as a result of ongoing reliable contacts both within Ukip’s heirarchy and in the EU and politics in general – you will remember that back before Christmas we cautioned that Ukip was under investigation for its financial behaviour and seeming abuse of money from the public purse.
We cautioned that a sum well into 6 figures (we thought around £160K) had been used in a manner that could be perceived as criminal for polls and surveys to boost Nigel Farage’s chances of being elected and let us face it Nigel Farage is nothing if not a chancer!
We now gather that some £172,000 was in fact used for polls in contravention of permitted process!
It would seem that our suggestion that Ukip had abused their access to public funds to the tune of between £500K and £1Million was not wrong!
This is by no means the first time that Ukip has used public funds for their own gain nor is it the first time they have claimed that the EU is victimising them by having the timerity to expect them to obey the law!
The UKIP-led Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE), is in disarray after Yasmine Dehaene, the party’s executive director, walked out of the group.
In her parting email Dehaene wrote that she and a colleague — Willem Toutenhoofd — had worked “pro bono” for three months.
Dehaene went on to blame UKIP for failing to meet promises to pay “outstanding urgent bills from the lawyers, the accountant and the rent,” and said that service providers were no longer willing to supply their services to the party.
The email, dated March 31 and seen by POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook, was sent from Dehaene to Roger Helmer, a UKIP member of the European Parliament who is president of the euroskeptic party.
In 2016 the European Parliament found that ADDE had misspent more than half a million euros of EU funding. A significant amount —€172,655 — was found to have been channeled towards opinion polls supporting Nigel Farage’s election to the U.K. parliament in the country’s 2015 general election.
Additional EU funding was withheld from ADDE on the basis of the findings and an associated foundation, the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe (IDDE) also faced a clawback of funds.
Roger Helmer in a reply email appeared unsure whether the Parliament audit was ongoing or who are the outstanding creditors of ADDE.
ADDE, in a statement on their website, suggested audits of the organization were politically motivated and accused the European Parliament of “an aggressive and hostile attitude.”
Dehaene, who worked as stress management consultant before her role at ADDE, left one final parting gift to UKIP: her out-of-office email message directs all questions to the MEP Roger Helmer.
the bottom line is that there was an overwhellming British vote for the UK to Leave_The_EU
I am personally relieved that the British peoples voted for BreXit by such a majority – the majority was akin to the vote to remai9n in the EU all those years ago when the Government so clearly lied to the electorate, well this time despite the Government lies the people chose to Leave-The-EU
In times of National danger when the people seek victory against overwhellming odds perforce we choose strange allies – consider the allies thes United Kingdoms had in World War I & II, so9me were natural allies but some were very alien, some even sided with Britain in liberating Europe, on both occassions for their own ends, consider the deal Britain struck with Russia then and the cost to Britain in the loss of India which was a condition of their allegiance.
That Nikki Sinclaire used much of her own money to mount the petition which delivered the debate in The House of Commons that resulted in the Conservative Government including the promise of a Referendum in their manifesto is conveniently overlooked.
Just as it would seem that the criminal collusion of John Ison with Nigel Farage to try to sabotage the chances of a Referendum and fabricate evidence against Nikki Sinclaire is overlooked!
I find Arron Banks an odious and untrustworth individual with a long list of failures behind him but on this occassion I am glad he was able to access money whether Dark Money, Russian Money or even if it was Columbian Drug Money laundered through Panama matters little to me as we won!
Sometimes unpleasant people do good things!
Arron Banks: ‘Brexit was a war. We won. There’s no turning back now’
Now out of Ukip – the party he bankrolled – Arron Banks is creating a political movement of his own. We met the ‘bad boy of Brexit’ just before article 50 was triggered – and found his ambitions go far beyond leaving Europe
It is five days before article 50 is triggered, and I’m sitting in the sunshine outside a pub in Islington with the man who bankrolled Brexit. If victory lies with anyone this weekend, it maybe lies with Arron Banks.
Though Nigel Farage is the face of Brexit, Arron Banks is the man who made it possible. He bought Brexit. Or at least paid for it. Until 2014 he was an unknown Bristol businessman. Now he’s the biggest political donor in British political history. The most powerful. He put more money into funding the Leave campaign than anyone else – more than £7m. He donated his office space, his computer equipment, his senior staff. He’s the co-founder of Leave.EU, the so-called “provisional wing” of the Leave campaign, spearheaded by his close confidante Nigel Farage, and he’s now contemplating his next move: taking an axe to the rest of the parliamentary system.
He only began pouring his money into politics in earnest in 2014 with a splashy donation to Ukip but he’s now out of the party and in the throes of creating a new “movement”. In his sights: the seats of more than 100 Remain MPs. Although, he’s not partisan – he’s aiming to dislodge all “bad MPs”. (“Bad MPs” being, as far as I can make out, anyone from Oxford PPE-ists to people he’s had a spat with on Twitter.) He tells me he’s working with Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s former head of strategy, to come up with “a points system that grades them on their awfulness”, and from that he’ll formulate “a target list of the most hated people”.
It will be that defining phenomenon of our age: a grassroots movement funded and built by a multimillionaire. And, potentially, the next political earthquake. Taking us out of Europe was only step one of the big disruption, it turns out. Next up: the party political system, and the destruction of the traditional boundaries between left and right.
And if that sounds like a stretch, well, we’ve been here before. Banks has the money, the drive and, as we’ve latterly come to realise, the connections. He and his business partner, Andy Wigmore, together with Nigel Farage and Raheem Kassam, the editor of Breitbart London, are the self-styled “bad boys of Brexit”. They’re key partners in a transatlantic alliance, the depth and extent of which is only now, slowly, coming into the light. An alliance that has been cultivated for years by Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist.
The sun is shining. Douglas Carswell, Ukip’s only MP and Banks’s mortal enemy, had just resigned from the party. Banks intends to stand against him – and beat him; he plays to win – in the next general election. He has just been on the phone with Farage, who he says is cockahoop. Everything is going exactly to plan.
“The needle on public opinion has shifted so far now. And trying to shift it back is as hard as it was for us to shift it the other way. There’s people protesting, all the rest of it. But the fact is, they’re not going to shift public opinion. It has shifted. It is what it is. It’s permanent.”
It’s hard to argue with this theory of permanent revolution. And part of it – a big part, he enjoys telling me – was playing and beating the media at its own game. “As businessmen, we sat down with a clean sheet of paper and said, ‘How do we beat these people?’ And then we figured out how the mainstream media works – how they operate – and we turned it back on them.
“We worked out how to take their outrage, how to take their pain – in your case – and feed it back into the system. You know we spent £12-14m on the campaign? And we calculated what our column inches and TV coverage was worth. It was over £150m .”
All of which makes me wonder: what exactly is the game he’s playing here, now? A month ago I interviewed Andy Wigmore, Leave.EU’s director of communications, and as a result of what he revealed to me, the Electoral Commission is now investigating whether Leave.EU should have declared the donation of services by a company largely owned by Robert Mercer, the billionaire who bankrolled Trump, and who works closely with Steve Bannon.
Banks’s autobiography, The Bad Boys of Brexit, was written for him in the Jeremy Clarkson style, and the whole aesthetic is Top Gear. A lot of people portray Farage, Banks and Wigmore as the three stooges: Clarkson, James May and “the Hamster” (Richard Hammond), the jolly chumps who more or less accidentally took the country out of Europe. But that’s not my view. They’re smart, and in triangulation with Bannon there has been a huge amount of strategy – and crucially an understanding of technology – behind everything they’ve done. This just feels like the next stage. Ukip was the host body, and now they’re pupating.
“Whatevs,” says Banks when I bring up the Electoral Commission. “I don’t give a monkey’s what the Electoral Commission says.”
To be clear, the Electoral Commission rules aren’t guidelines for the tombola at the village fete. He’s talking about UK electoral law. Electoral law that Damian Tambini, director of the media policy project at the LSE, says isn’t fit for purpose. Tambini met with the regulators and other parties and they’ve joined forces this week to call for a parliamentary commission to urgently review it.
Modern online campaigning has fundamentally changed everything, Tambini tells me. “And the existing framework is utterly weak and helpless.” The cost of building databases, money poured into third-party campaigns, offshore spending – these were either largely or totally unregulated. There is no longer any way, with current legislation, of guaranteeing a free and fair election.
Or as Banks puts it: “We were just cleverer than the regulators and the politicians. Of course we were.”
He didn’t break the law, he says. He “pushed the boundary of everything, right to the edge. It was war.” And later: “You’re looking for a smoking gun but there’s a smoking gun on every table! And no one cares. No one cares!”
Banks is a gambler: both calculated and reckless. It’s his choice to do the interview in the pub. His to get stuck into the wine. He likes the thrill of this, the game. And he likes winning more. His main business is insurance, and calculating the odds then beating them is what he does. Brexit: a £7m gamble that was… what? An investment? And if so, into what?
A brave new Brexit world, obviously, but there’s also this new movement he’s airing for the first time. He has policy ideas that are either radical or nuts, possibly both (selling off all government property to create a sovereign wealth fund to bankroll new housing). He’s suggesting things that are genuinely innovative in the turgid world of UK politics: looking to young people; taxing old, wealthy people.
But there’s some other agenda in play, too. And moments into my first question, about Trump, he has segued. “We had no Russian money into Brexit,” he says. “I’ve had two very nice lunches with the Russian ambassador, where Andy and I got completely pissed. And that’s it. Why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t I go and have lunch with him? We’d met diplomats and all sorts of different people. Not a single penny of Russian money has been put into Brexit.”
Which would be a perfectly reasonable answer, if he had been asked if Russia had put money into Brexit. But he hadn’t. He asked and answered his own question. I know about his six-hour lunches at the Russian embassy, not least because he makes a point of writing about one of them in The Bad Boys of Brexit. It’s Trump’s links to Russia, I’m asking about, not his, but he brings it immediately around to himself. Or to be more accurate, he makes an equivalency between them. “Come on!” he says when I ask him what he makes of the accusations against Trump. “I’ve got a Russian wife. I got an early taste of it about six years ago when the Daily Mail put her on the front page and called her a Russian spy.”
He’s referring to an incident in 2010 before anyone knew who he was, when his wife, Katya Banks – formerly Ekaterina Paderina – came up in conjunction with a court case involving a suspected Russian spy. “She was on the front page as a Russian spy! I was killing myself. It was very funny.”
What happened was this: a 64-year-old MP for Portsmouth, Mike Hancock, who was on the Commons defence select committee, instigated a four-year affair with another Ekaterina, the striking 24-year-old Ekaterina Zatuliveter, whom he met in St Petersburg and later made his researcher. MI5 believed she was working for Russian intelligence and applied to the Home Office to deport on the grounds of national security. She appealed and her case was brought before the Special Immigration Appeal Commission.
Some of the evidence was held behind closed doors but the judgment is full and detailed, and utterly compelling reading. She had previously had an affair with a senior Nato official and a Dutch diplomat. And MI5 disclosed that they had warned Hancock that he may be being targeted by foreign agents – he had had a string of Russian and eastern European girlfriends.
The judge, Mr Justice Mitting, heard all the evidence, including excerpts from Zatuliveter’s diary, which she had stated in her original evidence that she didn’t have (she produced it on the first day of the trial, saying she had forgotten about it) and ruled in her favour, concluding that she was an “immature” young woman with an understandable crush on an older man. In summary, he wrote: “We cannot exclude the possibility that we have been gulled – but, if we have been, it has been by a supremely competent and rigorously trained operative.”
Banks’s wife, Katya, comes into the story because, according to follow-up reports in several newspapers, she also had links to Hancock before she met and married Banks. Her first husband – in a marriage of just three months– was a retired merchant seaman, Eric Butler. The Home Office suspected it was a marriage of convenience and tried to deport her, at which point she wrote to her local MP, Hancock, for help. Butler told reporters that he had discovered them looking “very cosy” in the conservatory.
I ask Banks: “Did you know about that bit of history before the story came out?”
“I knew that she had been in, lived in Portsmouth and I knew… yeah, I knew broadly the kind of, you know, thing.”
What do you mean?
“Well, broadly the fact that she had written to her local MP and various other things.”
That her ex-husband had said he’d found her and Hancock together?
“Well, you know, that’s the evil of an ex-husband or wife, isn’t it? They’re hardly on your side. As far as I can see, it’s just a pack of Daily Mail lies.”
Are you saying that she hadn’t met Mike Hancock, then?
“The only thing that’s true in the Daily Mail story is that she fluently speaks six languages and she has the profile that would fit a Russian spy. But that’s about it.”
To date, Arron Banks’s strategy with the press has been this: if he doesn’t like what they say, he instructs his lawyers at Mishcon de Reya and threatens to sue. He threatened to sue Matthew Elliott – the director of the official Vote Leave campaign – for calling Leave.EU racist. He threatened to sue a thinktank, American Bridge, which featured him in an article entitled “The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses”. He threatened to sue the Guardian for publishing his business dealings as described in the Panama Papers. He threatened to sue a newspaper that described him as having business interests in Belize. And he threatened to sue a commentator on CNN for making certain statements about him on air.
“They called me a Russian actor! And I’ve got no feelings one way or another other than having a Russian wife. I felt that was just wrong. They said that Brexit was funded by the Russians. That’s a bit rich.”
It’s not rich to ask the question though, is it?
“If you lied and said Russians funded Brexit, I would be pretty annoyed.”
But what if I say, “Arron, the question is are you a Russian actor?”
“I wouldn’t care in the least. They said I was a Russian actor and that Russian money had funded Brexit, and it was wrong. There has to be a point where you draw the line in the sand.”
“I’m not going to say that,” I tell him. “Because it’s impossible to know what the sources of your wealth are. That’s the whole issue.”
“That’s wrong as well because I made a fortune in the insurance industry. I’m taxed in northern Bristol. My money is made in the UK.”
Some of it is. And the rest? Who knows. That’s my beef, not so much with him but our electoral finance rules. He’s free to donate, even though nobody knows quite where the £7m he put into the Leave campaign came from, or the millions he put into Ukip: his financial arrangements include a complex structure of companies based in secretive low-tax jurisdictions. Even Leave.EU was set up by an offshore company. It’s the offshoot of STM Fidecs, which the Observer reported was incorporated in Gibraltar.
In Britain he has his insurance companies, various security and intelligence companies, a new data company. He’s a director of nearly 40 different companies using slightly different variations of his name. He has installed employees as directors of other companies. And then there’s a whole offshore empire. A bank he co-owns on the Isle of Man. A slew of things in Gibraltar. The “defunct shell companies”, as he describes them, in the British Virgin Islands. And diamond mines in South Africa – he owns a whole supply chain of diamonds, from mines to shops.
How many companies do you actually own? He shrugs. “I’ve no idea.”
This is how offshore can work: a web of deliberate secrecy. A web that is now being brought into politics. Not just directly via the money that Banks is pouring in, but indirectly too. The digital marketing of the Vote Leave campaign was offshored too: funnelled through a tiny company on the west coast of Canada.
In America, the restrictions on political funding were dismantled in a 2010 case, bankrolled by Robert Mercer, which an organisation called Citizens United took to the supreme court, opening up the way to Super Pacs – “political action committees” – which have become unlimited donation vehicles. The sums in Britain are tiny in comparison, but you don’t even need to create a system of Pacs: there’s no way of knowing how much money was poured into the Leave campaign before the “regulated period” (the weeks before the campaign when spending is monitored and capped). Banks is setting up a movement not a party, at least initially. Parties are subject to some political financing rules. Movements aren’t.
Why are your companies based in low-tax jurisdictions with no disclosure requirements, I ask Banks.
“Why should I pay more tax?” he answers.
Because you’re a citizen of this country? And it pays for schools and hospitals. “I’m an internationalist, OK? If I own diamond mines in South Africa, why would I register a company in the UK?”
It’s one thing to be an internationalist if you’re only a private individual. But he’s not. He’s the man who bankrolled Brexit. But what does it matter? He’s already told me the mainstream media is worthless. That the BBC lies. “What you write is completely valueless because it’s sitting under another bunch of papers almost straightaway.”
More precisely, who needs to sue in the age of #fakenews, anyway? Later he gives me a lift to the station, and Andy Wigmore – they call each other Wiggy and Banksy – is on speakerphone. Wigmore has family links to Belize, and he was that country’s trade envoy to the UK until January, when the foreign office stripped him of his diplomatic status because of his political activity. And Banks lost his status too: he was Belize’s special envoy to Wales. It’s all a terrific joke. “But what?” I say. “You’re telling me you have a diplomatic passport?”
“Yes,” he says. “We both do.” Proud British citizens both.
Then Wiggy pipes up: “Did you know Paul Manafort [Trump’s ex-campaign manager] is accused of laundering Russian money through Belize?”
Are Banksy and Wiggy trolling me? Using me – a feature writer on a remoaner newspaper – to get this stuff out into the sunlight? But all hopelessly mixed up together? Banks has chucked it all at me: his diplomatic passports and diamond mines, Russians spies, offshore tax havens, circumvention of electoral law. All those individual facts are true, but together it feels like one big confected mess? #Fakenews? Is that what’s going on here? That’s what it feels like.
There is weirdness threaded through this story in all sorts of ways. Talking to Banks, my grasp on normal feels slippery. It’s like the weirdness of reading a Trump tweet. The weirdness of playing what feels like a high-level game of chess with Banks, but in the British style – with banter and jokes. Banks has a good sense of humour. One of the first things he tells me is how much he enjoys it when Marina Hyde, the Guardian’s peerless columnist, rips the piss out of him. I bait him relentlessly and I can tell he’s enjoying that, too.
But the weirdness still cuts through. There’s the moment when I challenge Banks to a toast in my pidgin Russian. “You really don’t speak Russian, do you?” he says after I accidentally throw in some Czech. “Maybe I’m fluent,” he says, although he refuses to say a single word.
The lifebuoy I find myself grasping hold of is a piece in last Sunday’s New York Times by Masha Gessen, the biographer of Putin, who now lives in the US. One should resist “trafficking in exaggeration and unsubstantiated allegations,” she writes. It’s pointless looking for a conspiracy, she says. The unimaginable has already happened. “The unimaginable, happening out in the open day after day, not only continues to dull our defences but also creates a need to see a conspiracy big enough, a secret terrible enough to explain how this can be happening to our own country.”
And here too. Out in the open is the fact that Arron Banks is pro-Putin. “I tell you what I’m pro,” he tells me. “I’m pro Putin being actually for his country. It’s not possible to run that entire country as a pure democracy. It’s not possible. The whole history of Russia is that there has to be someone strong in control or it breaks up.”
Out in the open is that he’s just said that democracy isn’t necessarily the answer. Out in the open is that Nigel Farage has voted multiple times in alignment with Russian interests in the European parliament. Out in the open is that Banks defends Putin’s invasion of both Crimea and eastern Ukraine. “It’s 85% ethnic Russian,” he says.
You don’t need to look at the inputs. Just look at the outputs. There’s no need to go looking for a conspiracy. What’s right here, in plain sight, is troubling enough. Andrew Foxall, the director of the Russian Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society, tells me that is the point he is always making. “Join the dots that are in full view. There’s a tendency right now to see Russian agency in everything, given the heightened awareness. To think Russia must be in play.
“There are commonalities that are there anyway. It just so happens Russia overlaps with the alt-right, as they call it in the US, and the far right in Europe, and Ukip in Britain. Farage has been part of a pan-European, pro-Russian network in the European parliament. And Russia helps to facilitate and amplify those discourses.
“The Russian state uses different tactics in different countries, and sometimes it doesn’t need to do much at all. Farage was one of the first Ukip politicians to embrace RT [Russia’s state broadcaster, formerly Russia Today, which has a channel in the UK] in 2007-2008.”
It was one thing for people to be pro-Russia before 2014, Foxall says, but post Crimea, the MH17 missile that brought down the plane in Ukraine, the war crimes in Aleppo, “the Kremlin’s tactics are clear. And to be a willing participant in that is… profoundly disturbing.”
Out in the open is Russia’s strategy of stoking and encouraging far-right movements in Europe. Ben Nimmo, a defence analyst with the Atlantic Council, points out that the Russian military doctrine published in 2014 lays out the characteristics of modern warfare as the combined use of military and non-military means: “Economic, diplomatic and informational. And the use of protest potential of the local population.” Nimmo studies disinformation and says that the far right and Russia are linked together in a single network.
“So after the Berlin attack, Paul Joseph Watson [a British far-right activist with a huge following on social media] was one of the first who jumped in with a slew of tweets blaming Islam. And that was picking up an RT news report. There’s this huge confluence between Russia and the far right. It’s the opposition to western liberalism that unites them. From the Kremlin’s point of view it’s because they hate democracy and transparency, but it also entails hating gay marriage and wanting to ban the Qur’an and being pro-Christianity and whites.”
Also out in the open, framed by a golden door, is the closeness of the transatlantic alliance. Farage, Wigmore and Banks may sound and behave like Clarkson, May and the Hamster but, ideologically, they’re the shadow players of Trump, Bannon and Mercer.
It was data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica that led me to understanding Robert Mercer’s role in all this; in the great disruption of the political landscape on two continents; his strategic and coordinated attack on the mainstream media and its replacement with an alternative online network. But it’s Steve Bannon who forged these links across the Atlantic.
Bannon was the one who set out in 2012 to find European versions of the tea party movement and he has cultivated a close relationship with Farage and Ukip ever since. With Robert Mercer’s billions, he’s supported them first via Breitbart and latterly during the referendum campaign. He directed Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica to lend its assistance too. On the day article 50 was triggered this week, Nigel Farage raised his pint glass to toast “Well done Bannon,” he said. “Well done, Breitbart. You helped with this hugely.”
Out in the open is this, Banks’s statement to me: “What you’re talking about is the degree to which the Russians actually – let’s say they influenced the Brexit vote. Say I’m pro-Putin. Nigel said he’s not anti-Putin, if that’s the right word. But all we’ve said is that there are elements of what Russians do that we don’t disagree with. We don’t agree with everything they’re doing, like murdering journalists in the street.”
I interrupt him. You’re saying, on the record, that you don’t agree with murdering journalists on the street?
“I’ll only say it once,” he says.
We both laugh. Though possibly only one of us has a slightly high-pitched edge to our voice.
Dismiss, distract, dismay. This, Nimmo tells me, is the classic Russian disinformation strategy. You launder information like you launder money. You pass it through a set of different bodies. You send it from one shell company/mouthpiece to another. You confuse its origins. You chuck in a distraction. You create outrage.
And in this context, I wonder if that’s me. Have I been groomed as the vector? The agent of disinformation. The vessel through which their scrambled, encrypted, confusing message is passing. Maybe this is simply a description of all journalists in all interview situations. It’s just usually some celeb trying to flog their memoir.
What is Banks flogging? Andrew Breitbart, the founder and informing spirit of Breitbart, believed politics is downstream from culture. First change the culture, then the politics will follow. Take the existing culture and subtly distort it. Banks has launched a new politics site, Westmonster, and in his sights is the Westminster elite and the metropolitan elite. He levels this at me. I point out: “You’re the privately educated multimillionaire who’s sitting here drinking white wine in Islington.”
The shame, I think, is that he could have been a leftie. There is a strong streak of social justice that runs through him. Or social something. Chippiness is part of it. But that’s no bad thing. But he’s not a leftie. And in the US, the permanent revolution is well under way. Steve Bannon is masterminding a silent coup: the institutions of government are being systematically dismantled. The relation of citizens to the state is being re-engineered. Trump, the businessman, is redefining them as consumers. Last week the US senate approved the right of telecoms companies to sell their customers’ browsing history – a huge step forward in renegotiating the relationship between individuals and their rights from that of democratic participants to end users. This is government as platform monopoly. Government as modelled on Google and Facebook. And what’s coming is platform democracy, where the company/government retains the right to change the user agreement at any time. And it’s data – the intimate information of you, your personal life, your history, your relationships, your dreams and desires, your thoughts – that’s the source of their power, legitimacy, capital. Harvested, captured, sold, fed into the panopticon: total surveillance, total control, total power.
I’ve started to think that Brexit isn’t our Trump moment. That’s what’s coming next – 2016 will be nothing next to the general election of 2020, our year of reckoning.
Before I meet Banks, I watch him talking on stage at a trade show called “Master Investor”. I learned of it because I had liked Leave.EU’s Facebook page and I’m now in their million-strong database. This isn’t just a million people, to be clear. It’s the entire social networks of a million people. I had received an email inviting me to the event, hosted by Banks’s great friend, Jim Mellon.
Mellon is another businessman who donated to Leave.EU. He made millions in the early 90s in Russia in uranium mining, investing $100,000 in a company that was worth $2.5bn two years later. He doesn’t live in Britain though. The man who introduced Banks to Farage, who brought the Brexit team together, wasn’t actually eligible to vote in the referendum. He lives in Ibiza and the Isle of Man. Article 50 as brought to you by true patriots, foreign donors, multimillionaires, Belizean passport holders and tax exiles.
I ask Banks about the email I got, advertising the event. The insurance offers he’s sending to Leave.EU subscribers. The use of his political database for commercial purposes
“Jim Mellon is my friend,” he says. “Why shouldn’t I? It’s my data.”
Well, no, it’s not. It’s my data. Your data. It’s what’s at the heart of all this. Steve Bannon knows this, and Robert Mercer knows this, and Arron Banks knows this. His day job, one of them – insurance – is all about data. “We know everything about everyone,” he says. “We buy everything.”
The battle for data is where the next general election will be fought. Politics is war, says Steve Bannon. And Banks is already out of the trenches.
Politics is war. Politics is business. Business is politics. There are no walls between them any more. Silos, as they call it in the tech world. There are no silos. It’s all one, now – enmeshed, intertwined, inseparable.
the article below is clearly largely accurate but I do take issue with the % support claim and minded of their near total absence of support in Scotland after a series of complete clowns in their leadership team dating back at least until the days when the Ukip Scotland efforts were in part funded by the criminal idiot Tom Wise, who as you will recall was sentenced to 2 years in prison for his criminal behaviour embezelling money as a Ukip MEP.
I believe that Ukip’s support is currently likely to be around their historic norm of between 5 > 8% placing them in a trailing position as they progress to the May Elections where they are likely to find their already miniscule County Council representation will realistically collapse.
Paul Nuttall’s abject failure in the Stoke by-election is a portent of things to come, when you consider just how inept and dishonest he proved to be, when you consider the declared costs of his capaign was £99,000 we understand and Stoke, which was the area most campaigned in by Nikki Sinclaire who boosted the BreXit vote to such an extent it was nick named ‘BreXit Central’, to have lost the by-election shows what a failure Nuttall is as a credible candidate & his ineptitude as a leader is plain for all to see, despite having Farage to hold his hand as the defacto leader (as ever).
Realistically with the level of squabbling in Ukip and the lack of backers, with their last backer Arron Banks threatening to form a new Party post the May Elections also do consider the fact that Ukip’s only real presence is as a few remaining MEPs and Nigel Farage is their effective leader and leader of the Party group in the EU, whilst Nuttall tries to manage the squabbling in the rump party in the UK.
Indeed realistically as it stands Ukip has no meaningfull future!
The year 2017 is going to be critical for the survival of UKIP. The identity and procedures of the Party are to be reviewed and determined. The coming months may well prove decisive.
On Monday the 27th March 2017, the Telegraph on-line reported a press conference given by Party Leader Paul Nuttall and attended by former Party leader, Nigel Farage. The report stated:
Mr Nuttall told The Telegraph: “We are going to rebrand the post-Brexit Ukip and it will all be launched at the annual conference in Torquay in September.”
The party’s pound sign logo might disappear as well as its familiar yellow and purple colours. Mr Nuttall said: “Everything is up for debate.”
Plans for the overhaul were due to be discussed at a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee this afternoon.
Behind the scenes, Constitutional change has been on the agenda for two years, with little actual progress. Clearly now, a change in the Constitution is envisaged and the existing Constitution requires any amendment to be put to the full membership of the Party in a postal vote. [Article 13.1.2 of the Party Constitution under which, and according to which, Rules are made – Article 14.2].
Ideas and proposals will undoubtedly be discussed at the highest levels of the Party over the coming weeks and months. While I am sure that those with an authoritarian agenda have already got their ideas worked out, I strongly suspect that what actually does emerge at the Party conference in September is yet to be properly thought through and decided.
The stance this campaign takes about the Party’s future has been made clear in posts and pages on this blog, and it is to be summed up in the campaign’s motto, a grass roots campaign for integrity and democracy in the UK Independence Party.
I would like to think that come September the need for this campaign will have disappeared because the proposed changes announced yesterday will have met our concerns.
We will see.
One thing I do know now, however, is that all this is going to depend on the leader, Paul Nuttall.
Paul has before him a monumental and historic challenge.
Get it right, and he will go down in the history books as the man who led the Party through the crisis, and on to success.
Get it wrong – and that is all too easy – and UKIP will disappear, despite the open goal and despite the historic moment in British politics when there is still no viable Opposition Party to the Conservatives.
That UKIP is at a cross roads is clear from the Stoke Central and Copeland by election results last month.
What is also clear is that UKIP came second in Stoke and that the UKIP vote is holding steady around the 12% level reached in the General Election of 2015 nearly two years ago.
The May local elections are likely to be disastrous for UKIP – but it won’t be the end of the world.
What will be the end of the world is if Paul Nuttall makes the wrong choices for the Party’s future over this summer.
Paul Nuttall is going to need a two thirds majority of those members voting to get his proposed changes implemented. If he fails, then we are left with the status quo which those who are alive to the significance of such technical matters know, is quite unsatisfactory.
To have confidence in such a vote, it will need to be run independently of the Party hierarchy. And a reforming leader should not be afraid of that.
But a reforming leader will have to ensure that the changes he brings forward are beyond reasonable criticism, and that they will enjoy widespread support. It is absolutely essential at this critical juncture in our fortunes that the membership at large can have confidence in the changes, and that members can at last be assured of a meaningful engagement in party decision making be that on policy or on party performance.
The Party now needs to engage members in much more than leafleting and fundraising.
If the party is to expand and become a viable main Opposition party, then it must enthuse and engage members. And it must so engage them that they learn the craft of how to become responsible and effective holders of public office because they learned it within the Party first.
That is going to mean a major overhaul of the party apparatus and culture.
The one criteria that the framers of the Constitutional reforms should keep in mind as the KEY reference point for their proposal is this:
Will these reforms reflect our patriotic, democratic, libertarian standpoint by bringing in procedures which enable members to learn the craft of responsible democratic politics in order to become effective and trustworthy candidates for elected public office ?
Personally, I do not see how such a criterion cannot be applied at such a critical moment as this.
Paul Nuttall and the NEC have before them the opportunity to make this Party an exemplary democratic Party – something the electorate is crying out to see.
Will they take it, or will they be content with the way politics in UKIP has been done and let an historic opportunity slip away ?
And the UK Independence Party with it …
Critical issues we must get right with such radical change in prospect:
with the defection to being an Independent MP it can clearly be shown that Ukip has lost its most valuable asset as it now has no voice at Westminster!
Further – can you think of a single solitary individual of stature or credibility, competence or integrity – they not only lack a leader of any credible standing, Paul Nuttall having been shown to be a liar, a fantasist who is both integrity and charisma bereft and like his predecessor Nigel Farage Paul Nuttall has yet again been resoundingly rejected for a role in Domestic Politics!
The manner in which Douglas Carswell joined the party was, as I explained at the time CLICK HERE, a very questionable process! It was widely believed at the time of Carswell’s defection from the Tories that the defection had much more to do with a temper tantrum, having failed, despite seeing himself to be very important, to be allocated a room in the main hotel, for the Tory conference.
Being cast into the wilderness of a mere annex was thought to be the reason he organised a rapid dinner date with Stuart Wheeler the professional gambler who made his money spread betting and subsequently lost much of it due to commercial ineptitude and poor investments, you will recall that at the time Wheeler was another defector from the Tories and Ukip’s only backer of any note, though he didn’t trust Ukip or its Farage manipulated NEC, with any of his money, insisting that as their backer he must also be in control of their finances as their Financial Director!
It is understood that at the dinner Wheeler offered Carswell the leadership of Ukip, conveniently overlooking the fact that Nigel Farage was leader. Wheeler and Carswell were of course not the only ones who realised that Nigel Farage, although seen as a great asset to the Leave-The-EU cause by his devotees he alienated far more people than he could consider supporters and with the low grade of appointees he permitted around him his leadership of the Leave-The-EU movement and the BreXit cause would do infinitely more harm than good.
Ego won the day and Carswell, who was on the verge of leaving the Tories, having had his ego severely bruised by being bannished to the annex succumbed to Wheeler’s massaging of his ego by promising him the leadership which was in fact not in Wheeler’s gift!
That Carswell has put the spin on his joining that claims he joined Ukip to make the party more electable than with Nigel Farage orchestrating the band is a proof of the value of hindsight:
though it is reasonable to point out that Douglas Carswell did not just add a new string to Farage’s bow but an entirely new instrument – plausibility and electability.
You will note from Douglas Carswell’s statement/appologia that he makes some very valid points but there is more than a hint, in his self justification, that he has jumped before he was pushed and reading the vitriolic comments of Ukip’s now ex backer, who has left the party, Arron Banks and the needless vindictiveness of Nigel Farage, who is no longer leader of Ukip on the domestic front, Carswell was clearly right to leave before it became apparent he was dumped – in the true flavour of democratic behaviour that is well founded in EU style politics, where Ukip has honed its skills of treachery and back stabbing.
Ukip has always been a party of dubious morality and a tendency to fight and squabble like ferrets in a sack!
You will note from the other articles that I have posted from Douglas Carswell’s web site that he has voiced a number of sound concepts put forward in a reasoned and electable manner that is very out of keeping with the self aggrandising and sneering denigration style of most Ukip web sites, I trust you find this insight of the practices of Ukip and its style of some help in your decision making for the future as it becomes ever more obvious that Ukip’s role is now over.
Clearly Ukip has no role in the future BreXit negotiations as it is clear from their efforts and comments to date that they have little or no understanding of tyhe complexities of international law, the WTO, CODEX, WHO, UN, OPEC and the like. Ukip can not even seem to understand, let alone agree, as to whether they seek the votes of the left wing so called socialists, the center left of the hopelessly lost Libdems or the right of center Tory and capatalist supporters of free trade and international competition.
Further: Ukip would seem to be bereft of a funding policy with Nigel Farage in control of the EFDD Group funding the unlikely scenario of a Ukip MEP putting his hand in his pocket for the benefit of the party and no clear backer of stature it would seem t6hey are likely to be forced to return to the ‘caroussel’ methodology as they lurch along, as they did prior to Stuart Wheeler’s intervention and Arron Banks’ control.
At this moment I see little hope for Ukip, which is on the verge of insolvency, if not bankruptcy, near leaderless, in any real terms, when you consider the implausibility of Paul Nuttall’s claims and his recent abject failure when presented to the public in a by election on the most winnable occasion in Ukip’s entire history!
Consider Douglas Carswell’s statement and other suggestions and then consider which of Ukip’s MEPs have ever been able to string together as plausible or electable a role particularly since Nikki Sinclaire left the party to set up the petition which forced the debate in the House of Commons that gave rise to the promise of a Referendum in tyhe Tory Manifesto that led to the demise of the LibDems and fractured sqabbling in what was the Labour Party, which is so clearly torn in half and likely to be a political irrelevance organising fatuous anti democratic marches and counter productive demonstrations for at least a decade – particularly if it tries to remain as one party!
It has been an extraordinary achievement. UKIP, my party, which was founded in 1993 in order to get Britain out of the European Union, has now achieved what we were established to do.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister is going to trigger Article 50, beginning the formal process of withdrawing our country from the EU. By April 2019, Britain will no longer be a member of the EU. After twenty-four years, we have done it. Brexit is in good hands.
UKIP might not have managed to win many seats in Parliament, but in a way we are the most successful political party in Britain ever. We have achieved what we were established to do – and in doing so we have changed the course of our country’s history for the better. Make no mistake; we would not be leaving the EU if it was not for UKIP – and for those remarkable people who founded, supported and sustained our party over that period.
Our party has prevailed thanks to the heroic efforts of UKIP party members and supporters. You ensured we got a referendum. With your street stalls and leafleting, you helped Vote Leave win the referendum. You should all be given medals for what you helped make happen – and face the future with optimism.
Like many of you, I switched to UKIP because I desperately wanted us to leave the EU. Now we can be certain that that is going to happen, I have decided that I will be leaving UKIP.
I will not be switching parties, nor crossing the floor to the Conservatives, so do not need to call a by election, as I did when switching from the Conservatives to UKIP. I will simply be the Member of Parliament for Clacton, sitting as an independent.
I will leave UKIP amicably, cheerfully and in the knowledge that we won.
At the hundreds of meetings and action days I have attended as a UKIP activist across the country since I joined in August 2014, I have met some truly remarkable people. You are heroes! Thank you and well done. I wish you all well.
When first elected to represent Clacton in 2005, I promised to do all I could to help ensure that Britain left the EU. To the consternation of my then party whips (some of who, I’m delighted to see, are now ministers helping make Brexit happen), I made my intentions on that front plain in my maiden speech. Job done.
I will be putting all of my effort into tackling some of the local problems affecting the NHS in our part of Essex, including GP shortages and the threat to our local Minor Injuries Unit. In that spirit, I called a Westminster Hall debate last week about the future of primary care in our part of Essex. Local comes first.
New research on the family courts documents that, despite transparency guidance, only a tiny minority of proceedings are published. That’s deeply concerning – because secrecy promotes injustice.
Sadly, children do sometimes need to be taken into care. Most of the time, I’m sure, family courts make the right call.
However, some families are broken up unnecessarily. In 2008, Camilla Cavendish wrote a number of articles for The Times, documenting serious mistakes by social services. In several cases, expert witnesses gave testimony without ever having met the families involved.
The problem is that we don’t know how widespread these errors are, because the courts sit in secret. Adoption order proceedings are closed to the public and the press, and rarely published. Moreover, the identities of expert witnesses are protected. Secrecy allows injustice to be covered up.
It has long been recognised – by both ministers and judges – that more transparency is required. Yet efforts to increase it have fallen short.
Sir James Munby’s transparency guidance, for example, left the decision as to whether to publish to judges’ discretion. The new research by academics at Cardiff University reveals that very few judges have opted to do so – as a paper published by the UKIP PRU predicted.
The system needs much bolder reform. In our paper, we called for the publication of judgments to be mandatory, greater media access to both proceedings and case documents, and expert witnesses to be identified.
We also advocated greater use of Special Guardianship Orders, so that, if children do have to be taken from their families, they are placed at least temporarily with grandparents or other relatives, rather than total strangers.
Transparency helps ensure justice. It shouldn’t be resisted.
Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist, has admitted that ultra-loose monetary policy is a drag on productivity. So why won’t the Bank change course?
Productivity is the key to prosperity. Increased wealth comes from producing more using less effort, time, and resources. If productivity stagnates – as it has in the UK – prosperity will follow suit.
One of the drivers of low productivity growth is cheap credit. Inefficient companies that would otherwise have failed, and replaced by better competitors, have been sustained by artificially low borrowing costs.
Haldane’s case for record-low interest rates is that they prevented mass unemployment. Perpetuating zombie companies was worth it, he claims, to safeguard jobs.
That argument had some force in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis. Less so nearly a decade later. Keeping interest rates at record lows indefinitely means making low productivity growth the norm, while at the same time creating the conditions for another job-destroying financial crisis.
Cheap money is not the only reason for poor productivity. Another, which Haldane neglected to mention, is corporate welfare. Tax credits incentivise employers to use cheap (often imported) labour, rather than invest in new technology – as UKIP’s Economy Spokesman, Mark Reckless, explains in a recent paper.
But the economic effects of artificially manipulating the price of capital shouldn’t be underestimated. Experience has shown that official price controls create either gluts or shortages. Market prices always allocate resources better.
Capital is no different. Lower productivity is one of many dangerous imbalances caused by ultra-loose monetary policy. They need to be corrected, not excused.
Like so much of what the House of Commons does these days, yesterday’s debate on MPs double-jobbing was mostly virtue signalling. That’s because MPs don’t like the real solution: recall elections.
In the United States, representatives can be recalled by their electorate. If enough local people sign a petition, they trigger a by-election. Voters then decide whether or not to renew their representative’s mandate at the ballot box.
We could have had the same system here. In 2014, a Recall of MPs Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech.
But the title was misleading. Under the final legislation, voters can only trigger a by-election if a committee of grandees – or a court of law – has first found an MP guilty of wrongdoing. Rather than put voters in charge, the Bill let MPs act as a self-serving cartel.
Indeed, the government made sure Zac Goldsmith’s amendments to the Bill – which would have led to a real right of recall – were rejected.
Now we see why. Would the former Chancellor would have taken on so many roles outside Parliament if a recall election in Tatton were a possibility?
The debate about MPs taking jobs outside Westminster in any case misses the point. The most common form of double-jobbing is the appointment of MPs as ministers. Voters should have a say on that too.
Until a century ago, they did. Prior to the Re-Election of Ministers Acts (1919 & 1926), MPs had to face ministerial by-elections to join the Cabinet. They could only become ministers with their constituents’ consent.
Consent wasn’t always given. Between 1895 and 1926, there were 127 ministerial by-elections. On eight occasions, the ministers-designate lost.
The way to keep MPs in check isn’t to empower a toothless regulator. It’s to let their constituents hold them to account.
George Osborne’s appointment as Evening Standard editor says a lot about the state of the press. It ought to be perverse for a politician to be a journalist. But, when many so-called journalists do little more than push a political agenda, what’s the difference?
The idea of journalists as brave, independent scrutineers of politics may be appealing, but it’s not accurate. The relationship between the Fourth Estate and the political class is actually far too cosy.
Because politicians trade access for positive coverage, many journalists end up going native. Instead of exposing the governing elite, they act as its cheerleaders.
“That’s nothing new,” you might think. “Newspapers have always had a clear bias.”
Of course, there has always been an editorial point of view. The difference now is that there is little but opinion. Subjective analysis now masquerades as news.
During the referendum campaign, for example, it was striking how both print and broadcast media reported George Osborne’s Project Fear narrative as objective fact. No matter that none of it has turned out to be true.
Pundits frequently make out that established media are losing market share because consumers are now more interested in fake news than truth. The people, we’re told, are at fault.
The reality is the opposite. People are losing faith in established media because they see through the false pretence to objectivity. There’s a market for truth which the press is failing to deliver. Rather than cater to the public, pundits have joined the oligarchy.
Osborne will no doubt use his perch at the Standard to push the same spin he did as Chancellor. Far from being unqualified, he’s taking up an all too familiar role. That’s the problem.
Ultra-loose monetary policy is one of the biggest risks to the global economy. Belatedly, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates this week. The Bank of England should follow suit.
There is no justification for record low interest rates. They were supposed to be temporary measure, in the wake of the financial crisis. Instead, they have become permanent. Indeed, the Bank cut them even further last August.
The consequences of artificially cheap credit are disastrous. It encourages consumers to borrow too much, banks to take excessive risks, and companies to buy back shares rather than invest in improving productivity.
Moreover, it transfers wealth from the asset poor to the asset rich. It is stoking a housing bubble that is preventing a generation from buying their own homes.
Central banks are reluctant to raise interests because they fear the only thing keeping the global economy afloat is consumer borrowing and spending. Yet they must know that is an unsustainable model.
Eventually, borrowers will default, and contagion will spread to the entire system – just as it did a decade ago. Compounding the problem with more debt will only make the ultimate correction all the more painful. (For more on this, see my paper After Osbrown.)
Yesterday, Kristin Forbes, one of the nine members of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, dissented from the majority decision to leave rates unchanged, and voted to raise them. Let’s hope she persuades the rest of her colleagues next month.
Pundits see the government’s decision to scrap its planned rise in NI contributions for the self-employed as the Chancellor’s failure. Perhaps it should just be seen as Parliament doing its job.
Politicos have become so used to budgets being nodded through by MPs that they have come to believe Parliament is supposed to work like this. But it’s not.
Prior to the 1930s, backbench MPs could table amendments to the budget resolutions. The national government changed the rules to prevent it. Since then, Parliament has tended just to rubber stamp hundreds of billions of pounds’ worth of spending and taxation.
