London Mayor nearly doubles marketing spend while complaining of cuts

The massive increase in violent crime in London under Mayor Sadiq Khan has finally been commented on by the mainstream media, with murder figures in the last few months outstripping New York.

After hiding away for days after the initial headlines (A point brutally exposed on LBC Radio by presenter Tom Swarbrick), Khan has ventured out to apportion much of the blame to ‘Government Cuts’.

Whilst I will not defend Home Secretary Amber Rudd on this (Or her predecessor, Theresa May) who have both defenestrated our Police Force, it is interesting to note where Mayor Khan deploys the budget that he has at his command.

It has been much commented about that he now has 900 officers looking over ‘hate crime’ on line, something far less dangerous to life and limb than the knives and guns that have resulted in over 50 deaths on London streets this year and many more cases that have required hospital treatment.

Tonight saw another revelation in the pages of the London Evening Standard about his use of public funds, namely the increase in taxpayers cash spent on the GLA ‘self promotion budget’.

Political editor Joe Murphy reported on a freedom of information request that showed a rise in spending on publicity from £1.3million to £2.5 million in the past year, including a £300,000 increase in staffing for the Mayor’s media relations and marketing, taking it to a whopping £1,392,000 spent of YOUR money.

Mayor Khan’s spokesperson pointed out that cash had been ‘switched between different budgets’ in an attempt to defend the increase but the basic truth remains this – when lives are being lost on a daily basis in the Capital, for the Mayor to complain about cuts when spending the money he does have on self promotion is a total disgrace and a betrayal of the Londoner’s he has pledged to serve.

It is time for Sadiq Khan to put the wellbeing of the people of London before his Political ambitions or do the decent thing and resign.


UKIP Leadership election – Why I am backing Peter Whittle


UKIP battle busThe BREXIT vote of 23rd June was a momentous occasion for UKIP and a seismic shock for politics in our country.

With the mainstream media and the establishment predicting a victory for the remain campaign and doing their best to ensure it, the people of the UK showed belief in our ability to not just survive but thrive as an independent, outward looking and globally trading nation.

But with the achievement of UKIP’s founding goal , those same commentators quickly turned their sights on the party and questioned whether we had a future with this core plank of our policy apparently removed. What next for UKIP?

Nigel Farage, the driving force that caused the referendum, stepped down as leader of the party – after 20 years of fighting against the EU elites and ridicule from many quarters he stated that he wanted to get his life back. Having seen how hard he had worked to the detriment of both his health and family, only the hardest heart would begrudge him the chance to rebuild some sort of personal normality.

A leadership election swiftly followed but many of the biggest names within the party did not stand and the victor, Diane James MEP, felt that she could not do the job after just 18 days in charge – to her credit, she acknowledged this early rather than persevering with a position that could have quickly become untenable and damaged the party further.

This has led to a second election where some of the ‘big beasts’ have joined the fray and an interesting contest has ensued.

Peter Whittle – 

I first encountered Peter Whittle at the Party Conference in London in 2013. His speech as a representative of the New Culture Forum, a think tank he heads up, not only hit a chord with me but also with those in the hall who gave him a standing ovation at the end of it.

That speech can be viewed here –


I contacted Peter shortly afterwards and asked him if he could come and do a public meeting in Hillingdon – he was only too happy to do so. Indeed, since then he has spoken at three meetings in our area in Hayes End, Uxbridge and West Drayton. His willingness to engage, even on a cold night in the middle of Winter when we had a relatively poor attendance at one of the events, speaks volumes. That particular event garnered two new members who have gone on to be amongst our best activists because of his inspirational oratory.

His interest in the grassroots soon became apparent to us in Hillingdon. When we were looking to do a fundraiser and asked party luminaries for donations to the raffle, Peter very kindly posted us signed copies of the six books he has written on cultural issues which helped to generate the cash for our general election campaign.

The New Culture Forum

brexit-revolt-bannerPeter has a background in the media and when he returned from the US he set up a think tank in London based around cultural issues.

He has invited both myself and other rank and file ‘footsoldiers’  to a number of the events where a range of speakers have been present. Amongst the highlights have been a talk from Rafe Heydal-Mankou on the erosion of London culture in the face of the globalisation of our City, Douglas Murray on the threat to our country from Radical Islamism and the launch of the the ‘BREXIT Revolt’ book shortly after the EU Referendum which was attended by a number of those involved in the campaign including Nigel Farage and Arron Banks. It has struck me at these events that Peter values the input of the ordinary member and that invitations have not been restricted to the ‘great and the good’ – he has invited those who have worked with him on campaigns, irrespective of background.

The GLA Elections

Many have said that London is a world apart and not ‘UKIP Territory’. As our Mayoral candidate and head of the party list in 2016, Peter tore that particular myth up and together with David Kurten got our first seats on the London Assembly for over ten years.

Working with active branches in London, Peter was not afraid to meet people on the street in areas where the media would have you believe that we would not be welcome. One particular event in Uxbridge sticks with me where we were accused of being ‘homophobes and racists’ – after Peter and David spoke with the three individuals in question, they engaged and left with UKIP manifestoes in hand, quite shocked by the difference between MSM rhetoric and the reality. His calm demeanour and willingness to engage certainly made a mark.

In the face of a hostile media he also garnered good reviews as the party spokesman during the campaign – even the likes of The Guardian found it hard to say a bad word!

After election, Peter also came back to the area and spoke with residents on a demonstration in Harmondsworth against the Third Runway – this was commented on by campaigners who were not used to seeing politicians when they did not need votes to put them in to position and has helped us immensely where some would have questioned our commitment to the cause.


Since assuming his position as the leader of the UKIP GLA group, Peter has made a fine start in holding London Mayor Sadiq Khan to account. His team have been in constant touch with our branch to find out what people in our area need and to this end have questioned the Mayor over PHV drivers in Harlington, the Third Runway (Forcing Khan in to endorsing Gatwick) and his reluctance to confront Islamist extremists from Hezbollah on the streets of London. When EU flags were raised over City Hall after the election of the Labour Mayor, Peter and David pushed a motion asking for them to be removed and replaced with the Cross of St George – to the shame of the other members of the Assembly, the Tories abstained and Labour opposed.

Peter has also grilled Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe on the lack of convictions for FGM, a crime that is now unfortunately prevalent in our part of London.

Whilst UKIP need to be ready to fight for a proper BREXIT it is to Peter’s credit that he not only acknowledges that but with his partner on the GLA is ready to look beyond a successful outcome and build a fighting force that confronts the establishment parties on domestic issues that affect us all. In interviews with the BBC he has also confirmed that UKIP needs to build and fight Labour in the North where the next major breakthroughs will be made as we push on to replace Labour as the main opposition in Westminster.

Why Peter Whittle?

I mentioned before that we now have a proper leadership election. I have worked with Paul Nuttall before and am a big fan. especially on his stance over an English Parliament – he would make a fine leader of our party.

I know very little of John Rees-Evans but have heard good things from those who have worked with him in Wales.

However, having worked with Peter over the last few years I would like to think that we have developed from colleagues to friends. He speaks my language when it comes to putting the pride back in to our country, working to establish a community based around a shared vision for our future. A future where working class people like Peter, a grammar school boy from Shooters Hill, can fulfil their potential.

A leader who acknowledges the work of the grassroots and is there to help us build the party from the ground up as he has done for our branch since our first meeting.

We can have a ‘safe pair of hands’ or we can reach for something more, achieve UKIP’s potential and change our country for the better in a post BREXIT world.

I believe that Peter Whittle is the man who can lead our party and our country to a better future – that is why I am endorsing him for leadership of UKIP and would urge you to do the same.

Peter Whittle and CD








Your chance to meet UKIP London Mayoral candidate Peter Whittle

UKIP Hillingdon are proud to announce our latest public meeting and give you the chance to quiz our candidate for London Mayor, Peter Whittle.

Date – Thursday 19th November

Venue – RAFA Battle of Britain Club, Hillingdon Road, Uxbridge, UB10 0RY

Doors open at 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start

Speeches to be followed by an open floor Q&A session. There will be time afterwards at the bar to meet the candidates.

Easily accessible by public transport including the 427 and 607 bus from Uxbridge Station, the club is on the main A4020 opposite The Greenway and Jack’s fish & chip shop.

                                                          SpeakersPeterr Whittle 1

Peter Whittle is UKIP’s Culture Spokesman and a proud Londoner. A successful media figure and founder member of the influential New Culture Forum think tank, he stood in the recent General Election for UKIP in Eltham.

David Kurten

David Kurten is one of our leading GLA list candidates. A Chemistry Teacher and Improv Theatre Trainer, David will give his unique insight into the issues facing Londoners today.

Chaired by UKIP Hillingdon’s Cliff Dixon

We hope to see you there!

Introducing Peter Whittle – UKIP mayoral candidate

I received the following press release earlier today from Peter Whittle, one of the UKIP candidates for London Mayor.

Peter has been a very good friend to our branch in Hillingdon – I am happy to post it here and offer my best wishes for a successful campaign…..


For Immediate Release, Friday August 29th 2014
 Peter Whittle London Calling19-01
Today I’m launching the website for my campaign to stand as the UKIP candidate for London Mayor:
The site will allow us to measure which issues are the most important to Londoners. It carries features which allow people to pledge support or just find out more about UKIP in London.

Continue reading

Is Hillingdon council leader Ray Puddifoot calling Boris Johnson a liar?

UKIP Hillingdon press release 31st March 2015

Ray PuddifootIn The Gazette dated 25th March, Ray Puddifoot (Left) responded to UKIP criticisms of council spending on self-promotion by stating that “Hillingdon Council is not responsible for Police budgets” and accused our Parliamentary candidate for Uxbridge & South Ruislip, Jack Duffin, of having a ‘Lack of understanding’

Freedom of Information requests by Mr Duffin had revealed that Hillingdon Council had spent £8435.54 for on line advertising in financial year 2013/14 to add to the nearly £100,000 spent on their promotional magazine ‘Hillingdon People’ in the same period.

UKIP policy in Hillingdon is to scrap the magazine and redirect that money to front line services including Policing.

Jack Duffin profile high res

In reply to Mr Puddifoot’s statement, Jack Duffin said, “ If the council is not responsible for Police budgets, then why did Boris Johnson state in his 2012 Mayoral campaign that for every extra police officer funded by a local authority he would match that in a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer from the Greater London Authority (GLA)?

Indeed, Boris stated in the document ‘Fighting Crime in London’ that twelve London Boroughs, including neighbouring Harrow, had taken him up on the offer.

If this is the case, then either Ray Puddifoot has a ‘lack of understanding’ of what is available to him concerning policing in Hillingdon or he is calling Boris Johnson a liar.”


Press Release Ends

Related documents –

Fighting Crime in London – Boris Johnson manifesto 2012 (Relevant info on page 12)


The Olympics – Testament to Cameron’s folly

It has not been a great week for the government. Arguments over the banking scandals that are rocking the financial services sector, a rebellion over Lord’s reform and Cameron’s attempts to convince people that he truly is a Eurosceptic in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary are all heaping extra pressure on a coalition that is looking increasingly devoid of ideas and riven by warring factions.

In my eyes the most startling indictment of this government and it’s short term outlook has been shown, however, by the scandal surrounding the security arrangements at the London Olympics.


London 2012 – An indictment of poor decision making


Security firm G4S, who have the contract for security at the games, announced last week that they did not have the staff to sufficiently carry out their duties which has led to the Government drafting in 3700 troops to sort out the problem.


All well and good,I hear you say – After all,our armed forces are still amongst the best in the world despite years of chronic underfunding and cuts to some of our most famous regiments.


Herein lies the rub – Earlier in the month, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond laid out a blueprint for the armed forces which included cuts to 17 regiments and the loss of twenty thousand soldiers by 2020. This would leave The British Army with 82,000 full time troops, despite the continuing instability around the world that has led to successive governments committing our armed forces to overseas campaigns.


Foreign Secretary William Hague has recently been making bullish comments about Syria despite our forces already being involved in the campaign in Afghanistan and the ever present threat of belligerence from Argentina over The Falklands. With this in mind, surely having to commit 3700 troops at short notice to protect our capital during the games shows  just how out of touch our government is to the realities of troop levels?

Once again, our army will be expected to do a job at short notice at the behest of the politicians whilst the threat of redundancies and cuts to equipment budgets hangs over them like the sword of Damocles. It is a testament to them that they will no doubt carry out their duties with the efficiency and good humour that is a hallmark of the British armed forces – It is also a testimony to the short term thinking of their political masters.


The privatisation of the Metropolitan Police

London Mayor Boris Johnson (above) recently spoke of privatising parts of the Metropolitan Police to ‘cut costs’. Since Home Secretary Theresa May imposed a 20% cut in Whitehall grants to the Police as part of the government’s austerity measures, a number of forces have looked at how they can best reduce costs without affecting service.


Amongst these are the Surrey and West Midland forces, who put out a ‘Joint Business Programme’  to tender for private contractors for a range of services. Amongst the six firms tendering for the contract – None other than G4S!


In the face of the negative publicity garnered by the inability of G4S to carry out the Olympic contract, Surrey Police have put the tender on hold. We are yet to learn if Boris will do the same in London with the Met, although he has already shown himself to have a pretty loose grasp on the dynamics of policing in the capital with his ‘nine point plan for London’ which he ran to get himself re-elected recently. Point four promised 1000 extra officers on the street, yet Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) have stated that there will be a 4% loss of officers in London caused by the cuts and that  ‘The Metropolitan Police will have a lower share of officers on the front line than other forces by March 2015’.


After the riots of 2011 and the failure of G4S to deliver on their £284 million Olympics contract, both the idea of privatising parts of the Met and the government imposed cuts on our Police forces show up the short term thinking of Cameron, Clegg, Boris and Co.


RAF Northolt – Victim to the cuts?


In January this year, both the BBC and The Guardian reported that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) was looking at selling off RAF Northolt as part of the cuts imposed by the Strategic Defence Review.


During the Olympics, Northolt will be home to a squadron of RAF Typhoon fighters (Picture above, at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show) who will be tasked with keeping the airspace over London safe.


RAF Northolt has been an integral part of England’s air defences for many years, and was an active Hurricane base during the Battle of Britain in 1940. Currently, No 32 (Royal) Squadron operates from the airfield and flies the Queen in and out on a regular basis, whilst many foreign dignitaries (including US presidents) have been welcomed there.


If Northolt is being used as the RAF’s main base for The Olympics, then surely any idea of selling it as a ‘cost-cutting’ exercise in the future would be a violation of one of the Government’s main functions, that of providing defence for the people of England and the UK? Again, the Olympics shows the short term nature of government policy.


England needs both a strong military and a strong Police force to defend our national interest, our borders, our people and the rule of law. The current government and that before it have ignored their duty to those to whom they owe their position.  They call on the professionalism and dedication of both the constabulary and our armed forces on a regular basis whilst denying them the funding and equipment to do their job properly. David Cameron and his coalition have no idea of the real world and have shown it in the run up to the Olympic games – Remember this when it comes to the next election and show them how you feel about their warped sense of priorities.

UKIP Campaigning in Hillingdon – Part 2

The second part of our campaign in Hillingdon for the GLA elections saw a serious ramping up of general activity and visits from high profile members of the party to help boost our profile around the borough

Saturday 14th April – Ruislip

The stall was pitched on the busy junction outside Action Replay sports shop on Ruislip High Street.

GLA Ealing & Hillingdon candidate Helen Knight was on the stall to greet local shoppers with able assistance from Ilyas, Geoff, Martin and the rest of the campaign team.

The HS2 rail link was a big topic for discussion, with virtually universal condemnation of the plan that will bring so much disruption.

The mayoral newspapers were grabbed with much gusto by the locals, and a great deal of interest was generated for the appearance of Nigel Farage at Ickenham Village Hall the following week.

Saturday 21st April – Ickenham – No to HS2 Meeting

A busy morning’s leafletting in Ickenham was followed at 5pm by the appearance of Nigel Farage as a guest speaker at the Village Hall to talk about the HS2 rail link

After a brief introduction by myself, Helen Knight took the stage to run through the technical issues surrounding the project and then handed over to Nigel for a talk which can be viewed below

Questions were then taken on stage by Nigel, Helen and our UKIP London Mayoral candidate, Lawrence Webb (Below)

Over one hundred local people attended the meeting as reported in the following week’s Uxbridge Gazette, and many joined the participants for a drink in the nearby Weatherspoon’s for an informal chat afterwards



Saturday 28th April  – Final street stall in Uxbridge


The team were joined by UKIP Beaconsfield Chairman Tim Scott and Midlands MEP (member of the European Parliament) Derek Clark for our final street stall before polling day.

High winds and driving rain made positioning the stall and keeping the newspapers and leaflets dry tricky, but a good quantity were distributed and more signatures taken for the ‘Save Lake Farm’ campaign.

Hillingdon Against Cuts were also out braving the weather, as were a group of Mormons who pitched up next to us and a firebrand preacher who positioned himself at the top of Windsor street with a soap box and a megaphone!

A big thank you to Derek, who made a long journey and stayed until the end in the most appalling conditions.

The Final Push

The last week in the run up to polling day saw a frenzy of leafletting, canvassing and street campaigning.

Twenty four hours before our final street stall, the battle bus was due to come to Hillingdon but couldn’t get through the traffic in central London. Cue an impromptu appearance by The UKIP taxi with party leader Nigel Farage and Young Independence luminary Emmett Jenner in our area!

After a quick pit stop for refreshment at The Bell pub in Ruislip, walkabouts followed first in Ruislip, then Ickenham, and finally in Uxbridge town centre.

In Ruislip, a local school politics teacher interviewed Nigel on his camcorder for his students, whilst a number of people asked me, “Is that the bloke off of Question Time last night?”

