While Grant “Spiv” Shapps and his fellow Tories try unsuccessfully to stop Maria Hutchings from opening her mouth and inserting the nearest available item of footwear, few seem to have noticed that Nigel “Thirsty” Farage has backed away from the chance of standing for UKIP in a seat that he had contested before. Fewer still asked why he had chickened out.
This was, for those of us who have studied the modus operandi of the UKIP leader, entirely predictable. The thought that Farage might win a seat in the Commons is something he does not want to even consider: even in 2010, when he challenged John Bercow in Buckingham, there was no desire to actually win the contest. Why is this? Ah well. Here we need to look over at mainland Europe.
Nigel Farage is an MEP. He has been one since 1999. In those 14 years’ residence in the European Parliament (EP), Nige has learnt how to extract the maximum amount of The Green Folding Stuff from the expenses regime, even when he does not bother to turn up (which happens rather a lot). His ability to account for all the expense money is, shall we say, variable.
And, in 2009, he celebrated his ten years in the EP by boasting of his having trousered a whopping £2 million in expenses during his tenure. The money thus trousered did not merely finance a few skinfulls of Landlord. Most of it went to finance UKIP, and without that income stream, the party would be unable to maintain its high profile.
Which, in a nutshell, is why Nigel Farage was never going to stand for UKIP in Eastleigh. And, for those who still consider Nige to be a beacon of honest transparency, I include a video of Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies giving the UKIP leader (and his deputy) both barrels for their lack of candour over expenses.
That’s quite apart from two of Nige’s fellow UKIP MEPs being charged with a variety of criminal offences. What a choice for right leaning voters: a party with a spiv for a chairman, or a party run by one.