Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker - would the last person to lead Ukip please turn out the light?

Issue No. 2592

Gerard Batten - in charge of Ukip for now

Gerard Batten - in charge of Ukip for now (Pic: Derek Bennett/Flickr)


The racist Ukip party has got its seventh change in leader in less than one and a half years. Gerard Batten became interim leader following a vote to sack Henry Bolton at an emergency general meeting last Saturday.

The meeting was strained to say the least. The Financial Times reported that Bolton attacked the “enemy within” for undermining him.

An NEC member said Bolton had threatened legal action against Ukip at least twice.

Another said Bolton had breached his duties by telling the press that Ukip is losing between £20,000 and £30,000 a month.

Bolton had refused to step down following his girlfriend, Jo Marney, sending a series of racist messages. He whined that the “scrutiny” of his personal life was on a par with how the media treated princess Diana, conveniently ignoring the racism.

But it’s clear that overt racism in Ukip will continue.

Batten began his stint by repeating his claim that Islam is a “death cult”.

“If you look at every continent in the world where you have this belief, then you have violence,” he went on.

He seems to have missed the fact that a number of other religions also exist in areas where there is violence.

He said Muslims should sign a document rejecting “dark-age ideologies” in the Koran.

On the plus side, Ukip is broke. A judge last week instructed it to contribute to Ukip MEP Jane Collins’ legal costs.

Three Rotherham Labour MPs sued Collins after she claimed that they deliberately ignored child sexual abuse. Ukip could have to pay at least £200,000.

Bolton previously said that a new leadership election was financially “unviable” and could mark the end of the party.


New new trains to replace old new trains

The Windsor line out of London’s Waterloo has nice trains.

Built by Siemens they are Desiro City Class 707 and only entered service in the past few months.

Since privatisation trains are owned and maintained by one lot of companies but operated by another. That’s where the money is made.

South West Trains decided to order them in 2014 to expand the Waterloo fleet. The last of the order arrives next week.

But despite the fact that trains are built to last at least 30 years they will be out of service by next year.

The franchise changed hands to FirstGroup.It is cheaper for them to get an entirely new batch of rolling stock than to continue with the old “new” ones. They are not the only ones.

Greater Anglia is ditching the Bombardiers it leased from Macquarie to run the Stansted Express despite them being only six years old.


Tory politicians for sale to Russian banker

Troublemaker’s prestigious hypocrite award goes to defence secretary Gavin Williamson.

Williamson took time out of a Nato meeting in Brussels to try to breathe life into the attempt to whip up a scandal about Jeremy Corbyn’s meeting with a diplomat in 1986.

He said, “Jeremy Corbyn has never had Britain’s interests at heart.

“Time and time again he has sided with those who want to destroy everything that is great about this country, whether it is sympathising with terrorists, backing rogue regimes, or cosying up to those who want to inflict pain and misery on the British people.”

Meanwhile banker Lubov Chernukhin, whose husband Vladimir was Russia’s deputy finance minister, bought access to Williamson at the Tories’ Black and White Ball the other week.

Corbyn clearly doesn’t think big enough.


Testing times for schools minister

Tory Schools minister Nick Gibb is leading a traditionalist drive to replace modern teaching methods with old fashioned drilling.

His latest gimmick is to make all eight and nine year olds sit computer-based tests to see whether they know their times tables up to 12.

If they do, then they’ll be one step ahead of him. Repeatedly asked to do a couple of simple sums on television he refused to answer.

That embarrassment comes hot on the heels of a major blow to Gibb and his allies (see below) in the “neo-traditionalist” education movement.


The danger of a little knowledge

The Tories have been on a crusade to return to a “knowledge-based curriculum”.

It was an obsession of Michael Gove’s and the flame is now being carried by schools minister Nick Gibb. A private university launched a knowledge-based teacher training course last year.

The programme director is Robert Peal, a history teacher at the West London Free School, which was founded by Toby Young.

Peal also spent a 12-month secondment at the Department for Education where he acted as a policy adviser and speech writer to Gibb.

Gibb recently gave a speech titled, “The importance of knowledge-based education.”

It’s a shame Peal’s course has been discontinued just five months after its launch.


Royal Navy commander messes up

As a senior officer responsible for a Royal Navy training course, Commander Justin Codd was supposed to be teaching students how to safely navigate a nuclear submarine.

Instead, he took his eye off the periscope and ended up putting a £2.1 million dent in his vessel.

A court martial at Portsmouth naval base ruled that Commander Codd should have paid more attention. The students passed.


Money-grabbing pigs want money for horses

Thames Valley police have suggested that members of the public might have to pay for its mounted unit.

We do already. But cops say they have a funding gap of £4 million.

The pigs are hoping that the nine horses—rather than being dog food—will continue their important crime fighting on a charitable basis.


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