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Friday, October 17, 2014

UKIP on the back foot

The extent to which UKIP, the anti-establishment, anti-politics party depends on public subsidy is laid bare by an article in yesterday's Times on the financial crisis facing them due to the collapse of their European voting bloc.

The paper says that UKIP have suffered a serious blow to its finances due to the defection of a Latvian MEP which has caused the collapse of the seven-state group led by Nigel Farage’s party in the European parliament.

They say that the extinction of Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, the parliament’s biggest anti-EU group with 48 MEPs, means UKIP and its partners will lose influence, speaking time, access to positions on committees and funding:

UKIP alone will lose €1.95 million (£1.55 million) a year of EU funds, according to the Open Europe think-tank. “For UKIP the European parliament has only ever been a stepping stone towards a domestic breakthrough, but the loss of nearly €2 million per year will be painful,” it said

The collapse of the bloc brings UKIP back to the level of euro-hostile parties dominated by Marine Le Pen of the French National Front. She failed in an attempt to form a rival group with Geert Wilders of the Netherlands in the summer. The UKIP-led group crumpled after the departure of Iveta Grigule of the Latvian Farmers’ Union. This reduced its membership to parties from six states, one below the required threshold, although it retained almost double the minimum of 25 MEPs.

Of course the party still has its tame millionaires and individual MEPs will continue to have access to expenses to fund local party offices, such as the one recently opened in Shotton as part of the party's campaign to win Flintshire next year.

And UKIP continue to benefit from a lack of proper scrutiny by the UK media. Why for example did the BBC report on the Shotton office opening when it has not done so for the offices of other politicians?

More importantly why did the BBC's report accept the premise offered to it that the office is part of a campaign to win Flintshire at the General Election, without challenging whether this is a correct use of public money?

The UKIP honeymoon in the media continues.
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