Yet opposition from MPs has now forced a volte face on the centrepiece of the budget after only a week. Perhaps Parliament isn’t quite so powerless after all.
It will be interesting to see how the Chancellor now replaces the ditched measures.
In autumn 2015, George Osborne backtracked over tax-credit reductions without replacing them with alternative cuts. Instead, he conjured up an extra £27 billion from nowhere – based on conveniently revised borrowing projections. In effect, he simply borrowed more money.
By contrast, Hammond has hinted at a broader rethink of the treatment of the self-employed in the tax system – so as to achieve the same ends by different means. That suggests self-employed people shouldn’t celebrate just yet. Alternative tax rises may be coming in the autumn.
That’s the wrong approach. Rather than tax – or borrow – more, government needs to spend less.
Parliament has demonstrated that cross-party opposition can block tax rises. Now we need cross-party support for spending cuts.
Five years ago, I crowdsourced a Private Members’ Bill on Guido Fawkes. From five options, the people picked a Bill to repeal the European Communities Act. How prescient they were. Now I’d like to revive another of my suggestions: a Bloggers Freedom Bill.
Britain’s libel laws are out of date. They were developed at a time when very few people published anything. Those who did were affiliated to large organisations with the financial resources to defend themselves in court.
Yet they are now applied in a world where millions of individuals – without financial backing – publish constantly, both online and on social media.
The law needs to be updated for the digital age.
People do need protection from libel, and their intellectual property should be safeguarded. But, at the same time, those posting on social media should have some security against being sued.
The Bloggers Freedom Bill I suggested would be a compromise. It would give bloggers and tweeters a 48-hour period of grace – to remove content – before legal action could be taken.
The status quo skews the law in the interests of big media, rich claimants, and lawyers. It restricts the democratisation of media made possible by the digital revolution.
Let’s make libel law reflect today’s reality – and the public interest.
The UK should be able to strike a free-trade agreement with the EU. It is in our mutual interests to do so. However, if we cannot reach a good deal, the World Trade Organisation helps us ensure workable terms of trade even if we walk away.
Some MPs seem to think that trading under WTO terms is tantamount to isolation or protectionism. It appears to escape their notice that the precise purpose of the WTO is to facilitate trade.
Under the most-favoured-nation principle, the EU would not be able to discriminate against UK goods with extortionate tariffs even if it wanted to.
As to non-tariff barriers, remember all British companies already comply with single-market regulations and standards by default – unlike those of any other country that trades with the EU on WTO terms.
Imports, meanwhile, would be entirely at our discretion. We could not only set tariffs as low as we want, but also unilaterally allow any product manufactured to EU standards to be sold here – thereby keeping the compliance costs passed on to UK consumers as low as possible.
Those MPs who claim any deal with the EU is better than no deal are being disingenuous about what a bad deal would mean.
An agreement that failed to restore our sovereignty, or our control over our borders and fishing waters, or our freedom to determine our own regulatory environment, or our ability to sign free-trade deals with other – growing – economies beyond Europe is an agreement we cannot accept. Acquiescence would be not only counter to our economic interest, but anti-democratic.
Those who want the government to rule out trading with the EU on WTO terms are, in effect, attempting to rule out Brexit. They are seeking to give the EU sole discretion over our terms of exit – which would mean never leaving.
But Brexit is happening. Parliament has – finally – voted for it. There is every reason to believe we will sign mutually beneficial trading deal with the EU. Yet, whatever the outcome of negotiations, we must all now adapt to a new reality.
264 days since the referendum, Article 50 could be triggered this week. Finally, Brexit is becoming a reality.
Assuming the House of Commons votes down the Lords’ amendments to the Article 50 Bill today, the Lords will be unlikely to obstruct the Bill again. The PM could then trigger Article 50 as soon as tomorrow morning.
Of course, there will be other big Parliamentary votes on the Brexit process – both on the final deal and on the Great Repeal Bill.
But the nature of the debate will now change. There will be no going back.
Ideally, from now on, Parliament would play a constructive – rather than obstructive – role. We can now have substantive discussions about vast areas of policy that were delegated to the EU.
Taking back control shouldn’t be thought of as the end of the process, but the beginning. Power should be spread outwards and downwards: not just from Brussels to Westminster, but from Westminster to local communities, and ultimately to individuals.
But, as the budget debate testifies, the instincts of both the government and the opposition are fundamentally statist. There is a gap in the political marketplace for a localist, classically liberal domestic agenda.
I set out some ideas for what that agenda could look like in my new book, Rebel– published April 6th. No time to lose.
Under the plans, his new Patriotic Alliance movement to help to organise and fund “independent candidates to stand against particularly bad MPs”.
He would target what “bad career politicians”, he said, adding: “We have been working with Steve Hilton on how you fund local candidates, how you put them forward, how you do things.”
Local Facebook pages would be set up in constituencies to invite support for a campaign to unseat the local MP.
Andy Wigmore, Mr Banks’ key adviser, said the alliance had identified 103 MPs which “we consider are not fit for purpose”.
The alliance would look at how many times they voted, how many times they interact with the public and “their reaction to Brexit”. He said: “There is a multiple of facets that classify them as rubbish.
“There is a graph which we will produce based on research with our user base to find which ones are good MPs and which are bad MPs.”
Mr Wigmore said the movement could result in the biggest clear-out of MPs since scores left Parliament after the Telegraph’s exposure of the MPs’ expenses scandal.
He said the campaign would also focus on Remain-supporting MPs in areas that voted for Leave. “We are going to attack them,” he said.
Mr Wigmore said he and Mr Banks had met with Mr Hilton several times to discuss the plans at the Cpac political conference in Washington DC a month ago.
Mr Hilton was also spotted at a party thrown by Mr Banks for Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader, on the night before President Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington in January.
Mr Wigmore said: “If someone wants to stand as a candidate we will help them and use Crowdpac to help them generate funds to do so.”
Mr Hilton could not be reached for comment.
However in an article last year, Mr Hilton said: “If we’re ever going to see the kind of modern, responsive and open-minded politics that people are crying out for, we have to break the grip of the party machines and get more independent, and independent-minded, candidates elected to office, at every level of government.”
Also in Chopper’s Brexit podcast, Jonathan Faull, one of the EU’s most experienced British officials, suggested he would be willing to advise Whitehall on the Brexit talks.
Asked if would offer his services to his country, Mr Faull, who retired at the end of December after 38 years at the European Commission, said: “My country can always call on me – I remain a British citizen thoroughly loyal as well as a British citizen who thinks that the European Union is also of great importance.”
With an avg. 1.2M voters per MEP & Britain having only 8%, if united, say. The EUropean Parliament has no ability to make policy and has a Commission of unelected bureaucrats, thus clearly the EU is not even a pretence of being a democracy; yet it is willing to slaughter people in Sovereign States to impose democracy on them!
The imposition of a Government and policies upon its vassal regions such as the peoples of Greece shows just how far from being a democracy the EU is.There will be little or no change in Britain’s economic position, when we leave the EU and by then being a part of the Eropean Economic Area all will benefit, as we secure trade relations with the EU vassal regions and can trade and negotiate independently on a global stage.
One huge benefit will be that we can negotiate with bodies like the WTO, UN, WHO, IMF, CODEX and the like, directly in our own interest and that of our partners around the world in both the Commonwealth and the Anglosphere at large; rather than having negotiations and term imposed by unelected EU bureacrats.
The greatest change and benefit will be political, as we improve our democracy and self determination, with the ability to deselect and elect our own Government, which with an improved Westminster structure, see >Harrogate Agenda<.
How we go about the process of disentangling our future well being from the EU is laid out in extensive, well researched and immensly tedious detail see >FleXcit< or for a brief video summary CLICK HERE
I NEVER post anonymously on the internet
ALL MY BLOGS & WEB SITES are clearly sourced to me
I do NOT use an obfuscated eMail address to hide behind
I do NOT use or bother reading FaceBook
I DO have a Voice Mail Message System
I ONLY GUARANTEE to answer identifiable eMails
I ONLY GUARANTEE to phone back identifiable UK Land Line Messages
I do NOT accept phone calls from witheld numbers
I Regret due to BT in this area I have a rubbish Broadband connection
I AM opposed to British membership of The EU
I AM opposed to Welsh, Scottish or English Independence within an interdependent UK
I am NOT a WARMIST
I do NOT believe the IPCC Climate Propaganda re Anthropogenic Global Warming
I AM strongly opposed to the subsidy or use of failed technologies eg. WIND TURBINES
I AM IN FAVOUR of rapid research & development of NEW NUCLEAR technologies
I see no evidence to trust POLITICIANS at any level or of any persuasion
I do NOT believe in GODS singular or plural, Bronze Age or Modern
I value the NHS as a HEALTH SERVICE NOT a Lifestyle support
I believe in a DEATH PENALTY for serial or GBH rape.
I believe in a DEATH PENALTY for serial, terrorist, mass or for pleasure murder.
I believe in a DEATH PENALTY for serial gross child abuse including sexual.
I do NOT trust or believe in armed police
I do NOT believe in prolonging human life beyond reasonable expectation of sentient participatory intellectual existence
I believe in EUTHENASIA under clearly defined & legal terms
I try to make every effort to NOT infringe copyrights in any commercial way & make all corrections of fact brought to my attention by an identifiable individual
Published: 18:27, 23 March 2017 | Updated: 18:40, 23 March 2017
A former Ukip donor has demanded the party hand back more than £170,000 after he was kicked out for criticising the leader.
Insurance tycoon Arron Banks has sent Ukip a six-figure bill for back office services his company has provided to the party.
Ukip last night insisted Mr Banks’ support, which is thought to include the use of his call centres, had always been voluntary.
A Ukip source told the Mail: ‘We are not paying it and there is no written contract so it could end up in court. He is trying to destroy Ukip.’
Insurance tycoon Arron Banks has sent Ukip a six-figure bill for back office services he says were provided by his company
A party spokesman said: ‘Since Arron Banks first became involved with Ukip, before the last general election, he has been a generous donor.
‘All the support he has given Ukip has been on that basis and not on a supplier/client one. We don’t understand why he now claims his generous donations were something different.’
Mr Banks earlier this month threatened to start a rival party after Ukip refused to renew his membership. He tweeted: ‘Ukip 2.0, the force awakens.’
The businessman, who funded the Leave.EU campaign in last year’s Brexit referendum, gave £1 million to Ukip ahead of the 2015 general election.
But last month he warned he would pull his funding unless he was made chairman so he could purge its only MP Douglas Carswell. He also mocked party leader Paul Nuttall, saying he ‘couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding’ and accused the party of being ‘run like a jumble sale’.
In a letter to Mr Banks, Mr Nuttall turned down his request to become party chairman. He wrote: ‘Any and all contributions to our work are welcome.
‘However, I should make clear that, whilst I am open to working with you on improving and enhancing our party, the party chairmanship is not on offer.
‘In addition, whilst the NEC are keen to discuss and examine your ideas, they are concerned about continuing negative and damaging publicity flowing from this matter.
‘Mindful of their primary responsibility to safeguard the reputation of Ukip, they have asked me to tell you that should you choose to further criticise Ukip, its leadership or the elected representatives in either the media or on social media, they will withdraw their invitation.’
Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has turned down Mr Banks’ request to be made party chairman
The row is the latest set-back for the party after Mr Nuttall faced accusations that he lied over losing close friends in the Hillsborough disaster and lost in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by election last month.
Mr Banks last year gave Ukip £199,000 making him the party’s third biggest donor.
Earlier this month Mr Nuttall claimed the party would be able to survive without his funding. He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: ‘Arron has never been Ukip’s major donor. I have got a commitment from a consortium of Ukip’s biggest donors that we are financially secure going forwards.’
In 2014, Mr Banks upped a proposed £100,000 donation to Ukip to £1 million after William Hague played down the significance of his defection to Ukip, saying: ‘We have not heard of him.’
He last month caused controversy when he said he was ‘sick to death of hearing about Hillsborough’.
it would seem that yet again #Ukip senior individuals and this time their passing leader, as if he hadn’t already demeaned the party sufficiently with his implausible claims and fantasy CV, not to mention his blaming junior staff for his ineptitude at least or dishonesty as many believe! Also his placement as an MEP Louise Bourse, as is so often the case with Ukip it would seem that they can not be trusted with any kind of access to the public purse!
Paul Nuttall claimed European Parliament office costs that were thousands more than his tenancy agreement suggests
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall’s tenancy agreement for his European Parliament constituency office lists a smaller bill than that claimed on his expenses.
He did not respond to repeated requests from Business Insider to explain the discrepancy.
Nuttall faces a separate expenses investigation by the European Parliament.
LONDON — Paul Nuttall has not responded to multiple requests by Business Insider to explain how thousands of pounds he claimed for the UK office for his European Parliament constituency were spent.
The UKIP leader’s last declared set of expenses lists a claim for £7,280 for office costs, covering the last six months of 2015. However, a tenancy agreement seen by Business Insider suggests that this was well in excess of the amount that landlords charged.
Despite promising to provide explanations to Business Insider for the discrepancy, Nuttall’s spokesperson had not done so by the time of publication.
The lease agreement suggests that Nuttall shared a tenancy for an office in Water Street, Liverpool, with fellow UKIP Member of the European Parliament Louise Bours and former UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe, between 2014 and 2016.
Woolfe resigned from UKIP last year. A spokesperson for Woolfe said he had never used the Water Street office or claimed expenses for it.
Bours’ website indicates that she also claimed £7,280 for use of the Water Street office during the last six months of 2015, suggesting that she and Nuttall claimed £14,500 in total for that period. This is £4,306 more than the figure charged on the tenancy agreement.
A spokesperson for Nuttall and Bours initially suggested that they had spent some extra money on leasing office equipment. However, office equipment costs, communication costs and stationary are all accounted for separately in their expenses. The spokesperson did not respond to further requests for explanation.
Nuttall’s expenses for July-December 2015
Louise Bours’ expenses for July-December 2015
Nuttall and Bours’ published expenses also list a total of 19 UK-based members of staff, yet the tenancy agreement states that there were only 10 workstations in the Water Street office.
Their spokesperson suggested that they had shared some staff but did not provide further details.
Nuttall’s spokesperson admitted that UKIP had used a “virtual office” for the party’s Liverpool branch but insisted that the Water Street office was a fully functioning full-time permanent office.
A spokesperson for Steven Woolfe said: “When elected in May 2014, Steven, Paul and Louise had a loose discussion about sharing a parliamentary office in Liverpool. While Steven’s name was originally put on the tenancy forms, Steven later decided to open his own office in Chester. Steven did not sign the tenancy agreement, has never contributed to the rent, and was not involved in the management, maintenance, opening or closure of the Liverpool office. To clarify, Steven opened his only parliamentary office in Chester at the start of his parliamentary term, which continues to serve the constituents of the North West today.”
Under European Parliament rules, MEPs do not have to provide receipts or evidence of how their “general expenditure allowance” is spent.
A court heard last year that parliamentary officials do not request details of MEP spending because it would create an excessive “administrative burden” on their work.
Louise Bours and Paul NuttallPeter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images
Nuttall and Bours are reportedly under investigation by the European Parliament, alongside Nigel Farage and five other UKIP MEPs, for the alleged misuse of parliamentary allowances. Parliamentary officials are looking into whether the party broke rules banning full-time EU-funded parliamentary assistants from working for the national party. The rules are intended to prohibit using parliament funds for purely political or election campaign purposes.
Any proven breach could lead to the party repaying demands totalling an estimated £500,000.
Arron Banks is “definitely” going to stand in Ukip’s only seat of Clacton in 2020, but in the meantime, Ukip’s millionaire backer and Farage bromancer-in-chief has other plans to unseat Douglas Carswell, the party’s sole MP.
“One of the things Douglas Carswell was very strong on was recall of MPs,” Mr Banks says. And he’s right. After his defection to Ukip and by-election victory in 2014, Mr Carswell constantly pressured David Cameron to deliver on his 2010 manifesto commitment to allow constituents to kick out their MPs.
“Carswell said that if enough of the constituents voted for it, then their MP should be recalled and they would have to face a second election. So if he’s really going back to the Tories, as people say he is, one of the things I’m looking at is going to the Electoral Reform Society and saying, ‘Let’s have a recall’.
“Even though it’s not legally binding, we might approach the voters of Clacton and say, ‘Look, for these reasons we think Douglas Carswell should be recalled’. And that would be a neat idea, because it would be using his own idea against him.”
Douglas Carswell ‘holds secret talks on defecting to Tories’
The shifting geopolitics of Ukip’s permanent civil war are complex, but one fundamental truth never changes. Mr Carswell and Mr Banks are not on the same side.
But the rumours this week that Mr Carswell is considering re-defecting to the Conservatives – a suggestion the MP denies – has moved it towards what Mr Banks hopes will be some kind of endgame.
A further story, that Mr Carswell personally intervened to prevent Nigel Farage receiving a knighthood, was enough for the party’s national executive committee to put him under investigation.
“I don’t give a stuff about knighthoods, OBEs and all the rest of it,” Mr Banks says. “But we need to be united. There’s a group of two or three people that cause horrendous trouble.
“When it comes to Mr Carswell, bear in mind how much effort we put into the Stoke campaign, and how much effort he put into stopping us. Even when Nigel stood down in Thanet, we know that he provided election data to the Tories. He has been a very disreputable person and I intend to take him on.”
“The problem he’s got is that he can’t resign from Ukip because under the code of the Carswell,” says Mr Banks.
“He has to have a by-election, so I think the suspicion is that he would remain in Ukip up until a convenient time when he’ll switch to the Tories and stand in the election for the Tories.”
Paul Nuttall says Ukip’s time will come after Stoke by-election defeat
The allegations were put to Mr Carswell, but he did not respond.
