15th April 1989, Hillsborough Stadium. 96 people lost their lives due to a collection of horrendous decisions. Tragic for those who lost their lives, tragic for their families, and tragic for the football community. After the Sun’s disgusting treatment of the situation and the resulting backlash (including Liverpool FC’s recent decision to ban the Sun’s “journalists” from their stadium), one would think anyone would treat the matter very seriously. But perhaps that doesn’t apply to UKIP’s leader, Paul Nuttall.
In 2012, Nuttall claimed he “lost close personal friends” in Hillsborough and that he understands “as well as anyone how deep the scars of that tragedy go.” When pressed about those claims this week, he admitted this wasn’t true. This has rightly been met with outrage across the UK, particularly from the families of those who passed away — it was beyond insensitive and insulting. He’s currently the UKIP leader and their candidate for the Stoke by-election, but many of Stoke’s residents have turned against him, calling for him to resign. Nuttall has now said that a member of his staff wrote it, not him. The post was removed from his website, and now his entire website has been shut down. Apparently this is due to “scheduled maintenance”. Funny, that.
Normally I’d attempt to give him the benefit of doubt. Is there a tiny chance his staff wrote something so personal without even passing it by him? Even his colleagues don’t believe him; it was announced on Monday that the chairman of UKIP’s Liverpool branch and the chairman of UKIP’s Merseyside branch have both resigned in protest. In case you aren’t quite convinced, let’s have a look at his track record, shall we?
In the Stoke by-election, Nuttall was accused of election fraud. After declaring he lived in Stoke on the electoral registration form, the property was later discovered to be empty, and Nuttall was forced to admit that he had never even entered the house when filling out the form. Clearly, he did not live there. Clearly, he lied. On his LinkedIn profile, he claimed to have a PhD from Liverpool Hope University. LHU were very interested to know where this imaginary degree came from, stating that “the education section is for qualifications you have been awarded, not ones you’d like to have one day.” Nuttall later said it was someone else who wrote this. In 2009 he wrote that he was a board member of a charity (North West Training Council), but NWTC responded very clearly that this was false and, in fact, he had never met any of the board members. He also claimed to have played professional football for Tranmere Rovers. Unsurprisingly, this was false. He claimed to have not written this either. Sensing a pattern? Me too.
The fact that he really didn’t need to lie about these things speaks volumes. He didn’t need to pretend to lose close friends in Hillsborough to show compassion and understanding. He didn’t need to lie about where he was living, since there’s no rule about having to live in the constituency. He didn’t need to lie about being a professional footballer, or having a PhD, or anything else. He simply didn’t need to. The fact that he has repeatedly and unnecessarily lied reveals the level of contempt he holds for the public, and how little the word ‘credibility’ means to him.
There is an almost infinite list of reasons why Paul Nuttall’s politics is the last thing Stoke needs (or anywhere else for that matter). His incessant lying is but the icing on the (xenophobic) cake.
(Image courtesy of IB Times UK)