Thursday, 26 February 2009

Interview with Jonathan Arnott- General Secretary UKIP

What made you join UKIP?

The first time I was old enough to vote was in 2001, when I was 20. The Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative Party didn't deserve my vote and I was desperate to find a realistic alternative. One day I happened to meet some UKIP activists running a stall in the centre of Shrewsbury, of all places! I agreed with them on the EU but I wanted to know about all the other issues. I went home, read the manifesto and agreed with it. I signed up, but there was just one UKIP candidate selected for six Sheffield seats at that election and none in my area. I was too young to stand (the limit was 21 then), so I persuaded my Mum, Dad and girlfriend and two other friends to stand and we filled all six seats.

How are you finding the role of General Secretary so far and what does your role generally see you doing within the Party?

It's great fun but also a huge challenge. With this job I don't think it's possible to ever clear the in-tray. No matter how many hours I put in,there's always something left over to do! The first thing I did was to set up the new UKIP members forum at If we can get members communicating with each other, they'll feel part of a team and able to share campaign ideas. A lot of my job is admin and dealing with the publiuc, Party members and branches- and that can be answering questions, resolving disputes, dealing with complaints or persuading members who are upset to give us another try! I now take the minutes at the NEC meetings. Next we need to make more use of email to keep Party members informed of what is going on in UKIP. As a free way of publicising UKIP, I'm planning to produce an e-flyer which we can email to all members and ask them to forward it to any friends, family and colleagues who might be interested in UKIP.

In what ways do you believe UKIP's policies are relevant to young people?

Young people are less likely to go out and vote so they're often accused of not caring about the Country. Nothing could be further from the truth; they care about issues more than Party politics. We have the perfect policy for that! We believe the public should be trusted to decide key issues in a referendum. Let's start to trust young people. Let's give them a chance for their vote to make a real difference!

What role do you see Young Independence having in the Party?

The first time I spoke at Conference I was 21. There were only two other members there under the age of thirty. Today, we have an immensely talented set of young people coming through the Party. I want to see YI bringing fresh drive and enthusiasm to the Party, new ideas and a real sense of purpose.

You yourself gave a fantastic speech at the Party Conference in Bournemouth, but what were your highlights?

Firstly, hearing Bob Spink for the first time. Who'd have thought a year ago that we'd have a UKIP MP addressing conference? Secondly, I realised just how much influence YI now has within the Party. We now have the Party Chairman, General Secretary, NEC member, PPC's and six candidates for the 2009 European Elections 2009 as well as an impressive array of public speakers who really stole the show.

How do you think UKIP can build upon our success in 2004 in this year's European Election?

We'll knock on as many doors as we can, but the key is fundraising. We need Billboards, advertising, a far greater internet presence and a simple message that resonates with the voters. The European elections are based on a single issue, the EU, which is unpopular with voters. If you like the EU , you can vote Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem or Green. If you don't like the EU, therre's only one show in town:UKIP

Interviewed by Michael Heaver.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...