After the street stall of Saturday, Sunday and Monday saw mass leafletting across our key areas before the re-scheduled Battle Bus arrived in the borough on Tuesday. Preceding it was a large LCD screen mounted on a flat bed van flashing various images and blaring out ‘maybe it’s because I’m  a Londoner’ at volume.

I had first seen the van used in the Feltham & Heston by-election last year – It certainly gets noticed!

With a route planned out that took in both North and South of the borough, the van made it’s way off – The open-topped battle bus turned up around a half hour later, crewed by a number of the candidates for the various London Constituencies including Geoff Boulter, Mick McGough and party list No 1 candidate Steve Woolfe.

With a PA system manned by Young Independence stalwart Sean Howlett, we set off from Ruislip station via Ickenham and Uxbridge to Harefield, where we stopped and mass leafletted around the village green for half an hour.

From there, the bus had to make it’s way to Kingston for an afternoon TV appearance – Hillingdon branch members remained on board and helped out with the canvassing in the town centre before the bus made it’s way back to the stand at London Embankment.

Most of us stayed with the bus and took the opportunity to use the PA system to spread the message on the way back.

Sean Howlett was making an impassioned speech about having no future with the ‘old’ parties at one point, until a smiling Steve Woolfe pointed out that it might not be the best thing to be talking about whilst driving past Mortlake cemetery!

The driver took us over Parliament bridge and past The House of Commons and St Stephen’s Tower (Big Ben) on the way back as can be seen from the images – A cry of “Cameron, Osborne, Clegg – Give them their P45’s before they give you yours!” boomed from the PA to a series of cheery waves from passers by.


Wednesday and polling day saw last minute canvassing and leafletting – Branch members turned out at local tube and main line rail stations to hand out the mayoral newspapers in an attempt to pick up last minute floating voters.


I found myself on the Thursday afternoon at Hayes & Harlington main line rail station, where by 5pm I was surrounded by the local Labour group including their GLA candidate for Hillingdon, Dr Onkar Sahota, and local leader Mo Khursheed. A member of the public introduced himself to me as ‘TJ’, a UKIP supporter, and proceeded to help me distribute our leaflets whilst berating Cllr Khursheed for his lack of help for the local community!


The Count


With so many votes cast across London, the count was scheduled to start at 8AM on Friday 4th May. The prize for the victors would be a seat on the Greater London Assembly (Pictured left)


I met with Helen Knight and our Hillingdon branch secretary, Martin Shelvey, early in the afternoon and we made our way by tube to the West London count at The Olympia, where we were joined by local activist Ilyas Hussein.


It soon became apparent that an upset was in the offing from the screens mounted at the end of the counting tables which showed Labour ahead of the incumbent Conservative, Richard Barnes, at the 90% of count stage. The screens stop at this point so that the final 10% can be counted and the official result announced after scrutiny.


After what seemed a lifetime, the candidates agents were called by the returning officer and the procedural niceties ran through. Labour had taken the directly elected Ealing and Hillingdon seat from the Conservatives by just 3100 votes. UKIP had polled 6500, less than we had anticipated but enough to influence the outcome – Indeed, Dr Sahota came over and shook our hands and ‘thanked’ us for our help. He was then called to the stage for the official announcement, where surprisingly the other candidates were not asked up (Helen managed to get on to the end of the stage and have a quick photo taken by one of our other candidates, Liz Jones).


My full take on the results can be viewed in my previous blog post from 5th May (GLA and local Elections – The momentum continues).


Boris Johnson retained his status as London Mayor and bucked the national trend of Conservatives losing their seats, although the Labour party gained 4 assembly seats at the expense of the Tories and Lib-Dem’s. I can’t help but feel that this was in the main down to the well-deserved bad publicity that Ken Livingstone got about his tax affairs and discriminatory speeches in the run up to the ballot rather than Boris being an outstanding Mayor.

The Lib-Dem’s had an awful campaign and their candidate for Mayor, Brian Paddick, was beaten to third place by the Green Party’s Jenny Jones, who also held her assembly seat along with their other sitting candidate, Darren Johnson. It was interesting to see the reactions of the Greens at the count to Labour victories, which were greeted with cheering and clenched fist salutes – Proof of the old saying about them being the watermelon party, green on the outside and red on the inside?


From a UKIP point of view, we have made great strides in Hillingdon and increased our vote massively from 2008. Studying the ward figures, we have moved from having none in the top performing 100 in GLA2008 to 7 in GLA2012, a good sign for the local election campaigns to follow.


England needs a party that will look after the interests of her own people first with good,common sense answers to the state we currently find ourself in. In 2014, we intend to make UKIP that party.