Andy McSmith's Diary: Social media is turning out to be a right Pain for Ukip

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Ukip may be gaining recruits, but holding on to some of the gains they made only last month is proving to be a challenge. They had their greatest success in Lincolnshire, where they have emerged as the main opposition on the county council, under the leadership of Chris Pain, who has an ambition to be the next MP for Boston and Skegness. Today, he stepped down as chairman of the East Midlands regional party pending a police investigation into racist comments that appeared on his Facebook page. Mr Pain denies authorship. He says that his Facebook account was hacked. The Ukip national executive has agreed to "suspend judgment".

Two other Lincolnshire Ukip councillors have drawn controversy over remarks posted on social media, including Alan Jessom, who has not denied telling a Polish woman, via Facebook: "F*** off we don't need you sweetheart we get along just fine without you" – but Ukip's national executive has decided that this and other posts do not merit disciplinary action.

Ukip has lost a councillor in Worcestershire, Eric Kitson, who resigned after 14 days in office over racist entries on the social media. One of their Cambridgeshire councillors, Peter Lagoda, has been charged with benefit fraud. In Norfolk, Ukip's Peter Georgiou's position on the county council is looking shaky since it emerged that he was caught shoplifting a year ago.

In May, the party lost a donor, Demetri Marchessini, who gave them £20,000, after embarrassing the party with his views on unmarried mothers, who he thinks need a slap, or women in trousers, whom he regards as "hostile". On the European stage, Europe of Freedom and Democracy, the parliamentary group to which Ukip's MEPs are signed up, has lost one of its Italian members, Mario Borghezio, whom they expelled after he had denounced Italy's Cabinet as "the government of Bonga Bonga" because one of its ministers is not white.

Ukip's leadership is anxious to dispel the idea put about by David Cameron and Ken Clarke that they are a party of clowns, fruitcakes and closet racists.

The dragon is in the detail, Nick...

"Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is teaming up with entrepreneur and former Dragon's Den judge James Caan to make access to jobs fair and open for all," says the opening line of the latest Downing Street announcement, which came hard on the heels of Mr Caan's highly publicised rebuke to parents who use their influence to find jobs for their children.

When Nick Clegg was but a lad, his father fixed him up with an unpaid internship in a Finnish bank. And he obtained his first full-time job, with the European Commission, with the help of his parents' neighbours, who put in a word with Lord Carrington, the former Foreign Secretary, who passed the request on to the Commissioner, Leon Brittan.

It's a case of don't do as my dad did, do as I say.

Harris leaves Tories speechless

David Cameron and his allies are an unpleasant bunch whose project has ended in abject failure, according to Margaret Thatcher's former speechwriter, Robin Harris, writing in Standpoint magazine.

"For sustained personal unpleasantness the Conservative modernisers deserve some kind of award. In private and in print, their long campaign was carried on in a tone of consistently venomous contempt," he wrote.

"The modernisers have not detoxified the Tory brand. They have simply made it unrecognisable, even to Tories."