I am appalled.
What has our Party, what has UKIP become?
Weren’t we the Party where people spoke freely, debated issues, where we were unafraid to call a spade a spade? Didn’t we glory in being called swivel-eyed loons, fruitcakes and gadflies? Didn’t we laugh when being called ‘racists’, because we knew we were not? Wasn’t it due to us that ‘racist’ no longer works as smear word?
And here we are: everybody must bend over backwards for fear of being called ‘islamophobic” …
This is what happened:
Paul Nuttall resigned from his post as leader on June 9th after the GE.
A leadership contest was declared by Head Office, the race to open officially on June 23rd. Before this official start, David Coburn and Bill Etheridge had already thrown their hats in the ring. Another contender also declared early: Anne Marie Waters [AMW].
On June 22nd, Bill Etheridge wrote a remarkable article in the Daily Telegraph where he called supporters of AMW ‘neo-fascist entryists’ and compared them to … nazis (see the letters in our Letters Column here).
Also on June 22nd, AMW sent out an invitation to her supporters, announcing the launch of her campaign on July 1st in Rotherham. We published her announcement here.
The venue for the launch of her Leadership Campaign was subsequently cancelled by the venue owners, on advice, one assumes, of the police.
AMW then sent out a further communique which we also published, announcing that another venue had been found. This time, the venue has not been publicised.
This is now the situation in our country: free speech is not allowed when it is deemed to be islamophobic. Oh, they’ll say, it’s not because of that, you are perfectly free to say what you want, but when you do so, you may cause a public order offense because HnH may turn up, it might get nasty … and you may be taken to jail for hate speech.
So we better convene in secret locations now?
But there’s worse: see this press release which we reproduce in full, noting with interest that it did not come from the offices of Jane Collins MEP and/or Cllr Allen Cowles, but from the official UKIP Press Office at HO:
From: UKIP Press [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 28 June 2017 13:39
Subject: Local UKIP back cancellation of Rotherham rally
Local UKIP back cancellation of Rotherham rally
UKIP’s Jane Collins, Yorkshire and North Lincs. MEP and Cllr Allen Cowles Leader of UKIP Rotherham support the decision of Rotherham police and the venue to cancel Ms Walter’s rally. UKIP wish to make clear that Ms Waters’ rally is not in any way an official UKIP event and having seen footage of previous rallies held by Ms Waters with people such as Tommy Robinson we would urge any UKIP member or supporter to think very carefully before becoming involved”.
Cllr. Allen Cowles said, “I have advised councillors not to attend the meeting.” UKIP councillors wish to make it clear that they do not condone in any way the views Ms Waters has previously expressed, or what she stands for. Cllr. Cowles went on to say that he has already made it clear to the press that the branch have not invited her [Ms Waters] , nor will they do so. She will not be welcome to participate in any hustings hosted by UKIP’s Rotherham branch.”
UKIP Press Office
T: 0203 771 2395 Please note updated landline number
Let’s look at this dispassionately, shall we!
It’s about the campaign launch of a UKIP Leadership contestant – so of course it’s not an ‘official UKIP Event’. Have the people Up There at HO not learned from last year, from the campaign run by John Rees Evans? Are candidates only allowed to ‘do their own thing’ when they are MEPs, like Diane James? Are members only allowed to make up their minds by attending extremely well orchestrated hustings where only pre-screened answers are allowed from the floor?
Then see this extraordinary warning, that members should think ‘very carefully’ before ‘becoming involved’, because – this, frankly, is smearing by association – the writers of that press release have seen AMW at rallies with, shock horror, Tommy Robinson, the bete noir of the establishment, of the London metro-elite, to which, one suspects, our leadership candidates so long to belong … !
This warning ought to ring alarm bells for all members in view of this article in the Daily Mirror (June 19th) on ‘the hard-right’ AMW where we read:
“Ukip MEP Bill Etheridge said her [AMW’s] comments were “stupid and divisive”. He added that if he were leader: “I would recommend her and her vociferous supporters’ removal from the party.”
They do not seem to have registered what is going on in this country, and what ordinary people, people whose votes they want to attract, really think. They must somehow have missed the wonderful march of the Football Lads Alliance last Saturday – our contributor Jack Russell wrote about it – which illustrates that point.
Let’s now look at the astonishing statement by Cllr Allen Cowles. He ‘advises’ UKIP councillors not to attend AMW’s rally, going on to say that the councillors do not condone AMWs views. Fine, that’s their right, but why do they then need to be advised not to attend that campaign launch? Then he states that his branch hasn’t invited her (nobody said they did), and:
“She will not be welcome to participate in any hustings hosted by UKIP’s Rotherham branch.”
Interesting. I assumed in my innocence that it was HO which arranged leadership hustings – they certainly did last year – and not single branches. What, do you think, HO would say if a branch decided that for example they didn’t want to ‘welcome’ Bill Etheridge, or indeed Peter Whittle, who has expressed views very similar to those expressed by AMW?
What sort of Party are we?
A Party where branch chairmen decide which candidate to welcome to hustings in a Leadership contest?
A Party where candidates are not ‘welcome’ because their views are not those of the mainstream establishment?
A Party where Leadership candidates can vilify members for not holding the exact same views on islam they hold?
A Party where a critical debate about islam is suppressed because ‘we don’t like that person’?
A Party where party ‘prominence’ can warn members off from attending a rally, from supporting a candidate they dislike?
A party where that sort of attitude is condoned by HO? Do remember that this press release did not come from the offices of Jane Collins MEP and Cll Cowles but from the press office at Party HO!
Frankly, this is a sham contest before it has even started. If Top Management and Party Leaders dislike AMW so much and think she’s so dangerous to the Party because of her views, then they should come out in the open and officially remove her from the Party, but not try sniping from the back or influencing members and AMW supporters by unfair means: “think carefully before you go there!”. They’re behaving, in other words, like the establishment parties and MSM have been behaving to UKIP these past years.
I for one am appalled and outraged by this press release and the attitude of those who wrote and released it.