One problem Banks might face is Carswell’s immense popularity in Clacton, though he dismisses it
“You say he’s popular there, what you’re really saying is he says he’s popular there. He’s not. It’s the most eurosceptic seat in the country. Nigel is like a virtual demi-god down there. When we went there thousands of people came out to see him. I think that whatever popularity Carswell had pertained to Ukip.”
This is not the first time Mr Banks has agreed to an interview with The Independent. On the first occasion, having said yes, at the agreed time he was instead in the pit lane of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a fact of which I remind him.
“It’s hard work leading a people’s rebellion,” he laughs. This time he’s in his car, on the way to go skiing in Italy, a destination of some relevance as he outlines his plans to transform Ukip into a British Five Star Movement.
Farage call for Ukip’s only MP to be thrown out of the party
Mr Banks, who ploughed more than £7m of his own money into Leave.EU, effectively Ukip’s referendum campaign arm, accepts that victory in that referendum has left Ukip uncertain of its raison d’être. But his mission now is to give it one.
“We are going through a period where we’ll either define what we want to do and get on and do it, or we won’t. People feel Ukip are in the wilderness a bit, thrashing around for what we are.
“So, what we’re going to do is, next month we’re going to put forward a whole range of what we think are quite radical ideas, that are neither from the left or the right, and what we’re going to do is we’re going to ask the people that follow us, that’s more than a million people, we’re going to say, ‘Submit your ideas, get involved in the process’, then we will then put them to a direct democracy, so it’s very much like the Five Star Movement.
“And anyone can join that, they can be Labour, Conservative, Ukip, any political party. And from that you have a list of policies that you want to fight for to implement.”
Douglas Carswell MP speaks to party members and supporters during the UK Independence Party annual conference (Getty)
Though Mr Banks won’t say, the “submit your ideas” stage appears like it’s already happened.
He’s been speaking to “business people” over the past few months, to come up with new policies, which he won’t yet reveal, but he hints they could bear very close relation to his own eclectic political tastes.
And if Ukip is about to enter into the realm of radical new ideas, it is hard to ignore the fact that Nigel Farage is still very much of the view that it is about one radical idea and one alone.
“This question of immigration is still the number one issue in the minds of voters in this country.” he told the BBC this week.
“Ukip must not be squeamish about it. People like Douglas Carswell wrote in The Times last year we should not make immigration synonymous with EU membership. I thought, ‘Crikey, I have spent 10 years trying to do that very thing’.”
Picture: (Getty Images / Christopher Furlong)
Put this to Mr Banks and you get a stern rebuke.
“No, no, no, no, no. It won’t be all about immigration. It might be abolishing the House of Lords, economic stuff like building two million houses. Stuff on inheritance tax.
“It’s wrong that people receive vast sums of money just because their parents are rich. There are utilities that I would renationalise on the basis that they’re equally detrimental in public hands as private hands.
“We’ve seen that with electricity, we’ve seen that with other things. Our view is that the government should do very little but what it does, it should do brilliantly, like the health service and the education system. It’ll be a whole raft of things that are quite radical. But that’s the next stage in our evolution.”
Lofty ideals perhaps, but if Ukip is struggling to evolve, Mr Banks knows it is not merely a lack of new ideas that is rendering it stuck in its Neanderthal phase. After the disappointing result in Stoke-on-Trent Central, Mr Banks wrote to party leader Paul Nuttall demanding to be made chairman.
“It needs to be fit for purpose now. It’s run like a squash club committee and that needs to stop. What I’ve said to Ukip is that if you professionalise yourself, get organised, imagine what you could achieve. It was a plea to get in there, modernise, radicalise.
“You guys in the media make fun of it, say it’s a shambles, but it still got 25 per cent of the vote in Stoke. There were days when if the Lib Dems got 25 per cent at a by-election it would have indicated a seismic change.
Ukip MEP wrongly says hundreds of illegal immigrants arrive each week
“From my point of view as a businessman, and a very successful one, if you actually took hold of this and ran it properly it could really do something, bearing in mind how ramshackle it’s been.”
“Nigel especially wants wants to see Ukip go forward. He’s become very frustrated with the way it’s run, the structures.”
But does Nigel accept any of the blame for it?
“Nigel is partly to blame, yes, he would admit that, but then Ukip grew so quickly, at such a phenomenal pace. We’ve got a very big oak tree but the roots are not as deep as they should be.
“We have to re-engage Nigel positively, in the same way Salmond has been re-engaged with the SNP. He doesn’t have to be leader, he’s still a powerful force.
“But you need to take the administration of it away from the politicians, have it run by a professional group of people. It needs to be professionally run, and I don’t see anyone else showing any inclination to do it. It’s not difficult.
“You only need to look at Nuttall’s campaign – with the stuff on his website and everything. If you were starting a by-election campaign, the first thing you do is check all your stuff.
“One of the strengths of UKip is that it has not had much representation in Westminster but whether you like it or dislike it, it has set the political weather.
“David Cameron only gave the referendum because of intense pressure from Ukip, and we only won the referendum because we decided to focus on immigration when Vote Leave didn’t want to talk about it.”
Though it lost in Stoke, and badly, Mr Banks maintains it set the weather there too.
“None of the Tories voted Ukip. Ukip won the Labour votes they had to win. They got 5,000. But the Tory vote stayed exactly where it was. And what that tells you is that Tory leaning potential Ukip voters don’t like the messages that are put out.
“Look at the Labour leaflets that were put out. They had the cross of St George on the front of it, it even said they would take the money saved from the European Union and spend it on local services. It was a Ukip based leaflet.
“Ukip put out stuff trying to copy the Labour party. They put out stuff about the NHS. But the Ukip Tory type voters will come back if it’s deemed that May doesn’t deliver.
“Listen to David Davis. He made a speech last week saying that he thought it would be a decade before immigration would be under control, and what he was basically saying is that it will be open door immigration for the foreseeable future.
“The problem is you’ve got your Westminster types, you’ve got your media types, but for most people the referendum was about taking back control of the country and controlling our borders, and it’s clear the government has got no intention of doing either right now.
“When it becomes clear that we’re not going to get a clean Brexit, the anger will start to build again.”
“And when that happens, Ukip will have a radical agenda for turning Britain upside down and inside out, but I’m not going to tell you what it is. It won’t just be immigration based. It will be very surprising.”
I suggest that one of Ukip’s major problems is a vanishingly shallow talent pool that has compelled Nigel Farage to be its leader on no fewer than four occasions, but his answer hints at further problems.
Paul Nuttall, is he says, “weak but potentially a good leader”.
“Oh definitely. We’ve got to bring good people through and sometimes because of the incestuous nature of this thing good people have not been brought through or they’ve been killed off because of jealousies and that’s where this thing has gone wrong.
Arron Banks threatens to pull funding unless he can ‘sort out’ Ukip
“There needs to be a deeper pool of talent from which to pick. Having someone like Neil Hamilton in Wales is a disaster. It’s not a unified party, we know that.
“Carswell too. He has done his level best to cause problems. It’s our feeling that he has to be gone. In the referendum, Vote Leave thought it was rude to talk about immigration, right up until they realised they had to, that it wouldn’t appeal to middle class Tory voters and Carswell falls into that category.
“Ideologically he is for open door immigration. His reasons for the referendum are not our reasons. As a libertarian, he believes in virtually no rules at all.”
Mr Banks compares Ukip’s internal problems to Labour under Corbyn, and also points out that it took that party decades to get any political representation.
“And after the 1945 government, you could argue, what was the point of Labour, when they’d done all the things they wanted to do? But it’s carried on.
“Look at Ukip. It’s there. It’s still got a lot of members. It’s bedded itself in to the national psyche, despite all this bad PR, every poll I see says 13 or 14 per cent for Ukip.
“The people who hate the Conservative Party for what they’ve done will not go back to the Conservative Party, and the same with the Labour Party, so there’s a base there.”
There certainly is. But whatever lies ahead in Mr Banks’s grand Ukip wargaming, it’s clear there’s a battle that must be won first, and that’s for Clacton, against Mr Carswell.
it just shows the damage done to Ukip – not just by the lies of Paul Nuttall, their present totally discredited Leader, but by the incompetent, profligate and low grade leadership it has had for many years. A leadership based on a Marmite personality cult led by a man who fell out with and drove away so many men and women of competence, skill and culture and surrounded himself with low grade dross and self serving ne’re do wells who were too incompetent or too stupid to challenge him!
Now that the days of the One Man Band are over the party is near total collapse with squabbling and back stabbing at every level and absolutely no one of any caliber or competence to lead it forward.
There is good reason and sound evidence that now that we have won the Referendum which Nikki Sinclaire so clearly gained for us, BreXit is now inevitable.
Ukip has no role to play and no future – Even Arron Banks’ political cartoon strip Westmonster has made this clear.
UKIP raises hardly any money, badly needs help
Party’s finances tanking.
March 2, 2017
The latest financial figures for Britain’s political parties are out and UKIP has raised less even than the Green Party.
UKIP raised just £33,000 in comparison to £30k for the Women’s Equality Party, £46k for the Greens and the Liberal Democrats who raised £2 million in the same period.