Monday, 28 April 2014

Isleworth Labour and UKIP Together in Big Local Election Con-Trick

Labour in Isleworth fields slate of “UKIP” candidates in bid to split protest vote

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is standing three candidates in Isleworth ward in the London Borough of Hounslow at the local government elections on May 22nd – the only full slate being fielded by UKIP anywhere in the borough other than in its target ward of Hanworth Park, where it currently holds two seats.

But these are UKIP candidates with a difference.  That is because they are not UKIP candidates at all, but rather are “Labour” candidates who have been “loaned” to UKIP by Labour, or at least by one of its ward councillors, to the right-wing party in an attempt to split the protest vote which is likely to go to Labour’s main rival in the ward, the politically centrist and non-racist Independent Community Group (ICG).

That is not to say they are, necessarily, Labour Party members.  But their friendship with a serving ward councillor has led to them agreeing to participate in a con-trick being performed by the local Labour Group on the voters of Isleworth ward.

Even more astonishing is that UKIP’s local leadership is fully aware of the bogus nature of its candidates, but has proceeded to use them anyway, one can only presume so as not to lose face after having failed to meet its promises in respect of the number of candidates it would stand.


After years of enjoying only a nominal presence in the London Borough of Hounslow, UKIP exploded onto the local scene at the end of May 2013 when four sitting Conservative councillors – Colin Botterill, Rebecca Stewart, Beverley Williams and Gill Hutchison – resigned their party whip and formed a UKIP group on the Council.  The new group announced its intentions to contest the 2014 local elections with a view to increasing its representation in Hounslow by taking advantage of the wave of popularity presently being enjoyed by leader Nigel Farage and his party.


Within days the ICG was accused by Labour critics of having met with UKIP councillors to try to persuade them not to stand in the wards which we would be targeting if we decided to contest the local elections.  As it happened we hadn’t – we had had no contact at all with them at that time – but we decided that we would anyway.  Although most if not all of our key people did not share UKIP’s main policy positions – on Europe and immigration – we were supportive of the party’s plans for local referenda and for recall of under-performing MPs (and by implication councillors) and, besides, saw nothing sinister or wrong about trying to talk a right-wing but democratic party out of contesting elections on our home turf.  We had two meetings, the first with Councillors Stewart and Williams and the second with all four.

During those meetings UKIP attempted to talk us into agreeing a two-and-one arrangement in which we would field two candidates each in Syon and Isleworth wards and UKIP would field one, with a tacit agreement in place for each of the two groups to big up the other, in effect a joint slate.  We declined on the grounds that we did not want to be associated with their – or indeed any – party political cause, as that would be contrary to everything we stood for.  Some time later UKIP advised us that they would be standing one candidate in each of the wards, and this remained their position thereafter.

In fact, it even remained their position earlier this month when by pure fluke I “caught” Councillor Botterill (pictured above) in Worple Avenue - I think with his three candidates - collecting nominations, and he glad-handed me and told me even then that UKIP was only fielding one candidate (“You know Kelly, don’t you?” he asked sheepishly) in the ward.

Not recognising the other two girls, I assumed at that point that they were just hangers-on of some sort.  But yes, I did know Kelly.  Kelly, I told him, was a very close friend of Isleworth Labour councillor Sue Sampson and was certainly no UKIPer.  She owed an awful lot to Councillor Sampson (of which more below) and no way would she be standing against her in an election without her blessing.  I expected Councillor Botterill to be surprised by this news, but he wasn’t.  He just looked at his shoes (fortunately for him he was also wearing dark glasses) and walked away.

Kelly Males/Root/Adams - Isleworth "UKIP" candidate - hosts the Mayor of Hounslow at a community event fronted by Isleworth Labour councillor Sue Sampson (below)

Immediately I telephoned Councillor Stewart, and during the course of that evening we had a couple of conversations about Kelly.  But I have to say she seemed more concerned by some of my other information (of which more later in the campaign) than she did about the fact that Kelly was a Labour “ringer”.  But still, she reassured me, at least UKIP were only fielding one candidate!

I’m getting ahead of myself here though, so once again more of this anon.


I should mention in the meantime that Kelly was not, in fact, UKIP’s preferred candidate in Isleworth.  This was a chap called David W. Griffiths, a name with which I was vaguely familiar although he and I have never actually met.

