Ukip must be only too pleased to receive even small crumbs of encouragement, in view of the internal squabbling and the abject failure they are experiencing, and there are few smaller crumbs to be encourage by than this:
The former head of the Ku Klux Klan has backed Nigel Farage for PM
LONDON — The former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan has endorsed Nigel Farage for UK Prime Minister.
David Duke tweeted on Monday that the former UKIP leader, who is a close ally of US president Donald Trump, would make an excellent leader of the UK.
“Farage will make a fine UK Prime Minister. Looking forward to that,” he Tweeted.
Duke is the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan — a notorious white supremacist organisation. He is also well known for his belief in anti-semitic conspiracy theories.
Duke also previously endorsed Donald Trump for President.
Trump and Farage were recently photographed dining together in the US. The former UKIP leader is reportedly keen to work for Trump and has said that he is prepared to serve Trump “either formally or informally.”
Farage is not currently eligible to become prime minister after having failed to win election as a member of the UK parliament seven times.
The Tories said they could not find a record of his donations, saying they could only locate a £25,000 gift. He then faced questions because some of his businesses appear to be based in the low-tax jurisdictions of Gibraltar and the Isle of Man.
But Banks’s public relations chief, Bridget Rowe, a former Sunday Mirror editor, released a copy of a cheque sent by Banks to HM Revenue & Customs for £1.865m in February this year.
Ukip hopes that the document will help to quell questions about Banks’s tax affairs since he emerged as one of Britain’s most generous political donors on Wednesday.
His money will be used to fund the general election campaign as Ukip threatens to destabilise the three main Westminster parties.
Companies House records, which are supposed to show a comprehensive record of past and present interests of a director, appear to show that Banks has set up 37 different companies using slight variations of his name.
Using the name Aron Fraser Andrew Banks, he was a director of Eclipse Insurance Services but resigned in 1995, records show.
Arron Banks is registered as a secretary of African Compass Trading, which appears to be still trading.
The same company is also registered as having a director called Arron Andrew Fraser Banks who is also still involved in another firm, Vavista Ltd.
Under the name Arron Fraser Andrew Banks he is registered as a former director or former secretary of 34 different companies, but has resigned from all of them.
The first, third and fourth names, according to Companies House records, use the same date of birth but register different lists of companies.
A spokesman for Banks said that he declined to answer questions over his Companies House entries as well as other matters and preferred instead to “correct [the Guardian’s] mistakes in court”.
Banks appeared to come from nowhere last week when a press release from the anti-federalist party announced that a major Tory donor had defected, following the defections of the MPs Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell.
The businessman who had made his fortune from insurance announced a tenfold increase in his planned donation to Ukip – to £1m – after William Hague told the BBC he had not heard of him.
Ukip claimed that he had given £250,000 to the Tories. But from Electoral Commission records, he gave £5,000 under the name Arron F Banks in May 2009 to Thornbury and Vale Conservative Association; and a second payment of £20,000 to Northavon Conservative Association in January 2007.
A Ukip source said that he had also loaned £75,417 to Thornbury and Yate Conservative party through his former company Panacea Finance in September 2007. This loan was registered on the Electoral Commission’s website and has to be paid back in 2022.
However, Companies House records show that Banks resigned from the company in September 2005, two years before the loan was granted. This raises questions over whether he was controlling the firm at the time, or whether he was using the firm as a “proxy donor”.
Banks’s office declined to send a further explanation of how else he had paid the Tories any money.
The Conservatives have also said they can find no record to substantiate Banks’s claim that he was a Tory party official in Basingstoke.
Again, Banks declined to comment.
Interest in Banks increased when it emerged that his Facebook page included photographs of him holding a shotgun and sitting in a red sports car.
Banks, 48, says he is worth about £100m. Friends say that he has a controlling interest in a former De Beers diamond mine in Kimberley, South Africa, and another licence to mine in Lesotho.
He met the media before a black-tie fundraising dinner for a Belize children’s hospital on Wednesday night. One of the dinner guests was Kim Simplis-Barrow, the wife of the Belize prime minister, Dean Barrow.
Rock Services Ltd, of which Banks is a director, had a turnover of £19.7m last year and paid corporation tax of £12,000. The company deducted £19.6m in “administrative expenses”.
The main activity appears to be “recharge of goods and services” with Southern Rock Insurance Company – a part of the group of companies that is based in Gibraltar. Southern Rock Insurance states on its website that it underwrite policies for the customers of GoSkippy.com, which is run by Banks. Because it is based in Gibraltar, there is little information available on it.
Rock Services and Southern Rock Insurance’s ultimate holding company is Rock Holdings Ltd, a company based on the Isle of Man.
Banks dismissed questions about his decision to base some of his firms in the low-tax jurisdictions.
Asked if his companies paid full corporation tax, he said: “I paid over £2.5m of income tax last year so I’m not going to get knocked on that one, thank you very much. I really resented that, by the way. My insurance business, like a lot of them, is based in Gibraltar but I’ve got UK businesses as well that deal with customers and pay tax like everyone else.”
Charlie Elphicke, a Conservative MP and former tax lawyer, said: ‘Everyone knows that companies in tax havens like Gibraltar and Bermuda are often used to help minimise tax. This evidence raises serious questions about Mr Banks’s conduct and consistency of identity.”
that someone who so endlessly espouses a place amongst ‘the common man‘ and clearly does all he can to behave thus to be adopted by the4m, he even praises Donald Trump POTUS for being just ‘an ordinary bloke‘ as if that was an attribute for a world leader, when clearly it is insulting.
Nigel Farage has built a career on shunning and denigrating the establishment and yet he fails to understand that his over weening ambition to join that establishment either with a Peerage or a Knighthood is as base and vile an hypocracy as that of The Kinnocks, who built their career on damaging Britain and selling out its establishment only to grasp it with both hands when they failed politically and had ensured their bloated pensions!
Is Nigel Farage really so self obsessed and stupid that he can not see the folly of his ambition and does not realise that he will merely add to the opprobrium in which he is held by decent folk with his endless unpleasant behaviour and posturing!
It is inspite of Nigel Farage, not because of, that we obtained an In / Out Referendum, against which he actively campaigned and in which he played no beneficial part.
Surely the award Nigel Farage4 clearly deserves for his political antics is an O.B.E. which is ofter given to Council Leaders and the like and denotes ity was awarded to reward Other Buggers’ Efforts – I expect those like Nikki Sinclaire and those who petitioned for and obtained BreXitwould find so very apt.
Let us also remember that Douglas Carswell brought his MP seat to Ukip from the Tories and held it by election not because he had joined Ukip but because his constituency members knew him to be a decent if somewhat unclubable man who had acquitted his duties to his constituents, of all political persuasions, well – he was a good MP and was elected because of that.
Nigel Farage knighthood row turns farcical as Douglas Carswell issues mocking riposte
This photo of a smiling Douglas Carswell was taken the day it was announced Nigel Farage would be standing down as leader (Photo: Getty Images)
Felicity Morse 3 hours Tuesday February 28th 2017
As Labour infighting continued afresh on Monday, another somewhat farcical row erupted on the opposite side of the political spectrum between former Ukip leader Nigel Farage and the party’s only MP – Douglas Carswell. Now one of the party’s donors – millionaire businessman Arron Banks, who is good friends with Mr Farage, has said he may run against Mr Carswell at the next election Relations between Mr Farage and Mr Carswell have long been acrimonious, but the latest scuffle appears in part to be motivated by some antagonism over Mr Farage’s suitability for a knighthood. After the Ukip MEP, radio-host and Fox news pundit wrote an opinion piece in The Telegraph arguing Mr Carswell is attempting to sabotage Ukip, the Clacton MP sent a cheeky two word tweet, signed off with an emoji in sunglasses. “Knight night” it read. ‘Deliberately blocked Nigel’s knighthood’ Relations have long been acrimonious (Photo credit: PA) Relations have long been acrimonious (Photo credit: PA) The latest animosity, which has led to Mr Farage calling for the party’s only MP to resign, entered the public sphere on Saturday night, as Ukip donor Arron Banks said: “Carswell deliberately blocked Nigel knighthood that had been ok’d by Tories. Disgraceful behaviour from a nobody.” He added: “The system required the Ukip MP to confirm to the Tories and he refused to do it. I believe the email is not very pleasant in the subject!” An email on the subject was leaked to the Telegraph with Mr Carswell saying Mr Farage should be given an OBE “for services to headline writers”. Mr Carswell, defending the exchange, told the Press Association: “Quite clearly I tried my best to make sure he got an honour that reflects his contribution”. Carswell’s email to former Ukip leader, Lord Malcolm Pearson, 31 December “As promised, I did speak to the government chief whip. Perhaps we might try angling to get Nigel an OBE next time round? For services to headline writers? An MBE, maybe? Let’s discuss …” Mr Carswell has ‘brought nothing to the party at all’ Nigel Farage and Ukip donor Arron Banks stripped off on the eve of party conference (Photo: Getty) Nigel Farage and Ukip donor Arron Banks are good friends – they skinny dipped on the eve of party conference (Photo: Getty) Mr Farage argued in the Telegraph that since the 2015 general election Mr Carswell “has brought nothing to the party at all, other than constant division, at times I believe deliberately stirred up to bring maximum damage to the party”. He said that the Clacton MP tried to “sabotage my leadership”, describing the “ever-gullible Suzanne Evans” – who is Ukip’s deputy chair and parliamentary spokesperson – as being taken in by “these Tory posh boys”. Mr Farage asks, “If he didn’t like me, or our policy on immigration, why on earth did he join the party in the first place?” In response, Mr Carswell told the Press Association: “If he wants to come and talk to the Ukip parliamentary party about it, we are happy to put it on the agenda for Monday’s meeting. “I’m delighted where I am. I’m trying to double the size of the Ukip parliamentary party at the moment. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to do that in Stoke. But if he wants to come and talk to the Ukip parliamentary party about any concerns he has, very happy to respond. It won’t take long, it’s just me.” Arron Banks: Ukip run ‘like a jumble sale’ Ukip leader Paul Nuttall reportedly left the count after a ‘media scrum’ (Photo: PA) The row comes after Ukip leader Paul Nuttall failed to win a seat in the Stoke by-election, an electoral race that was mired in controversy for the MEP. What is an election agent? The person legally responsible for the conduct of a candidate’s political campaign and to whom election material is sent to by those running the election Mr Nuttall’s website is still “offline for maintenance” after it was highlighted that blog posts hosted on the site contained a number of false claims, including one saying the Liverpudlian had lost a “close personal friend” at the Hillsborough football disaster. Meanwhile, Arron Banks has waded into the row with a plan to revitalise Ukip and bring back Mr Farage to spearhead party success. He has offered to become party chairman and bring in a CEO from industry to oversee a number of election agents to help win seats and rebrand the party. Mr Banks said Ukip was being run “like a jumble sale”, and said if he were made chairman he would “toss out the likes” of Mr Carswell, alleging in the Sunday Express: “From what I hear, far from winning elections, Carswell’s main concern is sabotaging Nigel’s knighthood, which is why he must leave the party.”
living within a few miles of Arron Banks I have been aware of his progress to some extent for many years and am not remotely surprised to have read this article below!
You will find numerouse comments about Arron Banks & his background that I have written and you may well remember a most revealing article by an old friend of mine Daniel Foggo, which he wrote some years ago!
Before reading the article published below you may well find this article gives pause for thought and some interesting background CLICK HERE
Ukip and Brexit donor Arron Banks under financial spotlight
Allegations of ‘serious and widespread’ failings while chief executive of Brightside Group
The business career of Arron Banks, the biggest financial backer of the Brexit campaign, has come under scrutiny, after a court case alleged “serious and widespread” financial failings during his time as chief executive of an insurance company.
The dispute centres on events that took place during Mr Banks’ tenure at the head of Brightside Group, an insurance company that he co-founded but from which he was ousted in 2012.
Under Mr Banks, Brightside paid £17m to buy technology platforms that he co-owned. But Brightside’s new owners allege that the key software “suffered from a number of fundamental failings”.
They complain they would not have bought the company for £127m in 2014 had they known Brightside’s true financial position and have brought a negligence case against the company’s previous auditors, Baker Tilly, now RSM.
RSM has denied all allegations and said that it was never asked to review the technical merits of the online platform that Brightside bought. Mr Banks is not a party to the negligence claim and was not present at Brightside for the entire period covered by the claim.
But the auditors, in their defence, stated that if negligence did occur the responsibility should lie with Brightside’s former directors, implicitly including Mr Banks, for failing to carry out proper due diligence and failing to “take any adequate steps” in response to problems revealed by annual audits.
It also accuses the directors of “failing to bring all relevant matters to the attention” of the auditors. Mr Banks told the Financial Times that his current insurance company, GoSkippy, and Brightside had settled a separate legal claim, preventing further claims against him.
A close ally of Nigel Farage, Mr Banks has donated £1.3m to the UK Independence party since 2014, and during the referendum campaign set up his own group, Leave. EU, to which he lent £6m. This week, after tensions with Ukip’s new leader, he pledged to transform Leave. EU into a “direct democracy” group, modelled on Italy’s Five Star Movement.
Brightside claims that its owners AnaCap have had to spend £35m to stabilise the company and have lost a further £25m because of software problems. The company would have “ceased trading” in 2014 had its true position been known, its claim argues.
Auditors RSM argue that the claimants have failed to show a connection between any alleged breaches of accounting rules and their subsequent losses. Mr Banks has thrived on controversy, launching a rightwing news site and saying that he is “sick to death” of hearing about the Hillsborough disaster.
He has identified insurance as the source of most of his wealth, although he also has mining and other investments in Africa.
After co-founding Brightside in 2005 with John Gannon and Paul Chase-Gardener, he was chief executive between 2011 and 2012. In an interview with the New Statesman, Mr Banks recalled being so angry at being ousted that he punched Mr Gannon in the face “as hard as I could”.
During Mr Banks’ time as chief executive, Brightside bought ESystems and EDevelopment for £17m, in what Mr Banks called “a significant step forward”. The companies, which provided the online platform and software used by Brightside, were owned by Rock Holdings, which was beneficially owned by Mr Banks, Mr Gannon and Mr Chase-Gardener.
In their legal claim, Brightside’s new owners state that the software’s back office functionality “never worked” and that it was “incapable” of the controls necessary to protect “client money”. Brightside’s claim accuses its auditors RSM, of failing to conduct proper due diligence. It also argues that Brightside’s wider financial problems should have been recognised by its auditors, including during Mr Banks’ time as chief executive.
RSM says it identified “a significant deficiency” in Brightside’s internal financial controls in 2011 but that the problem remained unaddressed a year later. It says it passed the relevant audit report to various executives including Mr Chase-Gardener, then the finance director, but not Mr Banks, who left in June 2012.
Brightside has also filed a claim against Mr Chase-Gardener alleging breach of his duties as a director. Mr Chase-Gardener, who is contesting that claim, did not respond to a request for comment, made via his accountant. RSM said in a statement that it “would not be appropriate for us to comment on ongoing litigation”.
Leave.EU’s Arron Banks has followed up his call to be made UKIP Chairman in order to sort the party out with an open letter.
Banks makes clear that he believes UKIP is at a crossroads and that the party can replace Labour as the opposition.
As the only contributor of any note to Ukip funding and as Ukip MEPs speclacularly fail to contribute to party funds, save it seems when they wish to buy their own selection or election, Arron Banks is effectively using money he has sourced, whether from Russia or other nefarious deals is a moot point as it is hard to locate where profits commensurate with his claimed wealth have been generated with little trace of any assetts of substance relative to his claimed wealth!
Arron Banks is effectively buying the moribund shell of Ukip, which will clearly wither without him, his aim being to buy and effectively own outright his own personal fiefdom in the political world as we move forward on the achievements of Nikki Sinclaire’s petition and the Referendum she gained for us, moving towards BreXit with Theresa May very firmly in the saqddle to negotiate the best deal she can regardless of the efforts of Labour, the SNP, The Greens, the Remoaners, much of the media and a few well funded individuals acting in self interest.
Let’s see how Paul Nuttall responds. I doubt it will be well as he will not wish to be shown for the untrustworthy inadequate he indubitably has been shown and proven to be.
The full letter reads:
The Labour Party is dying in its heartlands and remains out of touch with millions of its traditional voters.
The last General Election saw Labour collapse in Scotland. Under its current leadership, it is facing the same fate in England and Wales.
We failed to capitalise in the Stoke Central by-election because we adopted a ‘Red UKIP’ strategy which failed to appeal to the tactical Conservative voters we relied upon.
The British people have awarded Theresa May a ‘Brexit dividend’ for the time-being, however it will soon become clear that the Tories talk a good talk but fail to deliver on their promises. As they water down Brexit and bottle the opportunity to tackle immigration head on, the appetite for a party such as UKIP will return in spades.
In Copeland, UKIP voters lent their vote to the Tories in a bid to keep out Labour while Labour lost support to the Liberal Democrats.
Stoke was poorly handled in terms of messaging but more importantly we lacked the radical policies that were necessary to draw support from both traditional Labour and Conservative voters.
UKIP has been criticised for not making an electoral breakthrough but it has led the agenda in a way that no political party ever has. The pressure UKIP placed on establishment politicians throughout Nigel’s tenure led to David Cameron promising a referendum and Theresa May has effectively rebranded her Conservative Party in the UKIP mould.
The Labour campaign in Stoke Central felt it necessary to adopt key UKIP messaging just to scrape over the line, while UKIP copied the old Labour message on the NHS – not very clever!
In preparation for the referendum, Richard Tice and I created Leave.EU from scratch. Fifteen months later, it is the largest online political movement in the UK with close to a million social media followers, 100,000+ signed up members with fantastic engagement online. We recently started renewing memberships and the interest is still very high.
We pioneered AI technology for the first time in a UK election using similar techniques that helped Donald Trump storm to victory.
Our Facebook page is still growing at more than 2,000 a week with engagement levels at an all-time high. The best performing video of the campaign was viewed by 13 million people – 1/4 of the British electorate.
Leave.EU raised over £11m, more than the official Leave campaign.
Next month, we will be issuing a radical policy agenda that our team has put together for consultation where we will be asking the public and our members to contribute ideas. The best of these will be open to an online Direct Democracy system that will allow everyone to vote on the best policies.
The Leave.EU CEO visited the Five Star Movement in Italy last summer to gain a greater understanding of the technology behind the movement and we have been busy replicating their website and the Direct Democracy element of their campaign as well as exploring AI technology in greater detail.
The movement will be open for anyone to join – I urge you to sign up!
Turning to UKIP, I wouldn’t want to list the deficiencies in the party organisation as it would take too long.
As you are aware, I have offered to take over as Chairman of UKIP in order to transform it into an efficient, professional and ultimately electable party.
My first move would be to bring in a CEO from industry who would oversee the following:
A total rebrand of the image of the party.
An initial target of attaining 100,000 members within 18 months.
A professional team at the heart of the party including 15 trained professional agents to work on campaign strategy for our target seats in 2020.
Creating a policy agenda that is radical with direct input from the public using online Direct Democracy.
Engaging Nigel once again in UKIP – he is our biggest asset and needs to become energised with the party once again and work with you to deliver UKIP MPs.
The party is at a crossroads. We have to be radical to become relevant once again.
UKIP can replace Labour as the party of opposition.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked
All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.
as one commentator stated regarding Nigel Farage’s dinner with POTUS Trump:
‘Self-proclaimed anti-establishment man of the people Nigel Farage, the prophet of Brexit and Ukip demi-god, was in Washington, DC, to meet his big orange mate, President Trump.
The privately-educated bon vivant and scoundrel was spotted guzzling cocktails at the bar of the Trump International Hotel while he waited for Donald Trump to arrive’.
‘Farage, a peerage coveting ex-City boy, was among the first people to meet with Trump after his election win in November, and the two men, who hold each other in deep and lustful admiration, had a now-notorious picture together in Trump Tower’s golden lift’.
‘This time around, the photo is somewhat less iconic. Farage looks like some sort of TV prankster who bluffed his way past the US Secret Service and sat at an empty seat on Trump’s table. Only, Trump has noticed, and is telling an agent to off the random guy who just sat down’.
Another International commentators view was:
Fascinating Account (With Pics) Of What Goes Down When Trump Dines Out
Every now and again, though, POTUS manages to sneak one past the press – well, almost.
Last Saturday, at around 8PM, the Donald rolled out of the White House and headed for a secret dinner at his new flagship property in Washington D.C., the Trump Hotel.
The press weren’t informed, but a journo called Benny Johnson received a tip off and booked the table next to Trump. What played out was a rather interesting evening, complete with daughter Ivanka and British twat Nigel Farage, so let’s get started. …
Farage was fortunate to have been spotted drinking alone, at the bar in his hotel near the White House, Farage had been forced to remain in Washington for an extra night having fallen foul of White House security that thus delayed him leading to his missing his plane back to Britain.
Trump had come with his daughter and her husband for a casual evening meal at Donald Trump’s Hotel, seemingly feeling sorry for Farage and his ‘Billy no mates’ session at the bar Trump invited Farage to join them for a meal.
Farage’s staff, most probably Ms. Ferrari with whom he has been living & travelling, rapidly Tweeted the event, for as we all know he is unable to use a computer, and as his estranged wife has informed the world he does not do his own Twitter.
A fuller and seemingly better informed account follows – it all sounds very unpleasant to me, imagine eating at the table of a man who revels at being cheered and applauded for his very ordinariness and boorish behaviour in his own $Multi Million heavily leveraged converted warehouse – now The Trump Hotel in Washington – quite a good publicity stunt but when you can have the peace and privacy with family and friends just a few yards away in the White House for me it is no contest – rather than the brash need for applause and drug & bomb sweeps of the restaurant and eating surrounded by NSA agents!
The animosity between the press and President Trump has reached a fever pitch in recent days. Much of the grudge match stems from access, or lack thereof, between the President and the press.
This week, there was an outcry from journalists as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer hand selected certain outlets to join him in an off camera press conference. Trump regularly shucks his pool reporters, the members of the White House press designated to cover his every movement, so he can dine or golf in privacy. The practice of ditching the press pool is not exclusive to Trump, but highly controversial and frowned upon in journalist circles.
Last night, Trump went dark on the press again, leaving the White House with a pool reporter in tow who did not know where the President was going or what he was doing. From last night’s report:
Pool was escorted onto the South Lawn driveway at 7:32 PM, where we boarded vans in the presidential motorcade. Motorcade rolled out from the WH grounds at 8:14 PM. Destination unknown. POTUS has no public events on his schedule today.
The president was heading to his new flagship property in D.C., the Trump Hotel, for a private dinner at the BLT Steakhouse inside. Once the president arrived at the location, the reporter who was on assignment to cover him, Jordan Fabian of The Hill, was not let into the building and had to wait in the van outside for the remainder of the dinner, without a guest list or details of what was happening inside.
Inside the restaurant, I was seated at a table which I had booked hours earlier, directly next to where Trump would be dining. I made the booking based on a tip from a trusted source. I was ready to tell the story no one else would get to see and was personally fascinated to observe how a restaurant prepares for a president — and how Trump interacts when he believes no press are present.
The night was a wild one. Here is what happens when President Trump goes to dinner.
Benny Johnson/Independent Journal Review
12:01 PM Saturday, February 25th: I received a tip from a well informed source that Trump would be dining at the BLT Steakhouse inside his Trump hotel at approximately 6 PM that evening. I had seen the president dine in the restaurant before following a campaign event held at the property in October. I assumed he would take his regular table, a circular velvet one in the back on the second level of the steakhouse. I called and made a reservation for the balcony level. I wagered that if the president did not show up, at least we would get some nice pop-overs.
5:50 PM: Arrival at the Trump Hotel. One can instantly see there is heightened security. Intimidating, non-hotel staff guard the entry of the hotel, and two Secret Service members with earpieces stand outside the restaurant, observing those who enter. However, the lobby area and the restaurant remain open to the public. People freely come in and out of the building.
Inside the restaurant, on the first level, an uncommon guest is having a cocktail. It’s Nigel Farage, the Brexit leader and Trump ally, who is sitting at a table with three other people. Nigel is on what looks like a serious phone call. Our party is seated at our table upstairs, but it is rather clear that the entire staff is on edge.
The view from our table. Benny Johnson/IJR
6:15 PM: Our waiter, a very courteous man named Ivan, introduces himself. Behind him is a flurry of activity. The circular table I assumed Trump would be dining at is surrounded by staff, primping and preening it. A golden metal ‘Reserved’ sign sits atop it.
The managers of the property swoop in to look at the table every few minutes. They wear earpieces, which is odd for restaurant staff, and speak in rushed, hushed tones to each other. The occasional security person buzzes the area discretely. I ask Ivan if all this on-edge staff and security is normal. He plays it coy and merely says, “You’re in for a treat tonight.”
7:01 PM: Large men with earpieces enter the dining area. They are carrying black bags. They meticulously check the Trump table, looking underneath it and behind it, and quietly speak to one another and the staff. The managers are getting nervous, rocking and fidgeting in preparation. They nit-pick the service of their staff down to the finest detail. One waiter gets berated for having a dirty napkin on his tray. The general manager of the entire property arrives for an inspection and seems pleased, but on edge.
Secret Service presence at dinner. Benny Johnson/IJR
7:15 PM: Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and his wife walk up the stairs, past our table and are seated on the other side of the restaurant from the Trump table preparations. They are alone and dressed for a date night. Tillerson is wearing a blazer with no tie. The Secretary orders a martini and his wife orders what looks to be a Cosmo. They quietly chat with one another at their table. No major fanfare is made of their presence. Their waiter tends to them like any other customers.
Rex and his wife Renda, dining alone, away from the Trump table. Benny Johnson/IJR
7:27 PM: Security becomes less discrete. Armed men in black shirts with dogs sweep the Trump table. The highly trained dogs do not bother any of the diners but sniff where pointed, furiously, in and around where Trump is to dine. Another group of Secret Service members arrive. This group is carrying very official-looking luggage, and they inspect the space. The upstairs dining area is now at full capacity. Each table of guests are beginning to take notice that this will not be a standard Saturday night dinner. I leave to use the restroom and find Secret Service sweeping the men’s bathroom on the first floor. I am wanded by polite security as I return upstairs to my table.
7:35 PM: Two large parties arrive. One is a birthday party, seated near the Trump table upstairs in the steakhouse. People bring in presents. One man carries a gift bag which reads “You Old F**k” on the side of it. The other large party sits on the lobby couches. Approximately 20 millennial-aged cohorts in evening attire. Among them seems to be Tiffany Trump, but I have not confirmed this detail yet.
The group gets rounds of drinks and saber champagne service. With this service, a man wheels a cart up to your party, rings a bell to get everyone’s attention and uses a long knife to open a bottle of champagne, in this case Veuve Clicquot. The group cheers. Upstairs in the steakhouse, Tillerson and his wife are still dining quietly by themselves.
7:55 PM: A German Shepherd dog and armed officers can be seen patrolling the lobby of the hotel.
8:05 PM: A relatively peaceful, packed dining area is thrown into minor chaos as the restaurant manager receives word that the Trump table will be needing extra settings. A well dressed, sweaty, earpiece-clad manager sprints by our table telling his staff “Six! Six! Six!” Extra place settings are rushed to the Trump table as staff buzz around it in frantic preparation.
8:17 PM: Without any announcement or indication, President Trump enters the hotel lobby which bears his name, flanked on all sides by the Secret Service. Shock and astonishment fill the guests in the room. The woman next to me screams “Is it him? It’s really him! Oh my God! This is like a dream!” Trump is rushed by fans in the lobby as he makes his way to the steakhouse. Secret Service makes a barrier for him, and the President waves and shakes hands on his way. The young crew are the first in line. Also waiting in line as the President arrives is Nigel Farage.
Trump and Farage meeting in the lobby. Benny Johnson/IJR
Trump stops momentarily to speak with Farage and points upstairs in the steakhouse, seemingly inviting him to dinner.
The entire restaurant is now on its feet, cheering and applauding. Trump makes his way upstairs, waiving and stopping for a few selfies.
One woman shouts at him “Donald, it’s my birthday!” Trump stops and says “Happy birthday,” as he hugs the elated woman. “How about a birthday present? Let’s take a photo,” he says to her, afterward telling the woman she looks very young and has great skin.
Trump eventually sits precisely where I expected he would hours earlier. He is joined by Farage, Governor Rick Scott of Florida, and his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. My party sits just a table away, outside the president’s security barrier. Trump’s table is surrounded by agents facing outward, creating a barrier between the president and other diners. Waiters can be seen carrying large jumbo shrimp and sparkling water to the table to start the service. We are eventually, but politely, asked to sit back down at our respective tables.
8:25 PM: The President gets up and walks across the restaurant to his Secretary of State’s table. The President kisses Tillerson’s wife Renda, and he and Tillerson make small talk. They laugh and speak jovially for a few minutes as dinner guests who had been sitting next to Tillerson look on in stunned amazement. Another woman tells Trump it’s her birthday and gets a selfie. The woman tells me emotionally afterward that she had no idea Trump would be here. She booked the birthday dinner a month ago and said meeting Trump here was, “like meeting Walt Disney in Disneyland.”
Trump greets the Tillersons. Benny Johnson/IJR
Trump, Gov. Scott and Tillerson. Benny Johnson/IJR
8:30 PM: Trump leaves the Tillersons to their date night and heads back to his table. I get ahead of him and squeeze in one question, asking the President if he will be attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this year. “No,” he says with a smirk, “You like that?” The crowd around me cheers in agreement as Trump sits down with his party.
8:45 PM: Trump is served his entree. According to a waiter, who wished to remain anonymous:
“The President ordered a well-done steak. An aged New York strip. He ate it with catsup as he always does. The sides and appetizers on the table were shared. Three jumbo shrimp cocktails were delivered before the meal. At one point, the President looked at his watch and remarked ”They are filming ‘Saturday Night Live’ right now. Can’t wait to see what they are gonna do to me this week.“ It was hard to serve him because he is so funny and relaxed, it makes you laugh.”
Trump talks jovially with his guests for the next two hours. His iconic hand motions fill the space as dinner is served.
9:31 PM: Tillerson and his wife cross the restaurant and enter the Secret Service barrier of Trump’s table. The Secretary of State makes small talk with Nigel Farage and the Trump family. The Tillersons say their goodnights to the party and leave the steakhouse to cheers and handshakes from other guests. I am told by restaurant staff that Trump picked up their tab for dinner.
Tillerson and Farage, laughing. Benny Johnson/IJR
10:14 PM: Trump and his party get up to leave. The president is stopped momentarily for selfies and handshakes. Discretely, Trump can be seen handing cash to one of the latino busboys for his table. The president handed the young man a $100 bill.
Trump hands a young busboy $100. Benny Johnson/IJR
The President exits the restaurant and addresses a long line of adoring visitors waiting for him in the hotel lobby.
Trump signs some items, takes some photos and pauses just before leaving, joining in on a “USA” chant while pumping his fist.
10:20 PM: Trump exits the building.
11:01 PM: Nigel Farage can be found wandering the lobby of the hotel with a large glass of red wine. His teeth are wine-stained, and the British politician is happily swaying and speaking with anyone who approaches him. I ask what it is like to come to the United States and have the President ask you to dinner. Farage says:
“Well it’s really quite wonderful. But as I’ve gotten to know Donald, it really just does not surprise me. You know what amazes me about your President? He is a regular bloke. Truly. Just a normal chap. Upstairs at dinner, he spoke to the table like any regular guy out to dine with friends and family. There is no pretension at all.”
I pressed Farage for further details on what the president spoke about at dinner, and the Brexit leader just laughed and said it was nothing that interesting, with a smirk and a wink.
That is what it is like to have dinner next to President Trump.
To view the original article CLICK HERE Regards, Greg_L-W.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked
All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.
After Paul Nuttall’s torrid experience, and embarrassing result, in Stoke-on-Trent Central, a party already prone to vicious factional infighting appears to be at daggers drawn once more. One NEC member described Nuttall to me as “weak and walking wounded” in the aftermath of the by-election, which is never a good reputation for a party leader to develop – particularly when they became leader by default in the first place. Elsewhere, senior UKIP figures openly mock Nuttall as “Andy Capp”, a reference to the layabout cartoon character inspired by Nuttall’s ever-present tweed cap.
Arron Banks, the multi-millionaire donor who has kept them afloat thus far, demanded over the weekend that he be made chairman and given the power to purge Douglas Carswell, the sole UKIP MP, among others. He has made similar demands before, and is now threatening to withdraw all financial support unless he gets his way.
For a party whose money troubles are set to get worse when Brexit abolishes their lucrative band of MEPs, Banks’s threat has power. The same NEC source says: “After Stoke [the] future is bleak and we need money. To me Arron is [the] best hope…if we don’t accept Banks he will set up [a] new outfit with Farage”.
Banks has certainly been testing the water for a new party for some time. History – and Leave.EU’s chaotic record – suggests that such an outfit would struggle, but that matters rather less than the damage it would do to UKIP simply by existing. He seems to have the will, as well as the means, to go through with his threat regardless of the wisdom of doing so.
So, with a severely weakened leader and a desperate need for cash, it’s not impossible that the NEC will accept his terms. If they do, it would mean not just kicking out Carswell but also various other senior figures whom Banks dislikes. Some are uncomfortable about the idea of more infighting, while others dislike the prospect of appearing to be bought outright by a donor. Peter Whittle, UKIP’s Deputy Leader, told Marr yesterday that “if Arron were to take his money, there are other people”.
On the face of it, it doesn’t sound like this week is going to be much better than last week for UKIP or Nuttall. Another NEC member predicts that today’s meeting will be “emotional” – regardless of the outcome, that looks likely.
you will I am sure have noted that I predicted that in their utterly predictable failure in Stoke they would start to tear their own hear4t out, just as Ukip always has in the past. Paul Nuttall can be assured to lack the integrity to admit it was his own abject incompetence and undeniable duplicity and dishonesty backed by incompetent idiots managing his failed campaign that caused Ukip to fail to win in Stoke – most probably the most likely and easiest seat for Ukip to win in the whole UK!
Increasingly Ukip confirm they have not got, nor have they ever had or ever will have a rle in British domestic politics – even if they had a single ethical member of any standing to put forward as a candidate it is unlikely they will ever have an MP in Westminster other than the odd turncoat who had established themselves in their constituency and failed within their original party of choice. Such as the tree they have had to date, only one of whom was returned as an MP.
Even Ukip’s comic has published details of how they have collapsed into the gutter squabbling:
1 day ago – Ukip donor calls for Douglas Carswell to be ‘REMOVED’ in fresh party feud. … UKIP’s only MP Douglas Carswell has been branded a “disgrace” in a scathing attack by the party’s largest donor. … Arron Banks said the former Conservative politician was a “poor return for four …
2 days ago – UKIP RIFTS: Douglas Carswell is a ‘DISGRACE’ and must be EXPELLED from party, MEP claims. … DOUGLAS Carswell must be expelled from Ukip or leave the party after his “disgraceful” comments on Question Time, a leading MEP has blasted. … Mr Etheridge told the Express.co.uk: “Douglas …
UKIP RIFTS: Douglas Carswell is a ‘DISGRACE’ and must be EXPELLED from party, MEP claims
DOUGLAS Carswell must be expelled from Ukip or leave the party after his “disgraceful” comments on Question Time, a leading MEP has blasted.
PUBLISHED: 02:34, Fri, Feb 24, 2017 | UPDATED: 08:22, Fri, Feb 24, 2017
Bill Etheridge, Ukip’s MEP for the West Midlands, was scathing in his criticism of the former Tory MP after he called the party’s values and principles into question on the same night Paul Nuttall was fighting a crucial by-election in Stoke-on-Trent Central.
Ukip’s defence spokesman also attacked Mr Carswell for his remarks on former party leader Nigel Farage – who was not in Stoke for the by-election count amid rumours of new rifts within the party.
Bill Etheridge blasted Douglas Carswell for his remarks on the party
Bill Etheridge MEP said Carswell should resign from Ukip
Frankly, it’s time that action was taken to deal with this kind of behaviour and these kind of comments
Bill Etheridge MEP
Mr Etheridge told the Express.co.uk: “Douglas Carswell’s performance on Question Time was an absolute disgrace.
“His criticism of Nigel Farage, and what’s more, his criticism of the values of our party and the smug, smirky manner in which he has done it on a night what is so important to our party is a disgrace.
“Frankly, it’s time that action was taken to deal with this kind of behaviour and these kind of comments.
“All the people who might agree with Mr Carswell and disagree with the values of our party should seriously consider their position and look at joining another party or at least leave Ukip so that we can continue with the important, radical work that Nigel Farage started and Paul Nuttall will continue.”
Douglas Carswell labelled Nigel Farage’s unsuccessful campaign in South Thanet as “mayhem” and smirked as he slammed the leading Brexiteer for “representing LBC” rather than Ukip – despite stating he would not “take a dig” at the former leader.
He said: “That to me is a disgraceful thing to say. The reason we don’t get the benefit of the doubt is due to smears and attacks by our opponents.
“We should be defending our party and be positive about the values we put forward.
Brexit: Which parts of the UK had the majority vote?
Fri, February 17, 2017
Much of the North East of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union including Sunderland, Gateshead, Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside, and Northumberland. Newcastle was the only borough to vote to remain.
GREAT YARMOUTH: The town of Great Yarmouth on the East Coast of England voted by 72% to leave the European Union.
“As Nigel Farage said last week, if Ukip aren’t a radical party, we will amount to nothing… We will not change.
“We will continue to be a radical, reforming party who continue to challenge the status quo.
“Mr Carswell wants to make us more mainstream. The whole purpose of Ukip is to be a radical party who finds the consensus. His performance tonight is proof positive that he has no future in our party.”
Paul Nuttall narrowly lost the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election
Mr Etheridge said he would be taking the matter to the Ukip’s National Executive Committee (NEC) – who would have the power to make the decision to sack Mr Carswell – after receiving support from “grassroots activists and all throughout the party”.
Paul Nuttall received a vocal show of support from Mr Etheridge, but he added his campaign in Stoke-on-Trent had “suffered” because of the advice he had received from certain members within the party.
Mr Etheridge said: “Paul is a great man and a great leader. He has suffered from very poor efforts of advice by people who have got close to him and I think it’s time the rest of the party supported Paul properly and helped him get the party back on the right track, which is a radical, libertarian party.”
The Express.co.uk has contacted Mr Carswell for a response.
It took less than twenty-four hours from the moment Paul Nuttall was soundly defeated in Stoke and like clockwork, the infighting and bullying within UKIP had already begun. We predicted as much in our piece published earlier in the week and we’re sure nobody reading this is really surprised.
The target this time is someone who is well used to being attacked by his own side and in true UKIP fashion, their one electable and somewhat moderate MP, Douglas Carswell, is facing calls for his expulsion from Bill Etheridge after he made “disgraceful statements” on BBC Question Time last night.
Perhaps Carswell made racist comments or endorsed torture. Maybe he posted false statements about his presence at a disastrous and tragic event. Or did he make multiple sexual harassment calls to women while employed as an adviser to the party?
No he did much, much worse. The Clacton MP is arguably UKIP’s last remaining source of credibility in a party that is beyond toxic and – unlike the majority of his party’s other elected MEPs – is actually known to be a good constituency MP. But the parliamentarian made an indiscretion that UKIP cannot tolerate, a sin so heinous that his immediate expulsion must be arranged.
He suggested that voters have issues with the way UKIP conducts itself and in turn, this may have an impact on why people don’t vote for them. In the twisted and dark world of the UK Independence Party this is sacrilege of the highest order. An inquisition must surely be formed – just don’t call the NEC.
“We as a party need to ask ourselves “what is it, what is it to do with our values, what is it about us?” that means many people aren’t giving us the benefit of the doubt. That’s a key question, regardless of the outcome of the by-election.” – Douglas Carswell MP’s “disgraceful statement”.
It is not the MP’s first run-in with UKIP’s bully boy routine. Last year members of the Young Independence youth movement applauded and cheered when MEP David Coburn declared that “hanging would be too good” for Douglas Carswell at the YI conference.
