Tuesday, 16 December 2014

From payola to paedophilia, the establishment parties escape the media attention

Labour's Farooq Ahmed - convicted
 of hurling homophobic
abuse at fellow Labour Councillor
It has undeniably been a difficult couple of weeks for UKIP particularly in Essex. The withdrawal from the Basildon & East Thurrock selection process of Natasha Bolter appears to be one of those things about which UKIP could have done nothing: either she was a 'woman scorned', or a deliberate plant by another party, but the release of e-mails and texts she sent to Roger Bird seem to confirm that whatever she was, she was not a victim of sexism. Luckily, her sexism allegations, even if couched in terms deliberately designed to damage UKIP and with the added suggestion of racism thrown in, will have little long term effect upon the party's prospects.

More worrying in our opinion were the events which came afterwards involving Neil Hamilton and Kerry Smith. Both were victims ultimately of their own past actions and as such may not be deserving of too much sympathy. But what we find most depressing is that both were victims not of the media unearthing things which they would prefer to have remained undiscovered, but of fellow UKIP members deliberately releasing information in the furtherance of a personal agenda and regardless of the wider damage it would cause to the party.

Labour's Pauleen Gibson found guilty
of making reckless and
unsubstantiated racism allegations
We know who was responsible, but we have no intention of naming names and prolonging this rather pitiful bout of mud-slinging. We would also caution commenters to not name names below this article, as we will delete them: it serves no purpose to enter another round of recriminations and accusations. A brief look at Labour's social media output is sufficient to gauge the damage that UKIP has inflicted upon itself.

We scan the media every day. We know just how many councillors and officials from the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties are hauled up on accusations of homophobia and racism, and as a result, we know just how many of these make it out of the pages of local newspapers and into the pages of the nationals. The answer of course is almost none. The same is true about scandals involving expenses fraud - look at what is happening at Dorset County Council, where the Tory leader is facing criminal charges for failing to declare his interests. But we also know the extent to which UKIP is both particularly targeted for such things, and the propensity of the national media to run any local story which reaffirms UKIPs image as being both racist and homophobic.

We have attached below links to a number of articles which show the problems UKIP face: had any 
Lib Dem Stephen Fenwick (at rear)
was convicted of
racially aggravated assault
of these people been UKIP, the stories would have warranted the front page of the Daily Mail. As they were from the establishment parties, the fall-out was safely contained in the local area.

It may well be that the general public see through what the media is attempting to do, and there is some polling evidence to suggest that is the case. Whether the voting public will continue to make such allowances for UKIP when it is UKIP members who are handing the media the ammunition remains to be seen, but this sort of self-indulgent jostling for position can only serve to make us look exactly like the parties we criticise.

Cllr Pauleen Gibson (Labour, Haringey) (Feb 2014) was found guilty by a standards board of making reckless and unsubstantiated allegations of racism. She was found guilty of bringing the council into disrepute, and announced her decision to not seek re-election.

Cllr Stephen Fenwick (Lib Dem, Sutton) (March 2014) was convicted of the racially aggravated assault of a barman at the pub on Charing Cross station concourse.

Cllrs Sajaad Khan and Pervaz Khan plus three others (Labour, Middlesborough) (May 2014) resign from Labour group following re-selection process which Cllr P Khan described as "treating some of my Asian family and friends in a manner which they perceive to be racist".

Former Cllr Lester Holloway (November 2014) resigns from the Lib Dems after racist remarks, and complains that the party is not doing enough to promote racial equality and is deliberately failing to select Black and Asian candidates for winnable seats

Cllr Paulette Hamilton (Labour, Birmingham) (September 2014) deselected in Labour witch hunt, supporters warn of 'danger of becoming an apartheid city'

Cllr Farooq Ahmed (Labour, Rochdale) (June 2014) resigned from the Labour Party because they failed to give him sufficient support following his conviction of a public order offence after hurling homophobic abuse at a fellow Labour councillor in the street.

David Bishop (Conservative, Brentwood) (May 2014) resigned as a candidate after he made homophobic and racist tweets

Don't worry, there are plenty of double standards at play elsewhere. UNISON - who fund both Hope not Hate and UAF's 'Stand up to UKIP' campaign, were happy to support one of their own shop stewards who told a Polish agency worker that jobs emptying bins in Salford were for 'English people'

This is just a random selection - there are hundreds more examples of this type of behaviour by representatives of the establishment parties posted on our Facebook page which is updated daily, not to mention stuff which is far more serious: criminal offences ranging from firearms to fraud, explosives to expenses cheats, payola to paedophilia.

We accept that sometimes people say or do things which deserve wider exposure. Do these things include the contents of private letters or private telephone conversations between members of the same party? If people find themselves watching what they say when talking to fellow party members, then the true exchange of ideas necessary for political debate is gone, and we are channelling our thoughts down the same road as the establishment. Smith and Hamilton may both have been wrong - we make no judgement on the basis of politically partial leaks - but both had a right to expect their colleagues to keep private matters private.

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