Paul Sykes

In a hypocritical (and unknowingly bigoted) admission, UKIP’s biggest donor has told ITV News that his businesses may have benefited from cheap immigrant labour — but that having foreigners “in your community” is somehow a different matter.

Paul Brand interviewed Paul Sykes in his Yorkshire country pile:

Sykes: Who knows. I have maybe enjoyed cheap labour coming from other countries.

Brand: Isn’t that a bit hypocritical if you’ve employed immigrants in the past?

Sykes: I haven’t

Brand: So you’ve never employed an immigrant?

Sykes: I’d have thought there might be one. I’d have to look and check. But you’ve not – this is a different thing. You’re talking about whoever were in your community [sic].

One thing’s for sure, £650m Sykes shows that money sure can’t buy taste:

Scrapbook hopes Brand’s eyes recovered from the visual onslaught of that decor.

Hopes of blocking landlords from evicting tenants who complain about problems in their home were dashed today — after a Tory MP used an hour-long speech to ‘talk out’ the Tenancies (Reform) Bill. Protections against retaliatory eviction now stand little chance of becoming law, despite enjoying cross-party and government support.

As declared in the debate, the register of members’ interests for hard-right crackpot Philip Davies reveals that he himself owns a rented flat in the capital:

8. Land and Property
Flat in London from which rental income is received. (Registered 18 September 2012)

Having endured an hour of Davies’ drivel — designed purely to block the passage of bill — shouts of “outrageous” resounded across the chamber when the Shipley MP suggested the deputy speaker was biased in invoking an obscure parliamentary procedure to obligate him to conclude his speech:

An exasperated parliamentary source told Scrapbook:

“Fridays in parliament are becoming a complete joke. They’re dominated by a right-wing clique of MPs who will filibuster anything which isn’t the Margaret Thatcher Day Bill

With a majority of nearly 10,000, however, we won’t be seeing the back of Davies any time soon.

10 Downing Street door

10 Downing Street used public money to bail out a charity run by a party donor, a damning report by the National Audit Office has revealed.

Having used the Charities Act to avoid running a competitive process to run the Big Society Awards, the Cabinet Office had already spaffed £350,000 in public funding on the Big Society Network (BSN) — chaired by Tory donor Martyn Rose — before they realised it was underperforming against grant objectives.

With the struggling charity, founded by Tory supporters to bolster the party’s ‘Big Society’ narrative, coming back for more cash, officials at the Cabinet Office advised the PM’s office that:

“[It] would not be appropriate to grant-fund an organisation that is in financial difficulty or that is struggling to appropriately manage its financial affairs”

BSN was then late for filing their 2011/12 accounts, which subsequently revealed a deficit of £181,000. Despite these concerns, the PM’s office still instructed officials to award yet another grant. The operation is now in the process of being wound up.

The claims of improper political influence over BSN’s funding do not end there. A former trustee of NESTA, a funding body endowed by the National Lottery, has claimed that the body was “forced to provide to provide funding for the Big Society Network”.

This corrupt shambles took place in a period in which the real charities of the big society faced precipitous cuts in funding and attacks from Tory MPs.

Conservative contract 2010

It must have seemed like such a good idea back in Spring 2010: an election “contract” between the Tories and voters, including immigration — on which Cameron is now taking an absolute battering.

Cameron contract 2010: immigration

“We go into the general election on 6 May with trust in politics and politicians at an all-time low … For too long, you’ve been lied to by politicians saying they can sort out all your problems.

“So this is our contract with you. I want you to read it and — if we win the election — use it to hold us to account. If we don’t deliver on our side of the bargain, vote us out in five year’s time.

YouGov’s Trust Tracker on the percentage of voters trusting leading Conservative politicians “a great deal” or “a fair amount”:

  • March 2008: 27%
  • August 2010: 29%
  • June 2011: 22%
  • November 2012: 19%

Scrapbook dreads to think what that has now plummeted to.

