Next month sees more elections, this time for the European Parliament. A party that may be fortunate to hang on to even half of its present MEPs is the UK Independence Party (UKIP): last time round, they polled enough votes to send twelve representatives to Brussels. Part of their popularity at that time was the endorsement of minor sleb Robert Kilroy-Silk, former daytime TV presenter and failed Labour MP for the Merseyside constituency of Knowsley North.
Kilroy resigned the Knowsley North seat in 1986, claiming that there had been interference from Militant. But Frank Field over in Birkenhead also had to deal with Militant: he appealed to the national party and stood his ground. He is still there. Compare and contrast, as they say. Perhaps UKIP didn’t know Kilroy’s form. They should have.
So what happened after Kilroy became an MEP for the East Midlands now looks all too predictable. He tried to become leader of UKIP and failed. Then he left UKIP and set up his own, pretentiously titled party – Veritas – which proved less than successful. He then left that party and since the end of 2004 has sat in the European Parliament as an Independent. The impression is given of a vanity beyond even David Owen.
So what have UKIP done about Kilroy not being here? As far as they are concerned, he’s apparently no longer one of their MEPs. But he was elected on their ticket (and UKIP nationally benefited significantly from his profile and endorsement) – so isn’t this attempt to distance themselves just a little too convenient?
Fortunately for the electorate of the East Midlands, Kilroy will not be submitting himself for further electoral scrutiny this time round, and so will cease being an MEP. Perhaps he will now retire to his villa in Spain, a right of the EU membership that UKIP would, for the UK, like to end. Much of modern day Spain was, for centuries, occupied and ruled by Muslims, leaving a legacy of sights that, if his tirade in the Daily Express is to be believed, does not register on the Kilroy radar.
But maybe he allows the Arabs into his world when it comes to counting all that money. After all, he’s probably accumulated enough to make the sums a bit more challenging than II plus II equals IV.