NEWPORT’S branch of UKIP appeared in turmoil at the weekend as their chairman appealed for help to “rid this branch of EDL sympathisers”.
Mike Chaffin posted on the branch’s Facebook page: “Not in my name, not in my party and not in my town!”
He pointed readers to comments made by the Newport East parliamentary candidate Donald Grewar on the EDL Facebook page and BNP website.
Mr Grewar responded to an EDL post warning of ‘no surrender to militant Islam or political correctness’ with the comment: “Thus sais it all… the mood of the nation… well done EDL” [sic].
And he said in response to an article on the BNP website about gay marriage: “Well said Richtofen…. sadly this will all come to fruition in the very near future. We need to resist and stand our ground.”
Mr Chaffin asked party members: “Do you consider someone who both praises the English Defence League and posts on the British National Party’s own website to be a suitable candidate?”
He revealed he had been asked to stand down as Chairman and allow two others to take over the branch.
A rival Newport UKIP Facebook page appeared to have been set up this month, with minutes from a meeting on January 23.
In a post to the new page, Andy Byers claimed Mike Chaffin “will be resigning as Chairman of the Newport Branch”.
He said the committee had nominated James Peterson to stand as temporary Chairman until an AGM on February 23.
But after this had been posted, Mr Chaffin continued to refer to himself as chairman on the initial Facebook page.
Mr Chaffin also proposed an annual general meeting to deal with the issues.
He said that people “who even flirt” with these parties “should be banished and those who help or collude with them named,” he added.
He called for such party members “to take their views to a party more closely aligned with their morals.”
His post ended: “If we tolerate this then what will be next?
Andrew Byers, named by Mr Chaffin in his post, said he was “surprised” by the allegations which he said were “completely without foundation”. He added it was impossible to be a member of both Ukip and one of the other parties mentioned.
He said: “So it’s a no comment at the moment. He appears to have an issue…he’s obviously quite disgruntled.”
A spokesman for Hope Not Hate said this was proof the party was run by “amateurs”.
Simon Cressy said: “There are extreme elements within UKIP, as can be demonstrated by some of the comments.
“He’s coming out saying he supports the EDL – he’s not the right candidate to represent the good people of Newport East.
“We would call on UKIP to remove Donald Grewar and any other person that has made extremist comments.”
Donald Grewar has been approached for comment.
A UKIP spokesman said: “UKIP takes all complaints and concerns seriously and fully investigates all issues brought to our attention. Party members living in Newport recently raised some concerns with the party through our internal procedures and the party acted swiftly in ordering an investigation into these matters. When the full facts become known we will release a full statement on our website.”
South Wales Argus
UKIP was engulfed in a new racism row today after the Evening Standard unearthed evidence of its London election candidates using offensive language.
James Silverfox, an official Ukip candidate in Barking & Dagenham, made the comment “How did I know he is Nigerian?” on a news story about a fraudster plundering the bank account of a murdered British engineer. Challenged by the Standard, he denied the remark was racist.
Gary Port, standing for Ukip in Greenwich, admitted his Facebook page shows a “like” for a group devoted to the far-Right British National Party. Approached by the Standard, the removal man said: “I don’t think it’s that clear whether the BNP are racist…”
Matt Pavey, standing for Ukip in Lewisham, suggested that the case of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence had received disproportionate amounts of media attention compared with two killings of local white women. He told the Standard he had not intended to cause offence and denied being racist.
Heino Vockrodt, standing in Brent for Ukip, described members of Right-wing protest group the English Defence League — which has been criticised for attracting hooligans to demonstrations staged in mixed-race areas — as “honest normal people” .
An investigation by the Standard found a tweet in the name of another Ukip candidate who implied that “multiracial” schools had inferior results. The new row for Nigel Farage’s anti-Europe party comes days after Enfield candidate William Henwood resigned over tweets that said comedian Lenny Henry should emigrate to a “black country” and compared Islam to the Third Reich.
Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, commented: “I am shocked that Ukip is prepared to have people with these views as their candidates.
“Anybody who wants to stand for office in London must know that comments like these are not acceptable in a cosmopolitan city.”
After being passed details of comments apparently made by seven Ukip candidates in London, a Ukip spokesman said each would be examined for possible disciplinary action: “Ukip is a non-racist, non-sectarian party and all candidates and members are expected to uphold these values. Where evidence is produced to indicate a breach it will be considered at the earliest opportunity by the National Executive Committee.”
But Mr Farage’s election campaign continues to be dogged by controversial or offensive views held by senior party figures and council candidates.
A major Ukip donor has claimed that rape cannot exist within a marriage. Demetri Marchessini said: “If you make love on Friday and make love Sunday, you can’t say Saturday is rape.”
A senior Ukip MEP was exposed today for once claiming homosexuality was “abnormal and undesirable”. Roger Helmer, 70, made the claims in 2000 while a Conservative. In a statement on his website, Mr Helmer said he was “deeply shocked” by today’s story, and insisted it was “morally acceptable to prefer heterosexuality over homosexuality, or vice versa”.
The candidates and their views
Candidate for Gascoigne ward, Barking and Dagenham
The former soldier, 66, made the comment “How did I know he is Nigerian?” on a link to a news story about fraudsters who plundered the bank account of a murdered Briton. But he told the Standard he was unrepentant about branding Nigerians as fraudsters. He said: “I was the victim of an online banking fraud and lost hundreds of pounds. I was told that the fraud was carried out by a Nigerian gang operating out of a house in Streatham.
“They [Nigerians] are well known for this type of crime and I am speaking out as a victim. I have not met any [Nigerians] that I know of but I would be wary of doing business with them after what I have been through.” But he flatly denied he was a racist, saying: “My wife is Asian and my daughter’s partner is from the West Indies and we get on well. How can I be a racist? I have two grandchildren who are black and two who are white … You won’t find any Nazi symbols in my flat!”
Candidate for Whitefoot ward, Lewisham
On his Twitter account, @WhitefootUKIP, he spoke out about allegations of police corruption in the case of murdered black London teenager Stephen Lawrence. He recalled two unsolved murders of white women and tweeted: “Does anyone remember the name Jean Bradley murder unsolved in Acton, London in 1993. Anyone looking for corruption here? No thought not.” Challenged by the Standard he said: “I did not mean to be offensive or malicious … I just wanted to highlight that some cases get overlooked. The way it was interpreted caused offence. I have nothing against the Lawrence family and am not a racist.”
Candidate for Charlton ward, Greenwich
On Facebook, he lists a page about the BNP as “liked”. He also “liked” a page for a group called the “South East Alliance” which contains anti-Islam material, such as an image claiming that 96 per cent of rapes in the UK are committed by Muslims.
Mr Port, a 35-year-old removal man, said of the BNP page: “I ‘liked’ it, not to join in, but to see what other groups and parties were doing.
“It’s like a news feed, so I just ‘liked’ it to get information on my own page because it brings up what issues other people are dealing with, it wasn’t to say I like it. It was a few years ago now, before I joined Ukip.”
Asked if he considered the BNP to be a racist party, he said: “What do you class as racist nowadays? At what point is something racist in this day and age with all the cultures? Obviously some parties are pushing that issue more than others.”
He added: “I don’t think it’s that clear whether the BNP are racist, from what I understand there was a big hype about it many years ago but I’m not sure what they’ve done about it.” But he added: “If I was racist I wouldn’t be doing the job I’m doing now. I do removals for council tenants and you could probably say the majority of them are ethnic. If I had a big problem with it, I wouldn’t be in that job.”
He said he wouldn’t “outright condemn” the “96.3 per cent of rapes in the UK are by Muslims” claim in a South East Alliance post because he would have to “look into the national figures”, but added: “I think personally that’s going to be far too high.”
He said both the Alliance and EDL are disaffected working-class groups, adding: “Like all groups you get some good and some non-good people.”
Candidate for Dudden Hill ward, Brent
He described members of the English Defence League, whose protests have triggered violent clashes, as “honest normal people”.
He stood by his views on the EDL when approached by the Standard. The commercial consultant, 52, who moved to the UK from Germany 18 years ago and is married to an Asian woman, said: “It appears to me that they [the EDL] are normal, hardworking people like builders.
“I do not agree with their policies but they do sometimes get unfair treatment. If anti-fascists go to their rallies and there is trouble they are always blamed. They get an unfair press sometimes I think. I have an Asian wife and am in no way racist. Ukip is not a racist party.”
Nigel Farage, UKIP leader has said that he is “proud” that his party have claimed a third of all BNP voters.
Speaking at an event at London’s Chatham House, Farage denied taking “extremist” positions on immigration, pointing out that former BNP members had been banned from joining his party.
He went on to claim that “We want no truck with the BNP types at all,” he said.
We were a little surprised by that statement, seeing as his xenophobic party has countless former members and supporters of far right parties in the ranks of UKIP.
Take for instance former UKIP candidate David Rimington from Harrogate in North Yorkshire.
Rimington stood as a UKIP candidate in the picturesque town of Knaresborough last year in the North Yorkshire County Council Elections.
Fortunately he failed miserably, finishing in 6th place but what the good people of Knaresborough didn’t know was that David Rimington had a deep dark secret, his name and address appeared on the leaked BNP membership list.
However, what is even more shocking is the fact that Harrogate & Knaresborough UKIP apparently knew of Rimingtons links to the far right party and by all accounts attempted to hide the facts from the public.
