"Never once have I walked away and I have loyally supported every Leader." Nigel Farage
Lies! You walked away as leader before the last General Election and you constantly undermined Roger Knapman when he was UKIP leader!
Barbara Booker - posting as Barboo - is a regular contributor to the British Democracy Forum. Her comments are always very informative and should be read by EVERY UKIPPER concerned about the future of the party.
Here are a couple of her latest offerings:
Farage’s suitability as leader
He knew when he stood for the leadership in 2006 that there would be a general election within his term of office, and he assured those who questioned his ability to lead both the party and the MEPs that he was making suitable arrangements: "I will not be abroad for more than 6 or 7 days every month. I have excellent supporting staff in Brussels, and most of the donkey work has now been taken from me".
Yet when the general election came, he abandoned UKIP's candidates and his leadership responsibilities, saying of the approaching campaign: "I'm not going to take that burden on because frankly it's too much and anyway I'm going to be busy in Buckingham taking on John Bercow".
So if the coalition crumbles and there's another election is he going to find the leadership burden "too much" again ? He'll no doubt be busy in Witney taking on the Prime Minister next time!
A week before Lord Pearson's resignation was announced in August Nigel Farage was telling a BBC reporter that he'd promised himself more time with his family. On the day of the announcement he questioned whether he was sufficiently recovered to take on the leadership again: "I've got to decide in the wake of that accident whether I'm strong enough to take the job on", and there was also fretting about the dual nature of the role: "The other problem is I'm still leading a group in the European Parliament in Brussels, can I do that and lead a party in the UK?"
UKIP members shouldn't count on it. Nigel Farage proved himself unreliable the first time he was entrusted with the leadership of their party.
Once a bolter always a bolter!
Junius has posted comments said to have been made by Steve Allison on the UKIP members' forum, following an NEC meeting at which a presentation on forming a pan-European party to access additional EU funding was discussed.
(Junius says: See LINK)
Assuming the comments are genuine and accurately reported, they are worth considering in detail as the subject is fundamental to UKIP's future. The essential points made by Steve Allison are:
quote (Steve Allison)
UKIP Members seem to fixate on the requirement that to draw down such funds the party must “observe the founding principles of the European Union”. However, those ‘founding principles’ are the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. Which of those principles does UKIP Object to? . . . . we, as a party do support these principles. There is no requirement for example to support any other aims of the EU, there is no requirement to support political union or greater integration.
Steve Allison would appear to be remarkably poorly informed here. If UKIP members are indeed fixated as he suggests it is because they have heard their MEPs, particularly Nigel Farage, say over and again that the party rejects the state funding of pan-EU political parties precisely because qualification requirements conflict with UKIP aims and principles. Is SA not aware that in 2004 MEPs Farage, Titford and Booth even took the European parliament and Council of Ministers to the European Court in an attempt to kill off the funding legislation? You can't spend years saying something is dangerous and unacceptable, then suddenly present it as an attractive carrot and expect to carry the membership with you. See the following:
Press release from Jeffrey Titford MEP, 26.7.00: "The European Union plans to fund only those parties which "support the principle of European integration".
UKIP and EDD press release 18.2.03: "The European proposals would require parties in receipt of funding to accept both the primacy of European Union law, and the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights. Jeffrey Titford said, "It can hardly be considered democratic to require parties to accept a certain political position, in this case acceptance of the supremacy of the European Union and its bodies, in order to secure funding".
Daily Telegraph 20.2.03: "Mr Farage said he was proud to be disqualified from receiving such funding. "I most certainly don't respect the primacy of EU law and I think the charter (of Fundamental Rights) is downright dangerous"
Nigel Farage to CIB Liberty News, Spring 2003: "in order for a political party to be registered it must "ensure that the statute and activities of the European political party respect the basic purposes of the Union with regard to freedom, democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law". This immediately presents difficulties for parties that disagree with the objectives of the European Union . . . the UK Independence Party would immediately fall foul of the Commission because one of its aims is British withdrawal from the Union. It also disagrees with the principles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and does not recognise the supremacy of EU laws over those of Great Britain, making it a complete non-starter under the new rules!"
Europarl verbatim report of proceedings 18.6.03, Statute and financing of European political parties: "Booth (EDD) - Two recent opinion polls in the UK gave figures of 92% and 96% as wanting to leave the European Union, and yet this proposal would deny funding to any party who should dare to represent the views of that very large proportion of its citizens".
