Andy McSmith's Diary: You heard it from the horse’s mouth - Ukip can’t change a thing in Europe


Ukip is expected to get its best result ever in May’s elections to the European Parliament, chasing Labour for first place. But those who vote for them ought to know that their success will not make a blind bit of difference, because “they can’t change a thing”.

Don’t take my word for it. I defer in this to Nigel Farage, who knows better than anyone how much his party has not accomplished in Europe. I have a transcript of what he said to a meeting of the Taxpayers’ Alliance this month. “We’re whistling in the wind if we think we can implement a Eurosceptic agenda from within the European Parliament,” he told them bluntly. “We cannot change a thing in Brussels.”

Asked by the Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg whether Ukip might do a deal with like-minded parties to block EU legislation, Mr Farage replied: “To get a blocking minority, we’d need to have a third of the MEPs in that parliament… Are we going to get 33 per cent of MEPs? I don’t think we are.”

So, vote for them if you must, but do not expect anything to come of it.

The battle for laughs

Frances D’Souza, who holds the title of Lord Speaker – despite being, obviously, a lady – drew Angela Merkel’s attention to the enormous painting of a battle scene that adorns the room where foreign leaders address the Houses of Parliament.

It depicted, she remarked, “von Blucher and his Prussians coming to assist – some would say save – the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo.” This evoked memories of an old myth passed down by lobby journalists that when François Mitterrand appeared alongside Margaret Thatcher in that same room, in October 1984, the painting was covered up, to avoid embarrassment. Actually, it was on display, and a journalist asked the French President if it offended him. He just laughed.

Something about Mary

There is a lady named Mary Johnston who does not appear to have fully mastered the internet. As she tried to look up places to go in Glasgow, she naturally turned to the popular reviews website TripAdvisor.

But in her attempts to register as a user on the site, she appears to have accidentally posted herself as a Glasgow attraction, and is now ranked at number 87 out of 163 attractions.

Other users of the site are asked: “Have you been to Mary Johnston? Share your experience.”

Fourth time lucky?

Insofar as Baron (Jonathan) Hill of Oareford can be said to be famous at all, it is for being the minister who couldn’t resign. During a government reshuffle in July 2012, every minister in Michael Gove’s team at the Department for Education was either sacked or moved, except for the inconspicuous Lord Hill.

It was reported that he wanted to resign, even securing “face time” with David Cameron to tell him personally, but the Prime Minister was too distracted to take in what he was saying, and told him to carry on. Thus he remained a minister.

The House magazine put that old story to Hill, who is now leader of the House of Lords and a cabinet minister. “It isn’t true,”  he said.

About 150 words further into a largely irrelevant answer, he elaborated: “The Prime Minister behaved, as you would expect, totally properly. We had a totally polite and courteous conversation where I said ‘Is there something else you want me to do? Would you like to have this job  for someone else? What do you want me to do?’ And he said would I carry on,  which I did.”

That sounds to me as if he offered to resign not once, but three times.

It’s all downhill from here

“Do you feel left out of the ski trip in the French Alps that Vince Cable and Lord Oakeshott attended? Is it because you’re rubbish at skiing or because they’re planning to get rid of you?” asked a listener to Nick Clegg’s half-hour slot on LBC’s Nick Ferrari Show.

He denied being rubbish at skiing.

As to whether they were plotting a coup, he replied: “I doubt it, I very much doubt it.”

Such trusting innocence.

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EBD Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Science Teacher Greater Manchester

Humanities Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Humanities teacher required for ...

English Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIRED - Humbe...

Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for a Qualified C...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits