Saturday, 31 March 2012

English Democrats collapse in London

The England Watch blog has been looking at the English Democrats' efforts in the London elections ... or rather the lack of effort.

The EDP have been desperately trying to find people to put themselves forward as a candidate:
... we need to stand over 374 candidates, so even if you wouldn’t be able to do any more than just put your nomination papers in, and would therefore stand just as a paper candidate, please do let us know if you would be willing to do this to help us to get a Party Election Broadcast across England
This time round the EDP are standing only one candidate in the super constituencies: former BNP member, Mark Twiddy.  Last time they put forward 13 candidates.  In 2008 they put up 24 London-wide candidates, this time they've got 8 - one is a former senior BNP member and another is an EDL supporter.  Last time they sort of had a candidate for mayor in Fathers4Justice leader Matt O'Connor who resigned from the party at the eleventh hour because of their dishonesty and chronic incompetence.  This time they have no mayoral candidate.  Last time they had a party election broadcast.  This time they couldn't even scrape together enough paper candidates to qualify for one.

But rather than try and make the best out of a pretty pathetic showing, their London campaign guru, Steve Uncles, is spending most of his time attacking UKIP on his English Pisspot blog.  He has even claimed that independent mayoral candidate, Siobhan Benita, is supporting the English Democrats complete with fabricated quotes and a dodgy photoshopped picture of her with the EDP candidates - surely a breach of Electoral Commission rules and possibly even a criminal offence under the Representation of the People Act 1983?  We'll soon find out, it's been reported to the Electoral Commission this morning and we've informed Benita's campaign manger.  Benita might not be very complimentary towards UKIP but she's yet another victim of the English Democrats' bungling incompetence and dirty tricks.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Two defections to UKIP in Derby

The defections are coming in thick and fast as people of all political persuasions are becoming more and more disillusioned with the LibLabCon.

UKIP Derby has claimed its second scalp in a week with former leader of the Tory group in Derby City Council, Martin du Sautoy, on Tuesday and former Labour, then independent, Councillor Alan Graves today.

The current leader of the Labour group has declared Graves a traitor for "betraying" his constituents in 2009 when he ditched Labour and went independent.  The leader of the Tories don't seem particularly interested but the Lib Dem leader really deserves an award for her comment:
I'm surprised Alan Graves has gone to UKIP because that is quite right wing and I wouldn't expect that from someone who was a Labour councillor.
UKIP is a centre right party with the emphasis on centre.  There's something for everyone in UKIP, that's why Labour and Tory councillors and members are leaving their old parties and joining UKIP.

Galloway wins Bradford West

A shock result in Bradford West last night has returned the Scottish communist Islamist, George Galloway, to parliament.

I'd like to thank my campaign team, Allah
and the voting public of Kashmir for electing me
This is usually a safe Labour seat thanks to the extremely high immigrant population but Galloway has managed to take it from them for the Respect party with a campaign specifically targeted at the muslim vote.  A letter he had distributed to the mosques in Bradford could easily be an application to be declared a good muslim rather than a begging letter for votes.  The Respect rosette's are even a declaration of their Islamist credentials.

But this is how democracy works of course - the people of Bradford have decided that they want a Scottish communist who laments the loss of the Soviet Union, supports repressive regimes guilty of human rights abuses, doesn't even live in Bradford and who is quite happy to stand in any constituency anywhere in the country to get into power.  George Galloway has surely got to be the first communist Islamic fundamentalist to enter parliament and his election last night is a truly worrying development.

Every party except UKIP and Respect lost vote share in the election.  Respect got a massive 52.83% increase over the last election in Bradford West, UKIP a more modest 1.31%.  But when you consider that Labour and the Tories both lost over 20% of their vote and the Lib Dems over 7%, a 1.31% increase for UKIP is actually a pretty big vote of confidence.

The full results were ...

George Galloway (Respect) 18,341 (55.89%, +52.83%)
Imran Hussain (Lab) 8,201 (24.99%, -20.36%)
Jackie Whiteley (C) 2,746 (8.37%, -22.78%)
Jeanette Sunderland (LD) 1,505 (4.59%, -7.08%)
Sonja McNally (UKIP) 1,085 (3.31%, +1.31%)
Dawud Islam (Green) 481 (1.47%, -0.85%)
Neil Craig (D Nats) 344 (1.05%)
Howling Laud Hope (Loony) 111 (0.34%)

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Garry Bushell and the EU f@#k hotels

Garry Bushell paid a visit to Brussells with Paul Nuttall and a man with a camera to check out the EU's favourite "f**k hotel".  There's no way of linking to the individual article on his blog so I'm sure he won't mind us reproducing it here.  It contains some naughty words and adult themes as they say on the telly but it's a great read.
March 24.While I was in Belgium, I paid a visit to the European Parliament. Now I’m as sceptical about The Project as the next man, as long as the next man is Nigel Farage, but even I was shocked by what I saw inside the belly of the beast. Here is my Brussels diary:

There is a dirty sexy secret lurking alongside the dull and respectable facade of the European Union. Two hotels in easy walking distance of the Brussels Parliament provide short-term rooms to rent for grubby encounters. It costs £21 to hire a room for two hours in Studio Intime in Parnassusstraat – and nobody books one to sleep. Inside the air is heavily perfumed and cupids adorn the walls; outside the canopy is blue with yellow stars mirroring the European Union flag. The two establishments known locally as “fuck hotels” are used largely by EU staff for afternoon delights. Over an hour long period, I watched three couples leave and walk back to work in the lavish Parliamentary building less than fifty yards away. Studio Intime is open about its purposes, advertising its services as providing “rendezvous rooms in Brussels...totally intimate.” Nine different rooms are available from 9am until midnight. The ad promises “complete discretion, impeccable rooms with showers”.

These fuck hotels are an open secret within Parliament. But when you consider the many official perks on offer here you might conclude that tax-payers are the ones getting properly screwed. The children of EU civil servants get free private education, they pay tax at special low rates and they get preferential mortgage rates from banks. The first car they buy is VAT free. Staff can smoke in their offices and bars, where the booze, like the coffee and the high-quality canteen food is subsidised. Half a lager costs you £1 and you can have it for breakfast. The Parliament has a brand new massage parlour, a state of the arts gym, and two saunas.

The masseuse is Melody Fortuna, a beautician whose tasteful promotional picture features her naked bathing in milk she has poured from a stein: Despite the beauty treatment studio being called “POKEuroparl”, there is no suggestion that anything underhand is available here. But has milk ever looked sexier? Talk about Watch out there’s a Hump about...

The Brussels Parliament is bigger than the grandest Las Vegas hotel, but depressingly soulless; the labyrinthine nature of the building perhaps mirroring the baffling complexity of the institution. Inside, the carpets, like the corridor walls, are uniformly as grey as a ghost. The building’s nine bars appear to be thriving though. At 3pm on a Monday I watched a merry group of eight demolish several bottles of champagne. They were interpreters, all on a little under 1,000 Euros a day. In the EU, you get to say “Cheers!” in twenty-three different languages...

The gender imbalance is hard to avoid. Civil service figures reveal that 80 per cent of the younger staff are female, while 70 per cent of the oldest are male. The atmosphere is sexually charged and affairs are rife. “Conversation is how much they get paid and how they get laid,” shrugs a cynical barman. In the EU’s second seat, in Strasbourg, open smoking in the MEPs’ bar is allowed. In Brussels, smokers are supposed to use smoking shelters, which are sited bizarrely inside and are wide open, so that the smoke drifts out anyway. But MEPs who choose to light up at the tables instead go unpunished.

My investigation unearthed a staggering catalogue of waste, privilege, and double standards. More than 1,000 EU officials earn more than David Cameron, who is on £142,000 a year. Civil servants are big earners too. Those in the highest pay grade take home more in a month – £15,482 - than a British nurse earns in a year. Four in every ten are on more than £70K a year – for working a 37 hour week. In Britain, the MPs expenses scandal shocked the nation; but MEPs have it much easier. They don’t need to claim expenses, they all receive a monthly allowance of just over £3,000 – no receipts required. There are 754 MEPs who in addition to their hefty salaries get £237 a day just for signing in; many sign in and disappear. “No-one ever checks,” one tells me. They have chauffeur-driven limousines laid on for them at a cost of £4.25million a year; all drivers sign a confidentiality clause “guaranteeing absolute discretion.” It’s unclear where they are taking them however because, as debates on YouTube show, the chamber is usually empty. The only place you will see it full is in filmed footage inside the recently opened Parliamentarium – a plush visitors’ centre built at a cost of £18million which is devoted to plugging the EU. The centre is as bizarre as it is deserted. One wall, more than 100 yards long, is covered in historical pictures which bafflingly include minor British pop stars Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Another long wall displays head-shots of MEPs. A third room boats an array of furniture and flat film footage of the sea and various citizens. It’s like Armchair Theatre for the lobotomised. But on the plus side, visiting school-kids do get the chance to role-play at being MEPs.

The EU has also given the go-head for a House Of European History at a cost of £137million to “promote an awareness of European identity.” Its history will begin in 1946 so it does not include World War Two – known here as “the European Civil War.” They don’t want to upset the Germans.

The Eurozone crisis may be sparking chaos across southern Europe but in the EU the spending never stops. Arguably the biggest waste is Strasbourg. Each month staff and MEPs pack up and commute to eastern France. This “travelling circus” costs £135million a year. But the arrangement, thought up to symbolise French-German friendship, brings so much money into Strasbourg the French won’t allow it to stop. The third seat in Luxembourg has two debating chambers that have never been used and more than 3,000 permanent staff. Their new HQ, with sports facilities and a swimming pool, cost £716million to build.

While the EU lectures member states about austerity and cutting their budgets, they’re merrily raising theirs. The thought of economising never seems to cross their minds. When van Rompuy and Commission President José Barroso flew to China last year, they went in separate jets. This place is the biggest organised racket since the Kray Twins – and vastly more lucrative. “Life in the Brussels bubble is completely cut off from the reality of life outside,” Scouse UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall tells me. But sensitive to mounting criticism, the EU pays news agency AFB to pump out pro-EU propaganda. In 2008, they also launched a European parliament TV channel which costs £7million a year to run and has 830 viewers a day. The total cost of pro-EU propaganda is £2.02 billion per year, according to research by reform group New Direction. The BBC has benefited from low interest loans from the European Investment Bank. And the EU look after their own. Two British MEPs who lost their seats in 2009 were given jobs working for van Rompuy. The EU also gifts money to professors to undertake ‘research on the EU’; many of these Jean Monnet professors teach European studies at UK universities. Their classes are of course uncritical.

THE European Commission, a short walk from the Parliament, is the real seat of power. 5,000 laws a year are passed but only one in five appears before MEPs, the rest go through as directives and decrees. “The Parliament is democratic facade, a confidence trick,” says Nuttall. “Article 17, paragraph 2 states that the Commission has the sole right of legislative proposal. If MEPs make amendments, the Commission has the power to insist on a unanimous decision.” Yet rules and regulations don’t seem to apply to the EU themselves. Despite passing laws to force down greenhouse gas emissions, they ignore the fact that travelling to Strasbourg creates an extra 18,884 tonnes of CO2 per year. Similarly despite their energy saving policies, the large neon sign on the Paliamentarium building is left on all night, even though there is no-one to see it and no passing traffic. More disturbing is the revelation that Eurocrats are breeding. It is estimated that around one in eight civil servants are second generation, a small but rising number are third generation. They are becoming a hereditary class. Rebel Euro-sceptic MEP Godfrey Bloom says: “Nothing prepares you for the reality, the waste, the remoteness of it all. When I first arrived in 2004, I was saddened and sickened by what I found.” “It’s the death of democracy – at your expense,” says Nuttall. “EU membership costs the British tax-payer £50million per day. If people knew what was going on here, they would be up in arms.” If you support a British referendum on EU membership, sign up here.

There is another, dearer ‘fuck hotel’ called the Treviso on Place Stephanie which is used by the more well-heeled Eurocrats. This one rents out its rather more glamorous, brothel-style rooms at a hefty £66 an hour. Its promotional material tempts would be adulterers with a promise of "room service and discretion assured." Anne De Schepper, the hotel's manager, said that EU officials prefer to book out rooms over their long lunch breaks. “Eurocrats are 80 per cent of our business,” she revealed. “We are busiest at lunch time, followed by early evening in between the end of office hours and the time people need to get back to their homes.” She added: “Unlike the traditional hotel industry, we have not experienced the economic crisis thanks largely to the Europeans in Brussels.”

Euro Facts: EU security bosses recently issued a memo warning that middle-aged Eurocrat adulterers were being targeted by Mata Hari style interns who were said to be trading sex for EU secrets. They said they were easy prey for the "pretty trainee with the long legs and the blonde hair."

