In a one-man crusade for the truth, Kilroy can get rid of the facts

The MEP shows who's boss after falling out with UKIP by launching a new party, Veritas. Johann Hari reports
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Indy Politics

I am sitting, semi-conscious, listening to Robert Kilroy-Silk. He stands before a braying pack, all desperate to make their point. It is like being a student again. Except this time, he is not hosting a "discussion" about a depressed single mum who is pregnant by her father's boyfriend's cat, and I am not in bed retching. No, I am at the birth of Veritas, the party founded to accommodate Kilroy's self-regard. I am at the press conference that will "change Britain forever".

I am sitting, semi-conscious, listening to Robert Kilroy-Silk. He stands before a braying pack, all desperate to make their point. It is like being a student again. Except this time, he is not hosting a "discussion" about a depressed single mum who is pregnant by her father's boyfriend's cat, and I am not in bed retching. No, I am at the birth of Veritas, the party founded to accommodate Kilroy's self-regard. I am at the press conference that will "change Britain forever".

It is time to "end the corrupt, lying politics that dominate this country", Kilroy says with the faintly angry expression I know so well from adolescent years spent rotting in front of Z-list daytime TV. "I am here to speak the truth. It's quite an innovation in politics, isn't it? The truth. But that's why I am running." The People have demanded that He - and only He - can save us now. "When I go to Northern market-towns, they come up to me - ordinary people - and they say, 'We won't vote. Not unless you stand. Then we'll vote.'" He pauses carefully and adds, "And Muslims come up to me. They say, 'Why do they ban Christmas carols? We want to sing Christmas carols.'" Ah yes - the persecution of the carol-singing Muslims. Yes - only Kilroy will bring us the Truth, I begin to chant slowly.

A rhythmic, self- righteous speech began to ooze from him, full of pledges to "speak the truth, the truth, the truth." The late Roy Jenkins once proposed a test for politicians' speeches. He said that you know a speech is meaningless when saying the opposite would be absurd. Here is the opposite of what Kilroy said yesterday: "The British people want politicians who lie. We are going to ignore the British people and lie to them. We will ignore our compatriots at every single opportunity, in markets and towns across the country. We will not address the needs and aspirations of the British people, ever. They do not want change."

But then Kilroy slithered up to a statement that really does deserve to be reversed. "Mass immigration into this country is a very serious problem. We are the only country to have a mass immigration policy, except for open countries like Australia and the United States." I sat upright, broken from my hypnotic trance. What? Australia has more restrictive immigration laws than us, I thought, and we take fewer immigrants than France or Germany. "This policy is changing the nature of our society and our communities. Lives are being destroyed by the pressures of immigration. Our country is being stolen from us."

Stolen? By immigrants? But if you do the sums - if you add up how much immigrants and asylum seekers cost us, and how much they put back into the economy - you'll find they make a net contribution of £2.5bn. This country is richer and happier because of immigration. But facts have no place here; rivers of blood are flowing from Kilroy. "This is not an independent country. Our politicians have betrayed us," he is saying, his fists tightening around an imaginary neck. "You have been told lies. They lied to you about immigration, asylum, Europe, crimeÉ The British people resent the yah-boo politics of name calling," he says, before adding that all three party leaders are "liars. Total liars."

The microphone makes a hard, loud boom.

I look up quickly from my notes, half-expecting to see that Kilroy has spontaneously combusted. But he is still there - and it is time for questions. A hack says, "This is the third party you've joined, and each time they seem to be getting smaller." No smile from Kilroy. "Does this worry you?" Kilroy's eyes narrow. "We are going to have a major impact," he says in a low growl, before jabbing at the air to select another question.

I ask if he accepts that Enoch Powell - who made exactly the same points about immigration and Europe - was a racist. In the spirit of straight-talking, this is his answer: "I understand agendas. You have come with an agenda. You want to fit me to your agenda. It's a press agenda. I've been there, and it's sloppy journalism." There is a line on his forehead that tightens like a noose when he is angry. I ask again. He spits, "Enoch Powell? What are you going to ask me about next, Genghis Khan?" No, I'm asking about a very similar politician who espoused the same agenda - and appealed to the same people - just a few decades ago. Although now I think of it, it is clear Genghis Khan would have been an avid Veritas supporter.

Eleanor Goodman from Channel Four News asks if Kilroy is trying to appeal to BNP voters. "Bitch! Bitch!" snarls the pack of Kilroyites sitting behind me. Kilroy responds - of course - by citing The People and how they love him. "The People don't say I'm racist. They support me - people of all races." It reminds me a line from Citizen Kane - "You talk about the people as if you owned them."

Another journalist asks about Kilroy's notoriously orange tan. I would have expected a self-deprecating laugh, a little joke at the Dear Leader's own expense. But Kilroy reacts as though he has just been accused of paedophilia. "You see, this is why people are turned off politics. That is the kind of smart-arse stuff you get from the supercilious metropolitan elite. I've read what you people write about me." And then he reels off a list that is clearly seered onto his capacious ego: "The Telegraph called me a big head. The Independent called me 'orange gob.'" He is almost shaking. "Well, I refuse to hide my tan. I'm not going to hide my looks. I'm not ashamed. I'm not ashamed!" Kilroy has never been more animated, nor more passionate. The crowd roars, and their Master nods firmly at their approbation.

The meeting ends, the Veritas supporters melt away, and suddenly there is only Kilroy and the cameras. Finally, he looks at home. He pouts. He shimmers. He bathes in their flashes. A photographer whispers to me, "Is he still breathing? Look very closely. His chest isn't moving. How does he do that?" It's true: I see no movement. "Creepy," I say.

I decide to talk to the people Kilroy is attracting. The first person I meet milling outside is Paul Becque, a smartly dressed, slightly shiny man who explains he is from Dover. "I've been working on cruise ships for the past twenty years, and I just came back to Dover and I was amazed. The town is a disgrace. The country is a disgrace. There's only one cinema in Dover and it's only got 50 seats." I look a bit puzzled, but he continues,

"There are lots of asylum seekers. They congregated in certain parts of the town and took them over. They stabbed a kid and he had to have 280 stitches. They rape girls. We have to sort Dover out." Across the room, I spot Damien Hockney, the deputy leader of Veritas. Until last week, he was the UKIP member of the London Assembly, distinguished only for confessing an addiction to plastic surgery. He looks like Barbie's ex-boyfriend, Ken, after a week in bed with a crack-pipe. I cannot stand much more of this.

Shaken though I am, I must admit: Veritas has converted me. I used to dismiss one particular far right belief - but now I see that it is true. David Icke has long argued that many of our politicians are in fact seven-foot lizards wearing human masks. As I gaze upon Kilroy, his skin stretched tight across his face, his eyes bulging as he spits out the word 'asylum seekers' to the cameras one last time, it's time we all admitted: Icke is right.

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