A lousy tabloid scandal

I'm just back from a quick working trip to Malta, which was actually rather enjoyable because it's an island I am immensely fond of. I've been there quite a few times over the last decade or so, most memorably when I was part of the "Malta Says No" campaign ahead of their EU membership referendum.

The 'Yes' side was flooded with EU cash and hot-and-cold running commissioners and big wigs. The 'No' side was a lady called Sharon Bonici, a Danish Communist turned euro sceptic and me — very much still new on the scene.

But my goodness when you look at the resources we had compared to our opponents we were only a few per cent off winning.

Pound for pound, we got our money's worth and huge amounts of it came from the members of fledgling Ukip.

But as is so often the case with politicians who grab their seat at the EU banqueting table, the euro sceptic Maltese Labour Party — who had campaigned for a no vote — found themselves joining up with the Party of European Socialists and rather forgetting what their objections to joining the EU had been in the first place, as the invitations for drinks parties and dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants flooded in.

This time I have returned from an industry event following an invitation much earlier in the year to address delegates at their national conference to a disgraceful front page "story" in the Daily Mirror.

That group of papers now seem to view me as a paparazzi target; their alliance with Hope Not Hate and other assorted left wing extremists promoting negativity against Ukip having failed to stop us succeed in the recent elections.

And what were these shocking actions which resulted in me being a front page tabloid story and my wife being door-stepped by a sleazy hack waving grainy photographs? 

Helping a partially disabled woman who has to walk using crutches back to the hotel all the delegates were staying in.

Being blonde and talking to me without taking to Twitter to slag me off made her, in the eyes of that paper, an acceptable target for intrusion.

Naturally for a paper that is in alliance with the Labour Party — who have finally woken up to not owning the working class vote — this certainly must mean something sordid.

These days just standing next to me seems to make people permitted targets for photographs and an embellished scandal.

I doubt I could take my children to school on a rare day off without being accused of something sinister.

And I'm more likely to become a teetotal vegan than Trinity Mirror is to write something damaging about a member of the Labour party!

The Independent


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