Open letter to Nigel Farage

Dear Nigel

There are many matters on which I could correspond with you and offer a viewpoint I doubt you will ever hear from the people you choose to surround yourself with in UKIP.  But for now I wish to content myself with addressing the issue of your ‘Farage on Friday‘ piece in today’s Daily Express and enquiring where on earth your mind was when you wrote it.

Your story selection of the floods in the Somerset Levels was entirely appropriate.  This is a major issue with enormous consequences for the lives and livelihoods of many people, deserving of proper examination of how such a dramatic, large scale event has been able to come about.  It therefore required someone with a high public profile to bring the facts to the fore, air them, and ensure that those who have contributed to this disastrous situation feel the discomfort of unrelenting scrutiny.

Presented with this golden opportunity, to add value by bringing little known but vital facts to a wide audience, you bungled it with a conflagration of superficial waffle.

As you are the leader of a political party that professes to oppose UK membership of the EU, and presumably therefore having a vested interest in highlighting where EU legislation has had a malign impact on British people, it defies belief that nowhere in your 759 words did you find space to reference and explain the role that EU directive 2007/60/EC, also known as the Floods Directive, has had in bringing about the conditions for this flooding.

The shift away from flood prevention to flood ‘management’ is detailed on the Commission website which underlines the priority being given to the ‘environment’, and calls in aid a number of EU measures, including the Water Framework Directive, the Habitats Directive, the Environmental Impact Assessment and the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive. The Floods Directive is part of the package and, the EU sternly warns, has to be implemented by 2015.  One would think this would be red meat for an EUsceptic party’s leader.  But not for you it seems.

The fact you are a leader of a political party that has railed against quangos suggests you would have an interest in exposing this complicity of quangocrats in making such serious flooding possible, particularly when they hand you a gift of a comment to hang around their necks.  But it seems that you did not feel the staggering comment of Baroness Young – as quoted in this segment of a Guardian piece from 2008 (emphasis mine) which explains the Environment Agency’s agenda with regard to land that was formerly marsh or wetland such as the Somerset Levels – was sufficiently important in putting the Environment Agency’s part in this debacle into its proper context:

If water truly is the stuff of life, then the world’s wetlands are the key to the survival of all living things on our planet. They provide a unique refuge for a wealth of plants and animals: a complex ecosystem which helps sustain life not just in the wetlands themselves, but in their surrounding habitats as well.

But wetlands have a problem. Because they are usually in low-lying areas, and easily accessible, they are prime targets for development. By draining a wetland, and building homes, roads and factories, a nation may boost its economic performance; but this is almost always at the expense of biodiversity.

Yet it’s not all bad news. Uniquely, wetlands can be created – or recreated – much more quickly and easily than other vital habitats such as ancient woodlands, hedgerows or rainforest. As Baroness Barbara Young, chief executive of the Environment Agency, says, “Just add water!”

These actions, or more correctly inactions, by the Environment Agency are germane to the situation in Somerset.  But instead you chose to focus your piece in terms of money rather than dealing with how this was allowed to happen and who oversaw the agenda that was followed.

It is with not a small amount of irony that UKIP rushes into print on its website and with comments to the media from your deputy, Paul Nuttall, to respond to inaccurate stories about supposed EU meddling in British matters, such as the use of flags on food packaging or the volume of water in toilet cisterns.  Yet when the EU actually has direct contributory involvement in the shocking scale of the floods in Somerset – a matter of real substance and appalling impact on British people – and a sustainability agenda has been vigorously pursued by your political opponents, whose placemen reference the restoration of wetlands in places where they used to exist, such as the Somerset Levels, with glib comments such as ‘Just add water!’, you are nowhere in the debate.

It will not come as any surprise to you that the details above were extracted thanks to the forensic research skills of your former colleague, Richard North.  One is moved to ask if it is because North is a former colleague that his valuable work is routinely passed over by UKIP, to the detriment of the EUsceptic movement?  If that were the case, then it would be a disgrace that you would put personal issues before doing all you can to realise your stated aim of getting this country out of the EU.

Your Express column was a terrible missed opportunity and has let down the people of the Somerset Levels, who deserve better for all they are suffering.



22 Responses to “Open letter to Nigel Farage”

  1. 1 Maureen Gannon 07/02/2014 at 10:30 pm

    On the nail AM I have made that directive known on a forum I contribute to , WHY are we not informed of this is the media , no MP has spoke of it , We Brits are being led to hell on a handcart and no one is fighting our corner,

  2. 2 wj (@wj557) 08/02/2014 at 9:38 am

    It had to be said AM.

    I support UKIP, and I will vote for them in the upcoming elections, but I am not a fan of UKIP’s leadership; it’s the people at street level that I am voting for.

    The disillusionment for me set in during the Lisbon Treaty campaign – the movement seemed to have been split up at that time; the rest is well documented history.

    But, the information above is ideal material to insert into the comments sections of news media reports – if UKIP won’t do it then we must.

  3. 3 Maureen Gannon 08/02/2014 at 10:08 am

    And that is the reason I will be voting for them as well wj . I see voters for UKIP as a boot and the bigger the boot the harder the people can kick the present incumbents the better, none of them are worthy of us the people.

  4. 4 Oldschooltie 08/02/2014 at 10:45 am

    With many others I shall vote UKIP not becaiuse UKIP has the answers but simply because it is the only mesage the LibLabCon understand. Voting UKIP is a means to an end, a way of sending a clear mesage to the ‘big’ 3 parties that we have had enough.

    UKIP is not the answer if it models itself on the 3 parties we already have. The political party system is totally discredited; we need major political reform but we hear nothing on this subject from the LibLabCon or UKIP.

    UKIP is now clearly missing ‘open goals’ and will pay the penalty when the establishment media rip apart the poorly researched articles by farage and Nuttall.

  5. 5 kenomeat 08/02/2014 at 11:03 am

    I totally agree. I read the Farage piece and sighed when I saw no mention of the EU’s involvement. I know he’s a very busy man but surely his researchers could have fed him this information before he went into print. Are his researchers forbidden from reading Richard’s blog?

  6. 6 Sean O'Hare 08/02/2014 at 12:29 pm

    One is moved to ask if it is because North is a former colleague that his valuable work is routinely passed over by UKIP, to the detriment of the EUsceptic movement?

    If that is the case then nobody has told the UKIP Hillingdon branch as they reblogged both Richard North’s and TBF’s posts covering the EU’s responsibility for the floods under EURealists.

    I’ve only just discovered the UKIP Hillingdon site. Refreshingly active compared with any other branch site I’ve come across.

  7. 7 Wheels Of Political Steel 08/02/2014 at 1:18 pm

    Maybe it was part of the original piece he wrote but was edited by the newspaper? You must remember that he doesn’t have editorial control on anything that gets to the media. Sadly each media outlet can & occasionally do report the same event in very different ways.

    Just saying so that you may consider my point but it’s very likely you’ve already considered this point.

    The people who have lost so much due to the floods I doubt they care about the EU directive. Our very own Environment Agency hasn’t helped as they haven’t dredged the rivers for many years which hasn’t helped by any means.

    Flood defence spending was cut & yet taxpayers money is ring fenced for Foreign Aid! India get aid and don’t want it, maybe they’d be kind enough to return it in order to help our people in the south west?

    Also stop giving anything to Argentina and send it directly to our people in Somerset & those who need our help HERE!

    The Government can do this NOW so EU regs matter not right now WE must force our Government to help! They quickly announced money, help & support to those in Syria & other places too. So the Government MUST tell the EU & those receiving Aid sorry but we must look after our own people so all payments are STOPPING!

    So as much as I support #UKIP vote for them, fundraise for them etc. The EU regulations really means bog all right now! So get your pens & paper out, send letters, e-mails, phone calls, stand outside Downing Street demanding that our taxes be spent on our people here right now!

