Many people have asked me what was Paul Nuttall (or perhaps his press team) thinking when false claims about Hillsborough were published on his official website. Why, if he was really there, did he need to exaggerate the truth?
The answer is simple. Like with the rest of Nuttall’s half-baked backstory, he never expected anybody to ask questions. Phd, professional footballer, it goes on. If in doubt, blame the press officer or obscure adviser from ten years ago who edited the website.
Nobody will care anyway.
But things have changed because now there is scrutiny. Footage of Paul Nuttall squirming around in a chair on Liverpool’s City FM when challenged about his Hillsborough claims showed us all the truth. Far from dealing with the situation like a professional, the UKIP leader shrivelled up like a slug that’s just had salt poured on it when he was confronted.
The UKIP leader fidgeted and squirmed through an uncomfortable interview about his website’s Hillsborough claims.
Grabbing at the transcript from the presenter’s hand, Nuttall recoiled. With the evidence in black and white, the stunned UKIP leader was forced to clarify that he had not lost “close personal friends” (as claimed on his site) but rather “people who I knew”. He then banged the table with his open palm and said he had “people who would stand up in court” to prove he was really there.
You don’t have to be a body language expert to make a judgement.
Until the 2014 EU elections UKIP were a fringe party, a protest movement, an itch that annoyed the Eurosceptic wing of the Tory party. They were nothing. No real threat to the established order. UKIP relished this because it meant no real scrutiny.
Paul Nuttall’s tall tales are falling apart under increased scrutiny.
They’ve enjoyed limited success over the years since UKIP was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999, and the party has gone on a moderate run of local and EU election victories since then.
Despite these sporadic high points nobody has ever taken UKIP seriously as a party of power; most of all UKIP themselves. Aside from two by-elections won by Tory defectors, they have never come close to putting MPs on Westminster’s green benches.
UKIP would argue that they have done exceptionally well in EU elections, especially in 2014. But lets face it, their lacklustre candidates and buffoonish MEPs were all elected on list systems in elections where apathy was widespread.
Populism and sensationalism manifested in the form of UKIP and their European far-right partners took advantage of public disregard for European level democracy, and now they’ve taken it away. Whether you wanted Brexit or preferred to remain, it should disturb you down to the core of your soul that this was allowed to happen in 21st century Britain.
It was only after the BNP imploded in spectacular fashion and UKIP seized the immigration vacuum left behind, that activists and what UKIP term “the left” (aka anybody who disagrees) really began to scrutinise them. Therefore many of the revelations about Paul Nuttall and his obvious and quite ridiculous biography would not be new to us – had we been watching him closely all along.
There are those who have been keeping a good eye on Farage, Nuttall and the rest of the UKIP gang. Greg Lance-Watkins for one should be highly commended, his blog UKIP vs EUkip has provided us with a great resource, with articles and commentary going back well over a decade.
[All of his Paul Nuttall articles can be found HERE. Have a look through and you will soon see that Nuttall is a main offender going back all the way to his time as a junior assistant for UKIP MEPs.]
Don’t think for a moment that this didn’t suit Nuttall and UKIP. The lack of proper scrutiny has allowed them to operate behind the scenes, spreading lies and half-truths in an effort to secure enough votes to maintain the financial benefit that comes with elected office.
UKIP, and especially the “old guard” of which Nuttall is a member, never believed they would be in this position; they never thought UKIP would be big enough to matter or that those of us who are against their party would take the time to dissect their words and statements. That is why they have been telling us lies (both personal and political) for over a decade with no real fear of blowback.
Now they have reached a level where every statement, every action and every past indiscretion is now on the table and being dissected by the wider public. UKIP can’t hide from their past any longer.