Mid-Wales is one of the most pro-EU parts of the UK, yet UKIP are very likely to win a seat here under the undemocratic system of “Top-Up Lists”.
So you’d hope they might parachute an intellectual and persuasive supporter of Brexit into a sensitive situation.
The news we are very likely to get the unrepentantly sleazy Neil Hamilton is an insult to the people of mid-Wales.
Here’s a timely look at his paid lobbying for nasty people, cash for questions in Parliament, election defeat, libel losses and refusal to admit the vast evidence of his guilt.
[Warning – may contain swearing and pictures of this oily heap of shit]
Neil Hamilton grew up in Ammanford and lived in Aberystwyth from 1967-1975, while studying for a BSc, then MSc, in Economics & Politics.
An MP from 1983 (aged just 34) to 1997, he is best known for his public fall from grace as part of the “Cash For Questions” scandal of the 1990s, and tawdry attempts to become a celebrity in the years since.
In 1994, The Guardian newspaper alleged that Hamilton received tens of thousands of pounds from Mohammed Al-Fayed in return for asking planted questions in the House of Commons.
Hamilton’s co-accused Tim Smith fessed up immediately, but Hamilton brazened it out with threats of libel, maybe remembering his success in bullying the BBC a decade earlier.
The numerous questions Hamilton asked, in parliament and in private to ministers, certainly looks odd (how many of his constituents had even heard of Tiny Rowland, Mr Fayed’s enemy?)
Mr Hamilton admitted receiving free holidays, but denied the allegations of cash in “brown envelopes”.
On the eve of the libel trial, the Guardian revealed it had witnesses prepared to swear that “Mr Hamilton was as persistent as Mr Greer, if not more so, in asking for his envelope.”
Suddenly Mr Hamilton halted the prosecution and paid some of the Guardian’s costs.
The paper’s victorious front page of the next day is the stuff of legend.
At the 1997 General Election, Neil Hamilton was thrown out by the electors of Tatton, his massive majority destroyed by the allegations of sleaze.
Hamilton continues to deny he ever received money, which is ironic, as it’s his sole claim to fame.
A parliamentary report found the evidence against him “compelling”, and that he lied about having a business relationship with the lobbyist (Ian Greer) that had fixed him up with Fayed.
The report found he failed to declare the free holidays, or declare other lobbying payments, and asked for cash to avoid tax.
Ever the optimist, he raised £410,000 from wealthy friends to sue Al Fayed for libel in 1999.
Further sleazy details saw the jury unanimously find against him, and a subsequent appeal failed too.
By 2001 he was bankrupt, brought low by his own greed and self-delusion.
This is a man who accepted money to promote “Skoal Bandits” in the 1980s, a chewing tobacco that caused horrific oral cancer (though Edwina Currie said he was “unmoved” by photos showing how bad they are).
In the 1990s he was earning £8,000 a year, and taking free trips to South Africa for his work lobbying in favour of the apartheid regime.
He only got into trouble here for neglecting to register these shameless earnings.
What kind of man campaigns in favour of institutional racism?
But then, he still denies that lead in petrol was a bad thing.
There is more, but I think you get the gist.
I’ve spared you details of his indecent and desperate attempts to get on the lowest rung of the celebrity ladder as I began to find it too depressing.
Neil Hamilton has repeatedly shown himself to be unsuitable to hold office, and the snub from the Tatton electorate of 1997 should have seen him consigned to the dustbin.
For him to return to elected office, without being actually elected, would be a disgrace to the people of mid-Wales.
Top-up lists are meant to make democracy more fair, not allow disgraced, unapologetic chancers gain a podium at public expense.
This isn’t a popular view, but I think most politicians work hard for limited rewards.
Venal, self-seeking, unrepentant arseholes like Hamilton blacken the names of them all.
I urge all mid-Wales voters to fight this dreadful disgrace and avoid years of shame and embarrassment.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing