Thursday, 5 June 2014

Setting the Record Straight on the Isleworth Labour/UKIP Tie-Up

As I've said elsewhere I am keen to move on from the confrontational politics which have occupied me up until now. Nonetheless after careful consideration I do feel it is necessary to provide the update on the Isleworth Labour/UKIP saga that I had hoped to include during the last days of the campaign, had time permitted me to do so.

I do this not to provoke further conflict, but to consign these events to record in case either they continue to be disputed, or the quarrel should be continued by those involved in them in spite of my desire for them to be laid to rest.  It was, after all, part of both UKIP's and Labour's strategy during the last few weeks of the campaign to simply deny the existence of this shoddy arrangement in the hope that by saying it isn't happening enough times it could somehow just be magically wished away.

Shortly after my original article on the subject appeared on this blog one of the three Isleworth UKIP candidates, Kelly Adams (formerly Males), posted an item on the community forum in which she claimed to have been provoked into standing as a candidate for UKIP after having acquired documentary proof of two Freedom of Information requests that I had made involving the property in which she resides.  I reproduce a copy of the post in question below:

The sequence of events as claimed by Kelly is clearly nonsense.  The UKIP "colleague" of hers whom I rang was the then Hanworth Park councillor Rebecca Stewart, and this conversation took place on the very evening that I had encountered Kelly and local UKIP leader Colin Botterill out collecting nomination signatures for her endorsement as a candidate - in other words after the event.  Why else would I have 'phoned a member of UKIP to discuss Kelly who, prior to this encounter, I had never associated with UKIP and whom I would never in a million years have expected Ms. Stewart to have even heard of?

That Kelly was given the information about my FoI requests at all, information which was supposed to have been confidential, would appear to provide evidence of dodgy practice by somebody at the London Borough of Hounslow which in itself vindicated my decision to investigate the local authority's conduct over this whole matter.  But LBH misconduct aside, it takes a number of weeks to acquire information via FoI.  Had Kelly made her request, as claimed, as a consequence of my conversation with Ms. Stewart she would barely have received the information she had asked for by polling day.

So, self-evidently, any information Kelly had received in respect of my FoI requests did not come into her possession as a consequence of my call to Ms. Stewart, but rather would have reached her some considerable time beforehand.  How?  Your guess is as good as mine, unless that is she had a close contact who was an officer at the council - or a councillor!

Then we have Mr. Botterill's account of events.  In an interview conducted with the Hounslow Chronicle (online version) he related how Kelly was originally to have been the only UKIP candidate in Isleworth ward, but that her two colleagues were recruited by her after I had apparently behaved badly towards her on the night when I had met her and Mr. Botterill out collecting nominations.  Here is the appropriate excerpt from the article in question:


I have already noted, in my previous article, how when I encountered Mr. Botterill in Worple Avenue he was in the company of three girls - Kelly and two others.  I also gave an account of how on that occasion he had glad-handed me and told me, even there and then, how his party would only be fielding one candidate in Isleworth.

Below is the list of nominations which was later published in respect of Kelly Adams:

It is necessary to note at this point that nominations are published in the sequence in which they are collected.  At the time of our encounter, Kelly's nomination paper (which I saw) was already almost full.

Now here are the nominations published in respect of her two fellow candidates (who, we are told, were recruited by Kelly on a later occasion):

We are being asked to believe that, on the later occasion when the other candidates collected their nominations (Kelly already having gathered hers), not only did they find all the same residents at home but that they all signed in exactly the same sequence!

That Colin Botterill is a bare-faced liar is thus a demonstrable fact that I would be prepared to stand by before any judge in the land.  But the question is why did he lie?  What had he done that he felt he had to hide and, more importantly, why did he do it?  And how precisely did he envisage that his bizarre actions would benefit UKIP?

A further mystery developed with the arrival of Isleworth UKIP's long-awaited leaflet, two days before May 22nd.  I'll not comment on its content as to do so would be superfluous, but I reproduce it below:

What really was interesting about this leaflet was the name of the election agent.  All published material produced in support of an election campaign is required by law to carry the name and contact address of the validly nominated election agent.  All other UKIP candidates throughout the borough were represented in this capacity by Mr. Botterill but the three Isleworth candidates - uniquely - were represented by Kelly:

Why should this be?  One can only hazard a guess, but it would be a good one.  In all likelihood Mr. Botterill knew that the Isleworth leaflet would be not only an exclusively anti-ICG tract but a defamatory one at that and, demonstrating some rare good judgement, decided he did not want to put his name to it.  Kelly's financial assets are widely known to be significantly less than zero and thus any action for libel, even if I could afford it myself, would be a non-starter.

And yet Mr. Botterill, as UKIP leader, was clearly happy for a highly defamatory anti-ICG campaign to be conducted in his party's name.  Why?

One rather telling aside was a little, abortive and frankly rather daft smear campaign which appeared a week or so before polling day and fizzled out very shortly afterwards.  In essence the rumour was put about that I was in some way in league with David W. Griffiths, the original and rather eccentric UKIP candidate who remained in the fray as an independent after being dropped by his party and who circulated leaflets claiming that he was still the "leading UKIP candidate", urging Isleworth residents to vote for him as their first choice and thereafter for two of the three "official" candidates.

Quite why I would encourage anybody to vote for any UKIP candidate, Official or Provisional, as opposed to the three ICG candidates who were in the field, was not explained, but the groundless rumour (originated by Labour) was dutifully carried by Mr. Botterill to the Hounslow Chronicle, who repeated it along with my firm denial.  Shortly afterwards Labour's Sue Sampson saw fit to bring the article to the attention of the UKIP candidate Kelly Adams (supposedly a political rival) via Facebook, where they are friends, as is shown below (the "Isleworth British Legion Legion" account is maintained by Kelly):

Those who attended the Verification of Votes on the evening of Thursday 22nd May and the Counting of Votes on Friday 23rd May could not have helped but have noticed that Kelly (the only Isleworth UKIP candidate who bothered to attend either) spent the entire duration of both in the company of her Isleworth Labour friends.  True she sported the purple rosette and went through the motions of "sampling" (the practice engaged in by anoraks of trying to record the numbers of votes achieved by each slate of candidates as they fall out of the ballot box onto the counting table) - on a sheet identical to those being used by the Labour counting agents and probably provided to her by same - but, absurdly, she only recorded the votes cast for UKIP and in so doing entirely defeated the object of the exercise.  When the result of the contest in Isleworth ward was announced, her delight was evident, which some may have considered strange bearing in mind that the party she apparently represented had come fourth.

Like I said at the beginning, I have no heart to continue the squabbles which occupied me for far too long prior to May 22nd.  I certainly have no hard feelings towards Kelly Adams, who is herself a nice person and whom I feel was exploited during the campaign as a vehicle through which other people's battles were being fought.  But it is important that these deeply cynical events are recorded, should they need to be revisited for any purpose in the future.

As for the mysterious Colin Botterill, he lost his seat and it really couldn't have happened to a nicer person.  Why he did what he did I still have no idea, but unlike most captains whose duty it is to go down with their ship, Mr. Botterill made sure his ship went down with him.  His genuine candidates, some of whom were noticeably of good quality, deserved much better.

1 comment:

Hazard said...

A very comprehensive and well argued case which clearly demolishes any remaining doubt about the nature of the relationship between Labour and UKIP in Isleworth during the recent election.

What remains to be asked is the extent to which Labour elsewhere in the borough, even in London, knew about this arrangement and allowed it to continue for their own perceived short term advantage. Certainly the usual anti-UKIP voices were nowhere to be heard on this little matter when it came down to it.