More on Nigel Farage’s fake resignation

This a story is a bit like a suicide attempt- it was an appeal for help, with Farage repeating the Cleopatra stunt at the end of Shakespeare’s play where she pretends to kill herself in the belief that poor Antony will come limping over. All, as GBS, observed, a bit adolescent as indeed is Mr Farage’s stunt.

Here is the finished cartoon of the incident.

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Here is an early sketch of the same picture

Pantomime season returns

The Farage /UKIP resignation is interesting in many ways. Firstly, it establishes very clearly that Mr Carswell is of no consequence to the party machine, and was simply brought in- as we know by Simon wheeler who had given the party large donations after himself defecting from the Conservatives. Presumably Carswell sees himself as leader material. Carswell is his own man and as the only sitting UKIP MP, is determined it seems, to hold a moral line. That, I think, is commendable but will be difficult.

Many of the current UKIp Rankers, particularly the MEPs were parachuted into office under the personal direction of Farage, so forming his own college of cardinals and they owe their careers and present prosperity to him. Coburn is certainly one of these and no doubt was given license long ago to create as much mayhem as he could, undermining not only the SNP but also the existing UKIP branches that may not have been as Farage-focused as the leader would have wished. Coburn’s job, in otherwords, it is alleged, was to destabilise the local Scottish party. This is why he will not resign and why Farage will never apologise to Humza Yousaf no matter how often he is requested to do so.

My prediction therefore is very simple- should Farage genuinely be back in power, there will be some bubbles of resentment. There may even be a Carswell defection, but to whom? The Conservatives will not welcome him back. And Farage will probably win an early by-election gaining parliamentary credibility in the process. I may not like what he stands for but, as I have said before, I cannot fault his skills as an orator and I would be the first to applaud these. The place for such skills is certainly the House of Commons.

Other UKIP defectors, however, have warned me of the barrage of personal attacks and trumped-up charges that they have faced for speaking out. I am told darkly that UKIP has inherited, from the BNP/NF/EDF, a string of complicit police officers with power to corrupt the justice system. I am not sure this is a warning or is itself another threat.

I have been sent messages about the fate of Justin Adams, for example, the pilot whose plane crashed in 2010. This was the same plane in which Farage was travelling and which was flying a doomed banner. The whole thing ended in disaster and recrimination. Farage was in hospital and is still doing physiotherapy for a bad back, while Adams complained that the crash led to the disintegration of his marriage, and his being “incarcerated” in his elderly mother’s home. In 2011, he was convicted on 5 counts of threatening to kill Farage. Apparently, he made a telephone call to Samantha Sutton, the UKIP national secretary, claiming, “It’s just been delivered. I now have a 9mm pistol. I have got the means to do it and I will take them and then myself.” He was threatening to kill Farage and the civil aviation investigator, Martin James. Indeed, the whole story sounds a bit alarming. Later Justin Adams was found dead. It seems he had taken his own life.

Certainly, I did not expect the degree of pressure I have so far experienced or the personal attacks against my family. But it is far from clear from the story of Adams that there is some sort of Cabal or conspiracy against ex-UKIppers.

Indeed, when you look more closely, the conspiracy theories seem wrong. Mr Farage is on record at the time of the crash urging the pilot to steer clear of the village of Charlton. I am not sure who told us that but it is hugely commendable. If Adams became abusive as the investigation proceeded at snail’s pace, that is probably understandable though not prudent. People react to trauma in different ways but threatening to kill someone seems a bit excessive. I see evidence here that perhaps there was a lack of care by UKIP, but certainly not of a trumped up charge. It would be wrong to indulge paranoia.

I have also been told to look up the story of Nicole Sinclaire, an ex MEP- thrown out of the party for refusing to sit with Liga Nord/ EFD. She said that some of the group had extremist views. It certainly took her a long time to work this out! According to one report, the trigger for her defection was being called a “queer” by fellow UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom. Bloom is the man who was himself thrown out of the party for calling women “sluts” and referring to “bongo bongo land”. When challenged by journalists who showed him a newspaper article, I recall he hit one of them over the head with the said newspaper. At some point he also criticised David Cameron as “pigeon-chested; the sort of chap I used to beat up.” Bloom simply seems to be a bully, and I feel rather impressed that UKIP ditched him. But did they not suspect he was a bully in the first place?

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There was a case of sexual discrimination which Sinclaire won. She said,

“During my time as an MEP I put in more than £120,000 of my salary into the cost of my work activities. It was also me who in 2010 drew the attention of the West Midlands Police to irregularities I discovered had taken place, without my knowledge, in my Ukip office.” She was arrested herself in February 2012 and accused of money-laundering and misconduct in public office. This story is more troubling, but there are parallels with the recent Atkinson story and it seems to confirm only that there is dodgyness in high places. We know that!

No doubt, if I am suddenly faced with a string of allegations, then there might be some credibility to the consipiracy theorists, but as yet, I think it best to be cautious and calm.

Civic pride and what we can learn from Istanbul!

In 2006, the Turkish government, run by the AK PARTİ (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi) under the leadership of Erdogan began a process to import tulips back into Istanbul.

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Today, there is such an abundance of tulips, that splashes of colour scythe through the city like a parade of multicoloured  dervishes, spreading the scent of Spring. I have been to Istanbul most years since 2004 and I have seen for myself how this transformation has taken place.

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The tulip is just one example of a horticultural revolution that says Istanbul is proud of herself. That pride is evident of course in the colours of the flowers but it is also evident on the faces of the people in the street, the ordinary people who go about their lives feeling better because they can see- and smell- that the Council really cares!

It is actually a fairly simple plan, but I will come to that shortly.

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The tulip was introduced to Turkey from Iran where it grew wild. It is a traditional image on the tiles that decorate some of the greatest mosques around the city and today it has been adopted as a symbol on the Istanbul logo.

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The cultivation of the Tulip became a mania in the Ottoman period, so much so that one particular epoch is called “the Tulip period” and at that time, rare bulbs sold for remarkable sums of money. Trade was international and soon, that mania had passed to Holland, the setting, for example, of “the black tulip” , a novel by Alexandre Dumas. My mother always said she had a black tulip bulb in the safe: I have no idea but it sounded very exotic.

I grew up in a small Market town in Lincolnshire where my mother was involved in the local tulip bulb industry. Spalding was so industrious and the ground so similar to that of Holland that, when I was a small child, the town held its own Tulip Parade to rival that of the Dutch mega-parades in Zundert and Keukenhof. Sadly, the flower parade in Spalding ground to a halt last year. But I loved the imagination that went into making these amazing floats; I loved the fact that they were decorated overnight, and, really, only lasted a couple of days (it’s actually very Buddhist!); and I also loved the complete sensory effect of the flower parade- the noise, the colour, the smell, the excitement, the overpowering beauty and the pride it gave to our small town.

triger float to make andreas deja happy

The mother of all tigers from the Keudert Flower parade!

Check out this archive flim:

I well-remember this parade!

steam again soon mickey Flower-parade dougal

THE DAVENTRY PARK PROJECT:

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Here in Daventry, I have been campaigning for a restored Professional Park scheme. I am, of course, inspired by the wonderful images from my childhood in Spalding. But I am also inspired, perhaps more so by the practical approach taken in Istanbul by the city Council. I have been talking to members of the Council over the last year with a view to designing some children’s books to celebrate particularly the history of the Fatih district, but I have also been impressed by the overall scheme the council has followed to refresh the city. I intend to talk to Councillors about their scheme and also about how they sourced materials, especially the outside gym equipment which is so striking a part of the overall vision, and I think it would work here in Daventry too!

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I think there are three specific things that the AK party have done:

  1.  the training and courses set up in horticulture by the City in association with local universities and colleges, providing garden design and employees for the future.
  2.  the celebration of festivals and history that also involves research into plants of the past. It is because of this that the tulip has been so revived, but there are also “Monument trees”, that are replanted and tended, restoring the vistas of the past and improving the way the city looks today. It is partly this vision which ironically both inspired the protests in Gazi square to “save the trees” and also inspired the developments that threatened to redevelop the area. The compromise seems to involve some transplanting/replanting and rethinking. For all the negative image this protest created, it shows very clearly that our environment is something people care deeply about.
  3.  The city has established open-field gyms, taking exercise out into the parks and democratising sport in a very real way, giving access to children, the disabled and the elderly. I will be going to Istanbul soon to try to find out how the technology was developed for outdoor sports equipment taht would withstand a climate that is no less changeable and erratic than our own.

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If my vision of what we could do in DAVENTRY is shaped by my childhood in Spalding, my practical proposals follow what has already happened in Istanbul. What we can see there is that this sort of revitalisation works. It is a positive force in society and we can do something similar here in Daventry.

Kipper MEP Racially Insults Muslim SNP Politico as ‘Abu Hamza’

This is a thoughtful and insightful blog.I could not say anything in any clearer way frankly. TIM WILSON

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The story did not seem to me to be “a non-story” and Coburn and Farage compound the original insult by referring to it as a joke however crass or tasteless they may describe it. these people deserve to be thoroughly and mercilessly ridiculed until they sit up and pay attention. It is time they understood and appreciated what a joke can be!

James Gillray is one of my heroes

George III and Queen Charlotte

this is what the UKIP spokesman said at the time:

Glenn Campbell, BBC Scotland political correspondent

UKIP said David Coburn had apologised to Humza Yousaf.

They said he would be making no further comment on what a spokesman described as a “non-story”.

But that’s unlikely to be the last word on the matter.

Mr Yousaf said he was taking “legal advice” to see if he could pursue a complaint under legislation against race or religious hatred.

It has also emerged that the Scottish government is inviting MSPs to vote to express their disapproval.

Cabinet minister Alex Neil has tabled an amendment to a motion celebrating Scotland’s diverse communities.

It says parliament “unites in condemning the recent comments by David Coburn MEP”.

MSPs will decide on Wednesday whether or not to endorse that rebuke to Scotland’s most outspoken Euro MP.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

David Coburn

David Coburn, the openly gay Kipper MEP for Scotland, is in the Groanoiad and Scottish Daily Mail for allegedly referring to Humza Yousaf as Abu Hamza in an interview with the latter paper. Yousaf is the MSP for Glasgow, and the Minister for Europe and International Development in the Scottish parliament. Yousaf and Coburn were due to take part in the BBC’s Big Immigration Debate, but Yousaf did not arrive. Coburn said of Yousaf’s failure to appear, “Humza Yousaf, or as I call him, Abu Hamza, didn’t seem to turn up.”

SDM Yousaf Insult

His remarks have been condemned by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the Conservative’s leader in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, and Kezia Dugdale, Labour’s deputy leader north of the border. Coburn, however, has said that the remark was supposed to be private, while the Kipper’s Scottish chairman, Arthur Misty Thackeray, said he had simply got the name wrong through a…

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Ed Miliband and tuition fees

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It is always a pleasure to be able to put up a picture of Margaret Thatcher. She was a dream to draw so any excuse to do her in black and white or in colour as here is wonderful and today, the current leader of the Labour Party (and a man I remember meeting on occasion as he flitted out of Corpus where a great friend of mine – a committed Thatcherite- was ploughing away at a doctorate), has come out with a plan that categorically demands to be slapped down by the Lady in blue. She would have said of this plan as she famously said of Socialism in general, “the problem …is that you eventually run out of other people’s money”.

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Now, Miliband proposes to cut the University tuition fee from £9000 by £3000 or so, and to do this, he plans to tax savers. In other words, all those people who have dutifully followed present Government advice and put money away for a rainy day will have it pinched and given out willy nilly to students who think the world owes them a living. I wonder how many times Ed plans to raid the piggy-bank? Specifically, the costs would be met, he said, by reducing tax-relief on pensions for anyone earning over £150,000 per year. I am sure that was greeted, even in Labour circles, by barely disguised squeals of pain! It’s like handing the teenager the family car to crash.

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Miliband is quite right that the current trail of debt that lies in the wake of our further education experiment is wrong, leaving many students with over £44000 to pay off after graduation, but it is not as simple as that. The whole system creaks because it is allowing enormous debt to build up all over the place, and some of it that must inevitably be written off. (I would make the case case, incidentally, against conscription, surely a waste of so much money in so many countries across Europe. If you want an army, you have to set one up with a serious plan, proper training on proper equipment; it is not a serious fighting force if it is simply seen as a rite of passage) At the same time, the caps on tuition fees mean that Universities cannot really charge what they feel they are worth and everyone in this deal is struggling to make ends meet. Often when there is a mess like this and on this scale, we can look around and see at least someone leaping around with a smirk of satisfied delight, but in this case there seems to be no one. Everyone suffers! It becomes even worse when you reflect that it was the Blair government that put pressure on smaller universities to expand their campuses and trade in their carefully hoarded private wealth for reliance on state funding. (Why would they do this?) You only need to look at the mess of the Stockton campus in Durham to see just how badly this sort of thing can go, and Durham was certainly not alone.

We were wrong to try to send 50% of all school leavers to university. That is the bottom line. University should be an exceptional experience and not a routine rite of passage. It is not about drinking ale and recreating scenes from the “Inbetweeners’ movies”. University life is about learning how to process information at speed and under pressure. It might also be about gathering specific skills, but it is a privileged time and we should teach students they need to value that experience. In fact, by demanding that so many students pass through the University gates, we have cheapened the further education brand, jacked up the overall cost and encouraged the development of a range of “mickey mouse courses” that beggar belief.

Miliband’s proposal is more extreme- he is taking from Peter to pay Paul. But essentially, while they maintain this fantasy that 50% of all students deserve a University place, any plans are merely an attempt to rearrange the bunting at “Freshers’ Fayre”.

UKIP does better than the other parties, demanding a reduction in that 50% aim and offering to cut the tuition fees on key subjects. I think these would be things like Physics, Medicine, Computing and engineering. While I might quibble with the subjects on offer “at discount rates”, I think the overall vision is remarkably clear. It is not yet clear how this would be funded- in my own opinion, and in the long run, if our universities were to recover their reputation for overall excellence, the number of foreign students might well provide an opportunity to raise enough money to fund scholarships to cover the tuition costs of education National students in important subjects. But this might take time and Heavens! We need to start treating foreign students better than we do now. Not only do they pay more but if we get it right, and they profit from their education here, they will be the leaders of their own countries in a few years and it will be to them that we turn for alliances and assistance. If we treat them badly, why would we expect them to want to do business with us? This was one of the great principles of the British Raj and one of the great disasters when Edward Heath turned his back on the Commonwealth. We need those committed international alliances that are forged over decades, not weeks and that are of mutual benefit. We need to know there are people across the world who speak our language, both culturally and linguistically. In short, abandoning the Tier 1 visa, like so much of the visa bullying that surrounds the education of foreign students in the UK is stabbing ourselves in the collective foot, and we will suffer greatly in years to come for our short-sightedness and parsimony. More on this later in a dedicated post!

Today, Mr Farage made it clear that cutting the deficit remains an absolute priority so again echoing the Lady: We cannot spend what we do not have. Mr Farage criticised Osborne for failing to grasp the nettle- “George Osborne was right to say he would eliminate the deficit by the start of 2015 but he failed to do it because he had coalition partners who did not appear to be very interested and he did not himself make some of the tough choices.”

Putting our house in order, not promising to spend more than we can afford, while rewarding those who put in the time to study those skills we badly need- all this is simple, as Mr Farage would say simply a matter of “Common Sense”.

Vodafone

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Here is a link to our new video which is in part a real-time drawing of the above. This ia a picture of the current Vodafone Board of Directors and while I was posting my own story, I was also told about the ruthless activities of this company that have led directly to “Phones for you” going into administration. I know about the shabby way in which I was treated so my heart goes out to the 5500 employees of “Phones for you” whose jobs are now on the line.

If you can think back to the days when Ernie Wise made the first Vodafone call in the Early 90s, this was not what the company created.

'Morcambe and Wise.'

 

Here is the link to the youtube video: