Just How Anti-Establishment Is Nigel Farage's Ukip?
The Huffington Post UK
In the much-hyped but long forgotten European election TV debates between Nigel Farge and Nick Clegg, the Ukip leader capitalised on his anti-establishment status as he claimed victory over the deputy prime minister. In 2010, in the wake of the expenses scandal, the Lib Dem leader was the new face. But now it is 2014 and the deputy prime minister is old news.
There is widespread dissatisfaction with the belief that most leading politicians are wealthy, privately-educated Westminster villagers. For Farage, being seen as outside the political elite corrupted by years working and living in the shadow of Big Ben is key to his appeal. But just how different really are Ukip politicians from the rest? Many of Farage's colleagues are hardly new to the political game. The leaders of Farage's "people's army" are unlikely to get lost in the corridors of power.
Nigel Farage MEP - Leader
Farage attended Dulwich College, a London public school. He did not go to university but instead went straight into the City of London in 1982 where he worked for as series of trading companies. Farage was first elected to the European parliament in 1999 and has served as an MEP ever since. Farage's time in Brussels was cheekily mocked by Clegg during the debate, with the Lib Dem leader pointing out Farage had been a professional European politician longer than he had.
Lord Pearson - Former Leader
At the 2010 general election it was Lord Pearson, not Farage, who was leader of the party. The peer attended Eton College and been a member of the House of Lords since 1990. He got his seat on the red benches as a Conservative, but defected to Ukip in 2007. Pearson has been in Westminster for more time than Ukip, founded in 1993, has existed.
Paul Sykes - Financial Backer
Sykes, who is one of Britain's wealthiest men with an estimated £650m in the bank, made large donations to Ukip between 2001 and 2004. He said last year that he would pledge to do "whatever it takes" to see the party win the 2014 European elections.
Stuart Wheeler - Donor And Treasurer
The millionaire Eton and Oxford educated treasurer of Ukip has donated large sums of money to the party. He was expelled from the Conservative Party in 2009 after giving £100,000 to Ukip. In 2012 he was given the job of leading Ukip's fundraising charge.
Neil Hamilton - Deputy Chairman
Hamilton is not exactly a Westminster outsider. He sat as a Conservative MP from 1983 until 1997 and served as a trade minister in John Major's government. He infamously was involved in the cash-for-questions affair and left politics at the Labour landslide. However he is now a member of Ukip's National Executive Committee and is deputy chairman of the party. He also served as Ukip campaign director but was demoted in April amid reports the party was concerned the whole sleaze thing did not really do their anti-establishment credentials much good.
Roger Helmer - MEP and MP Candidate
The leading MEP is the party's parliamentary candidate for the June 5 by-election. He has an uphill battle, but if successful he would be come the party's first elected MP. Helmer was a long-time Tory member who was selected as a Conservative Party MEP candidate back in 1998. He has served in the European Parliament ever since and defected to Ukip in 2012.
Lord Willoughby de Broke
If the Lords is the home of the establishment, then hereditary peers are the establishment of the establishment. Lord Willoughby de Broke is the 21st Baron to hold the title, having succeeded his father in 1986. He initially sat as a Conservative but defected to Ukip in 2007. He attended the Le Rosey school in Switzerland (educator of the world's royals) and New College, Oxford.
The Earl of Dartmouth - MEP
Ukip MEP William Legge, the 10th Earl of Dartmouth, is a hereditary peer. Educated at Eton before heading to Oxford and Harvard, Dartmouth was appointed to the House of Lords as a Conservative in 1997. He defected to Ukip in 2007 and was elected to the European parliament in 2009.
Patrick O'Flynn - Comms Director
Ukip's new communications director was appointed to professionalise the party's media operation. However having been chief political commentator and political editor of the Daily Express, it is O'Flynn's Westminster insider nous that Ukip is relying on while it battles the, err, Westminster insiders. He is also a MEP candidate for this week's election. O'Fylnn, who is well known in the parliament press gallery, achieved wider fame after he attempted to shut down Farage's recent car-crash LBC interview. Presenter James O'Brien, irritated at the interruption, made fun of Farage for having a "member of the political class" trying to help him out.