Friday, 5 November 2010

Nigel Farage is the new UKIP leader (again)

The votes have been counted and Nigel Farage was duly elected leader of UKIP today by the membership.

Was it ever going to be a different result?  No.  Was such a convincing victory expected?  Yes.  The only surprise for me was David Campbell Bannerman coming in third behind Tim Congdon but I guess I underestimated the negative effect the Question Time d├ębacle would have on DCB's popularity.

The final results were as follows:

Nigel Farage: 6,085 votes (60.27%)
Tim Congdon: 2,037 (20.18%)
DCB: 1,444 (14.30%)
Winston: 530 (5.25%)

A total of 10,096 votes were cast, which I'm told is over 50% of the voting membership (those with the free membership don't get to vote).  That's better than most local elections!

Just for fun, let's have a look what our new leader would look like if he was elected by proportional representation:

He'd have Nigel Farage's head, torso and arms; Tim Congdon's right leg and feet; DCB's left leg; and Winston's boxing gloves.

Admit it, you're imagining this bizarre parody of the human form stalking Emperor Barosso down the corridors of Strasbourg with a hunting rifle and a bent banana ... or perhaps my fertile imagination is a little too fertile on this occasion.

So where do we go from here?  Nigel's victory was inevitable and for me, it was the best result we could hope for.  Whether you like it or not, Farage is the man most people associate with UKIP and even people who have no interest in politics, no interest in the EU and have never heard of UKIP still know who he is.  We are not a one man band and Farage is certainly not the only talent we have but he is the person the media are interested in, he's the one people vote for and he's the one that an overwhelming majority of the membership want to lead the party.  Politics is about personality more than policy these days and that's something he isn't lacking in.

Whether you voted for Nigel, for DCB, Congdon or Winston, now is the time to get behind our new leader and make a difference.  Ordinary Conservatives are spitting feathers over the repeated betrayal on the EU by Cast Iron Dave.  Only yesterday I was talking to a former UKIPper who left for the Tories and has now realised that UKIP is the only place for eurosceptics and rejoined, bringing two Tories with him.  Lifelong supporters of the Tories are disillusioned with the europhile leadership of their party and are turning to UKIP as the only credible alternative to the unholy trinity of Cameron, Clegg and Clarke, the arch eurofederalists.  Even the guys over at Conservative Home seem to struggle to find something positive to say about Cameron when he's caving in to the EU on an almost daily basis.

Lib Dems are wandering around aimlessly wondering what the hell is going on.  Are they Conservatives now or are they Liberals?  Whether they were Liberals in the first place is debatable but they certainly don't know who they are now, having sold out on pretty much every principle and election pledge they had just to hang off Cast Iron Dave's coat tails.

And Labour.  What can we say about Labour?  They've gone from the heady heights of the Blair era when they seemed like they'd be in power forever and everything they touched turned to gold (it turned out to be fools gold but fools gold is better than no gold and a pile of worthless euros, isn't that right Gordon?) to electoral irrelevance, lacking vision and drive.  So desperate are they for some publicity that they're even criticising Cameron for caving in to the EU!

We have a real chance right now of capitalising on the disaffection amongst the members and supporters of the LibLabCon parties.  They are quite rightly asking why they should continue to support a party that has abandoned its principles over not just the EU but on civil liberties, the economy and freedom of the individual.  The truth is, there is only one party in this country that is committed to freedom of the individual, low taxes, small government and the right of this country to govern itself and that party is UKIP.

But we're not going to attract these people if they see infighting, disorganisation and unhappiness amongst the membership so put a smile on your face and get behind our new leader.  He made us some promises if we elected him; the membership has kept up its side of the bargain so let's give him the opportunity and support he needs to make good on those promises.