IN MEMORIAM: Mark Fitzgeorge-Parker aka Mark Daniel 1942 > 03-May-2014
Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 03/05/2016
is what gives the remaining 10% a bad name!
IN MEMORIAM: Mark Fitzgeorge-Parker aka Mark Daniel Born 1942 Died 03-May-2014 Mark sadly died in Cheltenham of pneumonia aged 72
‘A party of idiots, paranoiacs, whores and vagabonds’Alexander Waugh reviews Cranks and Gadflies: the Story of UKIP by Mark Daniel.19 Jun 2005Isn’t it odd how people who group together under the banner of a shared opinion always seem to disagree more violently among themselves than with their declared enemies? It has always been the case. Take, for example, the early Christians. According to the ancient record of Celsus, written in about 178 AD: “Christians utterly detest each other, they slander each other constantly with the vilest forms of abuse… Each sect fills the head of its own with deceitful nonsense and makes perfect little pigs of those it wins over to its side.”
And so it is with UKIP – the United Kingdom Independence Party – whose founding purpose (to extricate Britain from the European Union) has been subsumed, in the 12 short years since its formation, by such a torrent of plotting, denouncing, suing, counter-suing, shrieking, back-stabbing and cussing that one wonders how many of its members have retained any memory of why they signed up with the party in the first place.
At a recent National Executive Council meeting one member became so livid with rage that he suffered a heart attack and died. And what about the time when such an almighty row broke out over who should be UKIP’s leader that the party was rent in twain and, for a while, two defiant UKIPs ran simultaneously out of two separate offices ?
In his absorbing history of the party, Mark Daniel appears to relish each scandal as it arises, gleefully relating how UKIP’s founder drained the party’s coffers to defend himself against accusations of slander and how a South East MEP stood for election in 2004 without mentioning that he was facing charges of housing benefit fraud (which remain subjudice and he denies fiercely).
Daniel also reveals how the party was infiltrated by the BNP activist, Mark Deavin; how UKIP’s Scottish organiser wrote to the newspapers declaring that the Nazi holocaust was grossly exaggerated; and he describes, with seeming glee, a party membership that is comprised of “idiots, paranoiacs and conspiracy theorists… freelance artists… traders, whores and vagabonds”.
From the outset, Daniel declares: “I have never been a party member.” It might easily be assumed from this that he is a disaffected party apparatchik whose sole purpose is to discredit UKIP in such a way that nobody ever votes for it again. But a couple of seconds of Google espionage reveals that Mark Daniel is in fact a nom de plume for Mark Fitzgeorge-Parker – who stood as a UKIP candidate in Exeter at this year’s General Election, ending in sixth place with 3.37 per cent of the vote.
A further scrimmage into the Fitzgeorge-Parker mystery reveals that the author enjoys something of a maverick past himself. Having been imprisoned as a young man for issuing duff cheques and pilfering precious books from Cambridge University libraries he used the Daniel pseudonym for a fictionalised account of his jail experiences. After his release, he found himself once again up in court on charges of libel and, in a parallel action, was sued by his own father for breach of copyright.
Perhaps none of this would be relevant had Daniel not chosen to call his book Cranks and Gadflies, a phrase drawn directly from Michael Howard’s intended slur on the UKIP membership, or if Nigel Farage, UKIP’s second-in-command, had not stood before the European Parliament denouncing individual members of José Barrosa’s Commission as ex-crooks, ex-communists and liars.
Daniel’s purpose in this warts-and-all exposé is not then, as far as I can tell, to discredit UKIP but, on the contrary, to make it seem like a quaintly attractive collective of “real people”. “Don’t mind me, I’m mad,” folks used to say to endear themselves to their school friends. That ploy didn’t work then and is unlikely to work for UKIP now. And if Daniel’s high-risk public relations experiment backfires it will cost the cranks and gadflies dearly.
“He was just so intelligent and had a vast knowledge. He was a person that people would turn to for help and he would do anything for anyone.
“He had a great interaction with people and he was a real showman. But he was a complicated man and had a private side and could be reclusive at times.
“He was very kind and generous, but he could also be a difficult man, cantankerous and rude at times, but people were never offended.
“He was very good at reading people and was a truly gifted man.
“As one neighbour put it, he was often outrageous, but generally right”.
“He was passionate about so many things in Cheltenham – with one of them being that the town’s Jazz Festival was too quiet and should be louder.
“He had a massive impact on people’s lives and will be missed.”
Mark in his younger days had been a keen fisherman and surfer and had inheristed his fathert’s love or art and also his father’s interest in horses, having been competitive steeplechased.
Tim Fitzgeorge-Parker was well known as a character and author particularly in the horse racing world.
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