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Introducing Former UKIP Spokesman, Mujeeb ur Rehman Bhutto
February 4, 2014 2:20 AM   Subscribe

A man who served as UKIP's Commonwealth spokesman for a year is the former leader of a kidnapping gang in Pakistan, BBC Newsnight can reveal. Mujeeb ur Rehman Bhutto's gang were behind a high-profile kidnapping in Karachi in 2004 and he then took a £56,000 ransom payment in Manchester. In 2005, Bhutto, of Leeds, admitted being the gang's "boss" and was jailed for seven years by a UK court. UKIP said Bhutto, 35, had "recently" resigned his party membership.
posted by marienbad (26 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously on UKIP: What The Fuck Are These Guys Even Doing?:
Donor says homophobia isn't a real word
Man blames gay marriage for bad weather
"You're not going out dressed like that!" says party leader
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:39 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


I just....
I'm going to titter for a spell.
I might even laugh.

Then I will feel bad.
posted by Mezentian at 2:49 AM on February 4


I always find it hard to know what to feel about UKIP. I hate them for their views, but not in the comforting non-ambivalent way that I hate the Tories. More in a "there's no point hating them because they are so ridiculous at every turn they're nearly funny but what they espouse is not funny at all it's vile and harmful but gay marriage caused the storms and we should all wear suits in hotels ahahaha..." kind of way.
posted by billiebee at 3:09 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


What's with the "finger" quotes "recently" "boss?"
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:18 AM on February 4


By mefi's own, me. AMA
posted by takeyourmedicine at 3:24 AM on February 4 [25 favorites]


Remember, it's not that UKIP is a criminal / racist / evil party. It's just that most of its members are criminal / racist / evil. K?
posted by ominous_paws at 3:31 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


I think those are regular quotes.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:32 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


It's turning into a real Year of the Long Knives for UKIP, isn't it?
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:33 AM on February 4


"The evidence which was brought against me was from Pakistan. The allegation was simply because of political rivalry," he said.

The £56,000 ransom was found hidden in Bhutto's bed in a house in Leeds, and he was forced to repay it when he appeared in court.

Will be interesting hearing him square those two statements at any appeal.
posted by billiebee at 3:39 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


To take takeyourmedicine up on his AMA offer: do you think this represents part of a coordinated series of actions from within the UKIP leadership to rid itself of its more "incendiary" high profile members in order to give the party a chance of going mainstream? Given the "we can now reveal" construction, are we to assume that the media have a lot more dirt on individual UKIP members that they're keeping under wraps due to libel laws?
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:41 AM on February 4


takeyourmedicine - I am assuming you have investigated UKIP generally, so how realistic do you think their chances are of getting an MP into parliament, and how much damage do you think they will realistically do to the tories? Do you think it could come down to a hung vote and then someone would have to make a coalition with UKIP?

Also, this story is comedy gold, nice one.
posted by marienbad at 3:51 AM on February 4


A friend of mine with a civil service job - the sort of civil service job that requires saying "yes, Minister" a lot - has tweeted about her fears of a UKIP-Conservative alliance after the next election. Apparently this is a worry in the halls of power, so expect to see more shakedowns of UKIP designed to make people go "what a bunch of nutbags".

Of course, the Conservatives have at least as many nutbags, and the Labour halls are full of people decrying "immigration", but both those parties are vested in the power structures of the UK. UKIP haven't displayed any interest in getting 'vested', so there are no carrots to dangle for them.
posted by The River Ivel at 4:12 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


takeyourmedicine do you know on what grounds he won his asylum claim? I don't understand how he was convicted in 2005 and given refugee status in 2008. How long did he serve of his sentence? If the judge at his trial stated that he came to the UK to avoid prosecution in Pakistan it's baffling me how he could then have been given asylum afterwards. There's definitely a "friends in high places" situation or something equally suspect...
posted by billiebee at 4:21 AM on February 4


tweeted about her fears of a UKIP-Conservative alliance after the next election.

Ukip pact backed by nearly half of Conservative activists
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:23 AM on February 4


George Osborne has explicitly ruled out any form of deal with Ukip and has hinted that any MP who tries to advance such plans will be disciplined.

Oh God, I just approved of something George Osborne said. I think I need to lie down.
posted by billiebee at 4:30 AM on February 4 [10 favorites]


Do you think this represents part of a coordinated series of actions from within the UKIP leadership to rid itself of its more "incendiary" high profile members in order to give the party a chance of going mainstream? Given the "we can now reveal" construction, are we to assume that the media have a lot more dirt on individual UKIP members that they're keeping under wraps due to libel laws?


Yes, see evidence of Lee Slaughter Islam Obama comments being deleted before Emily Maitlist and I reported them, Bhutto's ousting being pre-meditated, only exposed (not motivated) by our investigation. Yes, there are more skeletons in more closets. But then that's true for every party. Libel doesn't restrict reporting, it just takes means it takes more work.

I am assuming you have investigated UKIP generally, so how realistic do you think their chances are of getting an MP into parliament, and how much damage do you think they will realistically do to the tories? Do you think it could come down to a hung vote and then someone would have to make a coalition with UKIP?

Parliament feels like an outside chance. European? They'll get the most votes. Protest vote in general election could be seriously damaging though, even though MP chance is so remote, so they won't be kingmakers, but they will have huge impact on policy and chance of referendum.

Do you know on what grounds he won his asylum claim? I don't understand how he was convicted in 2005 and given refugee status in 2008. How long did he serve of his sentence? If the judge at his trial stated that he came to the UK to avoid prosecution in Pakistan it's baffling me how he could then have been given asylum afterwards. There's definitely a "friends in high places" situation or something equally suspect...

We don't know. We think it's because the UK doesn't have an extradition treaty -- and wouldn't extradite someone to face a capital charge. Circumstances of UK sentences are very murky. He's tryni
posted by takeyourmedicine at 5:15 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Highlights of the Ukip policy documents published alongside the 2010 manifesto that has been disowned by [Farage]
posted by frimble at 5:36 AM on February 4


The part of this article I really enjoyed is the understated implication that he wasn't even a very good kidnapper.
posted by srboisvert at 6:49 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


Oh God, I just approved of something George Osborne said. I think I need to lie down.
Don't worry, he was lying.
posted by fullerine at 6:49 AM on February 4 [4 favorites]


so expect to see more shakedowns of UKIP designed to make people go "what a bunch of nutbags".

UKIP isn't in real danger of becoming a mainstream party. As a protest party uniting several unrelated issues top of mind of older and more right wing voters achieving coherence is very tough. They struggle to explain their policies coherently through one man, who has to disown their manifesto of just three years ago just to remain 'credible'.

Many of UKIP's target audience don't much care that there are nutbags. They don't like change. They don't like youth. They don't like women. They don't like smelly Frenchman and boring Germans telling them what to do. They don't like politicians.

They just wish, somehow, all the things they don't like would go away or shut up so that the country can return to proper values and prosperity. They don't care how. They don't care that it won't work. They have a party whose fringe, unelectable status enables them to pretend to be whatever voters want them to be. It is also the 'acceptable' choice for people who might otherwise have voted BNP, whose membership has now collapsed.

UKIP holds no seats in parliament, 0.4% of the seats in the Lords, 1.1% of local government seats and 1 of the 108 available seats in the Northern Irish Assembly.

Let's be clear here: UKIP derives its power from splitting the Tory vote. UKIP is a gift to Labour, forcing Cameron's government away from the centre so that it can contain the hardline Tory right and the vocal UKIP stop_the_bus_I_want_to_get_off_modern_Britain golf club and pub bores.

By contrast, a Tory/UKIP alliance is a gift to the Tories. Cameron will always have to deal with and accommodate Eurosceptics and the politics that make sense to the men who prop up golf club bars. It is easier to manage them and to throw them the odd bone when they are in the tent. Austerity cuts mean the Tories have few friends in Labour heartlands. The Tories do not lose tons of credibility by absorbing the Loony Right.

The Tories have around 40+ marginal seats they either want to attack or need to defend. They do not want to lose the next election. They do not want to form a coalition after the next election. They forecast, correctly, that the economy will be in good shape. It is not an unreasonable expectation, given what a pig's ear Ed Balls has made of being a shadow chancellor and that Ed Miliband is most likely not electable as Prime Minister that a Tory majority victory is possible.

tl:dr: Labour need UKIP to remain credible; it would be in the Tories' interests if they could absorb them. There are structural reasons why they are nutbags.

That said. Christ, what a bunch of nutbags. Jesus. It is worrying not only that these people exist but that they have managed to find one another. It feels like that time when you find the crappy little nightclub which exists in every provincial town of a certain size where the clientele all drink snakebite and want to fight anything that moves across their eyeline.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:56 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


Meet Ukip, Britain's most working-class party:
Ukip are Britain’s most working-class party. Blue-collar workers are heavily over-represented. Middle-class professionals are scarce. Such voters often express as much hostility to the Conservative party as they do to Labour...

Why is the myth of Ukip as an army of angry, middle-class suburbanites... Most likely because of the difference between Ukip's activists and their voters. Committed activists and politicians, the kind of Ukipper the media are most likely to encounter, very often are middle-class, Southern and suburban former Tories
Just how much media coverage does UKIP get?
From 2005 until 2009, the picture was far less rosy for Nigel and his party: they attracted less attention than the Greens and were fighting in the 'media war' to move away from the BNP. But since 2011, the party has really come into its own, rapidly moving away from other minor competitors to achieve historically unprecedented levels of coverage.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:19 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


MuffinMan They just wish, somehow, all the things they don't like would go away or shut up so that the country can return to proper values and prosperity.

I heard a UKIP apparatchik on the radio saying that he thought the people of the UK would rather not have immigrants (from Romania/Bulgaria) coming to the UK, paying taxes and benefiting society as a whole. He said people would rather be financially worse off than have immigration, having conceded the point that immigration is a net financial benefit to the country.

So if it is not the UK economy that concerns the UKIPs, maybe it is the Bulgarian economy? Anyone who has seen Stewart Lee's recent live show will remember the section about Paul Nutall of the UKIPs telling the people of Bulgaria that “You need to ensure that your brightest stay and make your own country economically prosperous instead of coming to the UK to serve tea and coffee”. Anyone who hasn't seen it will have to wait for the forthcoming TV series, or catch him in the next week or so. Sunday night in High Wycombe looks like it will be amazing!

It is a pity that Ed Miliband sounds like more of a poncey toff than Cameron, that the Lib Dems screwed themselves for the foreseeable given the chance to be in government and that the Labour party has contributed to the toxic political climate that we find ourselves in. Joining the press in scapegoating the least powerful in society seemed like a good idea when they were in power, but now they can't compete with the fomented xenophobic paranoia that passes for political debate and they can't out-Fascist the UKIPs to grab headlines. Maybe they should consider being a left wing party to give people some other option than the right middle.
posted by asok at 7:41 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


So if it is not the UK economy that concerns the UKIPs, maybe it is the Bulgarian economy?

Heh. A nice twist. Well, when your voters don't care about the detail - and it's hard to see why anyone with stake in the economy would want to cut trading ties with Europe - you get the cabbage soup of the UKIP manifesto, where trains are repainted and taxi drivers are made to wear ties and as if by magic we all live in an episode of Midsomer Murders. Except without the murders. Because they, ahem, don't live here.

It is a pity that Ed Miliband sounds like more of a poncey toff than Cameron

He sounds like a drip. He clearly isn't - anyone who can knife their brother to take the leadership and then knife the unions over control of the party knows how to be ruthless. But he sounds like a drip. And he looks like Wallace. Even his office have admitted defeat on that one.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:44 AM on February 4


When I heard on Newsnight, my first thought was to wonder which of their spokes it was. I guessed wrong.
posted by quarsan at 10:05 AM on February 4


"See? We were totally right about those foreigners."
posted by stavrogin at 11:15 AM on February 4


I wonder if he joined UKIP to gain influence the way that party bosses in pakistan have to have influence with organized crime?

(before you say it, yes the west does this too: that tammany hall operated in a blatantly similar manner, and the more subtle form of corruption that exists in "modern post 70s western politics is a direct descendent of this - power is power, ok?)
posted by lalochezia at 3:57 PM on February 4


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