Mr. Griffiths, for all I know, may be a very nice bloke, but I was aware that he had some “form” when it came to political controversy.  Nothing wrong with that necessarily, as a repentant ex-member of the National Front I have plenty of form myself on that front.  But some comments he had made recently – and openly, as a UKIP member – had been reported in the national press and so I thought it was strange that Councillor Botterill and his colleagues had selected a man to be a candidate who had delivered himself of the view, in the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death, that some people were “born to be slaves”.

And so I contacted Councillor Stewart, to alert her to her colleague’s faux pas.  For good measure I sent her a copy of an old article from the local Chronicle in which Mr. Griffiths had claimed during an interview to have been the Antichrist, chosen by persons unknown to bring an end to Christianity on Earth and also taking the slightly controversial view that homeless people should be shot in the streets and homosexuals should be banished to an island.


Mr. Griffiths’ past activities, or his views on slavery, were not the only thing Councillor Botterill needed to be concerned about.  He had, after all, already circulated his own election leaflet to most of Isleworth ward, apparently without the party’s approval, in which he had declared his “two big things” to have been “old people” and “breastfeeding”.  The leaflet was, shall we say, a tad unconventional.

But at the same time that I had contacted UKIP in a genuine attempt to be helpful (and also, I freely admit, in the hope of knocking out a rival candidate who would have attracted some protest votes otherwise destined for the ICG no matter how eccentric his views), Brentford Labour councillor and parliamentary hopeful Ruth Cadbury was tweeting a copy of the leaflet, presumably provided to her by her Labour colleagues in Isleworth, to her many followers – including, of course, the local press.

Some might consider it odd that Councillor Cadbury, whose political savvy is acknowledged by friend and foe alike, should have done a thing that must inevitably have had the effect of removing a UKIP candidate from the field who would have served a useful purpose in drawing protest votes from ICG candidates without there being any danger of himself being elected.  Unless, of course, she knew that her Isleworth colleagues were waiting impatiently in the wings for the opportunity to offer the hapless Councillor Botterill a helping hand?

Was our prospective MP involved in the deception and confidence trick that was about to be pulled on the voters of Isleworth by her fellow Labour candidates?  The jury remains out as I write.  But her tweet was indeed featured in the Chronicle and the local UKIP leader, who must surely have already known from the national publicity it had generated that his first-choice candidate had made such appalling statements about slavery, now had no option but to withdraw him.

This was on Thursday, April 10th.  Two days later Councillor Stewart surprised me by advising me that UKIP had “possibly” found a replacement for Mr. Griffiths.  Apparently it was a lady who had long been interested in being an Isleworth candidate but whose “papers” had spent “a long time coming through the system” as UKIP had a strict candidate vetting process (I promise I am not making this up) which took about six weeks to complete.  But I shouldn’t worry, at worst there would only be one UKIP candidate in Isleworth ward!


Nominations closed on Thursday, April 24th and the full candidate lists were published the morning after.  UKIP had put up a full slate of three candidates in Isleworth – Kelly (whose surname is Males and her maiden name is Root but had listed herself as Adams, one assumes to have her name listed at the top of the ballot paper), Melanie Flynn and Sharon Smith.  It would seem the two new candidates had somehow found their way around UKIP’s foolproof six-week vetting process.

Melanie Flynn we had never heard of, although she seems to have arrived on Councillor Botterill’s doorstep at the same time as the others and must be assumed by her continued participation to be happy in the company she is keeping.  I’ll add more information on her if and when any comes to me.

But if Kelly Males/Root/Adams is not an obvious enough “plant” by Councillor Sue Sampson there should be no doubts at all when it comes to Sharon Smith.  Here’s a few little screenshots from the Brentford and Chiswick community forums to be getting along with.

A Labour voter, a “socialist”, a staunch defender of former MP Ann Keen’s infamous expense claims and an opponent of fox-hunting – perfect UKIP material if I must say so myself!

I have been promised some further damning evidence, as if any was needed, that Sharon is contesting this election as a “UKIP” candidate for no other reason than to “do Sue a favour”.  When I get it I shall post it onto this blog.

Kelly and Cllr. Sampson, Dec. 2013
But let us go back in the meantime to Kelly Males/Root/Adams.  As I wrote earlier Adams is not her current married name.  Neither is it her maiden name.  It is not even the name of the father of her first children.  She may for all I know have a legitimate reason for having suddenly acquired the name “Adams”, other than to put herself at the top of the ballot paper where, traditionally, there are a few more votes to be had.  She has, I am assured, presented “evidence” of her name change to the elections department at the London Borough of Hounslow, and she will be aware that it is a criminal offence to falsify such evidence and must know I will be having this looked into.  But is it just me who thinks it strange that somebody who is in the business of trying to win votes should suddenly change her name to one by which none of her own friends and contacts knows her?

Under her own name Kelly is an active kind of girl, often to be found supporting good causes.  One cause that she supports is called Middlesex Anti-Racist Action (MARA).  In the screenshot reproduced below you can see her name on its list of followers:

Nothing wrong with that.  Only as you can see here MARA is not particularly fond of UKIP:

Another contradiction.  But nothing is so much a contradiction as Kelly’s apparent ingratitude, by standing against her, to Councillor Sampson.  It was following Councillor Sampson’s intervention that Kelly and her family were able to move into the large council dwelling in which she currently lives, with tens of thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours of work spent on it, without having to go through the Locata system which ordinary mortals are required to negotiate before being rehoused.  

One way in which Kelly was able to repay Councillor Sampson was by writing a letter to the Chronicle in October 2013 taking a pop at various local community organisations, such as The Isleworth Society, the Isleworth Public Hall Users Group and the Friends of Isleworth Public Hall.  Generally the Labour Party in Isleworth has been reluctant to go onto the offensive against community groups, other than the ICG, because their avowedly non-political nature would make them unreasonable targets in the eyes of decent local people and the party has always been at pains to hide its essentially anti-community instincts, by which I mean its opposition to any form of community organisation operating outside of its own discipline.  Kelly's was one of a series of letters written by various of Councillor Sampson's personal friends which basically took on this dirty work.  As recently as six months ago Kelly's affinity with the Labour administration in Hounslow was there for all to see:


As I explained earlier there is a very good reason why Labour feel they would benefit from having a slate of UKIP candidates in the field during this local election campaign.  Although the ICG and UKIP are two very different organisations both would be likely to benefit from any “protest vote”.  With one UKIP candidate standing people who had voted for that party in the European election which is being held on the same day might have been inclined to give their other two votes to the ICG.  That won’t happen, Labour figure, if UKIP has three candidates.

As for UKIP, their motives for entering into this sordid alliance are less clear as only humiliation and embarrassment await them even if these candidates were to win the election in Isleworth.  One can only speculate, but it is likely that their actions were motivated by nothing more than the desire to maximise the number of candidates they could boast they were standing.  But in doing so they have demonstrated that they are utterly untrustworthy, duplicitous, cynical, and by no means least desperate.  How could anybody in this borough take such a shoddy and amateurish outfit seriously?

By their actions both Labour and UKIP are quite consciously playing a confidence trick on local voters.  If the Isleworth UKIP candidates are elected – not unthinkable in the current climate – they will, I’m sure, “convert” to Labour on the very day of the election count, giving Isleworth electors three Labour councillors they didn’t vote for and the local UKIP unit a credibility problem to die for.  But in achieving that Labour will have helped to raise UKIP’s profile in the borough and beyond.  Remember this the next time your local Labour representative pontificates to you about UKIP, racism and xenophobia.

UKIP voters, of course, have the opportunity to support their party by giving them their vote at the European election on the same day.  Like them or loathe them, the names on the (white) Euro ballot paper are at least those of genuine UKIP candidates. 

But it is difficult to see how anybody with any integrity or respect for the democratic process can vote for either Labour or UKIP in Isleworth, or in UKIP’s case anywhere in the borough.  What a big price they are doomed to pay for three extra names on the published list of candidates.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Watch this Space

Well it's been over two months, but there is a good reason for that. The ICG will be contesting seven seats - three each in Syon and Isleworth and one in Brentford - at the local elections on May 22nd and the logistical work involved in making all that happen is horrendous for a small group such as ours without the backing of a sleek national organisation that candidates representing the big parties can depend upon.

Caroline Andrews, Shirley Fisher and Ian Speed standing in Syon. Phil Andrews, Patricia Doran and Paul Fisher are our candidates in Isleworth. And our lone candidate in Brentford ward, where we are standing for the first time, is Dave Cox (pictured), formerly the Chair of the now-defunct Hounslow Federation of Tenants' and Residents' Associations (HFTRA), which provided a voice for 24,000 tenants and leaseholders in local authority dwellings throughout the borough before being killed off in a council-sponsored coup.

For the next few weeks this blog will be used to update its readers on the progress of the campaign, and to focus on some of the issues deriving from it. To begin this process we will have a real blockbuster going up later, either this evening or tomorrow. So as they say, watch this space.