night's attack has been identified as a Somalian who has been living in the UK for 14 years on a Norwegian passport.

If there is no evidence of a link to terrorism why are these counter-terrorism officers on the streets in response to the attack?

Suspected terrorist knife attack in London

A man has stabbed 6 people in Russell Square in London leaving one of them dead.

The identity of the attacker hasn't been released but counter-terrorism officers are involved and the police have already mentioned mental health issues which follows the same pattern as French and German police after recent terrorist attacks there. We will no doubt soon learn that the attacker shouted Allahu Akbar while he was doing it and is probably a "refugee".

No amount of tooled up anti-terrorist police on the streets are going to prevent terrorist attacks. The authorities have allowed terrorists and extremists into the country, failed to deport those who preach hatred and intolerance and allowed a parallel Islamic state to establish itself within these shores. Policies of appeasement, multiculturalism and mass immigration have created this situation and a hard line is needed to end it. Anyone who puts their religion before their country - whatever that religion - doesn't belong here.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Barring Steven Woolfe from standing for leader is the last straw

Steven Woolfe has been ruled out of the party leadership election after computer problems prevented him from submitting his application on time.

Woolfe paid his £5,000 deposit well before the deadline and but was unable to submit his application until after the deadline had passed due to computer problems. He provided evidence before the deadline to someone in the party that he was trying to submit his application and that it wasn't working but the NEC have ruled that he is ineligible to stand.

If the NEC had ruled him out for failing to declare a conviction for drink driving a decade ago then that would be understandable but it is clear that Woolfe submitted his application before the deadline and technical problems prevented it from being processed. In the absence of any evidence to prove that the fault lay on either side he should have been given the benefit of the doubt and his application allowed.

Attempts were made to bar Steven Woolfe, Jonathan Arnott and Bill Etheridge from standing last week which appear to have proven fruitless. Meanwhile, Nathan Gill has been threatened with expulsion from the party if he doesn't resign as either an MEP or Welsh Assembly Member despite there being no ban in law or the party rule book for holding both offices at the same time.

Three members of the NEC - Ray Finch, Victoria Ayling and Mike McGough - have resigned from the NEC in protest, accusing the remaining NEC members of jealousy and megalomania. Three resignations aren't enough, we need to sweep out the current NEC members and hold fresh elections. Most members don't bother voting in NEC elections and this is the result - a group of politicians and hangers on more interested in furthering their own ambitions than what's right for the party.

Branches that feel strongly that the NEC is damaging the party may wish to forward a motion of no confidence in the NEC, forcing an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) at which they can be sacked. According to the party rules an EGM can be called to debate a motion of no confidence in the NEC if 20% of branches and constituency associations drawn from at least 4 regions forward a motion to the party chairman, accompanied by a payment of £100 toward the cost of holding the meeting. At the EGM 250 members must attend for the meeting to be quorate. It's too late to affect this leadership election but by purging the NEC and starting again we can at least point the party back in the right direction.