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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 June 2004

Kilroy Was Here, Then There. Where Next?

ROBERT KILROY Silk, former tribune of the Kirkby working class, and the octogenarian soap star Joan Collins, now threaten to deliver a hammer blow to Britain's membership of the European Union.

Tony Mulhearn, former Liverpool councillor 1983-1987

Their rise to prominence on the political stage in the recent Euro-elections was apparently made possible only because Bob Monkhouse had died and was thus unavailable, and Barbara Windsor was too heavily committed to Eastenders.

The fact that such a motley crew of fading celebrities and failed politicians in UKIP received 18% of the vote was due to many factors: huge dollops of money for publicity, a media desperate to include 'personalities' in news broadcasts and to fuel the anti-immigrant and nationalist moods they so assiduously cultivate, combined with a complete absence of mainstream politicians who can offer a radical socialist alternative to the rich man's club which is Europe.

I was on the short list for Ormskirk constituency (after re-organisation becoming Knowsley North) in 1972 when the then right-wing constituency Labour Party adopted Kilroy as the candidate.

Totally besotted with his own sense of worth, he declared, within a fortnight of being elected, that he aspired to be prime minister within 15 years. This ambition sank without trace.

However, whilst his political achievements didn't match his aspirations, he made up for that by moving into an expensive pile in one of the southern counties whilst many of his constituents continued to suffer in some of Britain's worst housing estates.

Spanish estate

His response to the growing hostility to his politics in his constituency was to purchase a 500-acre estate in Southern Spain. From there he launched attack after attack on the lefts who, he claimed, had 'infiltrated' his constituency.

By 1986 when it became obvious that he no longer enjoyed the support of a majority, he became alarmed at his possible de-selection and replacement by a left candidate.

I was the front-runner, having secured a majority of nominations from organisations affiliated to the constituency.

Silk displayed a complete lack of confidence in the membership. Instead of campaigning amongst the rank and file and the Kirkby working class, he appealed to Kinnock and the NEC for support. Kinnock duly obliged by expelling me from the party.

Silk heaved a sigh of relief, now he could continue to represent the Kirkby working class as he'd always done, from his retreat in Spain. But his personal ambition soon reasserted itself.

On being offered a job as a television presenter he abandoned Knowsley North and joined the TV gravy train; remaining there until he was dumped after making racist remarks about the Arab community.

It wasn't the money of course. Silk claimed "Militant made me quit". As a 'man of principle' he could take no more opposition. He whinged the usual claptrap about 'Militant violence,' whithout a shred of evidence.

He then later bragged about the violence he inflicted upon a left-winger in his biography.

Even Kinnock commented that his reason for quitting was 'rubbish'. Just to make sure that a left candidate wouldn't replace Silk, Kinnock closed down the party and imposed right-winger George Howarth.

The question for Silk is "where next?" He claims he is out to wreck the European Union and expose its corruption and waste.

How is he going to do it? Perhaps live on a worker's wage and donate the 1 million a year surplus to the anti-Europe cause. Britain watches with bated breath.

MEP Silk's past record gives us a clue. Since 1972 he has moved to the right. What lies to the right of UKIP, ground currently occupied by the BNP?

Robert, I believe, would regard the BNP as being too obviously vulgar and racist.

But, under his and Joan Collins's leadership, it can't be ruled out that UKIP could develop into a 'respectable' extreme right-wing organisation, pandering to the forces of nationalism and racism.


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In The Socialist 26 June 2004:

Time For A New Workers' Party

Stop Cuts In Jobs And Services

Socialist Students Fight NUS Cuts

Socialist Councillors Fight Housing Crisis

Encouraging Result for Martin Powell-Davies

Socialist Party news and analysis

Kilroy Was Here, Then There. Where Next?

Respect And The June Elections

UNISON local government conference: From Drama To Farce

Firefighters' Bitter Pay Battle

Socialist Party features

European Union: Bosses' Club Agrees A Constitution

Blair's War on Workers' Rights

Iraq: Imperialism's Plans Going Up In Smoke

Unite Campaign In Australia Wins Major Victory Against Low Pay


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