An excellent article in The Sunday Times.
Farage came across a fool and a hypocrite. No surprise there!
It is amusing to note that Farage is claiming to be a champion of morality. Whatever next? The Pope becomes a Muslim?
We do admire Farage's cheek. So what did happen to that £2 million you claimed as expenses? Why have you refused to provide an audit of your accounts? What happened to £211,000 that vanished from UKIP's South East accounts? Where did the money from the Ashford Call Centre end up? And why did you approve - via Stuart Agnew - an illegal donation to UKIP? Etc, etc, etc.
Nigel's wife has been conspicuous by her absence. Is that why he got Annabelle Fuller - his much suffering long term mistress - to join him during the campaign?
Annabelle - pictured below - was taking time off from her latest job. She now works for the Army Benevolent Fund. Did daddy get her the job?
Battle of not being John Bercow
It seems like every eccentric in Middle England is standing against the Speaker of the House of Commons
Buckingham is the pivot of the nation. You either despise its beady probity with a Molotovlobbing loathing, or tearfully worship it as a symbol of this sceptred isle that stands for Spitfires and Stannah stairlifts, pewter tankards, property booms and knowing your place. It is England’s Kosovo.
The small market town — the model for Candleford — sits in a broad, polite swathe of genteel estates, mixed farms and dormitory commuting. It is the seventh richest subregion in the European Union.
It is also the constituency of the Speaker of the House of Commons. The unwritten convention is that nobody stands against the Speaker because he stands above the fray. Unless the Speaker is John Bercow, who can barely stand above the counter of a sweet shop. Now everybody is standing against him.
Bercow was a Conservative; now he’s an independent. He was elected Speaker by Labour as a cynical joke because the Tories hated him. They hated him because he started off as right wing and then changed to become a feel-your-pain liberal.
Initially he was happy for us to follow him as he canvassed, but then he equivocated, then mumbled, then coughed and put the phone down. He let us know that he was only doing local press.
So I asked the Bucks Herald if it would employ me for the day and Eleanor Campbell, the charming editor, said certainly, as long as I mentioned its hustings a week tomorrow. So I’m writing this as a junior reporter — rural Tintin — which I’m quite pleased about because I didn’t start on provincial papers like real journalists, and next week they say I can do a magistrates’ court and a junior school prizegiving. But Bercow still wasn’t talking: to me, the people of Buckingham or you. Never mind, there were plenty of other contenders to chat to.
I went to Princes Risborough about 1,000 miles away — the constituency is the size of Texas. It’s a small market town, but most of the population have departed to be estate agents and wine merchants in London leaving the mean streets to the Lark Rise chapter of Hell’s Mobility Scooters, who tool up and down the main street terrorising charity shops with an incontinent menace.
I’ve come to meet John Stevens who is standing for the Buckinghamshire Campaign for Democracy. I knew him in a previous existence, when he was head of a Conservative campaign for the euro. You can only imagine the loneliness of that, like being a proselytising vegetarian shark. Then he was an MEP and then a liberal.
He greets me with the smile of a boy who expects to be bullied and the thickly dandruffed shoulders of a chap who hasn’t been hugged for a bit. What is he standing for? Not being Bercow, apparently.
He has come up with a wonderful wheeze of having the Speaker followed by a giant dolphin called Flipper. He waits for me to get the joke, eyebrows raised expectantly.
“He flipped his house,” he offers helpfully. “The expenses scandal.” Ah, right. Good joke.
I try to imagine interviewing Flipper. What’s that, Flipper? “Click click click click.” He sold his house for a huge profit? “Click click click click.” His wife did what? “Click click click click.” And there’s some boy drowning?
Sadly I can’t interview Flipper because his inner human has overheated — that’s global warming for you. But I do think every candidate should have a large mascot alter ego following them around, a heraldic jester.
I asked Stevens what else he did. He is writing a biography of St Paul: “Actually I’m much more interested in that. It turns out St Paul isn’t exactly who we think he was and nobody knows who the Galatians were.”
Stevens is that very English thing: an authentic contrarian. “What will you do if you win?” I ask. His eyes pop with shock. He has plainly never considered the possibility.
I embark on the march back to Buckingham to meet Nigel Farage, MEP and candidate for UKIP. He won’t know who the Galatians were but he damned well won’t want them here.
On the way I look up the other candidates. Debbie Martin is Independent Not Bercow, a 53-year-old unemployed retail assistant who has “the strong support of my husband Derek”.