Rimington’s telephone number, postcode and BNP membership number are also included on the list. The postcode matches exactly the postcode of the UKIP candidate who stood in Knaresborough last year.
We rang the telephone number included on the BNP list and Rimington confirmed that he was still a UKIP member, confirming that the details were correct.
We wonder if Harrogate & Knaresborough UKIP intend to stand David Rimington as a candidate in the future, we also wonder if the entire branch of UKIP will be disciplined for attempting to hide the fact that one of its activists was previously a BNP member?
Hope not Hate
A new book has revealed that Ukip considered forming a pact with the BNP five years ago, with two members of the party’s national executive committee at the time in favour of the idea.
In 2008 Nigel Farage acknowledged that the BNP had proposed a deal for the European elections the following year, but insisted it had been unanimously rejected. Farage told reporters then: “I’m simply amazed that the BNP thought we would even consider such a thing.”
Now the new book – Revolt on the Right, the most definitive account yet of the Ukip movement – reveals that the BNP’s proposal was canvassed among 17 members of the party’s NEC. Two members supported the proposal, it has emerged.
Farage, who said he had been against a pact, told the authors: “There were a lot of people saying to me at that time: ‘You’ve got to do a deal with them.’ I even had Tory MEPs saying to me, ‘Nigel, you’ve got to do a deal with these people.’ We were being beaten by them regularly in local elections. So there was huge pressure on me. The nature of the deal was the BNP would stand in some regions in the European elections in the north, and Ukip would stand in the south, and that would be the electoral pact, we wouldn’t oppose each other.”
Of the members who offered support for the pact, Farage said: “They were the angry old men of old Ukip who thought Ukip was doomed.”
The political predicament of Ukip in 2008 contrasts with its potential today, the authors say. In the book, published this week, they say the party has emerged from the crash with the potential to attract a third of the electorate.
Around 30% of voters are now believed to be both Eurosceptic and opposed to immigration, or Eurosceptic and politically dissatisfied, the defining themes for Ukip. Such sentiments are continuing to grow in strength among the electorate, according to the authors, who draw on the biggest pool of data so far amassed on the political movement.
The book provides evidence of the share of voters holding Eurosceptic views and at least one other radical right belief being up by around five to seven percentage points since 2008.
Ukip is widely recognised as not having a credible manifesto and has faced serious questions about the calibre of its MEPs, the authors note.
This weekend, the party was dogged by claims that it had misused EU funds in paying staff working in the UK. Yet Dr Matthew Goodwin, from Nottingham University, and Dr Robert Ford, of Manchester University, say that the “army of potential supporters for Ukip is growing in size” and is being aided by continued anger at Labour’s record in power and disaffection with the Tory leader.
They argue that Farage and Ukip face huge challenges in the first-past-the-post electoral system and in the party’s continued unpopularity among women, ethnic minorities, graduates and the young.
However, Ukip is now the favoured electoral option among those who strongly disapprove of the EU – 20% of all British voters.
Over the past three years, the party has also performed better than Labour among older, working-class and financially struggling voters. The party is using tactics similar to those once successfully deployed by the Lib Dems, the authors say, in that they seek to deepen their vote in particular areas by getting into local councils and building strongholds.
It is claimed that, of the five constituencies where Ukip stands its best chance of general election success, four are Labour seats (Great Grimsby, Plymouth Moor View, Ashfield, Walsall North) and one is Tory (Waveney). The consistent feature in these areas is a splintering of the traditional vote and the existence of a large, older, blue-collar demographic.
The book suggests that the potential for Ukip’s rise can be clearly seen in societal changes that developed decades ago. The authors write: “Its seeds lay among groups of voters who struggled with the destabilising and threatening changes brought by deindustrialisation, globalisation and, later, European integration and mass immigration.”
Farage, the academics claim, is fusing three issues to make a coherent message. The authors write: “Farage’s party now encourages voters to say ‘no’ three times: no to the Eurocrats in Brussels and Strasbourg; no to the politicians in Westminster; and no to immigration.
“This is not a grand ideological vision – there is no ‘Farageism’ – but it is a coherent and highly effective message.”
They add: “Ukip is not a second home for disgruntled Tories in the shires; it is a first home for disaffected working-class Britons of all political backgrounds who have lost faith in a political system that ceased to represent them long ago.”
Dudley UKIP announced in their local newspaper that a former Labour Party branch chairman has defected to the Euro sceptic party.
Steve Daniels has been selected to stand for UKIP in the coming local elections in the Netherton ward where he hopes to win a seat on Dudley Council.
Daniels said: “I have decided to accept the invitation to join UKIP because their values match mine”.
We wonder which values Daniels refers to as we can reveal the new UKIP recruit appeared on the leaked BNP membership list.
The local Labour Party in the area discovered his far right links and launched an investigation but Daniels left the party before the investigation had concluded.
Daniels in his defence claims that the Steve Daniels that appears on the leaked list is not him and is in fact his son who was living with him at the time.
UKIP Halesowen and Dudley chairman Dean Perks said: “It is a pleasure to welcome Steve to UKIP. ”
Hope not Hate
UK Independence Party chief Nigel Farage borrowed a slogan from the BNP as he launched a bid to top European election polls.
The party claimed that they were “reclaiming” the “Love Britain” message which was prominently displayed at their spring conference in Torquay today.
UKIP leader Mr Farage said: “To hell with the BNP… it’s our slogan now.”
But he went on to claim migrants had made Britain unrecognisable to many families in his conference address.
Mr Farage later complained about having to share a train carriage with people who were not speaking English.
He also said he would “do a deal with the devil” for an EU referendum and dismissed the row over a councillor who claimed gay marriage caused the flooding crisis.
And one activist demanded to know how anyone could be Muslim and English in a fringe meeting as the party displayed their true colours.
With David Cameron’s pledge to cut immigration in tatters Mr Farage is seeking to exploit people’s fears to make history and see UKIP become the biggest party in Brussels at the May elections.
He claimed families are paying an financial price for the “irresponsible” failure to curb numbers in his conference speech.
And the UKIP leader demanded: “What about the social price of this?
“The fact that in scores of our cities and market towns, this country in a short space of time has frankly become unrecognisable.
“Whether it is the impact on local schools and hospitals, whether it is the fact in many parts of England you don’t hear English spoken any more.
“This is not the kind of community we want to leave to our children and grandchildren.”
That echoes Enoch Powell’s infamous 1968 claim that large scale immigration could change homes and neighbourhoods “beyond recognition”.
Mr Farage later said he felt “awkward” on a recent train journey in central London when he heard only foreign languages spoken by his fellow passengers.
Speaking in a questions and answers session , he said: “I got the train the other night, it was rush hour, from Charing Cross, it was the stopper going out.
“We stopped at London Bridge, New Cross, Hither Green.
“It wasn’t until after we got past Grove Park that I could actually hear English being audibly spoken in the carriage.
“Does that make me feel slightly awkward? Yes.
“I wonder what’s really going on. And I’m sure that’s a view that will be reflected by three quarters of the population, perhaps even more.
“That does not mean one is anti immigration, we’re not anti immigration, we want immigration, but we do absolutely believe we should be able to judge it both on quantity and quality.”
Mr Farage lasy night boycotted Newsnight and failed to show for an interview.
Farage said he had dropped out because, ‘Instead of asking about the elections or policy they focused on admin’.
However, other tweets suggested he had a clash with reporter Zoe Conway before the interview aired.
UKIP Scotland’s interim chair has denied signing a petition supporting a football steward sacked for standing as a British National Party candidate.
The name of “Arthur Misty Thackeray”, Ukip’s top official north of the Border, appeared on the petition but he denied all knowledge of the steward.
The Sunday Herald last week revealed that Thackeray had made a series of offensive posts on Facebook on religion.
In 2011, he wrote: “Real Catholicism and Real Islamism are far from antagonists with both having an outwardly benign image but inwardly sharing a fascist ideology of extreme submissive conservatism and imperialism …”
He also took aim at Holyrood: “[T]here’s more chance of winning the lottery two weeks running than getting an openly Rangers-supporting MSP into the chamber of the institutionally catholicised pretendy parliament .. lol.” Thackeray, who works in the security industry, also made claims about Glasgow City Council’s policy on marches: “No wonder the blue half of my city say G.C.C actually stands for the Glasgow Celtic Council for Gays Catholics Communists eh.lol. NS!”
The comments prompted Jonathan Stanley, a senior Ukip member in Scotland, to urge him to attend an anti-sectarianism course.
Thackeray is now facing questions over an online petition about a steward who was sacked by Middlesbrough FC due to far-right political activity. The petition was started by a one-time BNP candidate and read: “We the undersigned petition Middlesbrough Football Club to reverse their decision in sacking Barry Towers for standing in the local council elections for the British National Party.”
The name Arthur Misty Thackeray is on the petition, as are more than 200 other names.
SNP MEP Alyn Smith said: “Mr Thackeray needs to answer questions on why his name appeared on this petition. The people of Scotland have a proud tradition of supporting justice and tolerance; it is for this reason that Ukip will continue to be rejected at the polls north of the Border.”
Thackeray said: “The only Barry Towers I’m aware of is a high-rise block in Wales.”
He said the suggestion he had signed the petition was “ridiculous”, adding: “I am well aware a Walter Mitty character is feeding misinformation to anti-Ukip and pro-separation media outlets to demonise and destabilise myself and the party.”