With the knowledge that some of their latest recruits have less than stellar character references when it comes to the sensitive subject of Child Sexual Exploitation - washed-up man-baby Milo Yiannopoulos having lost much of his career after appearing to advocate paedophilia, and Carl Benjamin, who styles himself Sargon of Akkad, equivocating on the age of consent - UKIP was in no need of more of the same.
Vladimir Bukovsky and Gerard Batten ((c) Paul Diamond)
But that is what they have coming around the corner, and it concerns the poor judgment of their leader when it comes to supporting those from whom he should be steering well clear. Back in 2006, Gerard Batten cites Vladimir Bukovsky as if he were a confidant. In 2009, we see Bukovsky heading a group called TV Licence Refuseniks, and read of “UKIP MEP Gerard Batten, who is involved in Mr Bukovsky’s campaign”.
And for those who long for the return of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage - well, Bukovsky has been linked to him, too. Plus, for the conspiracy minded, there is the inevitable Assange link: in 2012, we see “Paul Diamond was instructed by the famous Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky and Gerard Batten MEP to intervene in the Julian Assange case in the Supreme Court, London”. And there are Adolf von Batten and Bukovsky together.
Assange, sad to say, was denied stay of extradition, despite Batten and Bukovsky (listed, along with Diamond, as “interveners” in the case), and remains holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy, with the occasional visit from his pal Nige. Still, we can confidently conclude that Batten and Bukovsky are friends who go back a long way together.
Squeaky indirectly implicated finger up the bum time
And that is not a good look for the current UKIP leader when put alongside the Guardian’s headline from December 2016, which tells “Soviet dissident had thousands of child abuse images, UK court told … Vladimir Bukovsky downloaded indecent images and films over 15-year period, Cambridge crown court hears”. Oh dear, Kippers!
There was more. “Bukovsky downloaded thousands of indecent images of children over a 15-year period, most of them featuring boys, a court has been told … Bukovsky, 73, is charged with 10 counts of making and possessing indecent photos and one count of possessing an indecent computer-generated graphic”.
The Mail was particularly keen to report every last detail: “Vladimir Bukovsky, 74, would 'constantly' download indecent material of children, with a particular emphasis on young boys, over a 15 year period, the court heard … Police said [he] was downloading child porn when they arrived to arrest him”.
Bukovsky’s ill-health got in the way of proceedings, though, with the BBC later reporting “A Russian dissident accused of possessing thousands of indecent images of children should be retried despite his ill health, a judge has ruled … An earlier trial at Cambridge Crown Court was halted in December after Mr Bukovsky was diagnosed with pneumonia and admitted to hospital”. Earlier this year, he was judged too ill to stand trial.
But given he was downloading child porn when the cops arrived, that puts Batten in one of those very difficult positions. His judgment and his friendships are seriously suspect.
On the other hand, maybe there’s a convincing explanation out there. I’m all ears.
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