The most infuriating thing about Ukip’s recent success hasn’t been Nigel Farage himself, odious far right banker that he is.
It’s also the way politicians and the media have bent over backwards to hail Ukip as the real voice of ordinary people.
David Cameron seems as embarrassed as it’s possible to be about having called Ukip members “fruitcakes and closet racists” in 2006. But it’s probably the only honest thing we’ve ever heard him say.
It’s as if Farage’s ability to be photographed holding a pint has suddenly made him impossible to challenge.
So it was refreshing to see him get the kind of reception he deserved for once last week in Edindurgh. Trade unionists, students and Scottish independence campaigners heard Farage was coming, and quickly built a protest.
He was called a racist and a homophobe, and needed to be barricaded in a pub then bundled into a police van for his own safety. Farage whined that the protesters were “fascists”. But perhaps he was thinking of all those Ukip candidates who’d been members of the Nazi BNP, EDL or National Front until they saw which way the wind was blowing.
Meanwhile one of Ukip’s new councillors had to resign after less than a fortnight last week. Eric Kitson of Worcestershire County Council had shared racist anti-Muslim material on his Facebook account.
Ukip also faces something of a funding crisis, having raised only £47,000 last year. And more than a fifth of it came from sexist tycoon Demetri Marchessini.
He’s the “author” of Women in trousers: a rear view, in which he photographs women from behind and criticises their clothing. He argues that their wearing trousers is “hostile behaviour” that “flies against common sense”.
Marchessini also thinks that date rape doesn’t exist and unmarried mothers deserve a “smack”.
Remember all that talk about British government propaganda in Bulgaria to convince people not to come to Britain? Well it sounds like it’s started.
The queen is sending her son Prince Edward to Bulgaria on an official visit next month. He’s the one no one remembers after his corrupt brother and racist aunt.
But we’re sure he’ll still be enough to put anyone off.
A third of teachers say that children are doing less sport and exercise now than they were two years ago.
The government spent that time making a lot of noise about how the Olympics would boost participation. But it was much quieter about slashing £100 million from school sports funding.
Benefit cuts? We’ll have some of that!
The government’s attack on benefits is bad news—but not for the bailiff firms that get paid to harass people pushed into debt.
Jacobs Bailiffs has been eagerly touting for business. It promises landlords that “with Welfare Reforms taking effect from 1st April the Jacobs team can talk you through our recovery strategies for maximising collections.”
It looks forward to “a busy year” with “a large portion of ‘new’ debtors” and promises that “the lessons from Poll Tax have been learnt”. For Jacobs, that lesson is that arrears should be chased up quickly.
No bill of health for Atos
GP Greg Wood is the latest Atos healthcare employee to resign and speak out over its treatment of disability benefit claimants.
Wood advised the firm on mental health. He says that far from being “even-handed” it “leans towards finding reasons not to award points”.
He blames this bias on the government.
The Tory jobs train has been held up
The planned High Speed 2 rail link was supposed to bring jobs to the north. But the bean counters at the National Audit Office aren’t buying the hype.
They published a review of the project so far last week. It said that while it will make some trains go faster, there was “limited evidence” that there was any point.
It added that “it is unclear how High Speed 2 will transform regional economies by delivering jobs and growth”.
Driven to distraction
David Cameron grabbed headlines last Thursday, promising to lock up any petrol bosses found guilty of rigging prices. But within 24 hours Number 10 quietly admitted this was hot air.
BP and Shell are accused of rigging wholesale oil prices since 2002. Drivers could have been overcharged thousands of pounds each, while the oil giants made multi-billion profits.
May the force be with her?
Christmas has come early for Britain’s cops, if home secretary Theresa May is to be believed.
She’s promised them new toys—like the German water cannons that blinded one protester in Stuttgart three years ago.
Anyone would think there had just been a Police Federation conference—and that May didn’t want to get booed two years running.