Sunday 29 August 2010

Wadda Y'know 'Bout The EU?

Want to know what the European Union is?

Want to know how it works?

Want to keep abreast of EU 'pronouncements' as they happen?

Want to know what all the various institutions and agencies are doing?

Want to keep abreast of all the Directives, Regulations and Opinions that flood our country - with which we have to comply?

Want to really know why we are not a self-governing nation anymore?

Then here is your source.

Councils Allowed To Discriminate On Their Housing Lists?

Conservative Home reports:
"Councils are to be given more power to decide their own waiting list criteria for social housing. Instead of it being entirely "needs based" they would be allowed to take into account those with "local connections" and to reward those who had got off welfare and into work.............So another day and another piece of radical localism from the DCLG"
Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) states:
"It shall combat social exclusion and discrimination............"
Bearing in mind that Member States share competence with the European Union, under Article 4 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in the areas of social policy for the aspects defined in this treaty; that under Article 6 the European Union shall have competence to carry out actions to support, co-ordinate or supplement the actions of Member States in the protection and improvement of human health and culture; bearing in mind also Article 8 which aims to eliminate inequalities; Article 10 in which the European Union aims to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, etc etc ...

It would seem rather unlikely that this idea will come to fruition as it seems it will flounder on the same rock as did Gordon Brown's 'British Jobs for British Workers' - and, pound to a euro, surely an email will land in Shapps inbox along the lines of 'Err, excuse us but ...'

Have the Coalition got themselves into a bit of an 'Eric' here?

Eyes Shut, Ears Blocked and Brains......Err What Brains?

As I believe we all know, Harriet Harman's Equality Act - which received its Royal Assent in April - forces all government departments to undertake an impact assessment on the likely outcomes for ‘protected’ groups in society before implementing policy.

First though allow me to digress......Little Harriet is, as I am sure we all know, on a personal crusade on behalf of women and women's rights, equality etc - as long as she remains 'top dog bitch'. Unfortunately, that does not extend to a level playing field where her husband, Jack Dromey, was seeking a parliamentary seat. The Telegraph reported back in August last year that he was 'being lined up' for a safe Labour seat (another 'digress': do note all her children, the Telegraph reports, have the surname 'Harman' - so much for equality) and the Guardian reported in February this year that Dromey had been shortlisted for a safe Birmingham seat, that previously held by Sion Simon. Note also the opposition he faced from the other three candidates on the short list - two local councillors and one ex-councillor. Contrary to my assertion that a level playing field was not extended in the case of Dromey, it has just crossed my mind that he may well qualify on the basis of being brain-challenged - look at who he chose to marry.........

Anyway, back to the point of this post. One has to ask where the Conservative Party were when this Act was going through Parliament as I do not recall much 'opposition', or noises of dissent, eminating from that quarter.

The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for sexual equality, has deposited papers at the High Court questioning whether the Treasury and related departments met their statutory duty to undertake a gender inequality impact assessment on the provisions of the Budget, on the basis that the bulk of the cuts will affect the minority sections of our society. The High Court is shortly to adjudicate and a decision in favour of the Fawcett Society would create one hell of a headache for the Coalition, who have argued that the budget must be enacted or Britain faces ruin. Also the Coalition cannot say they were not warned as Theresa May, in her position as Minister for Women and Equalities, wrote to George Osborne - and copied to Cameron and others - reminding him of the need to meet the demands of the Equality Act. It is possible that George Osborne, believing that Theresa May was just covering her back, promptly tossed the letter into his bin. No doubt there will be a mad scramble to repeal Harriet's Equality Act, but one has to ask why have the Coalition allowed themselves to be 'cornered' in this way. This would seem to be an example of the classic situation whereby the light was on but no-one was at home!

The irony is that if the Coalition win the day then the cuts will affect all members of society*, including women, the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transexual groups and thus fully (see footnote) comply with the Equality Act - an outcome which I doubt Harriet had considered.

* Well, probably not all sections of society - we must remember that MPs do of course have their perks like cheap food and booze with some of them having their second homes paid for them.

Lest We Forget

Jenny McCartney, in her weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph, has an article subtitled "War veterans must wonder at the use we make of the freedom they fought for" in which she discusses the case of Wendy Lewis - she of the 'urinating on a war memorial' fame - and the protest mounted at the entrance to the court by a group of war veterans. She ends her article:
"The dwindling band of veterans are fighting another war now, the war against forgetting. They remember how they bought us freedom, at a vast cost. But when they contemplate the nasty, senseless capering of could forgive them for questioning what we're doing with it."
Of course the war veterans to which Jenny McCartney refers are those of World War I and II, however it is worth remembering that countless people have given their lives, through the centuries, fighting for the freedom of our country.

When writing about the "nasty, senseless capering of fools" we must not forget our elected representatives, the vast majority of whom have indulged themselves in giving away a great number of the freedoms for which those countless people gave their lives.

In the United Kingdom Rememberance Sunday is the second Sunday in November, the Sunday nearest to 11 November, at which HM The Queen lays a wreath at the Cenotaph, accompanied by the leaders of our political elite. Our political leaders are thus supposed to be honouring those that fought to retain our freedoms. Perhaps their brains have not registered the fact that their political acts should not therefore dishonour the dead!

Kinda makes that ceremony a bit of a sham - does it not?

Saturday 28 August 2010

NEC Election: the results

Congratulations to Steve Allison, George Curtis, Hugh Williams, Jill Seymour, Mick McGough, Elizabeth Burton and Julia Reid on their election to the UKIP NEC.

The results of the NEC election have annoyed the anti-UKIP EU troll, Junius/Greg Limp-Wrist.  This must mean that the result is good for UKIP because Junius/Greg Limp-Wrist and his EU paymasters are only ever happy when there's something bad to say.  Julia Reid would appear to be the one to watch as the only successful NEC candidate not to be libelled on the Junius/Greg Limp-Wrist websites.

George Curtis and Jill Seymour were both re-elected as existing members of the NEC and Steve Allison achieved the highest number of votes.

The full list of results are as follows:

Steve Allison       2,275
George Curtis       1,849
Hugh Williams       1,748
Jill Seymour        1,696
Michael McGough     1,604
Elizabeth Burton    1,548
Julia Reid          1,491
David Coburn        1,452
Toby Micklethwait   1,326
Ray Finch           1,317
Christopher Pain    1,261
Louise Bours        1,248
Paul Henke          1,198
David Rowlands      1,191
David Black         1,077
Paula Daly          1,051
Marion Mason          958
Kathleen Garner       924
Ralph Atkinson        881
Hilary Jones          863
Winston McKenzie      857
John Harrison         847
Lee Slaughter         832
Steve Povey           822
James Moyies          807
Donald Mackay         789
David Macey           751
Terry Durrance        749
Tony McIntyre         694
Marilyn Swain         687
Rob McWhirter         653
Mike Hookem           634
Bob Macarthur         559
David Duxbury         500
Derek Evans           421
Nigel Carter          392
Charles Dodman        355

Monday 23 August 2010

The One Great Principle Of English Law Is To Make Business For Itself - Charles Dickens

"The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws" - Ayn Rand
The European Union now wishes to 'standardize' the law relating to consumers and businesses in relation to Contract Law and has begun a consultation process which ends on 31st January 2011. Our own 'toy' government, as a result of the impending Directive/Regulation which will surely follow, have begun their own consultation process which ends on 26th November 2010.

Of course this is not the only attempt to 'standardize' laws within the European Union as we also have the office of European Public Prosecutor which has been created. This can only lead to the introduction of a 'standardized' system of justice being introduced throughout the European Union.

With it being generally acknowledged that the majority of our laws by which we are 'governed' - and by 'governed' I mean laws by which we have to live, including 'laws' that affect our daily lives - emanate from the European Union, once a country loses the right to administer its own commercial laws and justice laws - in fact the right to determine its own laws on any matter - then that country in effect ceases to be a country and becomes a province of whichever external body then makes those laws.

Well people, now - if not in the near future - you may as well put your head right through between your knees and kiss your arse country goodbye!

The Coalition Lies On Road Pricing 'Surprise' - Not

The Express on line has an article about the possible mandatory imposition of road-charging by the European Union. I have already posted on this subject here, likewise IanPJ on Politics here.

From the Express article we learn:

"The DFT said last night: “The Trans-European Transport Network allows the UK to bid for funding for transport projects but does not give the EU any control over UK roads. “We have ruled out charging for existing roads and any decisions on this matter are for the UK Government to make."
As an aside, do note the wording used: 'but does not give the EU any control over UK roads' and the omission of the word 'yet'. Note also: 'We have ruled out charging for existing roads' and the word 'existing'. Note also 'any decisions on this matter are for the UK Government to make' and the omission of the words 'at present'.

What is it that the DFT do not understand from Articles 90 and 91 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) especially those words which I emphasised? I would also remind the DFT of the provisions of Article 5 (3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) which states:

"Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action be better achieved at Union level."
'Subsidiarity' is presently best known as a fundamental principle of European Union Law. According to this principle, the EU may only act (i.e. make laws) where action of individual countries is insufficient - which opens what might be termed a 'Pandora's Box' in that it allows the EU to initiate any law on any subject it so desires.

The attention of the DFT is also drawn to Article 6 of the TFEU which states:

"The Union shall have competence to carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States. The areas of such action shall, at European level, be:

(a) protection and improvement of human health;

(b) industry;

(c) culture;

(d) tourism;

(e) education, vocational training, youth and sport;

(f) civil protection;

(g) administrative cooperation.
 Under the above, all subjects - other than possibly (e) - can and no doubt will be used by the EU to initiate laws governing transport matters.

The Coalition's
programme for government has been disingenuous (no change there then) in its statement on Transport (page 31):
The Government believes that a modern transport infrastructure is essential for a dynamic and entrepreneurial economy, as well as to improve well-being and quality of life. We need to make the transport sector greener and more sustainable, with tougher emission standards and support for new transport technologies.
 which leaves them all the 'wriggle-room' they need to 'accept' any EU 'law' on transport - and any aspect of transport - and which shows that besides the DFT, the Coalition also need to re-read the Articles quoted above.

So much for 'honesty' and 'transparency'!

Virgin On The Truth

Goodnight Vienna, over at Calling England, has a post in which she writes:
"On the one hand we have youngsters who have no concept of the word 'virgin' but at the other we have people who remember what words like 'gentleman's agreement', integrity, honesty, law-abiding meant. There's an enormous gulf between government and the people now. State education has taught our children things we didn't want them to know and omitted the things they should know. It's a mess, and that's why no current politician or quango will ever be able to make it better. It's also why the older generation should group together and 'gather rosebuds' before it's too late and remind generations of what they have lost. It's time to remind the government that we won't put up with this loss of civil liberties any more."
Goodnight Vienna is so right on every point she makes, for example:

"Its a mess and that's why no current politician or quango will ever be able to make it better" - as Ronald Reagan said: "Governments tend not to solve problems, only to rearrange them."


"State education has taught our children things we didn't want them to know and omitted the things they should know" - and why? Because politicians have frigged around with our education system so much and purely as a result of the slavish wish to follow the ideology prevailing at the time, without the benefit of proof that that ideology was sound.


" There's an enormous gulf between government and the people now." And just who has created that gulf by their prolifigacy with our money to boost their lifestyle? By their belief that once elected, it gave them virtual carte blanche to do as they liked, regardless of the will of the people? By their total abrogation of the responsibility to consult the people of this country prior to giving away what amounts to our birthright? By their policy of social engineering, resulting in an influx of immigration to the extent we no longer recognise our own country?


"It's also why the older generation should group together and 'gather rosebuds' before it's too late and remind generations of what they have lost. It's time to remind the government that we won't put up with this loss of civil liberties any more." which means that it is us - the older generation who must be joined by those younger who do know what the meaning of 'sovereignty', 'honesty', 'truth', 'integrity' democracy, and 'gentlemans agreement' actually is - to whom will fall the task of re-educating our nation; of restoring a belief in that nation and its natural place amongst the leading nations of the world; of restoring that level of 'fair play' and 'common sense' for which this island was renowned; of reminding those we elect that they are not 'top dog' and in fact it is us, that they are but the tools to implement what we the people want; that we have reverted to being a self-governing nation, beholden to no other; of reminding the rest of the world that we wish to be left to live in peace, but that those who dare attack us will receive more than the proverbial 'bloody nose'; of reminding the world that our Parliament is regarded as the 'Mother of Parliaments' and that from this moment on it has reverted to that status; that this island is indeed a green and pleasant land and one that will be an example to others once again.

In other words people - I think it is time for the revolution to begin!

This post was inspired by this!

Statement from Mike Hookem

My name is one of those which was included in a letter sent to UKIP members by Godfrey Bloom as his prefered choice of NEC candidates.

I did not ask him to do this I also received this letter which I thought was a bit naughty but I have every confidence that the members of UKIP becoming members of this party have shown they are free thinkers and can make up their own minds and will not be coerced by party leaders.

I believe in a free and transparent election of NEC members and our next party leader election.

Mike Hookem

I haven't seen the letter in question but by all accounts it's pretty explicit in support of certain candidates in the NEC election which has led to complaints from some members about Bloom using his position to unduly influence the result.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Paul Nuttall won't stand for UKIP leadership

Paul Nuttall has announced on his blog that he won't be standing in the leadership election resulting from Lord Pearson's resignation.

While I can understand his reasons, I'm very disappointed. In my opinion he's the only prominent figure in the party that could rival Nigel Farage for attracting the attention of the media. He's young, he's ambitious, he looks and sounds good on the tell. In a nutshell (or a Nutallshell if you'll excuse the terrible pun) he's exactly what we need.

The bookies favourite so far is David Campbell Bannerman. A competent politician but leadership material? Full of good ideas (abominal Restoring Britishness policy excepted) but is he media friendly? You can be the best politician in the world but if you don't look good in front in front of a camera you may as well be Herman van Rumpy-Pumpy or Gordon Brown or some other dreary nobody.

Friday 20 August 2010

NEC Election Interview: Ray Finch

The latest (and probably last!) in our series of interviews with NEC Election candidates is with Ray Finch.
Ray, one of your suggestions for changes to the NEC is to allow regions to have representatives on the NEC. It's an interesting idea but surely that's going to increase the size of the NEC considerably. Will the NEC still function efficiently with that many members?

Why should it? I understand that committees should not be unwieldy but if we have one from each region and the leader and an MEP rep that gives us fourteen which is approximately the same number as presently. It will give the members in regions who are presently unrepresented a voice and a say in the future of our party. Why should the south east (my region) and the south west, two of the most heavily represented regions, make decisions on things that affect, say, Scotland or Northern Ireland, without any input from those places? I believe it is a question of fairness and democracy. Two of the principles that our party stand for.

I see, I thought you were suggesting regional members in addition to the current compliment. So your idea is to elect a 12 member NEC from each of the euroregions? I can understand the motivation but doesn't that limit the choice of members?

The present system limits the choice. This gives people from regions that do not at present have their voices heard, a voice. It is a question of fairness and making the party a truly national one.

That's an interesting point - assuming you define "national" as "British", how much of a national party are we? We suffer from the same problem as the Tories in Scotland - we are seen as a right wing English party, both of which are toxic brands north of the border. What would you suggest we do to make the party electable outside of England?

First we need to lose the "right wing" tag. Both of the "wings" right and left, are just authoritarian. We need to ensure that people understand we are a party of freedom and a party of the union. We have already made a start in Wales. We need to devote some resources into both Scotland and Northern Ireland. I understand our north western region are helping Northern Ireland. This is good but we need to help centrally as well. We should start by, as we should do in England, fielding candidates in as many local elections as possible. We must grow organically. Turning up every 5 years or so for EU and General elections will not help build the parties in those places. Featuring them in our party election broadcasts will help too!

We don't do enough to raise our profile between elections and what we do do tends to be disjointed and down to individual branches. We're not a rich party, what can we do with the resources we have and how do we make sure our efforts are joined up?

This is answered in my discussion document "UKIP 2015" now updated and soon to be available at a conference near you. I propose a "Head of candidates" to run training and also a priority list of target constituencies and offer them as individual units to donors to sponsor.

One final question: if every member of the new NEC was given the chance to introduce one change unopposed, what would yours be?

Open voting on the NEC so that the actions of the members are transparent.

Thanks Ray, best of luck.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Honesty & Transparency

In the document "The Coalition - our programme for government" much is made of the word 'transparency'. For example, from the Foreward: "So we will extend transparency to every area of public life.". The document even has a section about 'transparency', namely: "16. Government Transparency. Under the heading: "24. Political Reform" the document states: "The Government believes that our political system is broken. We urgently need fundamental political reform, including a referendum on electoral reform, much greater co-operation across party lines, and changes to our political system to make it far more transparent and accountable."

Returning to the Foreward, this also contains a wish to devolve power and states: "We share a conviction that the days of big government are over; that centralisation and top-down control have proved a failure. We believe that the time has come to disperse power more widely in Britain today....In short, it is our ambition to distribute power and opportunity to people rather than hoarding authority within government."

It is logical to believe that 'transparency' means being 'open', 'honest' and 'telling the truth' so it is a great pity that this does not seem to extend to our politicians, especially to the two men that signed this 'programme for government'. To illustrate this, consider the article that appeared in the Evening Standard by Nick Clegg, in which he writes about the intended referendum on the voting system, Clegg states: "That leaves the question of the voting system. The right system for UK general elections is a hotly contested issue. Just ask the constitutional boffins and watch acronyms and diagrams abound. And many ordinary people are dissatisfied with the status quo; it's high time we had the debate. So the referendum will ask people whether they want to keep the current system or move to the Alternative Vote." If "it's is high time we had the debate" then surely that debate should be about all voting methods - not between a choice of two - a choice 'cobbled' together out of negotiations that took place. This is surely not 'an ambition to distribute power and opportunity to people' and more a case of 'hoarding authority within government' by dictating to the people what their choice is to be.

It can be argued that if someone does not present the full facts then they can be accused of lying. This can be illustrated quite easily by considering the question of a 'recall system for MPs' and on this question the Coalition document, a programme for government, states: "We will bring forward early legislation to introduce a power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP is found to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for a by-election signed by 10% of his or her constituents." What is not stated is that the voters will only be able to exercise their power of recall if a Select Committee rule that the MP has in fact engaged in serious wrongdoing - hardly 'allowing voters to force a by-election' when, in the opinion of an MP's constituents, wrongdoing has taken place.

It would be logical to also repeat other examples of 'politicians saying one thing and then doing another', including the infamous 'U' turn by Cameron on the question of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and I will resist that temptation. Suffice it to say I am totally fed up with politicians phrasing something in such a way as to allow them to wriggle out of what can be initially taken as a firm commitment. That type of behaviour is disingenuous, deceitful and downright disgraceful.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights regards democracy as the only legitimate form of government. Article 21 (3) of the document states that "the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government".  In respect of selection of an alternative voting system and of a recall system for errant MPs the Coalition breaks Article 21 (3) on both counts, as the will of the people to express a choice is not available as the full choice is not being provided on the first matter - and on the second, the will of the people is being curtailed by MPs themselves.

It can also be argued that the Coalition is breaking another 'international agreement' in that, in 1997, the Inter-Parliamentary Union issued a 'Universal Declaration on Democracy' which stated that democracy "goes hand in hand with an effective, honest and transparent government....."

This entire post and the last two documents beg the question: Well you 'Two Cs', what have you to say for yourselves? 

I'm listening.............

What Do Sussex MPs Have In Common?

A lack of one brain cell between them, if this article is to be believed. 
"MPs in Sussex who support the plan, include Brighton Kemptown's Simon Kirby, Brighton Pavilion's Caroline Lucas, Hove's Michael Weatherley, Worthing West's Peter Bottomley, Eastbourne's Stephen Lloyd and Hastings and Rye's Amber Rudd."
As was recently mentioned in the media and confirmed here, the changing of our clocks is but yet another 'power' that is the competence of the EU - ie we, as a country, have no say in the matter. It would not be unreasonable for the public to expect that those we elect would make it their business to know the 'rules' that they have to administer and which are dictated to them by our 'real' government in Brussels. Now one might forgive newbie MPs, such as Simon Kirby, Stephen Lloyd and Amber Rudd - but Caroline Lucas?????

One has to wonder exactly what Caroline Lucas was actually doing during 1999-2010!

Something For The 'Mentalists To Consider?

"The threat posed by humans to the natural environment is nothing compared to the threat to humans posed by global environmental policy."

Lord Pearson - A Few Thoughts

As Daniel Hannan so rightly posts, the media had already decided Malcolm Pearson's fate the day he was appointed Leader of UKIP - and during the general election made a concerted effort to 'get him'.

It says much of our politics - and political system - that a decent, honourable man, speaking in a reasoned manner with no hint of hectoring, is derided as 'ineffectual' and even his resignation statement 'mocked' by some in the media.

Perhaps his political opponents and the media should hang their heads in shame?

Another post on Lord Pearson and Ukip is here, one that also offers an interesting view and opinion and made by someone who has a knowledge of Ukip.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

NEC Election Interview: Kathleen Garner

The latest in our series of interviews with NEC election candidates is with Kathleen Garner.
Kathleen, you're one of an unusually large number of ladies standing for election to the NEC. Do you think UKIP needs a bit more of a woman's touch?

I think the high number of women standing is indicative of the fact that UKIP is a party in which women are already treated as equals who have a lot to offer the party. The chairman of my own branch, Croydon, is a lady, Joan Tyndall, and we are very lucky to have her as chairman, while our recent local election candidates were a good mix with regard to both age and sex. What UKIP needs is people with common sense and experience of the real world, and real commitment to the party and the cause over a long period of time, whether male or female.

My branch's former chairman is one of your fellow NEC candidates, Jill Seymour - testament to the ability of UKIP's female contingent to bully us men into all sorts of things! The top 3 posts in the party are filled by people (Lord Pearson, Lord Monckton and David Campbell Bannerman) who our friends on the left would denounce as "toffs", as is our main spokesman, Nigel Farage. The perception is that these people don't have experience of the real world because they're "posh" and have money and titles. Do you think the background of the party leadership is an asset or a liability? Should there be more "common" people in charge?

The party needs people with a public presence whom the public instantly recognise. That said, the people you mention all have similar weaknesses as well as strengths. The MPs' expenses scandal has made people suspicious of the political elite, to which some of our leaders belong.

My family backgound is mixed, including both Conservatives and several politically active Labour Party members. People who have never had to worry about work or money cannot possibly understand the lives of those who do. I personally do not agree with so-called "Free Trade" in that it allows money rather than quality of life to dictate government policy. Free exchange of goods can only work where both sides have the same culture and way of life. Manufacturing is struggling in this country because countries like China and India pay their workers wages that we could not survive on and because their governments are allowed to keep the value of their currencies artificially low. Even if other countries would let us, we cannot live on selling financial services alone. We have large numbers of unemployed who previously would have obtained worthwhile work in manufacturing. They need to be able to do this again. If we happily sell off our large companies to foreigners and think it is more important to be able to buy goods cheaply than to have a society in which everyone has a place where they can achieve their potential, then just leaving the EU will not solve anything. We have to be prepared to protect our manufacturing from what is effectively dumping from foreign companies which do not have our social costs.

In addition, we have a large balance of trade deficit and have long lost the ability to feed ourselves. We are parasites and one day the outside world will realise we have nothing more to offer and take their goods elsewhere. When that day comes we could starve. We have to be prepared to protect our food supplies and to stop handing over agricultural land to housing. It sometimes seems as though building houses and going shopping is all we do. We need to move away from the traditional Conservative view of trade.

There is definitely a large number of people within the party who see UKIP as no more than a stop-gap until the Conservatives come into their own. If the sole result of our leaving the E.U. would be to see the country ruled once more by the party and the views which took us into it in the first place, then I shall feel we have failed.

I grew up in a rural town and less than a decade after moving away I don't recognise parts of it because of the amount of new housing that's been built. The EU sockpuppet quangos, the Regional Assemblies, are behind much of the housebuilding in England with their Regional spatial Strategies. The Tories say they're going to abolish all the regional quangos in England and promote "localism" instead. Is this an agenda we should be promoting in UKIP? After all, UKIP representation in local government is one of our success stories.

I trust what the Tories say as far as I can throw them. They say they will get rid of the Regional Assemblies, but these have been promoted by the E.U. which created the regions in the first place. The Tories are not going to leave the E.U. and they will carry on doing what Brussels wants. We have already seen this in the few months since the election. I do not consider that UKIP should be following other parties. We should be leading them.

Of course we should promote local politics. The smaller the political grouping, the more democratic it is likely to be and the more it is likely to listen to what local people want. Indeed, I feel that local councils should be much smaller than they are. Our local council is currently planning to knock down the council headquarters, which through neglect needs - allegedly - £40m spending on it - in order to go into a pfi project to build a new council building - and of course the ubiquitous new flats - at a cost of up to £450m. Nobody else wants this. A smaller council would be less likely to waste money on vanity projects. What has been talked of for years has been the use of local referenda, and by that I mean genuine referenda, not the sort we here had 10 years ago which purported to ask us by how much we wanted our council tax to rise. The result was in the region of 3% that year and 27% the next when there was no referendum. We need a system of local government whereby locals would have a real say in what happens in their area and in particular large and intrusive developments would always have to be referred to the local electorate. As I stated earlier, the only business we appear still to have in this country is house building. We do not need more houses, we need fewer people.

One final question: if every member of the new NEC was given the chance to introduce one change unopposed, what would yours be?

I am pleased to see that the candidates whose views I have read so far appear to have the same strong feelings about making the NEC more approachable to the ordinary members as I have. This makes it more likely, if each new NEC member were given the chance to make a change unopposed, that this one at least would be acceptable to all. Currently, we have the very unsatisfactory system, when voting for the NEC, of knowing nothing at all, apart from their 150 words, about the majority of candidates. Therefore I have long advocated the idea that members should be elected on a regional basis, to make it more likely that the NEC is known to the voters and that the NEC in turn know the members who have voted for them. Indeed, it was a member of our branch, supported by the rest of the committee, who introduced a motion for just this change at a London business meeting several years ago. The motion failed by just one vote. When I say regional I do not necessarily mean based on the EU regions; each "constituency" would need to have a similar number of eligible voters, so new boundaries would have to be drawn and probably the current system of partial elections would need streamlining. At present many worthy people fail to be elected because not enough people know about them. I hope that such a change would also mean that the NEC were in a position to keep their local members better informed and vice versa. I consider it very important for every member to feel that their views count in the running of the party.

Thanks Kath, best of luck in the election.

Lord Pearson resigns as Leader

Lord Pearson has decided to call it a day as Leader of UKIP after a somewhat inconsistent year at the helm.

After a pretty convincing victory in last year's leadership elections, Lord Pearson took over the reins with promises of defections, new money and electoral victory.  High profile defections have been conspicuously absent but new money has been trickling in and although we failed to get an MP elected in the general election, we did increase our vote by 50% to almost a million votes.

So Lord Pearson's brief tenure, whilst not exactly the best 12 months we've had, certainly hasn't been a disaster.

But what's important now is the succession.  We have an NEC election right now and an interim leader will be appointed at the conference next month.  It's an opportunity to change the entire leadership of the party but we must be careful not to change things for change's sake - we need some stability.

I believe that David Campbell Bannerman has put his hat into the ring already and it looks like Frank Maloney is going to do the same.  Paul Nuttall seems to be a popular suggestion with members and Nigel Farage won't rule out standing again.

Paul is doing a fantastic job as Chairman of the party and as an MEP.  He would make an excellent Leader - possibly the only man (or woman), in my opinion, that can fill Nigel's shoes.  Nigel remains our most high profile figure and the publicity his return would generate would be very useful.

Until we get a full list of candidates, it's impossible to say who the best person is for the job but so far only Paul Nuttall or Nigel Farage would get my vote.

AV: A chance for small parties and independents to enter the fray

Conhome seems to think that an AV referendum is a waste of money.

What price democracy?

I can see why the 'main' parties would be against AV and making the case against a 'costly' referendum on it.

But AV was part of the coalition agreement and unless you want to see the coalition fall apart, this referendum is vital.

From a disaffected conservative's POV (mine), AV would be terrific.

I realise that we would have endless coalition wrangles into the future, but it would allow the sweet breath of fresh air of new entrants into Parliament.

One of the main reasons that UKIP got nowhere in the GE was because everyone was just too desperate to get Brown out.

Surely, that stands democracy on its head? How can it be right that your only viable course of action is to vote for a party in which you have no overall confidence?

Before people jump on my case, I am pleased with a number of coalition deeds since the GE. Very encouraging.

However, I am bitterly opposed to its EU policy and people like me (the majority) had absolutely no choice in this respect in the GE.

So yes - bring on a referendum for AV and bring on AV!

I realise that this post will meet with opposition, but hey, if you disagree, discuss!


Monday 16 August 2010

NEC Election Interview: Mike Hookem

The latest in our series of interviews with NEC Election Candidates is with Mike Hookem.
Mike, you're one of a growing number of former Labour and Lib Dem supporters rising through the ranks in UKIP. How important is it for the party to cast off its image as a eurosceptic version of the Tories? Is there a danger that we could become, for want of a better word, schizophrenic - neither left nor right, capitalist or socialist - and could this confuse potential voters?

After thinking about this question I realise I have voted Labour, not supported, through ignorance being what people term as a tribal voter and after thirteen years of in my view a criminal Labour government I have become angry and decided to fight back and in 2007 joined UKIP. The only party I believe who have the best interest of this country and it's people to heart. And it's this passion for our freedom from Brussels and the corrupt going's on in the Euro Parliament that we have to get across to the electorate but also we have to show that we are not just a one trick pony we have to show that we also have policies on all aspects needed to run this country. We must as a party show that we are distinctly seperate from all other parties a new breed of politics that puts country first above all else and cast off the rosettes of our former parties. There is NO eurosceptic Labour Liberal or Conservative supporter because if they were truly anti Europe they would be a member of UKIP.

Tribal voting is a perennial problem and one that afflicts smaller parties like UKIP. We do have a full manifesto but we don't seem to be able to effectively get the point across that we're not just a one-trick pony. How do you think we can raise awareness of UKIP and its policies amongst the electorate and equally importantly, how do we get the media on-side so that we get the exposure we desperately need?

I believe we must form a shadow cabinet,it's imperative that we have a spokesman for each post and that spokesman be the one who the media approach for comments, all though Nigel is a consummate professional with the media we appear to the electorate that he is the only man who can speak on behalf of the party. We have many talented people in the party and they should be given the chance to get our message across

The invitation to take part in these interviews was made on the Bloggers4UKIP website and the UKIP members' forum. The Tories use the internet very well for campaigning and Labour are making a better job of it than they did of running the country. The internet is becoming more and more important in elections, how can UKIP make better use of the internet?

I see it like this; can the internet ultimately change politics? Yes I think it can, and should UKIP embrace the new technology? Absolutely, but not as a replacement for more traditional methods, but as a powerful tool in our arsenal.

Optimists point to the green movement in Iran, when the reformist campaign showed the power of new technologies to organise resistance and to break the stranglehold of censors on information; but the episode also showed that technology alone is not enough to secure democratic change, after all Mahmud Ahmadinejad remains in power.

After Barack Obama's successful use of social networking, British parties have redoubled their rush on to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. A few engaged MPs use such sites not only to broadcast their views but also to listen to their constituents. However, far too often, parties simply mimic online, the traditional marketing-driven campaigning. Treating the electorate as little more than shoppers, and the policies as slickly marketed products. The real lesson of Obama's campaign is that it treated voters as citizens with active roles to play in democracy, and not as little more than consumers to be swayed by the party marketing machine.

Should a political party tell the public what it believes, or should it ask the public what it wants? There is no easy answer to that, but I believe Blogs like this one, can, and should, help shape the party in the future. In a recent survey conducted of Conservative candidates in winnable seats, they found that 96% used Conservative Home as a source of information compared to only 13% using the official Conservative Party website. Conhome is far from an official party website, it has an explicit editorial line which means they are often arguing for changes to the party and its policies. The old Party hierarchies are no longer in control of the flow of information.

There is only one electorate out there, we need to listen to what they want from a party like UKIP, and the internet is a great way to engage with them. Once we have a better understanding of what the public want, we can make UKIP the party the public wants, after all, it is they who that put the cross's in the box come polling day! Winning elections is the aim of any political party, and as has already been discussed tribalism is a real problem for the smaller parties so that is why I believe we need to stand out from the crowd, so to speak, yes we do on Europe, but after that I believe we are still seen as Tory off shoot. We can use the internet to become the real party of the people, for the people. Then, once we have our aims and goals set out, then nothing in my mind replaces the leaflet drop, the hustings, the good old face to face meeting with the voters.

One final question: if every member of the new NEC was given the chance to introduce one change unopposed, what would yours be?

Difficult question two or three come to mind I have already spoke about a shadow cabinet, NEC meeting to be held at weekends which it seems other candidates are in favour of. Each region to elect a delegate on the committee therefore giving the grass root members of that region a voice.

Thanks Mike, good luck.

Saturday 14 August 2010

NEC Election Interview: Steve Allison

The next in our series of interviews with NEC candidates is with Steve Allison.
Steve, you're a busy person.  You're a businessman, a councillor and doing research for Sunderland University.  Where are you going to find the time to try and right the "capsized swan" that is UKIP?

In September this year our son will be joining Carnival Cruise Lines as an Engineering Officer Cadet and our daughter will start her second year of Law at Kings College London.  My wife and I will be "empty nesters". I don't think time to do things will be a problem, at least until the grandchildren start to come along, which hopefully will not be for at least another 10 years!

I actually find the more I do the more I want to do! My wife and I have already started going to the Theatre again and I am in the process of installing a ground source heat pump in my home which involves considerable ground works and plumbing (You can see some pictures if you like at

We are also keen scuba divers, I keep bees, (nothing like your own honey on your bread) and I have recently taken up Tai Chi. I'm not the sort of person who can just sit and watch TV for very long, I get bored! So I don't think lack of time is going to be a problem!
A ground source heat pump?  Is that a money saving exercise or are you a believer in man-made global warming?

I am a sceptic when it comes to "Man Made" global warming but I think energy efficiency and sustainability are just common sense and financial good practise. Why waste resources? I am not on mains gas and currently have oil fired heating and hot water. When I first commissioned the system (in the early 1990's) the oil tank cost me just over £100 to fill. My last fill was just a few quid under £800 and that is only going to get worse. The ground source heat pump will enable me to completely do away with the oil system and will cost to run approximately 1/4 of the current price of oil. There is also a government incentive currently available which gives me a £1,000 a year tax credit. This is guaranteed for the next 21 years! I will get my money back in just under 4 years, after that my heat and hot water will be free (actually will be paid for by the government as my running costs will be less than my tax rebate, good deal eh!)

Thanks for the tip, I'll dig my shovel out of the garage! You've been a UKIP councillor for some time, one of a growing number of UKIP parish, town, borough and county councillors. There are plans to set up a "support group" for UKIP councillors, what other measures would you put in place to support this vital link between the party and the electorate?

I was almost a lone voice for many years in UKIP when I called for the Party to take local elections seriously and I still think the party doesn’t put enough effort into getting involved in grass roots or local community campaigns. Unfortunately it takes a lot of time and effort to establish yourself as a local councilor at Borough or County Council level, especially when you are fighting with a campaign team of one and a budget of only a few quid. Peter Reeve showed what could be done with a big budget and loads of help but UKIP don’t have the resources to do that in loads of seats. Where I do think UKIP is missing a trick is at Parish Council level. Seats here are much easier to take and it's at this very bottom level where one person with a minimal budget can take a seat.

Unfortunately I am no longer a Hartlepool Borough Councillor. I lost my seat in the May 2010 Elections. The Labour Party took the seat from me by just over 100 votes, with some very Machiavellian tactics, involving bring in a candidate with the same name as a very popular independent councilor, who has represented the ward for nearly 20 years and has a huge personal following, plus with the assistance of the Tories, who had not stood a candidate in my ward for the past 20 years, but stood one against me this time. The Labour vote almost doubled from their usual level and the Tories took nearly 200 votes! UKIP might say standing in some constituencies in the General Election cost the Tories some MPs but it also worked the other way round for me, the Tories gave my Council seat to Labour!

The UKIP Councilors' Association is, I believe; only open to sitting Councilors, so I'm not eligible to be a member. If it is open to ex-councilors then I’d be delighted to help in any way I can and have already offered advice and support to any individual, branch or region that would like me to help them. So far only the North West have taken me up on my offer and I am going to the North West council candidates meeting being arranged by Fred McGlade at the end October (date to be confirmed)t o impart my knowledge to his candidates (or as he calls them, his victims).

PS Anyone looking for a stocking filler for Christmas might want to check out Fred’s new book, “The history of the British Army Film and Photographic unit in the second world war” by Dr. Fred McGlade, published by Helion and Company (ISBN–987-1-906033-94-1). Due out in September this year.

One final question: if every member of the new NEC was given the chance to introduce one change unopposed, what would yours be?

Now that's a hard one (as the actress said to the Bishop!) One day my sense of humor will get me into trouble, or should I say MORE trouble! Anyone who follows Monty Python will know why I might claim Golf, Strangling Animals and Masturbation as hobbies! (Although I’m trying to cut down on the golf). Anyone who is not a Python devote will just think they are strange things to admit to!

Anyway, I digress.

There are so many things I'd like to change about the NEC, not least the NEC Election procedures, moving the meetings to a weekend, having the NEC produce a party business plan, assigning NEC Member an area of special responsibility under the plan or even making the post of Party Chairman a full time, paid, position. However, if there was only one thing then I think it would have to be making the NEC start from a position of openness and transparency.

At the moment EVERYTHING the NEC discusses is considered to be confidential and only very highly sanitised minutes are allowed to reach the membership. I would start from the assumption that the membership are entitled to know what their NEC are discussing UNLESS a majority of the NEC agreed, on an item by item basis, that a particular topic needed to be confidential. This would make confidential items the exception rather than the rule and any item that was judged confidential would have to be justified as such.

Thanks Steve, best of luck in the election.

BNP on the verge of bankruptcy (again)

When I wrote about the BNP's membership figures earlier I didn't realise quite how bad things were looking for them until I saw a copy of a letter that's been sent to BNP members begging for money to stave of bankruptcy.
Dear Fellow Patriot,

I am writing personally to you today to draw your attention to a grave situation we find ourselves in at present. As you know, we have all worked extremely hard for many years to gain success. Some people think that now we've broken through into the political and media big time, our troubles are over. Not so! With success comes new challenges and obstacles, and the party is now suffering acute legal and financial pressure.

Precisely because we've shown we can win, we are being forced to fight for our very existence! The anti-British Equalities Minister is running a ruthless campaign of legal persecution to destroy our party. The spiteful and venomous move by the ConDem Home office to bar me from the Queen's Garden Party once again shows all too clearly that the liberal-left Establishment will stop at nothing in their desperation to halt our progress.

The impact of these attacks on our finances is severe. We have to buy in the services of expensive legal experts just to survive as a party. Our latest response to Trevor Phillips and the PC bullies is 27 pages of razor-sharp legal argument. If there is anything like justice, it will 'rip' apart their case in court. We cannot begin to produce such material by ourselves.

An expert - especially one who will have courage to risk all by helping us against our enemies - does not come cheap. This has been so urgent that some of the money we had allocated to pay other pressing bills had to be diverted to this most urgent fight.

In short, we are cash struck. We've made good progress with the money already raised and spent on infrastructure, equipment and campaigns over the last 3 years. But our successes have unleashed the furies of hell against us. Our existence is being challenged and it's costing us dear.

Be clear on this, if you don't give, we can't fight... and if we don't fight we will be shut down and killed off... THE END! If they win, the British people - and most especially our children - would be left voiceless and at the mercy of the PC fanatics and the Islamist extremists who hate all we hold dear. It's that brutal.

We are the last bastion of the rights of our indigenous white society. If they break us, our people will be left defenceless!

In the wake of the Establishment's Palace own goal, public sympathy for our party is at an all time high. We are ready to roll out the advances we've made centrally over the last 2 years to our regions and local branches. The future really does belong to us, but only if we can keep our forces in the field.

We can't take that for granted. Our current financial situation is certainly not good. On top of the legal attacks on us, we have fought massive European and General election campaigns back-to-back in under a year. And we've had the enormous cost of modernizing our central party machine.

I know how generous everybody has been over the last year, that's why I did not want to send you a simple appeal letter. I am writing to you like this to ask you personally to help your party out of these current difficulties. Our enemies' attacks on our very existence are placing an intolerable strain on us and I need you to help me guide the party through this difficult period. We need to raise £150,000 to keep the wolves at bay and to ensure our survival.

I know you love our country and your commitment to our cause is beyond reproach and that's why I am asking you in earnest to give as generously as you can right now to keep the party machine rolling on in defence of our constitution, our true nationalist principles and our right to exist.

Over the last year we have built a political powerbase that has astounded the Establishment and as you know, it has worked and will keep working! Through top-flight campaigning and administration while delivering the electoral breakthroughs, what we have achieved has sent out the signal that the British National Party is a real 'threat' to the status quo. That's why we are now under such serious attack.

Today we stand at the crossroads of history. Do we pull together and go on to launch a really effective challenge to win seats in next year's Welsh and Scottish parliamentary elections, or do we scale back our operation and go back to being a 'fringe party'? Only you and how you respond to this letter can decide the future direction and survival of our party.

By digging deeper than ever before you will be making a statement that you are with me on our journey to even greater success to winning in the big PR elections next year and then onto Westminster.

As I said on TV on the day I was barred from the Palace, we are David to the establishment's thuggish Goliath. But right now, were out of the slingshots we need to keep fighting - in blunt terms, hard cash! I will never let you down, you have my solemn word on this, and right now I really need your help to get us out of this dangerous situation. Remember, your donation is the weapon our enemies fear the most....Please use it:

Yours sincerely,

Nick Griffin, MEP
Leader, British National Party
Aw, diddums, the big nasty establishment is picking on the BNP.  Well join the club, the British and EU governments have been trying to put UKIP out of business for years.  We're still here though and going from strength to strenght.  I guess that's one of the advantages of not being far left extremists - people aren't ashamed to be associated with UKIP.

And as if their impending bankruptcy wasn't bad enough, they've also lost their sole representative on the London Assembly, Richard Barnbrook, who resigned the BNP whip yesterday.

Every political party has the right to exist, even scum like the BNP.  But success comes at a price and if they can't afford to pay their bills then they'll have to cut their losses and shut up shop.  The British establishment isn't putting the BNP out of business, their own incompetence is.

NEC Election Interview: Rob McWhirter

The second in our series of interviews with NEC Election Candidates is with Rob McWhirter.
Rob, you've had a bit of a chequered past with UKIP. You once left the party after some disagreements before rejoining to reform from within. This sounds suspiciously like the Tory policy on the EU! How committed are you to changing UKIP for the better?

I did resign for a year, 2008-9, after being a founder member - I believe the party should treat all paid up members equally, as does the constitution, and when they told me I wasn't getting a vote in the EU candidate list selection ballot, because I live abroad (even though I am a registered overseas voter), this was the straw etc. etc. There were other things - the John West video fiasco (John Whittaker had me investigate), and the Alan Bown donations fiasco, and I thought why am I bothering? But then I cooled down and decided to be constructive and work for reform from within, rather than carp from without. I also found I was still shouting at bad party websites daily (and offering free advice)!!!

How committed to improvement? Very. I've stood for the NEC before, but people didn't see the importance of the internet then - now its forced the London Chairman to resign, for example, they might look at things differently!

My campaign website - - has a range of detailed discussion ideas, including:
  • Moving conference main day for more media coverage
  • Better liaison with overseas bods (I'm one)
  • Custom candidate domain names featuring on all campaign bumf
  • Moving most NEC meetings to weekends (so ordinary workers can manage to commit to attend)
  • Better attention to all areas of the internet
I also include cartoon strips I designed and had drawn up when I was standing in London - I'm a great believer in humour to get your message across...

Practically, I am running a load of websites - see for specifics, have written a party website style guide: (hosted by fellow party member David Platt) , and offer free advice/ help to those with websites in need of assistance. All my signatories have had web help or bought websites from me.

I've also taken on board Lord Pearson's call for better comms. with the overseas bods - see above - and my proposer, Sonya Porter, who was the party's first overseas coordinator, tells me I'm the ideal person, based in Switzerland, to sort matters out!

Having been there since the beginning, I've seen all the flaws/ mistakes before, and can hopefully advise how not to make them in the future!

You mention that you live in Zurich which begs a very important question - how will you attend regular NEC meetings?

Simples: fly to London on a Friday night, as a large number of NEC meetings should now be held on weekends.

For the few weekday meets remaining, I will use part of my annual leave quota.

We could, of course, in the long term, look at the possibility of video conferencing, but let's sort the basics first - moving most meetings to weekends!

The wonders of modern technology. As a party we do seem to be reluctant to embrace new technology. You're the resident web monkey and clearly have a more than adequate grasp of technology as well as the vision to realise its potential - how will you convince the technophobes in the party of the value of the internet and other technology in campaigning?

Leading by example, e.g.,

The press office are supportive - what we need to do is get the balance of power shifted on the NEC, and then we can make the regions, and then branches, and candidates follow suit.

It's absurd, for example, that a month ago London region's website was still promoting Paul Wiffen as chairman! If the regional sires are cr&p, then why should the branches bother?

Webby stuff needs more space allocated for exposition in Independence News, with clear examples - horror stories of how misuse brought down campaigns, and success stories, e.g. Chuck Devore's iPhone app, from the same firm - PurpleForge - that did ours. Our app should be prominent on our web homepage, along with the review that said it was the best of all the British political apps!

We should also make it a job requirement - any RO, for example, who doesn't see the web as a priority, for the region and branches under his pastoral care, should have a card marked at interview.

So broadly carrot and stick.

One final question: if every member of the new NEC was given the chance to introduce one change unopposed, what would yours be?

Require all candidates to have a domain name, e.g., for any election apart from local, and make sure it is up-to-date and used on ALL campaign literature. See for examples.

Thanks Rob, good luck in the election.

BNP membership figures

Nick Griffin has survived a vote of confidence as leader of the BNP.  This isn't the first time he's faced a challenge and it won't be the last but that's not the interesting thing about the story - it's the numbers involved.

Only 29% of the BNP membership bothered voting and Griffin got 995 votes.  His closest competitor got 214 votes which was just over 5% of the vote.  That means the BNP's membership stands at around 14,000, although the actual number of members is impossible to tell because the BNP offer family membership and include spouses and children in their membership numbers.

UKIP currently membership stands at over 17,000 and is rising.  Lib Dem membership was just 64,000 before the election and they have been hemorrhaging members since Nick Cleggover jumped into bed with Cast Iron Dave.

Friday 13 August 2010

NEC Election Interview: Michael McGough

Last week we promised a series of interviews with NEC election candidates.  The first one is with Michael McGough.
Michael, you've been a very active campaigner for a long time and you're involved in a number of group - the CIB, the Freedom Association and Better off Out amongst others - do you think your involvement in these other groups will help or hinder you in the NEC?

It can only help, there is no conflict as all are unconditional EU withdrawalists. A current NEC member actively involved at the top table in those bodies will further 'cross pollination' of ideas and campaigns and bring more cohesion to the withdrawalist movement, countering some of the criticism that there are too many disparate anti-EU groups.  UKIP will of course be my priority as the others are only pressure groups whereas UKIP, although a pressure group itself, is first and foremost a politrical party and only elected politicians will get us out of the EU.

The other groups are cross party and working closely with withdrawalists from other parties increases the chances that they will eventually join us,the only withdrawalist 'show in town' .Over the years I have witnessed a massive shift in groups such as TFA and the Bruges Group towards significant UKIP membership from what was once mainly Tories.CIB has a significant input from Labour and Unions many of whose members increasingly vote UKIP.

One problem facing UKIP is the perception that we are a eurosceptic arm of the Tories. There are a number of former Labour and Lib Dem supporters working their way up the ranks in UKIP but I think it's fair to say the membership is predominantly conservative leaning. Other than closer working with other eurosceptic groups, how do you think UKIP can broaden its appeal to attract voters outside of its traditional hunting grounds?

We must better communicate our excellent policies and the fact that we are the only credible party working in the national interest and that of all of our citizens.We need more capable public facing spokesman who aren't obviously 'Tory like' - we must be seen to be the party for the worker and those seeking work, UK jobs for UK workers and their children resonates.

As unemployment and taxes rise and already overstretched services are cutback we must use every electoral opportunity, especially town,district and county council elections to explain that only we seek to stop the burden of immigration from the EU (as well as elsewhere) to protect jobs and housing and that if we didn't pay so much to the EU many services could be maintained. We must have leaflets specifically aimed at Labour voters for use in traditional Labour areas .Lib Dem voters (what do they believe in?) will be harder to attract but many will be sympathetic to the same message after the coaltion experience. The key will be to target these groups rather than relying on generic material aimed at Tories.

We have tended to project a "Tory boy" image with our spokemen - Lord Pearson, Lord Monckton, David Campbell Bannerman, Nigel Farage. The top 3 posts in the party and our most prolific spokesman are held by what our friends on the left would term "toffs". This undoubtedly puts off a lot of potential members, is it something the party should look to change or should we try and capitalise on it?

I've partly addressed this above. I certainly think we need many more capable spokesman and they should be drawn from across the social and political spectrum within our party. We do of course have Gerard Batten a working class Londoner with a union background and our very own scouser Chairman Paul Nuttall, by no means a toff. They have both performed well in the media. While I want a full cross section represented I don't think it is the working class who are put off by toffs - they very often like and respect them in charge. The people who are more likely to be put off are the 30-50 year old metrosexual self satisfied middle classes. Having an Old Etonian leader of maturity and gravitas with successful business and life experience does much to show how lightweight and inexperiencd the young OE leading the country is. We are the party of all the people but many have yet to realise this.

People with money - even old money - tend to have it for a reason, I would rather a wealthy and successful businessman ran the country than, for example, the dour son of a Presbyterian minister. If only more people could see the sense in this!

I agree. The person you allude to supposedly had a moral compass; if he had, it pointed in the wrong direction. No sound businessman would have got our economy into such a state and destroyed the finest private pension provision in Europe.

One final question: if every member of the new NEC was given the chance to introduce one change unopposed, what would yours be?

I'd set up a shadow team with competence and media savviness to convey that we mean business and could govern if given the chance. This would be an extension of the policy groups with each subject spokesman supported by experts available at the end of a Blackberry pre media outings. There is already sufficient people of ability, experience and knowledge within the party to achieve this.

Thanks Micheal, best of luck with the election.

Monday 9 August 2010

What now for Mike Nattrass?

Back in March, Nikki Sinclaire resigned from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) Group in the EU Parliament.  She had the whip withdrawn and now sits as an Independent MEP.

In June, her fellow West Midlands MEP, Mike Nattrass followed her lead and resigned from the EFD Group.  He hasn't had the whip withdrawn though.

Now, the circumstances are slightly different, I admit.  Nikki was undermining the party from the inside, fighting a propaganda war using several members as proxies and her staff were using members' details to register new user accounts on the UKIP members forum to cause trouble.

Mike, on the other hand, has refrained from outright warfare with the party but is that reason enough to allow him to keep the whip?  If rumours of an impending court case from Nikki are true - and I am frankly amazed that she hasn't already tried to sue the party - then this inconsistent treatment is bound to be one of her main arguments for whatever it is she thinks she's going to achieve.

BBC: What now for UKIP's Nigel Farage?

Nigel Farage has been interviewed by the BBC on what the future holds for him.

Surprisingly for the EU-funded Brussels Broadcasting Corporation, it hasn't been a stitch-up.  In fact, the BBC seem to have developed a grudging respect for our former leader.

Read the BBC article What now for UKIP's Nigel Farage?

Thursday 5 August 2010

NEC Elections

This week's Independence magazine is accompanied by a ballot paper for elections to the National Executive Council - a whole side of A4 paper!

A bumper crop of 37 people have put themselves forward for election onto the NEC:

Charles DodmanChristopher PainDavid Black
David CoburnDavid DuxburyDavid Macey
David RowlandsDerek EvansDonald Mackay
Elizabeth BurtonGeorge CurtisHilary Jones
Hugh WilliamsJames MoyiesJill Seymour
Jim MacarthurJohn HarrisonJulia Reid
Kathleen GarnerLee SlaughterLouise Bours
Marilyn SwainMarion MasonMichael McGough
Mike HookemNigel CarterPaul Henke
Paula DalyRalph AtkinsonRay Finch
Rob McWhirterSteve AllisonSteve Povey
Terry DurranceToby MicklethwaitTony McIntyre
Winston McKenzie

Well done to all the current NEC members who are asking to stay on and to the new candidates that have put their head above the parapet rather than skulking in the corner complaining about the leadership of the party.

NEC candidates aren't allowed to actively campaign during the election but they can answer questions so we are offering all candidates a brief interview which will be posted here on Bloggers4UKIP.  The first one will be posted here shortly.