Nigel Farage: Ukip funding is only an issue because the Establishment is running scared

Yet more laughable is the idea our HQ is staffed by weirdos who spend all day in the pub

Share

It would appear that the debate about EU membership and open-door immigration has entered a new phase. Regardless of the “economic advisers” produced to show the “benefits” of mass immigration, nearly 80 per cent of the population think the figures are unacceptably high. This has not gone down well with the Establishment and, true to form, its newspaper of choice, The Times, has hit upon a new campaign to forget the arguments and play the man and not the ball.

During the past few days there have been a series of “exclusives” purporting to reveal the inner workings of Ukip. Nearly all of the quotations come from a former short-term employee and are based on hearsay. Much of what has been written is deeply inaccurate: even my place of birth and the dates I had children are wrong! In an attempt to portray me as a career politician, they even say that I stood unsuccessfully for the Tories six times, when I have never stood for them at all. It is not difficult in any walk of life to find people who will whisper against you and I suspect it is easier in politics than anywhere else.

One of the specific charges, however, printed on the front page, is that I am under investigation for misusing taxpayers’ money. And it is this allegation which angers me most: one of my first jobs in Ukip was to hire a professional who would ensure that we stuck within the rules. Of course, the original complainant misunderstands the facts. MEPs are given very generous allowances to conduct their work in Brussels and the UK. Ukip chooses to spend money to hire staff. I could stand accused of using the money against the EU but I am not uncomfortable with that; I’d rather that than taxpayers money go to the slush fund of pro-EU propaganda.

But let’s be clear: to say that I am “under investigation” presumably means that The Times has asked a Lib Dem MEP to make a complaint, which the European Parliament will have to follow up. During a Parliamentary Bureau meeting yesterday it was acknowledged that this is the second attempt to force an investigation on Ukip; the initial one was kicked out by Olaf, the European Commission’s anti-fraud office.

We have been very careful to demarcate between UK electoral activities and our work as MEPs. But the accusation that money has been used to help the party could be made against all our British counterparts. As the UK delegation of a parliamentary group, we are permitted to have staff back home working for those MEPs. What I suggest journalists look into instead is the money that is given to other UK entities by the EU taxpayer through their membership of pan-European political parties. They are permitted to spend that money on national elections.

Even more laughable is the idea that our London office is staffed by weirdos who spend all day in the pub, surrounded by animals. Well it is quite true that we don’t employ dull bores, preferring people with some personality, but I can assure everyone that we are building a professional team of people who are on call seven days a week.

On a personal level, The Times or anyone else can say what they like. In some ways, I wish the high-living larger-than-life characterisation of me was true. It would mean that I had more money and free time than I currently do!

Most reasonably minded people are sick to death of an established elite that has done our country so much damage. Ukip is a choice for us to change direction, and that is what the Establishment really fears.

Contrary to expectations, Bob Crow was a good friend

I am saddened by the death of RMT union leader Bob Crow, who died yesterday of a massive heart attack. Many people imagined we would have nothing in common and producers regularly placed us on the same panel for political programmes like Question Time, hoping no doubt for some battle between the left and right.

In fact, on issues like EU membership we were as one. More importantly, once away from the cameras he was great fun to be with. He said to me once, “Nige, my wife said, ‘Bob, you’re drinking more these days,’ and I replied, ‘That’s because my friend Nigel Farage told me that you must drink as much as you can every day because you could be in a plane crash tomorrow.’”

We used to seek each other out in the green room and at the dinners after the shows. On one occasion, when the conversation was a little stilted, Bob and I, joined by Sally Bercow, decided to sneak off down the pub instead. Our fellow panellist, Anna Soubry, was certainly not amused.

No modern-day trade union leader was as loved and feared as Bob. In a world of dull, grey conformity he stood out. What you saw was what you got. He was one of the last of the old, patriotic, union left and did not like the Blarite agenda of the Labour party. You’d never find him eating hummus in Islington. He understood why people who had previously voted Labour were turning to Ukip, because he saw that Labour had turned their back on them.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: International Trade Advisors - Hertfordshire or Essex

£30000 - £35379 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is based in Welwyn ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Controller - Response Centre

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Resource and Recruitment Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Resource and Recruitment Manage...

Recruitment Genius: Junior IT Support Technician

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Junior IT Support Technician ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Voices in Danger: With the drug cartels in control, a Mexican editor has been forced to flee for his life

Anne Mortensen
 

Here’s why I’m so full of (coffee) beans

Jane Merrick
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn