After our cover picture of Declan Ganley, the Anglo-Irish millionaire who financed Ireland’s no to the Lisbon Treaty campaign, was taken the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party echoed his words and told supporters they must be more positive on Europe.
Nigel Farage was at the featured meeting with Mr Ganley in the European Parliament, as were a range of eurosceptics including the meeting’s organiser the Conservative MEP and journalist Danial Hannan (pictured right) and the Austrian journalist MEP Hans Peter Martin (pictured left). The BBC later quoted Mr Farage as saying to his annual conference in Bournmouth:
‘I think we have got to change some of the things that we have been saying and some of the things that we have been doing."
A former Conservative Mr Farage added: "
We have not been offering good positive alternatives and what I want us to do is to paint a vision of a 21st Century relationship between Britain and our European neighbours.’’
Danial Hannan, a writer and executive editor of the right wing Daily Telegraph told us that he organized the parliament’s Ganley meeting under the loose euro-sceptic SOS Democracy movement.
"It was an open meeting and anyone was welcome," he said.
He would not be drawn on rumours circulating that Nigel Farage is preparing to move with some of his colleagues to the Conservative camp.
Mr Hannan is frequently seen dining with Mr Farage and after lunching at the Porto Fino restaurant last week they were seen returning to the parliament in deep conversation. Mr Hannan has been writing positive things in his telegraph blog that can be explained as journalistic objectivity or differently interpreted as politically significant.
He wrote on August 24:
"The UK Independence Party has had a makeover. Go to their website and you will find a fetching new logo involving butterflies.
Their point is to emphasise independence as a theme: not just the independence of the state, but also the independence of the citizen from the state.
"It’s potentially a very powerful combination. A similar formula was adopted by my favourite political party in the world, the Independence Party of Iceland...which has enjoyed 60 years of more-or-less uninterrupted power."
That he wrote the blog just days after Mr Farage visited Iceland to meet political leaders is curious unless of course the idea for the blog was generated at another lunch between the two friends.
When we spoke to Mr Hannan he said that UKIP has been having problems and that the party has just been through a "bitter and divisive" selection process.
But he was adamant that:
"I have absolutely no indication that Nigel is about to move out of the UKIP leadership. So far as I am aware he will be standing against me in the South East of England."
UKIP has been locked in legal disputes and these have begun to spill over to involve other eurosceptics, some of them in the Tory camp. Looked at objectively Mr Farage and his colleagues have been suffering increasing, and apparently politically motivated, attention from OLAF, the EU anti-fraud office and from anonymous complaints to UK police about expenses and allowances.
No charges have yet been brought.
Since when did OLAF accept anonymous complaints?
That EU institutions should be, apparently, engaged in persecuting elected representatives that the institutions have no reason to like in such a way is questionable to say the least. More significantly Conservative MEPs who publicly favour keeping their party in the existing centre right EPP-ED grouping have been on the receiving end of similar accusations.
UKIP may have undermined its moral high ground in this respect by planting media stories.
We have copies of an email from one UKIP candidate.
Right wing Conservative sceptics are also in the frame for feeding stories to the right wing euro-sceptic media in London. So far none of the accused has been brought to account by the parliament authorities for breach of the accounting rules let alone misuse of funds. Currently some half of all MEPs is under investigation pointing to a poor parliamentary administration system rather than fraud.
Meanwhile European Commission officials and others have been adamantly stating that "American neo-con money" is being used to fund eurosceptic movements.
Declan Ganley denied receiving American funds.
According to Labour MEP Richard Corbett writing in his own blog:
"He refused to answer questions as to where his "Libertas" No campaign obtained its massive financial resources." Mr Hannan would not be drawn on progress in forming a new right wing alliance beyond saying: "Our [eurosceptic] intention and that of David Cameron to leave the EPP is well known. We have accords with Czech and Polish parties but first we have to see the outcome of the European election next year. We are in a position to form the third largest group in the European Parliament.
So it’s all just an amazing coincidence then?
So it’s all just an amazing coincidence then?
To view the original of this story in EU Reporter
EUkip's attempts to realign as a pro EU Reformist Party have been widely noted and although obviously seen amongst the leadership, particularly when you note the various sell outs and the failure of leadership, which has been followed up by appointment of high profile, and largely discreditted, staff who support EU membership - 'Gone Native' seems ever more appropriate!