Reports by the Parliament’s internal auditor leaked last year revealed that EU staff are allowed to authorise their own expenses and pay allowances to family members. The auditor, British accountant Robert Galvin, found serious problems with the way “personal entitlements” and perks, worth more than £81 million a year, are being paid to civil servants. His investigation, kept secret from most MEPs, revealed multiple examples of officials being paid twice for the same thing or claiming allowances they were not entitled over a three year period. Cash is paid without proof of “eligibility of costs” or any proper audit checks that the money is spent properly. Rule-breaking is common. The reports also found “critical” irregularities and conflicts of interest concerning procurement contracts worth more than £600 million a year. Marta Andreasen, the former whistle-blowing European Commission chief accountant, said: “The parliament’s bureaucracy operates with a total lack of transparency, which is how it gets away with these irregularities.”

Euro Stats: Total number of staff employed by EU: 6684. Of whom, 5540 are civil servants, 129 are temps and 1015 work for political groups.

As well as Brussels, I visited the beautiful Black Forest with my band, and Bologna, one of the mainstays of the Italian Oi and Punk scenes, as part of my signing tour for the Dance Craze book (both trips reported on the Gonads blog). Here I noticed teenage skinheads with ‘Oi’ tattooed on one arm and the hammer and sickle on the other – a sight to blow the minds of the UK media who, to a sheep, are happy to write off skins and streetpunk as exclusively rightwing phenomena. They were never that in 1980/81 and they aren’t now.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Two opinion polls

Another couple of opinion polls are out today - YouGov are putting UKIP on 6% and ComRes at 3%.

YouGov's results are as follows:
Lib Dem9%

And ComRes:
Lib Dem6%

YouGov's figures are much higher than ComRes because YouGov don't include people who are undecided or say they won't vote and of course YouGov's numbers rarely add up.  While YouGov have a pretty good success rate of predicting LibLabCon results, Survation are generally better at predicting election results for all parties.  Perhaps this is why YouGov only include the LibLabCon in their headlines?

There is a Populus poll out today for the Times as well but it's behind the paywall and Populus aren't publishing it on their website.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

UKIP on 8% in Survation/Daily Mail poll

Polling company Survation has UKIP firmly in fourth place on 8%, just 3% behind the Lib Dems.

The poll for the Daily Mail isn't available on the Survation website yet so we don't know whether this is a backlash against the so-called "granny tax", the EU attacks on the city with the GLA elections looming or just a continuation of UKIP's excellent polling performance in the last year or so.  Votes for "other" amount to only 11%.

Survation and Angus Reid recognise UKIP's place in mainstream politics and its consistent polling results and put the party on a par with the LibLabCon, leaving only YouGov in the major polling companies that persist in maintaining the myth of the three party state.

More on this when the data tables are available.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Another Tory defects to UKIP

South Oxfordshire District Councillor, Christopher Quinton, has defected from the Tories to UKIP in protest at their stance on same sex marriage and the wearing of crucifixes in the workplace.

Councillor Quinton owns technology investment company Quincom and represents the Woodcote ward in the Chilterns.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Two more Tories defect to UKIP

Councillors Tom and Catherine Bursnall defected from the Tories to UKIP on Wednesday.

Catherine is a former Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead.

Although UKIP's policy of leaving the EU was important to them, they both said "The Conservative party is no longer the party for the aspirational 'go getter'; no longer the moral crusader for a lower taxed nation; and no longer the party that trumps meritocracy over political gesture".

People are increasingly turning to UKIP because they see the party as the true opposition to the LibLabCon circus.  They're attracted to all the party's policies, not just the one for getting us out of the EU.

UKIP Scotland Spring Gathering

UKIP Scotland holds its Spring Gathering tomorrow at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange.

The Spring Gathering is open to members of the public as well as UKIP members so if you're not a member but you're interested to hear what UKIP has to say, why not pop along for a listen?

UKIP Leader, Nigel Farage and Deputy Leader, Paul Nuttall, are both speaking at the Spring Gathering, as is Young Independence Chairman, Harry Aldridge.

A live feed of the Spring Gathering will be on the UKIP website.

Monday, 19 March 2012

British government proposing PFI on English roads

David Cameron's announcement today that the British government is planning to lease English roads to foreign companies as part of a new PFI scheme.

£11 down, £71,799,989 to go
The idea is that strategic roads will be leased to companies on a long term leases and in exchange they will get a share of road tax to pay for repairs and improvements.  New roads will probably be toll roads but he's given us a Cast Iron Guarantee™ that tolls won't be applied to existing roads.

The average interest rate on PFI deals is 8.5% but the British government can borrow money at an average of only 4%.  PFI is poor value for the taxpayer so why would they choose PFI over a "cheap" loan?  Because PFI is an off-book loan.  It doesn't appear on the balance sheet so it covers up the extent of their unsustainable, unfunded borrowing.

Instead of borrowing money to pay someone to maintain our roads, how about getting some of the 2.67m people who are capable of work but don't have a job to work on road crews?  They're being paid for doing nothing at the moment, it's not unreasonable to expect them to give something back to society in exchange for their benefits.

This will no doubt be denounced by left wingers who see being paid not to work as a right rather than a privilege but it's a win-win suggestion.  People who are out of work long term start to lose their work ethic and self-esteem and their skills quickly get out of date.  Get them working, give them on-the-job training, teach them practical skills and help them to get a job and start supporting themselves.

Meanwhile, all this work that needs doing that we apparently can't afford to pay for can be done.  You won't need a 4x4 to drive to the supermarket, grass verges won't look like meadows and the ground won't be carpeted in bottles, cans and food wrappers.

The British government is always talking about responsibility so how about some responsible management of the economy from them and some individual responsibility from the population?

As for the idea of toll roads: just look at the M6 toll road as an example of how people feel about the idea of paying to build a road, paying to maintain it and then paying for the privilege of driving on it.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Argentina threans legal action against Falklands companies

Argentina is stepping up its (currently) non-violent attacks on the Falkland Islands with a threat of legal sanctions against oil exploration companies operating in Falklands waters.

Argentina signed up to the 4th Geneva Convention in 1956 which bans collective punishment in times of war, where war has not yet been declared and during occupation. In blocking Falklands flagged ships from ports in South America, harassing Falklands flagged boats and now threatening spurious legal actions against the lawful activities of companies in the Falklands' sovereign territory, Argentina is conducting war against the Falklands and by extension, the UK. The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is considered an illegal collective punishment, the Argentine blockade of the Falklands is surely equally so?