There have also been multiple briefings and attacks against Carswell placed in the media, including a report that “dark forces” within UKIP had attempted to cause problems in the former Tory’s marriage by launching a blackmail plot – apparently as a way of punishing him for supposed crimes against the party.
The disgraceful behaviour can only be described as a bullying campaign and it is no wonder the MP refuses to attend party conferences and meetings. Perhaps he is worried about his personal safety, after-all, the last time he attended he was verbally abused by UKIP’s most prolific donor.
What makes it all the more shocking is that this campaign is being led and endorsed by UKIP’s elected MEPs, using their media and social media profiles to seek and destroy their man in Westminster; enabling like-minded UKIP supporters and thus expanding the bullying campaign. UKIP MEPs routinely like and re-tweet posts which viciously attack perceived party enemies including Carswell, Suzanne Evans and others, using their profiles as elected members of the European Parliament, not just their private accounts.
UKIP’s MEPs routinely use their media and social media reach to attack their solitary MP.
It’s is exactly this type of behaviour and culture that led to the shocking scenes in Strasbourg last year when UKIP MEPs Steven Woolfe and Mike Hookem let their fists fly in a vote meeting; a boiling over of internal tension that concluded in Woolfe’s seizure and hospital stay. It was not outside the realms of possibility that he could have died as a result of his injuries. Thank god he did not.
Long before “the scuffle” Woolfe had confided in his staff that he was “under attack” by senior UKIP figures, including Paul Nuttall, claiming: “They are out to get me.”
The former UKIP MEP was so concerned by bullying and intimidation among parliamentary staff that he instructed one of his aides to “protect himself” and “not take the bullying”.
Steven Woolfe acknowledges the bullying culture within UKIP in a text conversation with an aide in December 2015.
We have been told of several other alleged violent altercations between UKIP MEPs and /or staff in previous years. Readers will also remember that one of UKIP’s own ethnic minority aides was attacked in his office by the party’s Brussels press chief when he dared to speak up about racism and bullying within the EFDD group.
Judging UKIP by their words and actions it is painfully obvious that this type of “altercation” is the rule rather than the exception. Bullying, intimidation violence and the threat of physical force is a way of life within UKIP.
To view the original of this article CLICK HERE
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked
All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.
you will have noted HERE that I consider Paul Nuttall to be untrustworthy and unreliable, calling into question his somewhat belated stories about Hillsborough.
Yo may recall that in that same post I stated that the only convincing provenance that Paul Nuttall was at Hillsborough on that fatefull day would be photographic. Sadly it seems Nuttall chose not to convince but to exploit the Operation Resolve report fror his own personal gain by seeking to make his story of being at Hillsborough less implausible by finally choosing to make a statement, clearly for his own gain as had it been for the families, the bereaved and justice he would have made the statement at least 20 years ago. There is little point in adding his supposed experiences long after the even but indeed long after the findings of the report have been published!
Judge calls #Nuttall ‘implausible’ – can his #Hillsborough statement be trusted?
Yesterday morning, UKIP leader and Stoke Central parliamentary candidate Paul Nuttall told BBC Radio 5 that he had spent ‘more than 3 hours’ giving a statement on his allegedexperiences at the Hillsborough tragedy to police officers of Operation Resolve, the criminal investigation into the unlawful deaths of 96 Liverpool fans.
The SKWAWKBOX has enquiries in with Greater Manchester Police’s press officer about the nature and duration of the statement and their curious description of his visit as ‘he met the criteria for giving a statement’, but evidence has emerged this morning that calls into question the veracity of any information Mr Nuttall included in his statement.
In 2010, then-UKIP Press Officer Mark Croucher took Greg Lance-Watkins of the then-named Caterpillars and Butterflies blog (now Eukup vs UKIP) to court for allegedly violating copyright by his use of an image of Nigel Farage, claiming a punitive sum of around £100,000.
Mr Croucher lost the case and the judge awarded Mr Lance-Watkins £13,000 including all his costs – a sum for which he is still waiting seven years later. The lawyers’ ‘note of judgment’ on the judge’s decision to ‘strike down’ Mr Croucher’s case can be found here.
However, of primary interest to us today is that then-UKIP Chairman Paul Nuttall submitted a statement in support of Mr Croucher’s case – a statement which the judge called ‘implausible‘.
If Paul Nuttall is prepared to submit a statement that the judge considered incredible, unbelievable, in a sworn document to a court of law, why should – how can – we believe that any statement he made to Operation Resolve is reliable and not a desperate attempt to restore his image by doing something he should have done decades ago if his claim to have been at Hillsborough was genuine?
Other than yet another photo of Godfrey Bloom, indistinguishable from others and claimed by Ukip’s Press & Publicity Officer to have been used sometime earlier in leaflets and for the media to reprint there was this photograph of Nigel Farage:
Stqanding in a puddle on a building site and widely available on various web sites without any attribution – the judge found in my favour, not surprisingl!
For more on Nuttall’s apparent perfidy re Hillsborough & his implausible claims and CV CLICK HERE & HERE & HERE & ALSO HERE & CLICK HERE & CLICK HERE + CLICK HERE
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked
All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.
Why the questions about #Paul_Nuttall, #Ukip and #Hillsborough need proper answers, particularly in view of the lies, distortions and fabrications that are proven that render Nuttall and Ukip untrustworthy and implausible …
was deliberate, a Freudian slip or just an apposite typo!
Interestingly I am given to understand that there is a photographic record, in detail, of those who were involved in the tragedy at Hillsborough and the ajoining stands – I feel it is incumbent on Ukip, to some extent, to restore the credibility of their leader by making strenuous efforts to investigate this record so that Paul Nuttall can point out his father, his two uncles and himself on the relevant photographs.
In view of Paul Nuttall’s undeniable dishonesty and Walter Mittyesque delusional self promotion and fantasy CV and lack of integrity in permitting his employee Lynda Roughley to try to defend him by accepting the blame for his postings on the web site and for that matter, without much clearer validation, his willingness to permit his father to seek to defend his comments about Hillsborough, there is an undeniable display of lack of integrity in his behaviour and claims – at best.
On the Hillsborough I believe the only acceptable response Ukip can now make is to provide the irrefutable photographic evidence that Paul Nuttall was in the zone that can justify his claims to have been a ‘survivour’. It is my hope that he can provide this third party proof, as without it any individual of any integrity would immediately resign as leader of Ukip, as a candidate in the Stoke by-election, as an MEP and from any public office now or in the future – donating any further income or pension entitlements in favour of The Hillsborough Survivours Group for the genuine survivours.
It would seem I am not alone in my doubts and criticism – a position I have held since my first revelations on the matter, long before the issue was a public matter!
