In this week’s diary column, Farage’s wealth remains a mystery and the BBC finally acknowledges The New European.
One question Nigel Farage could usefully be asked when he makes his 32nd appearance on Question Time this week is how much money he is actually trousering each year.
The accounts that the former UKIP leader, pictured, has just submitted to Companies House for his outfit Thorn in the Side certainly beg more questions than they answer. The company has been going since 2011, but it has yet to disclose turnover in any of the six sets of accounts it has produced to date. The nature of its business is also not defined.
The latest figures show the company has boosted Farage’s net worth by just £32,000 in the year ended May 31, 2017, and its capital and reserves now amount to just shy of £100,000. On the basis of the information provided, it hard to see what Farage is really making on the side from, for instance, his freelance journalism, personal appearances in America and the presenting gig at LBC.
Still, he is plainly not ‘skint’. He managed to find £575,000 for wife Wendy when their union ended last year. He still, of course, draws his EU salary of £84,000 and has office allowances that exceed £40,000 a year.
Last year, he opted to keep his EU pension, worth around £72,000 a year. He steps down as an MEP in 2019, when he will also, on top of everything else, be in receipt of a useful ‘transitional allowance’ worth £117,000.
Webb of intrigue
Mandrake celebrated a partial victory last Thursday when Justin Webb finally acknowledged the existence of The New European on the Radio 4 Today programme’s early morning paper review. About time, too: the paper has only been going since July 8, 2016.
Oddly, however, The New European’s assessment of Boris Johnson’s Valentine’s Day speech – a ‘back of a fag packet’ effort – didn’t make it on to the subsequent paper review that went out after 8am.
When I asked the amiable Justin what happened, he replied: ‘Come on, life wouldn’t be worth living without a struggle.’
Love him or loathe him, Lord Archer, the bestselling author, could not have been closer to Margaret Thatcher, who appointed him as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. Mandrake asked Archer what he reckons Thatcher would have made of Brexit. ‘Incomings and outgoings were what mattered to her, and she would have seen immediately that the policy involves a great deal of the latter, with little or no prospect of the former.’
What would she have made of the show so far? ‘She would have been appalled, especially by the lack of attention to detail. I think if she’d inherited a situation like this, she would by now have levelled with the British people and told them that what they might have thought they’d voted for, or been led to believe that they were voting for – some kind of return to the good old days – is definitely not what they are going to get. She also used to joke that she much preferred to have Estonians in her cabinet than Etonians, as they tended to be a lot more useful.’
Hugh Grant may take the view that Brexit has made Britain ‘the laughing stock of Europe,’ but the actor’s old flame, Elizabeth Hurley, remains committed to the cause.
The actress would appear to be just as committed to Simian Productions, the company she set up with Grant in 1994, even though it, too, appears to be running into difficulties. Its latest figures show it has run up accumulated losses of £147,830, owes its directors £343,758 and is sitting on stock worth £177,339.
Simian provided the funding for Grant’s film Mickey Blue Eyes, but he’s no longer involved with the company, which has now evolved into a fashion outfit. Hurley – a close friend of the former UKIP candidate William Cash – now runs it with her former husband Arun Nayar and sister Katie. Hurley insists that – like Brexit – it remains a ‘going concern’.