THE BLOG

Dropped Ukip Candidate Is 'Stabbed in the Back' as Farage Buries Skeletons

28/04/2013 11:59 BST | Updated 26/06/2013 10:12 BST

More than 1,700 Ukip candidates have been put forward for next week's local elections with limited checks on their backgrounds. It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that some have been hastily weeded out before they bring further shame on the party. However, many voters will be wondering how many of the other candidates have skeletons in their closets and bizarre beliefs in their minds.

In recent days, Crowborough candidate Anna-Marie Crampton was dropped by the party for apparently expressing the belief that Zionists were behind the holocaust, while Sue Bowen was suspended after it emerged that she was once in the BNP.

Meanwhile former journalist Paul McMullan, who famously told Lord Justice Leveson that "privacy is for paedos", while explaining how phone hacking was endemic at the News of the World, has complained about being "stabbed in the back with a rusty blade" by the party. McMullan was to be the Ukip candidate for Dover North but has been dropped and will now run as an independent candidate.

The party's rationale for deselecting McMullan, who seemed to appear on every news bulletin in the run-up to the Leveson Inquiry, is that his personality would distract from the broader campaign. A party spokesman said: "There was a feeling that his candidacy for Ukip would be a distraction as he'd be the story rather than the party."

The serious problem for Ukip is not how the utterings of a mischievous hack may distract from the core message of the party but how the views of people like Anna-Marie Crampton and Susan Bowen may reflect the views of the core membership. Putting forward so many candidates without carefully vetting them could be akin to opening a Pandora's Box full of steaming excrement.

We can only hope that none of the Ukip candidates elected next week share the extremist and paranoid views attributed to Ms Crampton.

Comments streamed from a Facebook account in her name to the Secrets of the Fed conspiracy theorist site claim Zionists were responsible for the Holocaust, to "make the general public all over the world feel so guilty and outraged by the holocaust that a treaty would be signed to create the State of Israel as we know it today."

Comments also refer to beliefs in a Zionist plot to create a 'New World Order'. Reference is made to the 'Illuminati' secret society. One reason some people believe in a world-dominating Illuminati is because there was an 18th Century organisation with the name. However, the Bavarian Illuminati was not a paternalistic sect of rich Zionists trying to create a global government but a group of progressive intellectuals attempting to tackle superstition, prejudice and misogyny.

The Illuminati was broken-up in 1785 by an oppressive Bavarian government. However, some believe that the society has not only survived but somehow morphed in a cabal of shape-shifting reptilian Zionists secretly controlling our lives.

In my research into apocalyptic groups, I encountered quite a few individuals who were obsessed by the conspiracy. Fortunately, however, they tended to be slothful weed smokers rather than political candidates. New World Order beliefs gained momentum in the built-up to the 2012 Mayan calendar cycle end, as anti-Semites joined other conspiracy theorists to disseminate flawed information about the meaning of the calendar. Some linked the London Olympics to an elaborate long-term Zionist plot to take over the world.

It should be said that Ms Crampton has denied she posted the comments. She claimed on Twitter that she was "trolled". She tweeted: "I'm not anti-Semitic. I never said I do not believe in the Holocaust."

Evoking a distant relative to attempt to distance herself from anti-Semitism, she also stated: "My great-grandmother was Jewish on my mother's side."

After dropping her as a candidate, Nigel Farage admitted that the party has failed to properly vet candidates.

He told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "We don't have the party apparatus in a very short space of time to fully vet 1,700 people. We have made people sign declaration forms, expressing the fact that they've never been part of political parties that we consider to be wholly undesirable. By that I mean the BNP. And, you know, we ask people if there is a problem with a criminal record or whatever else it may be, please tell us."

He added: "I have no doubt that amongst those 1,700 one or two people will have slipped through the net that we'd rather not have had."

Time will tell if it is more than that.