Talk about piss ups and breweries…
When, in October, I suggested that Kerry Smith may have been sacked as UKIP candidate for South Basildon & East Thurrock to make way for Neil Hamilton, I was bloody joking.
But apparently UKIP are so much of a joke that they took it seriously, and came perilously close to selecting the disgraced former Tory MP for Tatton. In the end though, they seem to have gone for some bloke by the name of Kerry Smith.
Yep. The self-same candidate they deselected not two months ago.
For those who aren’t familiar with his sordid story, Neil was a fairly high profile Conservative MP for the Cheshire constituency of Tatton (Now represented by a certain Gideon Osborne -Ed). In the 90s, he accepted payments from Mohammed al-Fayed in order to ask questions in the House of Commons. He was defeated in the 1997 election, and his name has since been a by-word for political sleaze.
Also, he’s now Deputy Chairman of UKIP. Make of that what you will.
Apparently UKIP top brass wanted him for the south Essex seat and were getting ready to parachute him in, until everyone pointed out that it was a f**king stupid idea. So Hamilton stepped down and backed Kerry for the seat.
The question which remains, then, is why Kerry Smith was de-selected in the first place. Was it because, as suggested at the time, a Tory MP was on the verge of defection, and subsequently got cold feet? Was Farage always intending to parachute in Hamilton? Or, as a third option, was Smith unsuitable for some other, undisclosed reason, and was merely the best way for the party to extricate itself from the situation.
I… I’m not even sure what more I can or need to say about that. Selections in any party can get interesting, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the like of this. Farcical doesn’t seem to do it justice, but I suppose that at least Southend’s James Moyies can rest assured that he isn’t the only one on the sharp end of UKIP selection incompetence.
What I don’t understand is how UKIP can claim to be a breath of fresh air in politics, when they are little more than a resting home for those without any options left. Hamilton is as filthy as they come, already under a cloud of party expenses questions, man who exemplifies the sort of political corruption, entitlement and arrogance which Nigel Farage frequently rails against (Which itself is more than a bit rich -Ed).
This is UKIP; not the “change” they sell themselves as, but a convalescence home for washed up career politicians.