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To quote UKIP leader Paul Nuttall: “it has been a tough week for me.”
It certainly has. After a lengthy series of claims made by Nuttall that have later been proven false, yet another week has gone by with yet another falsehood exposed. Even Nuttall himself was forced to admit that he did not lose close friends at the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Just to make his week complete, he was finally exposed on a Liverpool radio station.
Having previously described doubts about his involvement at Hillsborough as ‘lies’ and those voicing them of running a smear campaign against him, Nuttall’s humiliation in the wider world today brought more internal strife to an already-troubled UKIP. Two members of Liverpool UKIP, now-former branch chairman Stuart Monkcom and Merseyside spokesman Adam Heatherington, have now resigned over the affair.
Liverpool UKIP is, of course, Nuttall’s own branch (unless his previously-unoccupied home in Stoke is now his current address). Monkcom and Heatherington have resigned in protest at both Nuttall’ss handling of his latest public relations debacle and the equally disastrous response of Arron Banks. Banks, in a seemingly-typical Twitter tirade, bluntly and sneeringly dismissed those disgusted by Nuttall’s behaviour as milking the tragedy, declaring he was sick of hearing them on the subject.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage (whose acquaintance with disgraced former aide and convicted criminal George Cotterill Evolve Politics previously covered) leapt to Banks’s defence citing his right to free speech. Nuttall, on the other hand, chose the duck-and-cover approach. Not only did he not defend Banks’s remarks, he didn’t condemn their obnoxious insensitivity, either.
Granted, politicians not wanting to be questioned on inconvenient subjects isn’t unusual Farage avoided as many questions as possible about Cotterill, for instance. But for Nuttall (seemingly the man of a thousand faces, places and real-life experiences) just about every question has been inconvenient lately. While Banks’s ham-fisted, crass, insensitive remarks might have offered Nuttall similar support to that a rope offers a condemned prisoner, Nuttall has referred to his unflattering media profile as:
“A co-ordinated, cruel and almost-evil smear campaign against me. It is based on lies from sources who have not been named. It has been a tough week for me, but I will not allow them to break me and I will not allow them to break UKIP.”
Possibly some of his allies and opponents, considering his increasing status as the clown prince of British politics, might by now be shrugging their shoulders while silently thinking that Nuttall seems to be breaking UKIP all by himself.
This is the opinion of Monkcom, Heatherington and their press spokesman. To quote their resignation statement they describe the humiliation as resulting from:
“Unprofessional handling of information surrounding Hillsborough by Paul Nuttall and the insensitive remarks made by Arron Banks.”
Adam Heatherington isn’t exactly flattering about UKIP current leadership, either. As he put it:
“I felt that supporting a libertarian party was the right thing to do in order to effect change within the political system in this country. Unfortunately that dream has been shattered and the potential of UKIP has been squandered by people who have demonstrated they are not fit to lead at present.”
They say that bad things come in threes. With this in mind, up stepped Monkcom’s and Heatherington’s press spokesman to remark on the current state of UKIP’s leadership:
“It is impossible for those hard-working activists at grass-roots level who are never properly briefed, not to be affected by the actions of those in control of the party machinery when mistakes and poor policy decisions are made.”
And it’s only Monday.
Still, at least there’s one apparently-false claim that Nuttall hasn’t decided to make or been forced to defend. According to Nuttall himself (consider the source carefully) he definitely didn’t play the talking brown bear in children’s TV series ‘Rainbow.’ His Wikipedia entry was once edited to claim that he’d been the original, archetypal ‘Mr. Bungle’ but this, apparently isn’t accurate.
Or is it?
His political skills, leadership abilities and ability to recognise reality (or staggering lack thereof) might suggest otherwise.