Patrick Phillips, 74, Not Bercow, is offering himself as “the next best thing to a Conservative”. The mind boggles. What is the next best thing to a Conservative — a vacuum cleaner? A double-headed raspberry-flavoured dildo? A cat? He calls his wife Jolly, so they’re Pat and Jolly Phillips, with daughters Millie and Charlotte and Rosie the labrador. I feel I’ve known them all my life.
Geoff Howard, Independent Not Bercow, was a magistrate, a school governor and would like us to know that he successfully sued Thames Water for sending him the wrong bill. He is also involved in something called Hellenic football, which might be a euphemism.
Lynne Mozar is standing for the BNP due to the sudden withdrawal of Adam Worley, who had family problems. Uncharitably, I imagined BNP family problems to be far more salacious than everyone else’s.
Then there is someone called Colin Dale, but when I try to look him up, I just get Colindale, the unattractive London suburb, so he can blame his mother for that. I suppose she could have called him Wensley.
Farage is hearty, hale and seedy, in a blue checked suit and electric blue tie. He’s a man whose character has been formed by a thousand snug bars. He has that confidence that is the by-product of an enormous amount of alcohol and laughs often and loudly.
He also has breath that could club a baby seal to death. Even across his desk, every time something strikes him as funny there is a draught like Carnarvon opening a pharaoh’s tomb. The first rule of standing for parliament is: a toothbrush is not just for Christmas.
His office is a shop front selling a range of amazingly naff UKIP memorabilia. I’m particularly drawn, and then repelled, by a motley motel dressing gown with pound signs on the cuff — just the thing for entertaining the Moldovan escort before reporting her to the Home Office. And a tie, with a crank and a fly on it, because Michael Howard called UKIP a bunch of cranks and gadflies. “I’m lifetime president,” Farage guffaws. I bet you are and you really need to be politically impervious to go out sporting a rosette with a pound sign on it after the expenses scandal. One of UKIP’s MEPs, Tom Wise, is serving two years for misuse of allowances.
“I’d never do that,” says Farage, with surprising fury. “Never.” Holding Bercow’s campaign leaflet up, “I could never do it,” he repeats, with a Somme-like gust of disgust. He is pointing at a photograph of the Speaker who is smiling and hugging his wife.
What, never hug your wife? Marry someone twice your height? “No. Be photographed with my children.”
Right. Well, we all know what you’re against, Nigel, but what is UKIP for? “That’s a very silly question. Of course we’re for getting out of Europe and for the end of indiscriminate immigration” etc, etc.
Isn’t the England you’re wanting to protect a vanished thing, a past place? Aren’t you really the Nostalgia party? “Absolutely not. No, no. Forward-looking, modern.” But forgive me for interrupting, you’re sitting under a poster of Winston Churchill. “Ah yes, actually that was from the last campaign.” So not really nostalgic, just haven’t caught up yet.
I ask him if we can go out and do a bit of canvassing. He travels mob-handed, firing up a Rothman’s, scattering the mobility scooters. We stand outside Boots. “Very small, Buckingham,” he says. “Not many people around,” implying that he usually attracts crowds. There are only 12,000 inhabitants and everyone is at home.
An elderly woman approaches and asks if he’s got a moral core. “Yes,” he says emphatically. “We’ve got a very large Christian group,” making it sound like a penis.
“Good,” she says. “What are you going to do with the Church of England?”
“First thing,” he bellows, “we should get rid of the Archbishop of Canterbury. When he said sharia law was not just necessary but inevitable, I thought: no, he’s got to go.”
While he moves on to canvass tracksuited hopelessly bored youths, a man who looks like an Edwardian farm labourer asks if I’d like an opinion. Without waiting for an answer, he says: “I was the mayor of Buckingham.” Was that before or after you were Napoleon? “My family has lived here since 1086.” Well, that shows a congenital lack of imagination and ambition.
It turns out that he really was the mayor and a councillor and he is a farm labourer and he has been hedge laying. “You know I’m Labour, right? Well, I’ve always found Bercow to be a really good MP. Honestly. Write to him and he’ll reply return of post and do something about it. You should know. Here, he’s a very good bloke.”
As I walked through town, stopping people, going into shops, everybody without exception says the same thing. What a very good constituency MP Bercow is. How really concerned with local issues, how diligent, unassuming and hardworking. I have never come across such consistent praise for a politician.
It would have been nice if he had shown the same diligence and courtesy to the rest of the country and the press, local and national. I gave it one last go and called his home number. A woman’s voice that sounded like the spirit of the 1940s said: “This is an answering machine. Please call back later.”
To see the original: LINK