The Ukip leadership battle is underway and candidates are on the offensive—against each other. Suzanne Evans, Paul Nuttall, Raheem Kassam and John Rees-Evans had announced their plans to stand as Socialist Worker went to press.
Self-professed “unity candidate” Nuttall claimed he would “bring the factions together” in the party. Happily, the leadership battle seems to be deepening the divisions.
Evans attacked Kassam, who has pledged to “continue Nigel Farage’s legacy” if elected, for being “far right”. Former leader Nigel Farage said, “I won’t be voting for her.”
Farage stood down following the Leave vote in the European Union referendum. His successor, Diane James, resigned after 18 days.
Steven Woolfe had been expected to replace James.
But he left the party after an “altercation” with Ukip MEP Mike Hookem left him hospitalised.
Ukip is in a quandary over which direction to go in. Evans wants Ukip to occupy the “centre ground” and appear less “toxic”. Others don’t want Ukip watered down.
As Farage put it, “Ukip is a radical political party and needs to go on being a radical political party.” For “radical” read “racist”.
Meanwhile Rees-Evans marked his leadership bid by apologising for previously claiming a “homosexual donkey” tried to rape his horse.
The “playful banter” was a “mistake” he said.
He made the comment in response to a question about whether some gay men prefer sex with animals.
After decades of racist scapegoating by mainstream politicians, Ukip still has worrying levels of support.
But anti-racists should celebrate their troubles.
Kelvin MacKenzie is provocatively stupid
Trevor Kavanagh writes in the Sun newspaper this week, “CHANNEL 4’s Fatima Manji made a fool of herself by accusing my old editor Kelvin MacKenzie of discrimination after she wore a hijab to report the Islamist truck massacre in Nice”.
He drones on, “Absurdly, Ms Manji claims she was ‘singled out personally by Kelvin MacKenzie because of my religion’. In fact she singled herself out by dressing as she did.
“She knew precisely what she was doing.”
Last week the press regulator IPSO ruled that Kelvin MacKenzie and the Sun did no wrong.
And who is on the board of that esteemed body? Well, none other than Trevor Kavanagh.
Historic Bryn Estyn abuse cop convicted
The conviction of former North Wales police inspector Gordon Anglesea for indecent assault against two teenage boys has been a long time coming.
His conviction last week comes after that of John Allen, the former owner of Bryn Alyn and Bryn Estyn children’s homes in North Wales, who was convicted of a further 33 offences against children.
Both convicted men were arrogant and thought because of their powerful positions they could abuse vulnerable children at will.
Anglesea said it was a conspiracy by the survivors so they could obtain money.
He won £375,000 damages in 1994 over allegations that he had abused children during visits he made to the Bryn Estyn children’s home just outside Wrexham.
A total of 340 people have made contact with the Operation Pallial. Nine people have been convicted.
A Lib Dem request for information on foreigners recently arrested in Cumbria for sex offences revealed one Abyssinian, one from West Pakistan and one from the German Democratic Republic.
West Pakistan ceased to exist in 1970, Abyssinia in 1974, and East Germany in 1990.
Virgin on the ridiculous
Virgin is bragging that more than 15,000 people have applied for 78 vacancies to drive their new trains, claiming it’s a sign of their company’s popularity.
If Troublemaker were them, we’d save the bragging to the interview stage. They’ll no doubt discover the applicants are regular passengers who think sitting in the drivers’ seat is the only way of ensuring they don’t have to stand.
Mental health admissions up
Tory cuts have led to a 72 percent rise in A&E admissions for mental health problems.
Hospital emergency units, with budgets already slashed to breaking point, had to deal with an extra 67,000 psychiatric patients in 2015.
When the Tories came to office in 2010, 92,948 people visited A&E with psychiatric conditions. Last year the figure was 160,450. The 72 percent increase far outstrips the 26 percent rise in total A&E admissions for the same period.
The Internet means we’re all toast
In the “internet of things” age, even household items such as fridges are hooked up online.
Flaws in this network of sentient appliances were exploited for a hack that shut down swathes of the web last week.
Jeff Jarmoc, a security expert, said, “In a relatively short time, we’ve taken a system built to resist destruction by nuclear weapons and made it vulnerable to toasters.”
Bosses want to privatise staff
PwC accountants boss Marcus Robinson told delegates at a Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) Summit that each school having its own back-office functions was untenable and suggested an “exchange” model of services to “boost efficiency”.
“Why can’t those MATs that already have good services be able to share those out to other MATs in a way that feels commercial, but in a way that generates a surplus?”
Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee reported that other schemes to share government back-office functions have been less than successful.
One saved £90 million—but at a cost of £94 million.