BBC Radio 4 'World at One' 27.6.03: Nigel Farage is an MEP for the UK Independence Party. As a member of a party who wouldn't receive any of the new money he's furious about the proposals: (Farage) "If you support the political union, if you support the European project you'll get money, if you don't you won't get money".
UKIP press release, 28.1.04: 'UKIP MEPs take Euro Parliament to court over state funding of parties' - UK Independence Party MEP Nigel Farage said, "We are opposed on principle to the idea of state funding of political parties, either nationally or at a European level. It is not an appropriate use of tax-payers money. As if that was not bad enough, the legislation adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers will discriminate against certain political parties. It requires the recipients of European funding to subscribe to pre-set political ideals, such as agreement with greater European integration".
Europarl verbatim report of proceedings 8.3.04, Statute and financing of political parties at European level: "Farage (EDD) I do not think there is any evidence that suggests that the voters in my country or in any other country are happy for their money directly to finance political parties at a European level. I have also felt, ever since Nice and Article 191, that this idea that you qualify if you conform to the democratic principles of the Union is potentially a dangerous one. I have some difficulty with the issue of the rule of law. It seems to me that, post-Constitution, some in this place - and I am one of them - will not recognise that new rule of law because we will only be able to leave the EU on terms of the EU".
UKIP Letter from Strasbourg 22.11.05: "Pan EU Political Parties. Within the Independence and Democracy Group, two parties have emerged. However, UKIP joined neither of them, because there are no other moderate parties in the parliament that want to leave the EU and also, because UKIP disapproves of state funding for parties, which is to be made available to these new combinations".
UKIP press release 3.2.06: "Snouts deeper in the trough - the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee last night rubber-stamped a massive 19% hike in taxpayers' money to be gifted to 'European Political Parties'. Tom Wise MEP (UKIP) denounced the decision. The concept of European Political parties is itself a travesty designed mainly to raise more cash for pro-European political forces. To qualify, parties represented in the European Parliament from at least 7 different countries have to subscribe to a single political platform. This naturally discriminates against those parties that believe in national self-determination".
A question that could be put to Nigel Farage at the leadership hustings is, were he and UKIP's other MEPs lying over that five year period when they kept saying UKIP would be denied funding because of its stance on EU integration, or did they just not understand the funding criteria? And whichever it was, how are members to know they're not lying / misunderstanding now in their presentation to the NEC?
quote (Steve Allison)
One of the carrots of accepting membership of a pan-European political party would be funding for a "think tank" to develop policy. This would probably be based in the UK with a big slice of 1,300,000 Euro Budget. This money could be used to research positions, produce policies, print and distribute booklets, etc. It could also be used to fund conferences and meetings. Yes I know its a buy off (or a sell out?) but its a lot of money that UKIP could use to fight the EU with.
No, UKIP most definitely could not use the money to fight the EU! The regulations governing the funding of political parties at European level (pan-EU parties) and their associated political foundation 'think tanks' specifically rule out the money being used by national political parties. To form a pan-EU party UKIP would have to agree a common political programme with parties from six other member states, and the funds could only be used to further objectives set out in that programme. 'Withdrawal' would not feature in it since no other EFD members want to leave the EU, and the research, policies, booklets, meetings, conferences, etc, would all have to promote the new party's aims of 'improving' the EU.
quote (Steve Allison)
The key question I asked, and received assurances to, was that being in such a party would in no way mean the end of UKIP, we would still be UKIP and would continue to campaign and stand in elections as UKIP.
This is only partially true. Legislation currently being steered through the EP's Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) by the LibDem MEP Andrew Duff includes a draft proposal for 25 seats at the 2014 Euro-elections to be contested by pan-European parties on an EU wide basis. If by then UKIP is in a pan-European party it will not be able to contest these seats as UKIP. Furthermore, although European Party funding cannot be used for campaigning by national parties the reverse does not apply, and UKIP funds can and no doubt will be used for the new European Party's campaign. Obviously, 25 seats will be just the thin end of the wedge, and at future EU elections UKIP members can expect to see ever more of their party's funds diverted into the election campaigns of EFD (or whatever they call themselves) MEPs.
Don't say you haven't been warned!