    Thank you

  8. 8 angela ellis-jones 08/02/2014 at 1:23 pm

    I sent details of Richard North’s claims on Eureferendum about the EU’s complicity in the flooding disaster to a journalist the Daily Mail newsdesk,but he didnt bother to get back to me,nor has the Mail published the story.
    Nor has any other centre-Right newspaper.
    What on earth is the matter with them?If anyone knows the explanation for this conspiracy of silence,please tell me.

    As regards Farage and his researchers,I have tried several times to become a researcher for UKIP,but it seems that people with good degrees from Oxford are not wanted.See where it gets them!

  9. 9 Richard North 08/02/2014 at 2:20 pm

    @ kenomeat and others … I’ve had multiple contacts from UKIP at various levels, asking permission to use the EU piece, or – in one case, telling me it had been “borrowed”. I’ve willingly given my permission to anyone who asked. I find it conceivable, therefore, that Farage could not have known about the work, which suggests that he chose deliberately to omit any reference. The “editing” suggestion doesn’t work – in an authored piece, you have control of the content.

    I’ve various ideas as to why Farage might have omitted the EU dimension but, whatever the actual reasons, I see the omission as an error on his part. But this is not the first time that UKIP (aka Farage’s Party) has been behind the curve on topical matters. I could say that UKIP (and Farage) need to up thier game, but then I would be accused of UKIP-bashing. And that would never do.

  10. 10 TonyT 08/02/2014 at 2:35 pm

    Well said AM. A balanced and well targeted critique. Will be interesting to see if you get a reply.

    The silence on the part of the MSM on the dark hand of the EU behind many of our current ills and policy disastors needs to be countered. If people aren’t informed of the truth they can’t make an informed decision in any referendum. No doubt that is the intention.

  11. 11 Maureen Gannon 08/02/2014 at 3:34 pm

    Sorry Richard but that was a negative response regarding your sarcasm about Farage.
    , I have sent the link regarding the european diktat to all papers and political shows on TV the only place I have got it posted is on the Telegraph forum, which of course does not reach the open public, even my MP has yet to answer my letter , there just could be something devious being acted out in front of our very eyes.

  12. 12 Autonomous Mind 08/02/2014 at 4:49 pm

    Richard’s response is more about the reaction of the cultists for whom Farage can do no wrong and must never, ever be criticised. Point out a failing and the tirade of abuse follows. I know, I’ve been on the receiving end of it too. Yet there’s never any sign of these people when something Richard warns of comes to pass.

  13. 13 Maureen Gannon 08/02/2014 at 5:16 pm

    I accept what you say AM but believe me many have tried to get this in the media it’s almost as though there is a D notice on it .,

  14. 14 Wheels Of Political Steel 08/02/2014 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Angel
    I can tell you with complete honesty that #UKIP do not recruit researchers or the like on the basis of where they attended school or college.
    Nigel has spoken out many times re the route used by many in the old 3 parties to get into Parliament.

    He certainly does not nor any of the elected or employees of UKIP recruit people from the Oxbridge set over anyone welse. Everyone in UKIP is where they are due to hard work, life experience, knowledge, commitment etc etc.

    I can say this with all honesty and full knowledge. Those who do get roles in UKIP are quite often volunteers, who believe in the cause. They give their spare time to helping UKIP because as a party they do not have the funds, the donors etc to employ people. There are thousands and thousands of people up and down the UK doing all they can to fight elections, raise funds, help candidates, dispel myths and lies spread by others. All done freely and using their own funds.

    The Oxbridge clan and the Bullingdon club lot wouldn’t look at starting their political career with UKIP they all start as interns for the old 3 parties! Then become junior staff, special advisers and the chosen few are helped to further themselves by fighting a marginal seat first and then a safe seat or even just give them a seat in the Lords so they don’t have to fight an election! At least with the Lords full of cronies any of the Old 3 parties it is certain that some things will be passed through without a problem.

