Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A European heroine

Well you can take the man out of UKIP but you can't take UKIP out of the man. I had the pleasure of working with Marta quite closely for several weeks during UKIP the European Parliament Election Campaign and when I read this article in the Daily Mail I thought it summed her up very nicely. I am certain she will make a great MEP and the Brussels Apperachniks will NOT be pleased to see her back!

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Somewhere in all the hoo-hah about the extraordinary showing by UKIP in the elections for the European parliament there may be getting lost the best and happiest story of the whole election: I mean the triumph of the new UKIP MEP for the south east, Marta Andreasen.

I first came across Andreasen, a Spanish accountant, shortly after she blew the whistle in 2002 on the vast opportunities for fraud at the European Commission. This exploded into what is still known in Brussels as 'the Andreasen affair.'

Yet she was only doing her job. In January 2002 she had been appointed chief accountant by the budget and anti-fraud commissioner. Within weeks, Andreasen saw serious and glaring' accounting irregularities in the Commission's books. She said te Commission was 'massively open to fraud.' She refused to sign off on the 2001 accounts. As she explained it to me later, her voice full of professional indignation, the Commission did not practice even the most basic double-entry book-keeping: this left the accounts open to interference.

It is a measure of her simple decency that she did not realise how dangerous professional integrity could be in Brussels. When she came under pressure from within the Commission to sign off on the 2001 accounts despite her concerns, she looked for support from the then-president of the Commission, Romano Prodi, and from the vice-president of the Commission who had been given the job of cleaning up the commission after the last bout of corruption had come to light in 1999 -- and here is the black humour in all this, that vice-president was Neil Kinnock.

All the 'support' she got from Kinnock were attempts by senior Commission people to discredit her. They said her concerns 'had nofoundation in fact.' Her personal and professional reputation was smeared. When she persisted in attempts to voice her concerns, Kinnock threatened her with disciplinary proceedings.Then when she tried to appear before the European Parliament to tell them what she had found in the accounts, she was sacked by fax from Kinnock.

At a press conference later in London, Andreasen said that Kinnock had been part of a 'cover-up' to prevent her exposing her concerns about the way the EU's (then) £63m budget was open to fraud. 'Despite official press briefings against me and appearances on this issue by Commissioner Kinnock and his staff, I have been repeatedly reminded of my obligation to remain silent.'

But she was right, and her concerns had plenty of 'foundation in fact.' As Christopher Booker and Richard North point out in their book The Great Deception, her charges were supported by another "whistleblower" within the Court of Auditors, Dougal Watt. In April he had independently lodged an official complaint against Nepotism, corruption and mismanagement within the Court of Auditors itself, endorsed by 205 colleagues, for which he himself was dismissed from his post.' The following Year, Accountancy Age magazine, knowing professional integrity when they see it, named Andreasen their 'Personality of the Year.'

The smears and threats made against Andreasen could have broken any other person. But they didn't break her. That is why, when I saw the picture of UKIP leader Nigel Farage raising Andreasen's arm in victory, it was the happy ending that almost never comes in politics. She will go back to Brussels in triumph -- and as an honest voice for Britain. The only question is, why were the Tories so dull-witted not to see what a fantastic candidate she would be for the parliament? Why did they let UKIP snap her up? One suspects it is because the Tories still have that Brussels-establishment taint that has been colouring the party since the days of Howe and Hesletine. And one thing Marta Andreasen is not is Brussels establishment.

1 comment:

  1. Yes Martea is an asset to UKIP. As is Nigel. I'm pleased to have both of them representing me in the South East.

    Also pleased to have Caroline Lucas and Dan Hannan representing me. I know they're not UKIP, but I think it is good to have four big-name MEP's from a cross-section of the political spectrum that I can badger appropriately...

    One of the benefits of Proportional Representation...

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