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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
Kilroy achieves lift off
Sketch
By Brian Wheeler
BBC News political reporter, at Veritas' manifesto launch

"Winston - hand me a copy of the Daily Mail!"

You never have to wait long for strong opinions at a Robert Kilroy-Silk press conference.

Robert Kilroy-Silk
Mr Kilroy-Silk brandishes the Daily Mail

He started off all reasonable-sounding - his new party Veritas has worked wonders with meagre resources, he is speaking up for ordinary people against the "metropolitan elite", Michael Howard may make the right sort of noises on immigration and Europe, but only he has the guts to take real action.

But before long, the former chat show host was brandishing a copy of the Daily Mail, handed to him by the party's sports spokesman Winston Mackenzie.

The story that had caught his eye was about asylum seekers queuing up to get into "open door UK".

"There they are in Calais. They are not in fear of their lives. They are not suffering... they are not being tortured."

Asylum seekers

His point was that if the young men were really fleeing persecution why weren't they claiming asylum in France, rather than queuing up to get into Britain?

All cultures are not equal
Robert Kilroy-Silk

Mr Kilroy-Silk didn't have "much sympathy" for the Daily Mail, he said, but now that he had it open there was another story that had caught his eye.

What about Kamel Bourgass? He was a failed asylum seeker and it costs the British taxpayer the equivalent of 143,000 to process a successful asylum claim.

"Do you want to spend 143,000 on him or do you want to spend 143,000 on a child who is dying in Darfur?"

'Inferior' cultures

Mr Kilroy-Silk would end the "asylum industry" which he said cost the country 2bn a year.

He would also end "multi-culturalism" and call a halt to mass immigration.

Which cultures in particular does he find "inferior" to British culture?

Ones that "chop off limbs and behead people" and suppress free speech.

Did he mean certain branches of Muslim fundamentalism? He meant what he had said.

"We will not tolerate cultures that repress women and treat them as second-class citizens," he said.

In fact, Mr Kilroy-Silk had quite a list of things he would not tolerate - but, as usual, he reserved a special place for the media, whom he accused of "taking cheap shots" and "having a go".

There were so many misconceptions being peddled by the "liberal fascists" in the press corps that Mr Kilroy-Silk hardly knew where to start.

Political science

Veritas is not a vanity project or a one-man band (and, to be fair, deputy leader Damian Hockney was at his side to talk about the party's flat rate tax proposals, which they have imported from the same East European countries Mr Kilroy-Silk seemed so keen to close Britain's borders to).

And - a particular favourite of the East Midlands MEP - the media all secretly share his view that "all cultures are not equal", they just daren't express it.

He admitted that his new party was short of funds. Paul Sykes - who once backed Mr Kilroy-Silk for the leadership of UKIP - was not dipping his hand into his pocket to fund the new venture, but at least that meant they were not "beholden" to the money men.

He ended with a curious admission - he had only re-entered politics last year because had found himself with a three-week window in his schedule and he was a bit bored.

He never expected to be elected as an MEP.

It had "changed things and changed my life in a way which I didn't wish or intend".

Political science suggested Veritas did not stand a chance on 5 May, he admitted.

But political science has been wrong before...





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Watch Robert Kilroy-Silk launch Veritas' manifesto



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