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Archive for May 7th, 2019

MERCHANT, Piers 21-Sept-2009 – IN MEMORIAM

Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 07/05/2019

21-Sept IN MEMORIAM Piers MERCHANT

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Piers Merchant

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Piers Rolf Garfield Merchant
(born: 2 January 1951) & (died: 21 September 2009)
aged 58

Piers Merchant was a politician in the United Kingdom.
He was Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Beckenham, but resigned in October 1997.

Before he became an MP he was a journalist and marketing officer.

Merchant was educated at Nottingham High School and the University of Durham where he was Senior Man of University College’s JCR. He was first elected to the House of Commons at the 1983 general election, for the Newcastle Central constituency, he lost the seat at the June 1987 general election. He stood for Beckenham at the 1992 general election and won.

MPs cannot technically resign; instead he took the offices of Steward of the Manor of Northstead, which automatically led to his disqualification.

In the 2004 European Parliament election, Merchant stood for the UK Independence Party in the North East England constituency, at the top of their party list. He was not elected.

Piers Merchant worked for some years, in various capacities, for UKIP, having been at one time political advisor to Roger Knapman the UKIP leader during their sucessful 2004 election and also for a short time acted as UKIP General Secretary until a suitable individual could be found full time.

In 2005, Merchant relocated to Great Torrington in North Devon. Merchant is also a member of Mensa.

It is with regret that I inform you that in early July 2009 Piers was diagnosed as having advanced prostate cancer leading to multi site metastatic cancer, the prognosis being bleak. His wife Helen supported by their two children is with him at this time. (07-Jul-09)

It is with regret that I inform you that on 21-Sep-2009 Piers Merchant died after a short terminal illness. The cause of death was multi site metastatic prostate cancer.

Piers Merchant leaves his wife Helen and their daughter and a teenage son. Piers had faced his illness with courage, supported by his family, and leaves many friends and colleagues, Piers’ brother will find it particularly hard as their Mother had died only a matter of a few months ago after a brief terminal illness, though at a much more acceptable age.

The EUroRealist movement has lost an indefatiguable campaigner and a well informed advocate, whose contribution in UKIP has been immense. He will be remembered with affection by his many colleagues in UKIP and before that from his days as a Conservative MP and before.

It is sad that his colleagues in UKIP did so little to defend his name when he was lied about and defamed by Mark Croucher, Douglas Denny and others who claimed he had betrayed the party by being ‘Junius’ when clearly he was not nor ever wrote as part of that team as proven when he died. There were even lies put forward that he had tampered with UKIP web site to send copies of eMails to him for publication on Junius.

This was clearly all too typical of the dishonesty of UKIP’s leadership team and its odious claque of self serving low lifes.

Not ONE of UKIP’s leaders or followers spoke out in his defence, either before or after his demise!

My personal condolences to their children Alethea and Rolf and to his widow Helen Merchant (nee Burrlock) whom he married in 1977. Helen loyally stood by Piers throughout the visicitudes of a colourfull and productive life, whilst maintaining a high powered career in her own right.

Much of Piers’ life was spent in service to British liberty and democracy, though he will be remembered by many for his colourfull private life – a life too soon lost!

Further details of his life can be found if you CLICK HERE:

Piers Merchant

Piers Merchant, who has died aged 58, was a Conservative MP catapulted out of relative obscurity by being photographed locked in a passionate embrace with a blonde “hostess” at the height of the 1997 general election campaign.

The campaign had up until that point been dominated by a succession of stories about Tory financial and sexual “sleaze”. But the photograph, taken in broad daylight in a park in the married MP’s Beckenham constituency, represented a nadir in the party’s fortunes.

The Sun, which had switched allegiance from the Conservatives to Labour just days earlier, published the photograph on its front page and accused Merchant of indulging in “an open-air sex romp”.

It identified the object of his affections as being one Anna Cox, a 17-year-old who had worked at the Casa Rosa nightclub in Soho in the euphemistically-named “hostess” business. The newspaper accused Merchant of having an affair with Cox and wrote a trenchant leader column demanding that he be “publicly horsewhipped”.

“I’m not old enough to vote – but I’m old enough to know when I’ve been used,” the paper quoted her as saying.

The story dominated the election for five days. The errant MP was dubbed “sleaze Merchant” and castigated for epitomising everything that was wrong with the rapacious Conservative Party under John Major.

His parliamentary colleagues, among whom he was almost universally well-respected, privately wondered how he could have been so stupid. The Tory high command publicly called on him to “consider his position”.