I concede that I too user the terminology ‘accident’ relative to the Hillsborough tragedy as although there is no doubt that, as proven, members of the police lied to establish a cover-up of their crass incompetence in a manner which makes one wonder why all those who have been proven to have thus lied have not been prosecuted and where apposite ignominiously sentenced and discharged from the police and any pensions therefrom.
Similarly it was foolish of some in the media and in public office to comment adversley – The Sun and various journalists and politicians included – however it is understandable that they took the assertions of the police at face value, particularly as there was no clear immediate information readily available that refuted the police claims, of which I am aware.
That it was an ‘accident’ is, in my opinion, irrefutable as I can see absolutely no evidence of a premeditated plan to cause injury, merely a gross incompetence on the part of senior police officers and a criminal attempt to lie inorder to cover-up their utter incompetence and failure of judgement.
Why the questions about Paul Nuttall and Hillsborough need proper answers – Phil Scraton
Professor Phil Scraton calls for ULIP leader to fully clarify his position
By – Phil Scraton
16:01, 20 FEB 2017
Updated16:02, 20 FEB 2017
It was August 2011 when Paul Nuttall , now leader of UKIP and parliamentary candidate for Stoke Central, publicly announced that ‘close personal friends’ had lost their lives at Hillsborough .
Five months later, in support of a petition initiated by Anne Williams , whose son had died, he repeated his loss adding that he understood ‘as well as anyone how deep the scars of that tragedy go’. Not least because he, 12 years old at the time, was a ‘survivor’.
Questioned last week about the veracity of his claims he stated that ‘an impression was given that was not accurate’. Despite the claims having been quoted directly from his words, UKIP press officer, Lynda Roughley, took full responsibility and offered her resignation. In a heated Twitter exchange UKIP’s major donor, Arron Banks, stated he was ‘sick to death’ hearing about Hillsborough – ‘it was a disaster and that’s it, not some sort of a cultural happening’. He added, ‘milking a tragedy forever is sick’.
On Friday in an address to the UKIP faithful a tearful Paul Nuttall failed to distance himself from Banks’ comments. Instead he said he had been subjected to a co-ordinated, cruel and almost evil smear campaign’. Nigel Farage came to his defence with an attack on Labour.
According to Farage, Nuttall had ‘tried again and again to help to do whatever needed to be done and they [Labour] kept him out of it for years’. For ‘political reasons’ Nuttall had been deliberately excluded from ‘victim support groups’. This was an absurd allegation. Knowing the campaigns as well as I, no-one tells the families or survivors what to do, least of all political parties.
Through the past 27 years I have read hundreds of testimonies from Hillsborough survivors, rescuers, witnesses and the bereaved. I am well aware that in the aftermath of disasters some might exaggerate, even fabricate, their experiences. For others, as the recent inquests demonstrated, their memories are anything but precise. I’m not that concerned to know whether or not Paul Nuttall, as he maintains, was at Hillsborough in 1989 – and 1988. But given his public standing and the impact of his comments on the bereaved and survivors at such a sensitive time, I do want to know more.
Repeatedly he has claimed ‘survivor’ status. What exactly does this mean? The crush outside the turnstiles? Or the fatal crush in the central pens on the terraces which claimed the lives of 96 men, women and children, that left over 400 seriously injured and many thousands traumatised. These are the survivors, many bereft and traumatised, others who have taken their own lives, or have died prematurely as a direct consequence of the pains of survival.
Paul Nuttall states that on entering the ground he was in the ‘upper tier’. What does that mean exactly? There are two possibilities. Either the ‘upper tier’ standing pen 7 at the north end of the Leppings Lane terrace or the West Stand seated area above the terrace. While fans in both places witnessed the horrendous scenes in the central pens they were not survivors of the fatal crush. Yet his portrayal of survival appears consistent with his original claim that ‘close personal friends’ had died. A claim he has now admitted was false and for which he has accepted responsibility.
But what of his full story? On the day, how did he and his family members travel to Hillsborough? What time did they arrive at the ground? Were they in the crush at the turnstiles, did they enter through Gate C, and were they in the pens or in the West Stand? These are the questions put to the many witnesses interviewed by the current investigation teams. They were the focus of questioning survivors’ testimonies at the inquests. In the aftermath, when the Taylor Inquiry appealed for witnesses, did Paul Nuttall’s party offer to be interviewed? Did they volunteer statements?
There is a further coincidental dimension to all this. The Hillsborough Project, of which I was the director, was based at what is now Edge Hill University, then a college of higher education. We wrote two substantial reports, in 1990 and 1995. We worked with Jimmy McGovern on his award-winning drama-documentary, Hillsborough, first broadcast in late 1996. I accompanied many families to the Stuart-Smith scrutiny of new evidence and wrote three submissions. In 1999 I published the first edition of Hillsborough: The Truth. It was widely publicised and serialised in the Sunday Mirror.
A year later the prosecutions of the two senior officers at Hillsborough were held in Leeds. Towards the end of 2000 I published the second edition of the book. The coverage, especially in the North West, was extensive. We hosted meetings with families and survivors at Edge Hill. Paul Nuttall studied History at the College. Our Centre was in the heart of the campus. We must have passed each other on numerous occasions – on the pavements, corridors, coffee bar and so on. He would have walked past our Centre many times.
During that period, given the massive publicity our work received, Paul Nuttall could not have failed to know about the Project, its work with the bereaved and survivors.
Yet he never approached us, never shared his experiences. I understand fully there were many people who were, and have remained, unable to talk about what they witnessed on the day. What is not so readily explained is why Paul Nuttall did not drop by for even a confidential conversation, why he held back on disclosure until the Hillsborough Independent Panel was in session and why he chose national television as the forum to break his silence? These are questions of timing and context that, alongside the questions regarding the details of his experiences on the day, require explanation.
If Paul Nuttall was not a prominent politician, these questions would not matter. But he is now a significant public figure and his party has called out others on matters of trust, frankness and openness. Given that flaws in his Hillsborough story have been exposed and admitted, and the bereaved families and survivors are in the midst of a crucial period in the ongoing investigations, the questions detailed here require answers.
According to recent reports Paul Nuttall is under investigation by the European Parliament, along with fellow UKIP MEPs, for alleged misuse of funds. He is also reported as being under police investigation for alleged election fraud in the current by-election. Having erroneously stated in his on-line CV that he held a doctorate and also that he had played soccer professionally, it has emerged this week that he falsely claimed membership of the Board of the North West Training Council.
Regarding Hillsborough, it is time for him to make a full statement, in as much detail as memory allows, recounting his journey to Sheffield, arrival at – and entry into – the ground, his precise location inside, his proximity to the central pens and his journey home. He might also explain why his family did not volunteer statements to the investigations at the time, including their experiences of Leppings Lane in the previous year.
Professor Phil Scraton is author of Hillsborough: The Truth, was lead researcher and primary author of the Hillsborough Panel’s Independent Report and advisor to the Hillsborough Families’ legal teams throughout the recent inquests.