Jean-Claude Juncker with Nigel Farage

UKIP leader Nigel Farage didn’t even bother turning up for his own European Parliament motion today — an attempt to censure European Commission president over his links to tax avoidance.

Jean-Claude Juncker is accused of presiding over industrial-scale avoidance by multinational companies during his tenure as president of Luxembourg. But even with support from the, errr, far-right French National Front, the motion went down to a 461 votes to 101 loss.

Could it be that hypocrite Farage had second thoughts on fronting up a motion on the issue?

In 2013 the UKIP leader was exposed for setting up an Isle of Man-based tax avoidance schemeFarage Family Education Trust 1654, with the express intention of avoiding inheritance tax on his estate.

Andrew Mitchell: Rude Boy

Andrew Mitchell has lost his ‘plebgate’ libel trial against The Sun, with the judge satisfied “on the balance of probabilities” that he told police guarding Downing Street words to the effect of:

“Best you learn your f**king place … you don’t run this f**king government … you’re f**king plebs …”

Mitchell himself admits to saying:

“I thought you guys were supposed to f**king helping us.”

The court heard that Mitchell had said to the prime minister’s head of security, to whom it was claimed he also swore in a second meeting:

“They [the police officers on the Downing Street gates] should have f**king known who I was”

Witnesses queued up to give examples of previous rude behaviour. On two occasions in 2011 he was said to have told guards at the Downing Street gates:

“Let me in, I’m a Cabinet Minister”, “chop chop” and “Always helps if you do this as rapidly as possible – we’re all in a hurry”.

With security tight after the London bombings in 2005, Mitchell apparently decided to cycle through an exit barrier without stopping:

“I’m a Member of Parliament and I’m too important to stop for you … Stop being so aggressive, you little shit.”

To police insisting that two non-passholders with Mitchell needed to go through security:

“You mustn’t impede me, I’m a member.”

On trying to enter Downing Street without the correct form of ID:

“This is too much of an inconvenience, let me in I am late for a meeting with the Prime Minister, or I will make a complaint … Don’t you think you have heard the last of this, I am going to make a complaint to the commissioner – I’ve got your numbers.”

Snubbing an offered handshake, a protection officer told the court that Mitchell had said upon meeting him in Africa:

“You must be the hired muscle.”

When the same protection officer told Mitchell he couldn’t visit Libya:

“That’s a bit above your pay grade, Mr Plod.”

While not mentioned in the trial, upon taking over from former miner Patrick McLoughlin as Tory chief whip, Mitchell reportedly remarked:

“This place is like a sergeants’ mess. It should be more like an officers’ mess.”

Leaving the High Court reporters asked Mitchell if he would quit as an MP — the attraction of returning to a career in investment banking should obvious to a man now lumbered with a £3 million legal bill.

Expect him to be monstered on the front page of The Sun tomorrow.

There has always been an element of cognitive dissonance to the Lib Dems’ collaboration with the Tories but Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander really outdid himself this afternoon, telling World At One:

“We haven’t made any changes to tax rates in this parliament”

Yeah. No changes at all —  apart from that tax cut for millionaires which Alexander himself described as “cloud cuckoo land” before being overrulled by his boss, George Osborne.

The new Lib Dem strategy: just pretend it didn’t happen.

Here’s something that won’t be going in Tory MP Karl McCartney’s glossy lifestyle magazine Lincoln Review, a publication distributed to residents which focuses entirely on himself: the following image favourited from his Twitter account at some point after 14 October:

Karl McCartney favourite

With possible excuses including “my account was hacked”, “it was a computer virus” and “my finger slipped”, McCartney has tried to deny using the favourite button on his Twitter account, despite 56 such messages (mostly related to his political work) displaying under his favourites — until he went and deleted them all earlier.

To favourite one porn tweet might be regarded as unfortunate, to favourite two looks like carelessness. Among the other messages which were favourited (links definitely NSFW) is this February 2014 exchange from, errrr, @Curvasaurus_Rex to @RateMyTitties:

The account in question specialises in extreme close ups of body parts.

What a boob.