As if the motley convocation of rejects from other political parties otherwise known as UKIP had not had a shaky enough time of it of late, what with new leader Paul Nuttall being exposed as an even bigger and more shameless liar that was already known, we now have the unedifying spectacle of the party’s most significant paymaster combining a tin ear and rank hypocrisy to effectively destroy its credibility completely.
Aaron Banks observing UKIP Oberscheissenführer Gobshite Practice
That paymaster is the overmonied and deeply unpleasant Arron Banks, taking time out from holidaying in a reassuringly exclusive part of non-EU Switzerland (none of this slumming it with the commoners in France or Austria) to claim that the Hillsborough stadium disaster was nothing more than an accident. By doing so, Banks has, perhaps unwittingly, made Nuttall’s position even worse.
What provoked Banks into opening mouth and inserting upmarket ski boot was the Mirror’s Brian Reade, who, observing Nuttall squirming over his latest forced retraction, noted “If Nuttall was at Hillsborough he clearly didn't learn its most powerful lesson: Every right-wing gobshite who lies about it gets found out”. Banks replied “I'm sick to death of hearing about it. It was a disaster and that's it, not some sort of cultural happening”.
Reade, perhaps not quite believing that someone so unfeasibly rich could be so stupid, replied “sorry you're sick to death hearing about 96 deaths. And 'some sort of cultural happening' eh? There's UKIP in all its ugliness”. Banks stuck to his guns and inadvisedly sniped “No, milking a tragedy forever is sick”. He may regret that one.
By this time, Reade’s exasperation was clear: “Unlawful Killing verdicts after 27 years state cover-up equates to milking it eh? Oh dear. Sad sad little man”. Banks had dug himself in so deep that he was fast approaching bedrock, yet on he ploughed: “It was an awful accident at a football ground, that's it”. By this time, others were on the case.
But still Banks persisted. So observers were subjected to such gems as “if a policemen opens a gate trying to help and makes a bad decision it's an accident. As for a cover up it was the 80’s" and “I didn't say there wasn't a cover up. Someone screwed up but it's still an accident and it's time to see it for what it is”. There was rather a lot more than what happened on the day and the cover-up, but hey ho.
What Banks clearly did not notice was that all the time he was trying to excuse his ill-advised foray on to Twitter, his line of defence was making his own party leader look much, much worse. Tony Hughes had the video to put Banks straight: “And here we are, straight from the horse's mouth, BBC Question Time 22/01/2015. Paul Nuttall ‘I'm a survivor of the Hillsborough Disaster’”. What was that about “milking a tragedy forever”? And if he’s “sick to death of hearing about it”, perhaps he should take it up with his chosen leader.
Arron Banks is proof positive that money does not prevent stupidity. He’s offended the Hillsborough families and campaigners, the city of Liverpool, and many of his chosen party’s potential supporters - just for good measure. And he’s made the leader of that party look even worse. UKIP’s paymaster just destroyed UKIP. What a star.