It's time the British government grew a pair and told Argentina to make a move and reap the consequences or stop trying to bully the Falkland Islanders.

Friday, 16 March 2012

UKIP polling 3rd in London - LibDems joint 4th.

UKIPers should be jubilant and LibDems extremely jittery in equal measures tonight - this YouGov poll shows UKIP in third place in London with 7%, while Nick Clegg's party are duking it out with the Green Party for fourth.

The trio of Livingston/Johnson/Paddick all over again was not ever going to inspire. In addition there are two huge differences between now and 2008: a) we're in the era of Coalition whereby the LibDems are now viewed as establishment poodles rather than a viable third party choice and b) that UKIP have seriously got wind behind their sails and are a Party that is in a more professional state than ever before.

Could the LibDems come 5th? Possibly. But one thing I'm more sure of - UKIP will have representation on the Greater London Assembly after May. Whoever the Mayor is, having UKIP GLAs could spice things up a bit. Just like Farage and Co. have done in the European Parliament.

Cameron insults the wider Anglosphere with yet more 'Special Relationship' guff

According to a report in the Metro on David Cameron's ongoing visit to the United States:

"The prime minister was treated to a 19-gun salute, a review of the troops and marching fifers in colonial-era uniforms as 7,000 guests gathered to hear Mr Cameron describe the two countries as the 'united states of liberty and enterprise'."

Ah! That well-known 'Special Relationship'. 

British Prime Minister's come cheap, obviously. Just throw on a few syrupy, meaningless words, a trip on Air force One and you can take what you please. 
Uneven extradition treaties? Certainly Sir!
Whip up xenophobic hatred against a non-existent company called 'British Petroleum'? We understand!
Pressure the UK over the sovereignty of 'Las Malvinas'? No problem!

The myth of the Special Relationship is a very English Upper Class construct. Like all the best English Gentlemen's clubs, membership is designed not just to admit like minded chaps but also to specifically exclude those who aspire to join but just can't quite make the grade.

Having had to grudgingly admit the reality of American supremacy, but deeply infected with 'Top Table Syndrome', British politicians turned their backs on the reality of Anglosphere common culture in favour of a quite artificial  exclusive relationship. 
The 'Special Relationship' is the other side of the coin to our membership of the European Union. The paradox of both is  that  they bolstered feelings of political superiority at the same time as  substantially weakening our position internationally. We have become enslaved to both, whereas if we had kept our independence and nurtured our Commonwealth links we would now be a proud, free maritime trading nation. Not a nation politically at the top table, perhaps, but one with more freedom, more wealth and  a much, much  surer sense of our own identity.

There is, alas, no end in sight to this embarassing pantomine, or to the gratuitous insults we throw at those Anglosphere cousins we have 'blackballed' from our silly club. Presumably Cameron would have us believe they don't value liberty or enterprise the way the United States and Britain do.
It amazes me they still want to deal with us at all. Perhaps they do so out of pity.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Cameroon tokenism is busting his Party open.

When Tory MPs are blasting their own Party Chairman as the "worse ever", then you have a problem.

Of course the Cameroon virus is about promoting women and non-white faces not on merit, but in the name of 'diversity' for the sake of it.

That has led the the rapid promotion of Baroness Warsi, who recently got hammered by Tory MPs after her treatment of Roger Helmer, who of course defected to UKIP at the Party's Spring Conference.

This is what happens when a 'Notting Hill' cartel takes over your Party with a focus on political correctness and metropolitan feel-goodness, instead of focusing on the promotion of quality, principle and true conservatism.

With the A-list, all-women shortlists and other patronising measures now becoming common practise within the Tory Party, expect annoyance to grow on their backbenches. After decades as a Tory, Roger Helmer finally turned his back and became a UKIPer. It looks increasingly as if he will be followed by many, many more.

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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Real Bigots Are Those Who Label UKIP “Far Right”

As a young Jewish man, and a passionate believer in the virtues of a liberal, democratic and pluralistic society, I am abhorred by the claims made by Mathew Goodwin in the course of his defence of his decision to include UKIP members as a control group in his study on attitudes to violence and the far right. 
First, Goodwin defends his inclusion of UKIP by explaining that the authors of the report wanted a control group to the right of Cameron’s conservatives. Ed West, writing for the Telegraph, has already made the suggestion that surely a better control group would have been just an ordinary cross-section of British society. Nevertheless, it is my own submission that if Goodwin had wanted a control group “right of Cameron’s Conservatives”, I see no reason why he shouldn’t have just interviewed ordinary members of the Conservative party most of whom are much more right wing than Cameron who is frequently criticized by Tories as being a moderate, centrist, “heir to Blair” figure. 
Nevertheless, Goodwin makes the fair point that he never claimed UKIP is a party associated with violence and he points out that the assertion of UKIP’s leadership that it is opposed to extremism and violence is “backed up by our own data”. 
So how does Goodwin justify his suggestion that UKIP shares more with the far right than it admits? Given by his own admission UKIP members do not lust after violence, he does so by claiming that the party has “considerable policy overlaps with the extreme right”. Here is where Goodwin’s argument becomes disingenuous, warped and extremely offensive to members of UKIP such as myself who are members of minority communities.
The BNP are self-evidently right wing nutters: the leadership meets the KKK, have denied the holocaust and, until stopped by the courts, left membership of the party only to indigenous white Brits. Many of the BNP’s supporters are neo-Nazi skinheads and this is all a million miles away from UKIP. 
Yet Goodwin argues that UKIP’s sensible policy on immigration which is designed to promote liberal values overlaps with the BNP’s white supremacist policies. 
Goodwin quotes the UKIP policy of ending uncontrolled immigration as being overlapping with the extreme right. But surely wanting controlled immigration is not an unusual view at all after the unprecedentedhigh levels of immigration seen under New Labour? I myself, for example, believe immigration should be controlled with regards to the brain drain which many academics claim has led to the NHS stealing doctors and nurses from poor African countries where they were trained. Furthermore, Goodwin also claims that there is overlap in terms of the policy of wanting the “expulsion of illegal immigrants”. I cannot possibly see how this view is extreme.   
Yet there is one policy which Goodwin claims does not just overlap with the far right but is in fact a “radical right pitch to voters” and that is: ending multiculturalism. Here we spot the fundamental flaw in Goodwin’s paper and that is that “far right” is never properly defined. Being far right is innately a bad thing as far as Goodwin is concerned. This is evident in his description as UKIP as being “alongside the more toxic extreme right” implying that there is a less toxic, but albeit toxic category UKIP falls into. 
While I too would of course agree that far right politics is detestable, my own definition of “fair right” must be different, and in my view, more sensible, and I can demonstrate this in my support for UKIP’s allegedly extreme right policy on multiculturalism. Incidentally, I would argue that the Prime Minister agrees with UKIP on this given that he has said state multiculturalism has failed. 
UKIP is a libertarian party and British classical liberalism emphasises not trying to promote diversity but rather favours a policy of merely tolerating minority groups. That we don’t believe in throwing money at quangos or encouraging positive discrimination in order to achieve the successful integration of minority groups into British society is all that this policy is about. UKIP has long ago scrapped a silly French-style ban the burqa policy.
Indeed, UKIP is a liberal nationalist party in the British libertarian tradition. It is about preserving a nation-state which is tolerant towards minority groups and will not allow society to fragment. After all, a lack of social cohesion hurts minority groups the most. The narrative Goodwin paints is a clear smear against UKIP and it does not stand up to scrutiny. The real victims of this affair will be my Asian, black, and other friends in UKIP who are from minority backgrounds, and who will be looked down upon because others have deeply misunderstood their political beliefs.
Julien Conway is Director of UKIP Friends of Israel and a student of Law at Southampton University. Tweet: @JulienConway

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Scotland will never be independent under Salmond

Whether you like or agree with Alex Salmond, you can't deny that the man is a political genius.

It took the SNP 73 years to come to power in Scotland, having been formed in 1934 and finally winning a majority in the Scottish Parliament they were instrumental in bringing into being in 2007.  The SNP under Alex Salmond has gone from strength to strength and their success shows no signs of abating.

Salmond has managed to convince a sizeable proportion of the Scottish population that Scotland would be better off out of the UK.  He's convinced them that the Bank of England will continue to use English taxes to bail them out when they get into trouble and he's convinced them that Scotland will be financially secure for all time living off the proceeds of windmills and what's left of north sea oil and gas (conveniently ignoring the fact that a lot of it is under expropriated English waters).

He's convinced them of a lot of things, including the idea that leaving a union in which they have a disproportionate amount of power and influence and joining another union in which they will be a political and economic insignificance is a better future for their nation - the EU.

Personally, I don't care if Scotland declares independence if that's what the Scots decide to do - it's their country and their decision.  I'm English, not British, and my country would be infinitely better off without the burden of financially supporting the rest of the union and having to pander to increasingly demanding celts.  However, the Scots should be going into this with their eyes open and not under the mistaken impression that their bills will continue to be paid for them, that they can pick and choose the terms of our divorce and that independence within the EU is anything but.

Salmond is still making a big assumption that Scotland will automatically qualify for EU membership and that they will be able to dictate the terms of their relationship the EU just as they have with England.  He has previously said that an independent Scotland will keep the pound with the Bank of England staying on as the central bank and lender of last resort (England, Wales and NI apparently don't have a say in this in Salmond's private little universe) but of course any nation joining the EU now has to adopt the failing single currency.

He says "Of the 10 countries that joined the European Union in 2004, a majority have become independent since 1990, and Scotland is bigger than six of them.  Each and every one of these nations now has a seat at Europe’s top table: a right they cherish – a right Scotland too should embrace".  But here's the thing: the EU has already said that there is no automatic right of membership for Scotland if it leaves the UK but the SNP continues to base Scotland's future on membership of the EU which it has no automatic right to and which it will have to negotiate from the weakest possible position, having told the world that it has no plans for the future that don't involve joining.

If Scotland wants automatic membership of the EU then they need to hold out for a complete dissolution of the British union where the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties would apply and Scotland could choose to take on the UK's membership as successor state.  That would certainly suit the majority of English people who want out of the EU and the majority of Scots who want to stay in it.  The only people who would be disappointed would be the europhile minority in England, the eurosceptic minority in Scotland and British nationalist minority on both sides of the border.

All of this is a little academic because Scotland won't vote for independence but the more rope Alex Salmond is given, the more his europhillia hangs him.

Men's Rights - a huge opportunity for UKIP

Last week was International Women's Day, with all it's dreary and predictable sex war references, and trendy male commentators delivering paens of praise for women in a rather outdated, patronising tone.

Outdated, of course, because no one who hasn't living on the Moon (or at least Saudi Arabia) for the past 20 years can fail to have noticed that women, who long ago achieved equality before law with men, are fast becoming the dominant sex in society, if indeed they haven't already done so.

The reasons for this are many and varied: some good, such as equality before the law for women and a step change in the perception society has of female capabilities; some morally neutral, such as seemingly deterministic economic forces that have increased opportunities for many women and decreased those for many men;  and some bad, such as the low esteem male sexuality (or at least male heterosexuality) is now held in some sections of society.

Year by year the gender pay gap, that totem beloved by the media in its relentless stoking of the sex war, shrinks and has now gone into reverse for women in their 20s. Its likely disappearance and total reversal in the next few years will no doubt be heralded in triumphalist or mournful tones, depending on where you stand,  and the birth of a new matriarchal, feminised society declared.

The clamour for recognising men's rights, already starting, most notably championed by Tory MP Dominic Raab, and can only get louder. UKIP cannot afford to ignore the issue any longer.

It goes without saying the first thing to do is analyse why, in general terms,  men often get a raw deal in society and what can be done about it.

To my mind there are two overarching reasons for this, one political, and one cultural.

The political problem men face is entwined with the rise of the Political Class, career politician. Obsessed as they are by modern day polling, they are very aware that women vote in larger numbers than men, and are more likely to be floating voters. Cleaving as ambitious politicians  do to the centre ground, these are precisely the votes  they perceive they must capture. Women's votes, therefore, are perceived as being more important than men's votes. Moreover, as most politicians are still male, they are acutely aware of charges of sexism or insensitivity to women's issues. Of course it is no bad thing to be sensitive to the needs of those different from yourself, but there is no doubt that in many cases this has allowed the feminist movement to advance a weak intellectual case in  policy areas dealing with equality by cowing and intimidating male politicians.

The second, cultural reason is even more problematic. Here, the otherwise admirable Dominic Raab misses the point in blaming feminist bigotry for many of the cultural  injustices faced by men: he casts his net far too narrowly. Although that is important, the major problem men face is in the appalling level of bigotry and sexism exhibited towards male heterosexuality in Metropolitan Liberal culture generally - the dominant political and media culture of our age.

It is hard to overstate just how narcissistic (or, if you want to be politically correct, 'emotionally literate') Metropolitan liberal culture has now become, as anyone who has spent time in the company of such people can attest. As such, they have a natural bias to those groups in society - women and gay men - who are perceived as being the most emotionally intelligent. Heterosexual men (and also perhaps Lesbians) are by comparison significantly undervalued.

The combination of the feminist obsession with 'independence' from men and the Metropolitan prejudice towards 'emotional literacy' has meant that the traits generally associated with heterosexual male sexuality - the desire to protect and provide for the female and her offspring,  the primacy of reason over emotion in thought, etc - are at best ignored, or at worst held in contempt as primitive or even morally wicked.

Now painfully aware of their declining role in society but not until recently prepared to talk about through fear of appearing unmanly or vunerable. men are now finally starting to face up to their anxieties and grievances on gender issues. A political party such as UKIP which  was prepared to highlight these issues - in a responsible, non-divisive way - and champion male sexuality in a way consistent with its Libertarian principles would undoubtedly reap enormous dividends - and not just from men: most women have no wish to see men marginalised in society.

One such issue, is of course the issue of the gender pay gap itself: a Libertarian party such as UKIP should not be afraid to say what most politicians are terrified of saying - namely that is a free society where people make free choices, it is impossible to know what disparities in outcome there should be between the sexes. Moreover, it is deeply immoral and authoritarian for politicians to try determine what the 'correct' outcomes should be. Nigel Farage has already spoken out on this issue, but it needs to be given a much higher profile.

Another area a Libertarian party such as UKIP instinctively understands is that one groups rights cannot be discussed without reference to its impact on the rights of others: too often women have been granted rights such as maternity leave, over-generous divorce settlements or child benefit that effectively nationalises aspects male sexuality: the state has become both husband to the woman and father to her children. This is because another great political incorrect truth of our times is that men and women are designed to be largely interdependent, rather than independent of each other: thus it makes sense that men's and women's rights should always be discussed together, rather than in isolation, and both are equally as important. A party that has the courage to put forward such a fresh and sophisticated approach  will be listened to by both sexes.

Finally, on a lighter note, UKIP perhaps has a natural advantage in that it perhaps perceived to be the most traditionally masculine of the four main political parties. The other three main parties, lead as they are by rather effete metropolitan metrosexuals, will never naturally connect as well or as convincingly with the average man as Nigel Farage or Paul Nuttall will. I can't see Mr. Farage becoming a house husband any time soon.

David Cameron and Top Table Syndrome

Lately we have heard much wailing from conservative commentators on the blogosphere about David Cameron: why does he take the strange and seemingly perverse decisions that he does? Does he really have any beliefs, or a strategy to fulfill them?

Only yesterday, Tim Montgomerie, writing in the New Statesman of all places,  called David Cameron "one of the most disappointing Conservative leaders". Likewise a perplexed Ed West in the Telegraph almost gloated about an impending Tory defeat in 2015, adding in a clearly perplexed tone:

"[I] don’t understand the party’s strategy of targeting the high-hanging fruit of metropolitan liberals, the sort of people who will never vote Conservative, while the core vote drifts off to Ukip."
 Mr. West is looking in the wrong direction: it is not a matter of strategy, but of personal psychology. 

It is both unfair and simplistic to state that Cameron makes such poor political decisions because he is "privileged". True, life has brought him great privilege in some areas, but also terrible misfortune in others, having suffered in his family life in ways that most of us can barely dare to think about. No, the reason Mr. Cameron thinks and acts as he does is because he possesses a psychological trait very common in people of his background.

Let us call it "Top Table Syndrome".

From a very early age, Cameron has been inculcated by his education and upbringing that a place in the first division was not only his by rite but by necessity. Brought up told that he was 'born to lead', his is the ultimate Establishment background: Eton, Oxford (1st Class honours), Tory Party leader then Prime Minister. Rarely has he failed to hit the mark required of him. 
This unquestionably brings with it its political advantages: people often remark how 'natural' leadership appears to him. However, its great weakness is that as an Establishment insider he simply cannot imagine a place outside the elite circles of power and social prestige. 
It is only when you understand that the seemingly often strange mixture of decisions he takes starts to make sense: he exercised an European Union (EU) "veto" to much acclaim, only to backtrack on it when he thought that no one would spot him doing so. Forget the need to placate Nick Clegg - to have held fast would not only have lit up a very large sign called 'EXIT' for the UK's place in the EU but also for his own place at the EU's, and perhaps the world's, top tables of power and influence.

Its the same with his weird obsession with 'gay marriage'. whatever the pros and cons of the subject, the issue does not register on most people's radar screens. It is, however, very much a litmus test for your acceptance in the smartest circles of Metropolitan society: not to have backed it would have risked permanent exclusion from its conclaves.

Hence those Tories who still wish Cameron to undertake radical reform in the areas of the European Union or, say, on issues likely to make him a social pariah in fashionable Metropolitan circles  (for example reform of the BBC) are very likely to be disappointed. Cameron will only countenance radical reform in areas  where his own elite political and social status is not threatened. Tony Blair (Fettes and Oxford) was exactly the same, often talking of hard choices but rarely if ever making them.

In fact, this desperate need to appear at the very top  is a pervasive cultural influence within our elite and arguably the primary reason behind every major British foreign policy disaster made since the war: Suez, Iraq, and, of course, membership of the EU. In 2006, the journalist Brian Walden recounted a discussion with two British MPs prior to Britain's entry in the then Common Market:

"Let me tell you of something that happened to me 40 years ago. We weren't then in the Common Market and I was talking to two MPs, one of whom was in favour of joining, the other was against. In the hope of being conciliatory I rather jokingly suggested that we might apply for associate membership, which would give us the economic benefits, but no political obligations or control.
The absence of political control shocked my colleagues. Both of them turned on me like tigers. And then one of them said something very significant. He said "Britain's place is and always must be at the top table."

Top Table Syndrome is also the reason behind the ridiculous myth of a exclusive "Special Relationship" with the United States. Almost completely without historical foundation, the concept was, and is, deeply hurtful and offensive to other Anglosphere countries, especially Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which arguably we are culturally closer to than America and who have made a far more altruistic sacrifice on our behalf. Our desperation to cling to this delusion  has often made us seem like a lapdog, and has had led to  abominations such as US-UK extradition treaty and the grotesque injustice  experienced by Christopher Tappin. Thankfully, the open hostility displayed the current President of the United States towards the UK seems to have finally dispelled the 'Special Relationship' myth, at least for now, but don't be surprised if some fool (almost certainly a Tory fool) infected with Top Table Syndrome doesn't try to resurrect it from the dead in future.

The sobering lesson for UKIP is this: in a society where government is now once again dominated by people with elite Establishment backgrounds similar to Blair's or Cameron's, it will be extremely difficult to get the UK out of the EU. For many such people, no matter how strong the intellectual case becomes, the emotional case for staying in is even stronger. Of course we will be more rich and free, but the elite's place at the top table's of the world will be gone forever, an that for some is too awful a price to contemplate.

The fight is, of course, still very much worth it.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

YouGov's figures don't add up (again)

YouGov is widely regarded as a pretty accurate weathervane for voting intention but how accurate are their results?

They've got a pretty good record of predicting election outcomes (although not as good as Survation) but not necessarily the numbers involved.  And deciphering YouGov's research is an art in itself.

Take their latest voting intentions research as an example: by totting up all the voting intentions they've accounted for 103% of voters.  The "others" voting intention is 12% in the table but the intention by "other" party totals 13%.  That's the sort of maths you normally find in Labour's rotten boroughs where the postal votes have Pakistan post marks on them.

You would ordinarily put the odd few percent down to rounding errors but expressing the LibLabCon/Other headline as a percentage of 100% makes quite a big difference (relatively speaking) to the Labour and Tory voting intention - CON 37%, LAB 42%, LD 8%, Other 12% unrounded and corrected becomes CON 35.9%, LAB 40.7%, LD 7.7%, Other 11.6%.

The difference is even greater as a proportion of the total "other" votes: SNP/PC 4%, UKIP 4%, Green 3%, BNP 1%, Other 1% becomes SNP/PC 3.7%, UKIP 3.7%, Green 2.8%, BNP 0.9%, Other 0.9%.

What really makes the results interesting is if you include the "Don't Know" and "Wouldn't Vote" numbers to get an idea of support for the parties.  The LibLabCon/Other headline changes from CON 37%, LAB 42%, LD 8%, Other 12% to CON 29.1%, LAB 33.1%, LD 6.3%, Other 9.4%.  The "other" vote changes from SNP/PC 4%, UKIP 4%, Green 3%, BNP 1%, Other 1% to SNP/PC 3.1%, UKIP 3.1%, Green 2.4%, BNP 0.8%, Other 0.8%.

By eliminating the rounding errors, the outcome remains the same but the gap does narrow slightly.  As an expression of actual support for the parties, YouGov's results are wildly inaccurate.  The LibLabCon parties are supported by only 70% of the electorate as opposed to 85% of those who are decided and intend to vote.

There's also the question of YouGov's weighting.  Some of the differences in unweighted (what people actually said) and weighted (what YouGov have adjusted) are high which means some of the numbers have a large amount of guesswork or manipulation associated with them.  Most notable of these is the identification with a political party where 89 people who identified with an "other" political party was corrected to just 22.

Until YouGov's maths starts adding up, it's impossible to take their research too seriously.

UKIP Spring Conference, Skegness – A resounding success!

Last weekend a number of local UKIP members travelled to the East Coast for our annual Spring Conference which this year was in the seaside town of Skegness.

I arrived on Friday 2nd March for the free training and policy workshop day after a long car journey from Hayes – Fellow Hillingdon branch member Ray McKennon kept me company (and awake!) on the drive up!

After checking in to our respective B&B’s we set off to the landmark Embassy Theatre on the seafront, the venue for both days of the event.

Taking the Job seriously

UKIP are making large strides forward at the moment, and the National Council are determined to make sure that activists and candidates have access to the tools to drive on to electoral success. The morning session gave a choice of media training, public speaking training, a campaign workshop on how to fight wind farms and two policy workshops – One on the integrated welfare policy whilst the other was on Paul Nuttall’s ‘A Union for the Future’ devolution proposal. I attended the Union for the Future workshop, which was chaired by our Deputy Leader and involved a healthy exchange of views and ideas (I will be penning a further blog shortly on the English Parliament discussions that took place on both days of the conference). I agree with Paul’s policy, and spoke in favour of it during the meeting which got me a pat on the back from Mr Nuttall on the way out - Difficult to believe he is a scouser as  my wallet was still in my back pocket afterwards! (Only joking, boss!)

Lunch was convened at 12.30pm, and in my normal tradition I retired to the bar across the road from the event. Already seated were the familiar figures of press officer Gawain Towler and NEC member Neil Hamilton,who kindly let me join their company and discussion.

We filed back in to the main hall (right) at 2pm, where the next hour and a half saw helpful tips on winning at local level from successful UKIP councillors and party press and media officers. I commented to other Hillingdon branch members later on that this had been a particularly useful part of the day and I picked up a number of ideas that can be incorporated in to future campaigns. This was followed by further workshops before the day was wrapped up at around 5pm.

Gala Dinner

For those who had pre-booked, a gala dinner took place in the evening at the Southview Hotel. Many familiar faces were present, and an excellent dinner was followed by a raffle, auction and music.
Our Hillingdon and Ealing GLA constituency candidate,Helen Knight, was in attendance with her new husband Steve. (Picture left)

It shows real dedication to the cause to talk your new husband in to having your honeymoon at a party conference – Welcome to the club, Steve!

The biggest laugh of the night, however, came during the auction which was hosted by Party Chairman Steve Crowther. One of the members had generously donated a 30 minute light aircraft flight around the Cornish coast – When the bidding reached £90, Party Leader Nigel Farage got up and put a bid in whilst furiously shaking his head, which by this time was in his hands! Who says politicians don’t have a sense of humour?

I retired to the bar around 11pm, where I bumped in to media figure and presenter Jon Gaunt – I have been promising to buy him a drink since we first met at the English Democrats AGM in 2010, yet still managed to fail dismally in this relatively easy task. Maybe next time, Gaunty!

Members of Young Independence were also present in large numbers, some of whom I had initially met on the streets of Feltham during last year’s by-election.

Mingling with them were GLA election candidates including Steve Woolfe, David Coburn,Paul Oakley and Liz Jones.

After a number of interesting conversations, I left at around 1pm to get back to my B&B for the following days events.

Saturday – The Main event

Arriving at around 9.30am, the conference started at 10 with a rousing welcome from Mayor of Skegness, Councillor Steve Kirk who declared his pride in both his town and his country. This was followed by a speech from local party chairman Chris Pain and then Peter Reeve talking about how to win.
The first of the guest speakers followed, with ‘Gaunty’ giving a storming speech to a standing ovation

Professor Tim Congdon came on stage next with a detailed breakdown of the financial reasons of why we are better off out of the EU, which was supposed to have been followed after a coffee break by guest speaker Terry Smith, giving a view from the City of London.

Prof Congdon was full of flu, but bravely soldiered on with his presentation despite being in obvious discomfort. 

When we filed back in, Steve Crowther announced that Mr Smith could not attend and had to regretfully pull out of conference bringing an early visit to the platform for party leader Nigel Farage.

Nigel gave his usual flawless performance, and pointed out the way that our rule of law and in particular Habeus Corpus has been contravened by the recent extradition of Businessman Chris Tappin to the US without evidence being put to an English court by the Americans.  He then introduced to us the newest recruit to the UKIP cause, former Conservative MEP Roger Helmer who defected the previous night. (We had heard whispers at the gala dinner from Twitter, but there had been no confirmation). Mr Helmer proceeded to explain to Conference his reasons for the decision which can be viewed via the following link and should be required information for all those who still think that the Tories are dedicated on either getting us out of the EU or re-negotiating our position within it

A second new recruit was also introduced to us, Alexandra Swann, who had been Deputy Chairman of the youth wing of the Tories,Conservative Future. In many ways,this is an even more significant defection – It proves that UKIP now appeals not just to mine or Roger’s generation, but also to the youth of England whose futures are being betrayed by the old three parties.

This took us in to the lunch break, where a number of  the delegates took advantage of  the meal deal at the venue opposite the Embassy (Pictured right).

Having already had a hearty breakfast at the B&B, I skipped lunch to join in the second debate on Paul Nuttall’s English parliament policy in the Arts Room between 12.45pm and 1.45pm. Paul was joined by my old friend from the CEP (Campaign for an English Parliament) Eddie Bone to put the case for an English Parliament within a federal union, whilst an alternative viewpoint was put forward by John Bufton MEP and Warwick Nicholson, with Neil Hamilton chairing the debate. Similar to the day before, the discussion was spirited and different views were put forward via the floor. One of the pleasing aspects was that everyone, irrespective of which part of the UK they were from, recognised that England has been shabbily treated by devolution and this has to change.
After the debate (left), I managed to get back in to the hall for the start of the afternoon session and Paul Nuttall took the stage to explain how forward looking policies are driving UKIP to the front of the political debate.

He had to cut short his speech to make it to Lincoln for a BBC interview, and was followed by guest speaker Sir Chris Woodhead.

Sir Chris was a former education advisor to the government, and despite being the victim of a degenerative illness that leaves him confined to a wheelchair he gave a moving speech about how the current system has failed our children and how UKIP policy on Grammar schools and Vocational training is in line with his own thinking on how we can turn things around.

The next speaker was, for me, the pick of the day – Godfrey Bloom MEP discussing the way forward for defence. In turn hilarious and enlightening, ‘Godders’ has an irreverent sense of humour behind which lurks a formidable mind. Judge for yourself via the following link

Out of camera shot, Steve Crowther had his head in his hands when Godders’ made his remarks regarding Nick Clegg!

Gerard Batten MEP was next up discussing justice, and in particular the way that our traditional rights and laws are being eroded by the EU. He discussed how a new European Police Force, ‘Europol’, is  being granted powers and how the European Arrest Warrant is being used to deport British Citizens to countries that have a significantly lower level of justice and higher instances of abuse. His new book on the subject, Freedom,Security & Justice? or The creation of a European Union Police State was on sale in the foyer and is a compelling read.

You can order your copy from the UKIP website or via Gerard’s

Peter Adams from UKIP Scotland then came on to discuss the Scottish Independence question and implored the assembled members to assist him and his members in thwarting the plans of Alex Salmond to break the Union. We then broke for tea, and the Hillingdon Branch members in attendence in the main hall (right) popped down to the expo to have a chat with Helen and Steve who had been manning a stall raising funds for the GLA campaign.

It was at this point that I ran in to my old friend from the English Democrats,their former Kent Chairman Laurence Williams. (Left)

It was good to see some of my old colleagues who have realised, as I have, that UKIP is now the only realistic political choice for our country at the conference. I also met former NC member Carole Terzza and Notts activist Giles Farrand during the two days in Skegness and they were similarly enthused about the direction that UKIP is heading in. Over 500 attended on the two days and there were converts in evidence from not just the ED and Conservatives, but also from the Lib-Dem’s, Labour, the Greens and some who have never been involved in politics before but have taken up the UKIP banner to make a difference for their areas and their families.

The Final session

We filed back in at 3.30 pm to see the final speeches. Lisa Duffy gave a presentation on the upcoming GLA elections in London, and the candidates who attended conference were introduced on stage.
This was followed by Lucy Bostick and Harry Aldridge giving the updates from Young Independence, whose numbers have now soared to over 500 and are growing at a rapid rate.
Party Treasurer Stuart Wheeler was the final speaker to come on and explain a new fundraising idea that is getting underway to the members.

A Q&A with the leadership panel was the final spot of the day, with the curtains coming down at around 4.30pm.

The Way Forward

This was my first UKIP Conference, and I must say was a quantum leap forward from what I had been used to previously. First rate guest speakers, great organisation and most impressive of all – A large number of members who were prepared to travel to a venue that is not the easiest to get to and who are all pulling in the same direction despite their vastly differing backgrounds.

I had been told before I joined that UKIP is the ‘embittered right wing of the Conservative party’ and ‘ Like a retirement home for the elderly who can’t accept change’ – Having now seen members from all over the UK  at the conference, nothing could be further from the truth. What I saw was a gathering of likeminded individuals who represent the possibility of a sea change in British politics driven by sheer common sense and love of country and community.

It is time for major change in England, where career politicians are replaced by those who have lived in the real world and can understand the true issues that face our country. I now firmly believe that we are in the first stages of seeing that change, and it will be UKIP that provide it.