There is an old saying: ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune”. When looking at the underlying agenda of Ukip we should start by asking “who pays the Ukip piper?”. Then we will have a good idea what ‘tune’ they are likely to play!
If Ukip (or any party) want to be an alternative to the establishment parties you would expect them to have an alternative funding model. They wouldn’t rely on huge donations from super-rich individuals like the Tories or big funds from the Unions like Labour.
Ukip certainly don’t get any funds from the Unions. That’s no surprise as the Unions back Labour and the agenda of Ukip is very anti-worker and pro-bosses. The Unions wouldn’t give funds to a party which wants to scrap all employment protection for workers and cut taxes for the rich during an austerity where public services are already under strain.
Ukip are in fact funded in exactly the same way as the Tory party with donations from wealthy individuals. Major donors to the Tories look for a return on their ‘gifts’. They want favourable legislation, seats in the House of Lords, knighthoods, political appointments, subsidies and outsourcing contracts or even the chance to actually write government legislation for them. Donors to the Tories buy political access to the leadership of the party and are handed many favours in return for their financial support. Will the rich donors to Ukip be any expect any less than the donors to the Tories?
Almost certainly not particularly when you consider that the majority of their political donations come from people that used to finance the Tory party!
Ukip’s biggest donor is Paul Sykes, an ex-Tory donor. Sykes supported the Tories under Margaret Thatcher and Michael Howard, but has backed Ukip in the past, giving the party £1.5million in 2004.He has promised to do “whatever it takes” financially to help Ukip in this months European elections. He has made his level of control over Ukip absolutely clear with statements like “Me and Nigel work well together. He’s articulate and he’s learned a lot … but remember I binned Nigel once before in 2004”.
Another major Tory party donor turned Ukip backer is Eton educated Stuart Wheeler, who has shot upwards through the Ukip party ranks to become their treasurer. Before he defected to to Uk Wheeler handed out over £625,000 to the Tory party.
Other major Tory donors that have taken to bankrolling Ukip include James Hanson, £10,000; Robin Birley, £15,000; Michael Stone, £20,000; John Scott, £7,500; John Craven, £12,500; William MacDougall, £8,000; and David Caldow, £16,000.
Harwood Capital LLP, an investment group which previously donated £5,000 to the constituency of Hastings and Rye in May 2013, donated £50,000 to Ukip in August 2013.
The Tory Wives Club
Not all big donors to Ukip are ex-Tories – some are married to people who are still Tories. There’s Yvonne Vinson, the wife of Tory bigwig Nigel Vinson. Then there’s a £100,000 donation from Clare Barbour, who is the wife of Tory donor Patrick Barbour. Some unkind souls think that these wives are just a conduit for funds directed from their husbands.
That’s a very cynical view which has no evidence to support it.
Aside from the donations from people with obvious links to the Tory party, there are also a number of donations from the classic Tory territory of the landed gentry. Ukip donors from the establishment upper-classes include James Charteris, Michael Cowdray, William Legge and David Stevens.
Another source of Ukip funds is the European Union. Ukip Members of the European Parliament have donated almost half a million pounds from their taxpayer-funded salaries to their own political party.
Cash donations, rather than donations-in-kind, amounted to £425,947.76 from Ukip MEPs to the party. New figures from the Electoral Commission show that Ukip MEPs regularly donate significant chunks of their taxpayer-funded salaries to their party.
The money includes both small and large sums ranging from £340 a time, to a whopping £25,000. Since 2004, this has amounted to nearly half a million pounds, with £99,252 coming from the Ukip’s North West MEP John Whittaker.
Stuart Angew, from the East of England, has given nearly £75,000, while Derek Clark MEP (East Midlands) has donated £66,000.
Since 2004, sitting UKIP MEPs have donated £425,947.76 to Ukip (Electoral Commission).
o Derek Clark : £66,178
o Gerard Batten: £14,550
o Godfrey Bloom: £18,417.34
o Graham Booth: £67,908,21
o Jeffrey Titford: £6,787.84
o John Whittaker: £99,251.69
o Lord Dartmouth: £13,900
o Michael Nattrass: £13,233.46
o Nigel Farage: £11,100
o Nikki Sinclaire: £5,000
o Paul Nuttall: £4,800
o Roger Knapman: £16,500
o Stuart Agnew: £74,321.22
o Trevor Coleman: £14,000
It is more than a little ironic that the European Union is indirectly providing funds for Ukip. It is also questionable legally as it represents an indirect subsidy to a political party from the taxpayer. Perhaps they will be asked to pay it back?
Ask yourself how different Ukip are to the rest of the establishment politicians. They are certainly not funded by small donations from ordinary people as the real anti-establishment, alternative parties are. Their sources of funds dictate that they will follow Tory policies. Remember, he who pays the piper…
By Pat Harrington
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