The hapless Merchant protested his innocence and told anyone who would listen that he had been set up. He insisted that the tryst had lasted for less than two minutes and that he had met Cox on no more than a handful of previous occasions. One of his few public supporters was his wife Helen, who conceded that her husband had been a “bloody fool” but said that she still loved him regardless.

Despite the uproar, Merchant held Beckenham with a respectable majority at an election in which the Tory party suffered its worst defeat since 1832. The matter might have ended there. But Merchant, determined to get to the bottom of the episode, decided that the only way to find out the truth was to befriend Cox.

He successfully achieved this by employing her as a researcher to work on a book he was writing about parliamentary sex scandals. Cox revealed, he said, that she had been recruited straight out of Soho to act as a “honey trap” by The Sun. The paper was apparently anxious to stitch up some Tory MPs as an act of fealty to its new political overlords in the Labour Party.

As chance would have it, The Sun‘s deputy news editor, Neil Wallis, was an old rival of Merchant’s from their days spent working on local newspapers in the North East. Cox had been speculatively sent along to a Tory meeting to get close to Merchant, just in case his eye for an attractive young girl got the better of his judgment.

It did. After asking if she could accompany him around the constituency as he delivered his election material, Cox then suggested they take a detour through a local park. The couple sat on a bench where, Merchant claimed, Cox made a pass at him. Unbeknown to the MP, a photographer from The Sun was concealed in a nearby ditch.

The majority of Merchant’s friends regarded his story as being so wildly improbable as to be almost certainly true. Years later, Merchant told friends, it was confirmed by Stuart Higgins, who had been editor of The Sun at the time of the exposé.

But the tale had another twist. By the time Merchant had extracted the information from Cox, the pair had embarked on an affair. Merchant took Cox to the Tory conference in Blackpool that year, and afterwards for a two-night break in York at a discreet flat owned by his former researcher, Anthony Gilberthorpe. In fact, Merchant was about to fall victim to another tabloid sting. Gilberthorpe had been paid £25,000 by the Sunday Mirror, whose journalists had wired the flat with concealed video recorders to capture the couple’s cavortings.

After the Mirror published, the ever-loyal Helen Merchant made a toe-curling appearance on the doorstep of the family home with Merchant and Cox. The wronged wife insisted that Anna was a family friend with whom she was happy for her husband to spend his nights.

Merchant quit as an MP 48 hours later by applying to become steward of the Manor of Northstead. Though he was no longer in public life, the Sunday Mirror ran photographs from his bedroom “romp” with Cox on its front page for two further weeks. Years later, Merchant wryly remarked that not even the death of the Queen Mother had merited three consecutive front pages in the paper.

Piers Rolf Garfield Merchant was born on January 2 1951, the son of a schoolmaster. After leaving Durham University in 1973, his first job was as a reporter on the Newcastle Journal.

He contested Newcastle Central for the Tories in 1979. He stood there again in 1983 and was duly elected in the first of the Thatcher landslides. It was not natural Tory territory so it came as no surprise when he lost the seat in 1987.

He became director of public affairs at the Advertising Association. But, as a committed Thatcherite, Merchant was desperate to get back into the Commons. After being rejected by seven Tory associations, Merchant only clinched the Beckenham nomination when, in the wake of Thatcher’s political assassination by the party’s left wing, he cast notes aside and spoke from the heart.

It was during the 1992-97 parliament that his ready political skills were put to good use as PPS to Peter Lilley, the then social security secretary. After resigning his seat in 1997, Merchant went to work for the London Chamber of Commerce. When the LCC’s board announced its intention to merge with the big business organisation London First, he waged a highly effective campaign to stop it happening.

Although he was notionally part of the management team charged with driving the merger through, he utilised a series of political ploys to stretch negotiations out for two years before they finally collapsed at an acrimonious EGM.

Merchant was unfailingly good-humoured about being derided as a figure of fun by the Westminster village. He became chief executive of the United Kingdom Independence Party in 2004 and was put in charge of running its campaign in the Hartlepool by-election that year.

When the party’s star turn Robert Kilroy-Silk came to campaign in the constituency, Merchant arranged for his Jaguar to be met outside the town by a huge convoy of party and media vehicles.

The former television presenter could not have been more feted by the locals if he had been the Pope. Merchant, who had orchestrated events from beginning to end, let on to nobody that Kilroy had sent him a handwritten note the day before.

“Please do not stand within ten yards of me,” it read. “Because I’m sure you’ll understand that I do not wish to be photographed alongside you.”

Piers Merchant, who had cancer, died on September 21. He married Helen Burrluck in 1977, and is survived by her, one son and one daughter.

In accord with Piers’ view of The EU –
Write Upon Your Ballot Paper at EVERY election:
LEAVE THE EU
to
GET YOUR COUNTRY BACK
Gregg Beaman’s Blog said…
It is terribly sad. Piers will be greatly missed by all who had the good fortune to know him, to whatever degree. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
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IN MEMORIAM: Mark Fitzgeorge-Parker aka Mark Daniel 1942 > 03-May-2014

Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 07/05/2019

IN MEMORIAM: Mark Fitzgeorge-Parker aka Mark Daniel 1942 > 03-May-2014
.

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IN MEMORIAM: Mark Fitzgeorge-Parker aka Mark Daniel Born 1942 Died 03-May-2014 Mark sadly died in Cheltenham of pneumonia aged 72

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Mark Daniel photo
Mark Fitzgeorge-Parker who used the nom de plume Mark Daniel was born 1942
he sadly died early in the morning on Saturday 03-May-2014, in Cheltenham of pneumonia, aged 72.
I was saddened to hear of the untimely death of Mark who I first met in 2005 when he phoned me up and asked if I would permit him to buy me lunch in Chepstow as he was researching a book on UKIP for Roger Knapman:
KNAPMAN, Roger 02
who was at that time the leader of UKIP.
Subsequently we spoke in detail, often several times a week and asked to be on my mailing list, whilst he researched his book.
Mark was an interesting and well informed character and I soon learned from him of his Ampleforth & Cambridge education and the background and details of his earlier life and career. He made no effort to disguise any part of his colourful life, be that prison for passing dud cheques or being sued by his Father!
In 2005, shortly before the election, he published his book ‘Cranks & Gadflies, The Story of UKIP’, which is still thwe best and most accurate history and exposee of UKIP to that date. I well recall at the time Roger proclaimed his support for the book however I well remember Nigel Farage’s reticence to promote the book as he felt it was a little too accurate and comprehensive, perhaps as comment6ators said ‘warts and all’. Sadly no better nor more accurate book has been written about UKIP.
It is notable that despite Nigel’s reticence the book soon sold out and was very readable such that Mark was subsequently commissioned by Nigel Farage to write the two books about him, Mark was sufficiently competent a writer to write to a brief and be able to put a slant on a book to flatter and promote his client!
FARAGE, Nigel 39 The BookThe quote which was added was a comment made by Nigel farage’s long term associate the anti Islamic extremist and liar who inclines to incite racial hatred, Gerard Batten a UKIP MEP.
Mark’s second book promoting Farage was ‘Flying Free’ published in 2011.
In keeping with Mark’s willingness to publish warts and all when unrestrained the following review of his book on UKIP tells much of his history and personality:

‘A party of idiots, paranoiacs, whores and vagabonds’

Alexander Waugh reviews Cranks and Gadflies: the Story of UKIP by Mark Daniel.
19 Jun 2005
Isn’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.
To see the original of this extended review CLICK HERE
A close friend of Mark’s, Hannah Wright, said:

“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.”

I must say I found Mark to have all of these attributes and characteristics and thoroughly enjoyed my conversations with him and was flattered by the amount he used my then frequent eMails and my blogging as a source for his research, as of course did both media and UKIP leadership alike.

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.

Mark having lived in Italy, Ireland and France was fluent in both French and Italian and during my dealings with him was taking trips on costal cruisers in Norway and other Scandinavian ports as part of his work whilst living in Exeter as a regular columnist for The Western Morning News. Not only had he written 1,000s of columns for a variety of media but had published some 41 books.
In 2011 Mark moved to Cheltenham to live closer to his 20 year old son Kit.
Having moved to Montpellier in Cheltenham he threw himself, with his notable enthusiasm and commitment to people into life in Cheltenham and last year stood in the Gloucester County Council election for Lansdown and Park and this year was standing for a seat on Cheltenham Borough Council in Charlton Park ward. He had also stood for UKIP in the past when in Exeter.
An impressive intellect and sound knowlege in many fields will make the death of Mark a loss to many – the world is less colourful for his departure.
My condolences to his family and those whose lives he had touched.
.

Regards,

Greg_L-W..

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Posted in Mark DANIELS, Mark Fitzgeorge - Parker, UKIP | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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