Patrick “Lunchtime” O’Flynn, now an honest supporter of UKIP and their Director of Communications, exemplified the party’s inability to inhabit the real world when he leapt on a remark by the Sun’s deputy political editor Steve Hawkes, who had spoken too soon when he mused “I see EU diplomacy has worked wonders in Ukraine”. “Coming round to our way of thinking, Steve” replied O’Flynn.
European squeaky finger up the bum time imminent
Hawkes reminded “Lunchtime” that “[You] don’t have to be in or out of the EU to fail at diplomacy”. It was a pretty desperate punt by O’Flynn, and, despite some promising poll numbers, Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his pals have good reason to feel insecure, as the party comes under a more critical spotlight and its leader appears rattled when nasty words like “Expenses” are turned back on him.
Previously, “Expenses” was part of the UKIP armoury, to be spat out all over what the more feeble-brained of their supporters call “The LibLabCon”. Yes, “Expenses” are what the Westminster parties get up to. UKIP, held to be pure as the driven snow by comparison, do not dirty themselves with such tawdry behaviour. Moreover, they are an inclusive party, with none of that baggage carried by the rest.
Someone trying too hard to get support here
But now someone within the Fourth Estate has figured out that Farage is no stranger to those “Expenses” either: indeed, Mr Thirsty had, by 2009, trousered around £2 million over and above his salary as an MEP, and was more than happy to sound off about it. Now that the media is getting critical, though, Nige is not quite so happy, as when he was confronted over his annual £3,000 electricity bill.
Then there is the taint of intolerance that hangs over UKIP: when Marine le Pen, leader of the French Front National (FN) “said that she would welcome collaboration with UKIP with ‘open arms’”, the Farage spokesman retorted that “they were ‘not interested in any deal’ because ‘in the parties DNA there is prejudice and anti-Semitism in particular’”. Any link to the far-right, they know, is bad news.
Sun man calls this one right
And there are also the twin pincers of the fruitcakes – such as the councillor who blamed recent flooding on same-sex marriage – and the criminal fringe, exemplified by Crewe’s very own dodgy dealer Brian Silvester, not only binned by the Tories, but now under investigation by Cheshire East Council for misuse of taxpayer-funded resources. That’s an awful lot of cats to herd.
But herd them Farage and his fringe must, if they are content to let the proverbial “nutcases and criminals” sit at their table. And Mr Thirsty can’t keep railing at the establishment and not expect to be called out for hypocrisy: he is, after all, a product of private schooling and the City of London. Last week’s events show that the press may have at last caught up with Farage the flim-flam man.
Can he hold off the criticism through the European election campaign?