    UKIP haven’t got any MP’s yet, have 3 people in the Lords and about 14 MEPs. The greatest achievement to date was last years local elections when UKIP retuned 147 Councillors. Those Councillors were normal people, they are just the same as us, live on the same streets, shop in the local area, kids at state schools, no Oxbridge folk amongst any of them.

    If anyone wants to get involved with UKIP then you start by joining and working with your local branch, regional branch and prove your worth and show your talent, appointments in UKIP are made on MERIT not how much cash you have, where you went to school or who your Daddy is!

    I hope that helps but remember without voluneteers, members at the grass roots level then nothing can be achieved at all. If you like what UKIP stand for then get involved locally and you will see the way things work and how positions are earned not bought!

  15. 15 Dave 08/02/2014 at 5:40 pm

    AM – insider Farage-bashing is as likely and as unproductive as insider Cameron bashing (or Miliband et al). It does nothing for the party other than expose them to criticism from every other part of the political spectrum.
    The more detailed anyone tries to be the more open to scrutiny and nit-picking they end up at the end of. Taking a ‘general stance’ on the subject meets with the same criteria as the other parties are taking therefore there cannot be any overly-critical response.
    Yes, UKIP could quote 207/60/EC and Water Framework Directives etc but before the first number has been read out the VAST majority of the electorate would be reaching for the remote control.
    On the other hand. talking about having ‘wellies in the boot of the car’ etc has people leanign forward in their seats….. FFS!!….. THIS is what all the political parties are faced with (or are a victim of [their own making])
    When the MAJORITY of the votes (that count) are taken into consideration you must devolve to the lowest common denominator and if that means parroting the bland, non-informative, keep the sheeple entertained (rather than educated) method then so be it.
    It’s called ‘playing them at their own game’.
    Now, if there was a head-to-head, televised, showdown I really can’t imagine even Farage failing to bring out the big guns, the technicalities, the killer blows.
    Unless Farage has been ‘bought’………

  16. 16 Autonomous Mind 08/02/2014 at 6:00 pm

    Dave, how hard is it to say:

    ‘The EU made a law to reduce flood protection making this flood so much worse. The former boss of the Environment Agency wanted land like this turned back into wetland with a strategy of “Just add water!’?

    For crying out loud, stop treating the public as too thick or disinterested to care. For every fan of X Factor there are many people who are bothered about things like this.

  17. 17 Bellevue 08/02/2014 at 6:41 pm

    Sorry, AM…… pedant alert. ‘the public as too thick or disinterested to care’. That should be UNINTERESTED……. North would not have made that mistake.

  18. 19 cosmic 08/02/2014 at 11:02 pm

    AM, I can see no reason why it shouldn’t have been mentioned in the way you suggest. It’s documented, and it’s relevant to the matter in hand and the purpose of UKIP.

    That said, in Farage’s shoes, I’d be wary of being seen to use a disaster of this sort to ride a hobby horse.

    However, I suspect the real reason is that UKIP’s research isn’t up to snuff.

  19. 20 William 16/02/2014 at 12:25 pm

    Very insightful article indeed, I had no idea about this directive. As a Farage supporter and proponent of Nigel Farage’s honest, frank and no holds barred approach to weeding out all those sneaky EU directives it seems as though Farage has missed a trick here, bit disappointed!

    Despite this, I’m sure he’ll bring it up when the time is right, the floods aren’t going anywhere and I suspect he’s simply waiting for the appropriate platform to air this disgraceful attitude toward the safeguarding of British land and property.

    A brief Daily Express article is hardly the place to air such a complex issue, however, although it could have stirred up a timely increase in support.

  1. 1 Farage channels his inner Shaw Taylor | Autonomous Mind Trackback on 08/02/2014 at 5:23 pm
  2. 2 EU Floods Directive – Booker – Agenda 21 | Sovereign Independent UK Trackback on 10/02/2014 at 10:58 am
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