Who could have guessed Jose Manuel Barroso’s State of the European Union address would turn out to be a rant against Eurosceptics and Tories. Former communist Barroso reckons a Tory can never be President of the European Commission. As European Conservatives and Reformists leader Mark Callanan says: “a bit rich coming from an unelected bureaucrat”. UKIP loved Barroso’s line that they will beat the Tories into becoming the “first force” of Britain. Apparently their Euroscepticism is “real” and the Tories are “copycats”. Barroso’s main argument seems to be that if any country withdraws from the EU, Germany will invade Poland again. The argument that the EU keeps the peace in Europe is a complete myth, NATO does that.
The rest is probably best left to Nigel Farage:
He went on to call Belgium’s Guy Verhofstadt “the vilest person in Europe”. A tough contest…
Hugh Mennie, who ran to be a councillor in Cambridge in May, has confessed to forging three of the eight signatures on his nomination form. His lawyer managed to come up with possibly the worst ever excuse for trying to rig an election in mitigation:
“He was running out of time to submit the form. He had found the area in which he lives and people there were lacklustre about politics.”
So who cares about democracy eh. Mennie has been banned from running for election for five years. What will the people of Arbury do without him?
Just what Dave needs. His old pal Andy Coulson is back again, making the second of a series of interventions in GQ magazine. This time he is offering his wisdom on the Tories’ UKIP problem:
“UKIP has become a club for disgruntled, invariably older Tories fed up with the leadership’s attitude mostly, although not entirely, towards Europe. More dangerously it allowed the party to present itself as the natural home for anyone fed up with mainstream politics.”
Coulson advises that the ‘loony’ rhetoric is “self-defeating” because “increasingly significant numbers of Conservative supporters” are voting UKIP. The current policy, which Whitehall wags wearily describe as “there is nothing we can do”, clearly isn’t working either. So what is Coulson’s masterplan? Kill em. An attack video demolishing UKIP’s dark side, focusing on Farage’s “less pleasant and stranger utterances”, with William Hague dispatched to take him on.
“The Conservatives should meet the UKIP debating challenge sooner and have Farage boxed off long before the first TV debate. It should be led by a senior Cabinet member, not the PM. Hague, as Foreign Secretary, is perfectly placed for some net practice on Farage’s preferred playing surface of Europe.”
Which could certainly go both ways. Then again if the Tories fancy winning something has to change…
The award for the stupidest comment of the day goes to UKIP’s MEP candidate for Northern Ireland, Henry Reilly, in this now deleted tweet:
Psycho-analytic screening for candidates went well then…
Some good news for UKIP regarding their internal squabbles at last. Guido hears Mike Nattrass, their former chairman and deputy leader who took them to court over not being selected as an MEP candidate, has had his application dismissed. Judge Purle QC ruled that the process was fair, designed to be fair, and that there was no evidence the rules had been broken. Nattrass has been ordered to pay UKIP’s £9,000 costs…
Only one leader coming out against intervention so far. Nigel Farage asks whose side we are on, whether firing cruise missiles into Damascus will make anything better and why we should trust the government when they say there is “no doubt” Assad is responsible. It is the populist position…
Immature petty squabbling aside, UKIP are back to doing what they do best this afternoon. Following this morning’s revelation that 155,000 people were criminalised last year for not paying the licence fee, the party is pushing its proposal in the Lords that the telly tax moves from a criminal to a civil jurisdiction. Which would be a start…
The glee with which the Tories and Labour jump on any sign of UKIP discord is more flattering than anything, nonetheless it hasn’t been the smoothest week for the party. First their chief executive Will Gilpin threw his toys out of the pram and quit, dismissing members as “a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs”. Which is part of the charm, but still. Then Godfrey Bloom was at it again, informing us how “most women can find the mustard in the pantry quicker than a man and most men can reverse a car better than a woman”. His wider points about quotas and political correctness may have some merit, though the joke is wearing thin.
Cue Nigel Farage putting his foot down. He tells the Telegraph things are going to change:
“The party does need professional management but thus far we haven’t found the person to deliver it. I gave up all managerial control of the party in 2010, I gave it up to a new group of people and at the moment we haven’t got to where we need to and so therefore…I will now be once again taking back some direct managerial control of the party until I’m confident we’ve got the right people in place. I will have to do less politics, fewer interviews, fewer public meetings, fewer appearances and I will have to spend more time directly overseeing the jobs being done, because the problem we have had is one of non-delivery… We do need to get a grip on things. We do need to professionalise things and so I’m going to have to take a much more direct, managerial role.”
Which is probably a good thing…
It looks like Nigel Farage is really going to enjoy his time at Tory Conference, making it as awkward for the Conservatives as possible. An invitation lands in Guido’s hands for “Pint and Fag” with the UKIP leader, just outside the conference zone. Despite the obvious ban on Farage coming into the lock-down zone in Manchester, Guido suspects he will pull by far the biggest fringe crowd. The event is appropriately at the comedy story, but some won’t be laughing….
Cameron Alienating Core Voters Without Attracting New | City AM
Andy Burnham Villain of the Week | Sun
London’s Laundry Business | NY Times
The End of HS2? | Seb Payne
Elvis Speaks | Nottingham Post
Dave Mocked | Sun
MPs Want to Decriminalise Dodging Licence Fee | Sun
US Should E-Bomb Russia | Fraser Nelson
You Can’t Trust the Police | Times
Dave’s Cromwell Moment at Wolf Hall | Kevin Maguire
Leveson Gave No.10 Free Pass to Cover Up Rock | Mail
The court hears Max Clifford told a 19 year old model at a film audition in his office:
“Look at my penis. Isn’t it tiny? What can I do with this?”