Central Office. Transport House. The National Liberal Club, Millbank Tower. To the list of iconic headquarters of Britain’s political parties can be added a new address: The Annapurna Guest House, Lingwood, Norfolk.
Newly-registered with the Electoral Commission, this exotic location is home to the Brexit Party, the new vehicle for nicotine-stained man-frog Nigel Farage. For now though, the party’s leader and treasurer is Catherine Blaiklock, a right-wing blogger who was profiled in TNE #129 and runs the Annapurna in her spare time. So, how’s she doing?
As for Brexit itself, the news is decidedly mixed. The Annapurna is rated by TripAdvisor second of all the inns and B&Bs in Lingwood, but – spoilers! – there are only two to begin with. And while nearly half its 77 reviews rate the place ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, 23 claim it is ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’.
‘Room on close inspection had dirty un-ironed sheet and quilt. The sheet, quilt, mattress and pillows all had stains on them, plus long brown human hairs inside bed,’ wrote one disgruntled visitor. ‘Extra bed was a footstool made up to be a bed, we couldn’t even sit on it let alone sleep on it,’ claimed another.
‘The room was freezing… The walls were paper-thin and you could hear every word of next door’s television,’ complained a third dissatisfied customer. Ah, but what a Brexit bonus if that television should happen to be playing a VHS of Nigel Farage’s collected speeches!
Still, many others are happy to have visited the Annapurna. ‘It was beautiful… very clean and well kept and the beds were really comfortable,’ said one guest. Others have praised its open spaces, its hot tub and its large statue of the Buddha, the mystic, philosopher and teacher who in many ways was the Nigel Farage of the 5th century BC.
And people are being drawn to Blaiklock’s Brexit Party too. Farage claimed 35,000 had registered on its website within 48 hours of launch, although a counter seems to have disappeared from the site after names of those signing up were revealed to include Willie Stroker, Dr Wax E Lemon and General Ian Bongo McFuckbiscuits.
Nevertheless, real names ready to join the crusade include Welsh MEP Nathan Gill, a former ‘Kipper who in 2014 admitted that his home care business employed dozens of workers from eastern Europe and the Philippines, to whom they offered chargeable accommodation in ‘bunkhouses’. At the time Gill insisted that the company had been unable to ‘find local workers to do the jobs’.
Also on board appears to be North West England MEP Steven Woolfe, famed for once handing Michel Barnier a hamper of British goods to prove our island nation would stand strong after Brexit. Its contents included Marmite (invented by a German, firm now owned by Anglo-Dutch company Unilever), PG Tips tea (grown in Kenya, also owned by Unilever) a biography of Winston Churchill, who advocated a federal Europe in 1946, and Dorset cheddar cheese, which will lose its protected origin status when we leave the EU.
Yet not everyone is so keen. Fresh from claiming that only around 100 lorries per day cross the Irish border (actual figure: around 12,200), UKIP leader Gerard Batten declared that the new party was really ‘about getting Mr Farage and his cronies back in the limelight and on the gravy train’. ‘Kipper press officer Kris Hicks added that it would ‘reward individuals who have become accustomed to EU largesse and went ‘native’ a long time ago’.
The problem for Farage and Woolfe, both of whom left UKIP over the party’s Batten-steered obsession with Islam, remains that Blaiklock is a frequent critic of the religion. Last month I recorded her opposition to a £1.5 million mosque being built on the site of a disused pub in Norwich (‘It takes a lot of Bangladeshi takeaway dishes at £1 profit a time to raise and save these sort of amounts,’ she wrote and since then Sputnik has highlighted her views on Muslim dress (‘I cannot talk or have a normal human interaction with anyone in a Burqa’). Most recently, Buzzfeed have uncovered Blaiklock articles including gems like ‘there is also some truth in the statement that Muslim men were impregnating white British girls to create Muslim babies’ and ‘there are currently 50 majority Muslim countries in the world. If these people really dislike it so much in the West, why do they chose [sic] to live here?’
Blaiklock told the website that ‘the Brexit party is not about anything like this… it is about letting the legacy parties know that if they renege on their promises to the people of this country then they will live to regret it electorally.’
Perhaps, but as more worrying stuff like this emerges, the chances increase that the Brexit Party could end up like her other business – catering for short stays only.
Rejecting yet another offer to withdraw his incorrect tweet that Britain received no Marshall Plan money from the USA (in fact it received 26% of the total, the most of any country), Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski told Sky: ‘It is very difficult for MPs to get things across in a limited number of characters’ on social media.
Since there are only a limited number of characters left in this column I would like to end by saying that Daniel Kawczynski is a complete tw…
BREXITEERS OF THE WEEK
4. SUZANNE EVANS
The former UKIP deputy chairman claimed she was ‘very disappointed’ that her mobile provider Vodafone had refused to rule out reimposing roaming charges for British smartphone users holidaying in Europe after a no-deal Brexit.
Evans, who once described herself and Paul Nuttall as UKIP’s ‘team sensible’, had apparently forgotten that it was the dastardly EU who ended roaming charges in June 2017, and she had been part of a long-running campaign to end their sinister attempts to save money for UK consumers. All part of the Brexit dividend! Of course, smartphone users from countries who stay in the EU will continue to avoid the charges.
With characteristic brilliance, Evans also retweeted a petition calling for the Monster Raving Loony Party to have more representation on Question Time. Not right-wing enough to get on, we suspect…
3. GAVIN WILLIAMSON
The Brexiteer defence secretary declared that Brexit would give Britain the option to ‘enhance our lethality’, disappointingly stopping short of claiming that it would also ‘aggrandise our killocity’ and ‘intensify our destructivation’.
Williamson’s plan turned out to involve building military bases in Asia and the Caribbean, putting American jets on an aircraft carrier before sending it to threaten China and, for all we know, building a secret HQ inside a volcano. All things that won’t happen because a) they’re stupid and b) Brexit.
But there’s no denying that Mr Lethality knows how to turn a phrase. Last May Gavin wrote that ‘in a post-Brexit world, the only limit will be our imagination’ – a sentence which sounded great until it was discovered that it had previously been used in promotional material for both Lego and its building block rival Knex.
2. ANDREA JENKYNS
The eternally sunny Morley and Outwood MP boasts on her website of visiting local firm Associated Waste Management, recently acquired by Irish company Beauparc. Andrea writes: ‘This local success story… proves that project fear stories we see are falsehoods and that businesses will continue to thrive post-Brexit.’
Woah – a giant leap there! What it does prove is that AWM’s directors might have considered this a good time to sell. Britain currently sends 3.6 million tonnes of its own waste to the EU for burning or recycling, tariff-free. But under a no-deal exit we face predicted tariffs of around 7.5% on waste exports.
Alternatively there is the tantalising prospect of having to stuff our already groaning landfill sites with around 10,000 tonnes of extra waste per day. No doubt Andrea Jenkyns will spin this as taking back control of our own rubbish!
1. JEREMY CORBYN
The Labour leader’s letter to Theresa May was drafted by Keir Starmer – but Corbyn’s office told him they ‘forgot’ to include a final paragraph threatening that the party would formally back a People’s Vote if their terms were not accepted.
What’s next from Team Corbyn? ‘The dog ate my anti-Semitism policy’? ‘I left my speech condemning Nicolás Maduro on the bus’?
However it’s not the first time the leader’s office have forgotten something important regarding Europe. When Corbyn and his press chief Seumas Milne turned up in Brussels for a meeting with Michel Barnier and Martin Selmayr last September, they discovered neither had brought any euros to pay the cab fare. With the taxi driver refusing to take a card payment, a lowly party staffer eventually dug up some currency.
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