Andy McSmith's Diary: Ukip in Europe? They’ll just grab the money and run, warns party founder

 

Now that UKIP has a huge contingent of 24 MEPs, what can we expect them to contribute to the European Parliament? Nothing, according to Ukip’s disenchanted founder, Alan Sked. “They don’t do anything constructive there, they just go there to take the money, the expenses and get pensions…They don’t articulate policies, they are hardly ever there,” said Professor Sked. He launched Ukip in 1993, but left in 1997 after his creation had become “a magnet for bigots.”

His scathing interview was broadcast – of all the possible outlets – on Russia Today. Fine thanks Nigel Farage gets for singling out the “brilliant” Vladimir Putin as the world statesmen he admires most.

Repeat of the tweet

The Tory MP Michael Fabricant has form. After last week’s incident, in which he tweeted that he might like to punch my colleague Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the throat, oblivious to the nastiness that such a comment dredges up from parts of the internet, a reader has pointed out that in his early days as an MP, in June 1998, Fabricant told the Commons that “the way to improve job opportunities for black people and other ethnic minorities in London and elsewhere is to instil in them a work ethic”.

The words tumble out while the brain is asleep.

Northern exposure

It is good that George Osborne has turned his thoughts to the north of England and is advocating that cities north of The Wash should be linked by high speed rail. Perhaps they could lay the tracks along those “large uninhabited and desolate areas” that Osborne’s father in law, Lord Howell, mentioned when he was explaining why fracking should take place only up north, not in the beautiful, inhabited south.

There is an intriguing back story in the Osborne family, not on his side but on that of his wife, Frances. Anyone who has read Nancy Mitford’s novel The Pursuit of Love will remember a character in society known as The Bolter for her habit of fleeing from one marriage to the next. It has been often said, though not proven, that the character was based on a real life serial divorcee named Lady Idina Sackville, whose granddaughter married Lord Howell and so became the Chancellor’s mother in law. Hence the title of Frances Osborne’s book, The Bolter, about the skeleton in her family closet. There was a copy on sale at the weekend in the £1 bin of a London second hand bookshop. Undervalued, surely.

A star-crossed leader

For almost a generation, it has been a cliché that Denis Healey was the best leader the Labour Party never had. The old bruiser himself, now 96 years old, could be heard to say that Labour might have won the catastrophic election of 1983 if its MPs had only had the sense to elect him as their leader.

But when The Independent on Sunday recently included Lord Healey in a list of Ten Best Prime Ministers the Country never had, there was an unexpected response from his 65 year old son, Tim.

“My father would have made a rubbish prime minister,” Tim Healey reckons. “He was not clubbable enough, never bothered to nurture a coterie of supporters, and, suffering fools not gladly he could privately be very diminishing about people who were in his own camp. Dad’s supreme confidence in his own judgements meant that he lacked the simpler chairman-like skill of listening to other people."

His father, he says, was very comfortable working with the like-minded Jim Callaghan, but when Callaghan was due to retire, he remembers his father saying: “They’re talking about me as possibly the next prime minister. It’s ridiculous.” Asked why, he would only repeat: “It’s ridiculous.”

As a child of the 1960s, Tim Healy attributes his father’s unchairmanlike qualities to his being a Virgo.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution