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Diane James for Leader!

Diane James with Nigel Farage

Now living in the soggy North-West, I was privileged to attend Diane’s superb presentation and question/answer session in Manchester city centre on the evening of 22nd August. Having just sat for a long time at 0 mph on the dreadful M6 in the roadworks south of Junction 19, her opening remark was “What Northern Powerhouse?” which was well received!

Diane started by saying she felt the whole country was open electorally to UKIP’s advances, not just North, South, East and West England, but also Wales and even Scotland and Northern Ireland, mainly thanks to the opportunities created by Jeremy Corbyn, as the Labour Party tears itself apart.

In terms of her own potential role as leader, she pledged it would be to:

…lead UKIP to ensure that we have a laser focus on how the Government is implementing its ‘Brexit means Brexit’ promises, so that we can control both our own borders and negotiate quality Bi-lateral trade deals with the dozens of countries around the world that want to increase prosperity with an enterprising Brexit Britain

She then focused on what needs to be done within UKIP, but she believes in the old axiom of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, while branches didn’t need fixing, she did feel that much was broke in UKIP at the top and did need fixing in the areas of its systems, processes, infrastructure, financing and governance. At the heart of what was broken a major part of the problem is people who do not support UKIP’s aims, creating a handbrake on our progress. This had manifested itself during the last weekend with some particularly unpleasant in-fighting, which is one reason Diane had chosen to hold her own hustings.

Diane then outlined the key areas of policy development she wanted to see:

  • The NHS is on its knees, and the government is covering up many of the facts. UKIP needs to propose policies that will get to the root of problem. She had worked in medical research all her life, some of the time within the NHS and did understand those problems herself.
  • Defence and Security is also compromised with our hobbled armed forces. In particular she cited the 10,000 migrants in Calais now, and the impossible task of stopping the clever and resourceful people smugglers from getting past the Royal Navy’s three home water patrol vessels. Our armed forces must be given the chance to deliver
  • On Social Housing she felt that far too many council houses had been sold off, and all the government does now is to prime private developers to make large profits on high-priced detached homes.
  • And she was totally committed to Proportional Representation, having been a founder member of the PR Alliance. While the current leadership election was also under a “first past the post” system because of the constitution, she also believed that bore reconsideration.

She also reminded us of how excellent the 2015 manifesto had been, how Breitbart had applauded it, but how the mainstream ignored it by focusing on what they saw as a few negative aspects of the party – Diane aimed to change that as well, to take the fight to them,

And change was needed. The grassroots of the party did an excellent job, she said, producing the stars of the future, the next generation. She believed Young Independence needed more support and nurturing. But the whole machine was held back by an outdated constitution: by an NEC that blocked progress more often than it supported it, let alone initiate progress. She felt the NEC was not fit for purpose or value for money. Her vision was for a governing body that had the necessary skills in areas such as finance, legal and creating electoral success: she wanted to see it have regional representation and make that body’s members accountable… and sack-able. Once elected leader, one her first steps would be to seek an EGM to discuss those very matters. Most in the room agreed with her on this.

Diane had a contingency plan though. She had immense admiration for what Nigel had achieved. And, if she couldn’t push through constitutional and NEC reforms, she would work with her fellow MEPs to fight for Brexit to really happen, to ensure the government delivered on it, and for UKIP to take the credit.

And we had to focus on winning more often: more councillors and more MEPs. Diane was also convinced that the early circulation of voter registration reminders was a clear hint that the government was considering an early election to exploit the division in Labour’s ranks: UKIP had to be ready for that.

I have notes for the question and answer session that followed, and have just decided, as the word count passes 800 and my stomach rumbles, to take a break from writing this and later write a Part 2.

However, right now, I am nailing my colours to the mast. I am voting for Diane James for Leader. I urge all our readers to do the same. And if you don’t agree with me, why not tell us all why in the comments below?

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About Brian Otridge (140 Articles)
Brian Otridge was Editor-in-Chief of UKIP Daily for 2 years till March 2016. He has been an aircraft engineer, currently works in the IT Industry and also enjoys writing on a wide variety of subjects. He was the UKIP Parliamentary Candidate for Southend West in Essex in 2015, but now lives in Lancashire

31 Comments on Diane James for Leader!

  1. This last comment by “Stout Yeoman” is getting very close to the issues of control and responsible management of mainly UKIP monies. The board members are running a limited company and have statutory responsibilities. The political leadership are behaving very badly if they are receiving and disbursing monies without board controls and budget planning. Donations must be received and accounted for by a board finance director, who presents regular finance reports to the board. Modern accounting software can produce targeted reports on demand.
    Party leaders who are not directors cannot use funds as they wish. Branches and regions self fund and we need to get cash back to the sharp end for example. I could go on.

  2. Aha! Diane James WILL be appearing in the North East after all. Perhaps I wasn’t the only one complaining about the gap on the map. She’s at the Newcastle Gateshead Hotel, Metro Centre on Thursday 8th September, 6.30 pm for 7 pm. Go to diane4ukip website to book tickets (free).

  3. I watched Nigel Farage give his speech to the Republican meeting as he sharewd the stage with Donald Trump. I have watched previous interviews of nigel in the USA, particulalry on Fox News. He is very popular.
    I spent 4 weeks in the mid west USA and was continually asked if I was an Aussie (they can’t telll the diff between the Aussie and London accents. Every where, as soon as people realised I was English, the first question wasked was, “What do you think of the Brexit? I explained how our borders are wide open for any Jihaidst to enter, any murderer, rapist or paedophile from eastern Europe to enter Britain, and our then Home secretary was unable to deport them back. Our parliament must foolow the directives from Bruissels, with the diktat forcible put htrough by unelected commissars i.e. presidents, all of who are basically communist,. Merkel was in the East German government. Barraso was/is a Maoist etc. Would they allow peruvians to dictate the their foreign affairs policies, or Colombians to dictate the Health Service, colombians top head the judicary, and Rio dictating every aspect of life for Americans? Because that is what we have with Brussels. I mentrioned Obama being a lapdog for Cameron with his policy towards your ally the UK.
    We now will have our freedom, democracy and our own laws again. Would you as an American wish to see Washington having to accept your loss of freedom, democracy and your way of life, as had to?
    I was delighted to watch Nigel slag Clinton and obama off. What is good for the goose is good for the drake. Perhaps the pundits might be proven wrong in the USA as they wwere in the UK. I don’t particualrly care for Trump, any more than I do Clinton, the careerist politician. who when she was recently investigated by the FBI, saw the Attotrmey General having a 1/2 hour chat with Bill Clinton. Totally inappropriate.

    • Nigel loves getting his own back on opponents: the drone MEPs in the EU ‘Parliament’, Obama, H Clinton, the NEC….
      I don’t blame him in the least, I believe in retribution and saying ‘I told you so’. It’s really refreshing to hear all those formerly complacent Remainers sobbing and whining as they go cold turkey, their EU drug of choice having been withdrawn. The gloaters are now being gloated AT.

  4. We need a leader who will generate positive media coverage, we’ve suffered from the opposite for far too long. Not only is Diane a sharp lady who stands a good chance of uniting the party, as a bonus she looks the part too.
    Her meetings seem to me a good tactical move, she will have the opportunity to say far more to members than by just attending the hustings, most candidates in elections hold personal events, though I do hope she makes at least one appearance with her rivals. All candidates have a personal web presence, we can read what the have to tell us without attending Hustings.
    Please, will members cease to say derogatory things about any of our prospective leaders, we will need these people in some capacity after the election, let’s not smear them ourselves, we can safely leave that to the press and establishment.
    A little squabbling now is understandable but once this election is over, to have any chance of presenting a united and thus electable front to the public, we have to compromise. Personally I’d prefer any reasonable Ukiper to the usual suspects and constant bickering is not the way to get that. A certain amount of political self discipline is essential if we are to become a force in post referendum Britain.

  5. Thank you for your reply Roger and I see your point, but did he mention UKIP during the speech and why has he deserted us if we are that good. I am afraid I suspect he is doing this to boost his own ego, but hopefully I will be proved wrong and suddenly our coffers will benefit, as I would imagine he got paid handsomely for it!

  6. Hi Brian,
    Nice to hear from you again.You chose well in Viv!
    I have read your pre-prandial opener and digested most of the comments below so far, and the first question that came to my mind was who out of the new staff she was proposing were going to be paid and where was the money coming from, particularly when the turkeys who voted so bravely for Christmas have their EU super salaries (and expenses) terminated.
    We might get an influx of 150,000 new members prepared to pay £25 each (do I see flying porkers?), but I really expect we will be back to rich donors – previously willing to lavishly fund the big punt of Brexit, but it will take a super negotiator to come up with funding a new UKIP proposition – whether we like it or not our strategy has to be sufficiently attractive for their long term interests
    20 odd years was a long haul to BRexit, what is the next time scale to Government 10years?
    I also don`t like PR, don`t like the idea of a permanent coalition.!UKIP is the only “virgin” party uncontaminated with inherent EU ideology, it`s going to take years to get it out of the whole system parliamentary, local government, education -we must govern on our own.
    I want to see a “New Look” “New Deal” party – Diane`s remedy looks same old dreary thing rehashed – boring and doesn`t reflect the needs of 17million votes – we need pazzaz and with the greatest respect to Diane she comes over as a “cold fish”, I watched her compere one of Nigel`s GO meetings ugh!, competent, but she doesn`t let enthusiasm run away with herself.She seems more introvert than extrovert.
    She did well in her first Eastleigh by-election and appeared to be responding to UKIP initiatives and fulfilling a wider public role and then she disappeared why? – until now – supporting role in BRexit.
    I could be wrong but I think she is a Con incomer and is uncomfortable with the Grassroots core and majority of our voters.
    Nigel managed all classes admirably (he was so outspoken at times) Diane is what one reporter called the “respectable” wing of the party and I`m afraid integration isn`t really happening, in fact I don`t really think there is any intention to unite..
    I just can`t see the party uniting under her leadership (command/control – because we need an Irish navvy type at the top (I know what I`m talking about I once worked for one).
    Brian on another issue – not mentioned by anyone as far as I can see.
    What about a healing Amnesty to start a new era for UKIP.
    I don`t want us to lose the name but we need to become modern. i.e INCLUSIVE.
    How does this grab you?.
    Inclusive Grass Roots Out Group GOooooooooo

  7. RhysL An EGM would be hugely expensive to organize, would have absolutely NO power, under the existing Constitution, to change the Constitution, and would of necessity be confined to a small minority of the Membership who could afford to attend.
    Again : it purports to be an exercise in democracy but isn’t really. What could be discussed at the EGM which could not just as well be discussed at the upcoming Bournemouth Conference ?

    This is contradictory. Attending the Bournemouth conference isn’t a low cost option. Especially for northerners with travel costs to cover too.

    And the cost of an EGM will be covered by a minimum of 83 branches paying £100 each to hold it. Somewhere central to the membership, like, say, Birmingham.

    Our branch holds its EGM next Tuesday to call for a national EGM.

    • Having said (in my article tomorrow!) I won’t comment, I shall break my own rule as it is not yet in force! I’m not arguing with you Rog, but here’s the facts (if my 2014 copy of the Constitution is still up to date) on the relevant section of the constitution:

      13.1.1 This amended constitution shall come into force immediately following a declaration of its approval by members voting in a postal ballot according to the requirements of the constitution in force at that time.

      13.1.2 Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed and made at any time in accordance with this Article. Such amendments shall only come into force after a postal ballot of the membership has been held in which not less than two-thirds of members voted in favour of them.

      13.1.3 Such amendments shall come into force seven days after the result of such an affirmative vote is declared.

      13.2.1 Such a ballot shall be held

      a) if proposed by the NEC and approved by a two-thirds majority of those voting; or

      b) at the request of twenty or more properly constituted and duly registered constituency associations or branches which have communicated their proposal for such amendment or amendments in writing to the Party Chairman who may require the constituency associations or branches to fund the cost of the ballot.

      13.2.2 Any constituency association or branch requiring a vote to be taken on a proposed amendment shall file with the Party Chairman a certificate that the majority of members at a properly constituted Extraordinary General Meeting or Annual General Meeting of the constituency association or branch voted in favour of such an amendment.

      13.3 The NEC shall have the right to put separate and distinct elements or clauses amending the Constitution to separate votes for the approval of a two-thirds majority of members voting in a postal ballot.

      As I see it from that, the purpose of the EGM is to frame the question, that question then gets put to an all-member postal ballot to make the decision: change/no change as a complete package.

      • Just from what you have quoted above : I think you are confusing the purpose of an EGM of a BRANCH with an EGM of the party as a whole.
        Nothing in what you have quoted above gives any rôle to an EGM OF THE PARTY AS A WHOLE in framing amendments to the Constitution.

        • I have double checked – that is the section on “PART XIII
          Branches are not required to have a constitution. The first 2 words are a dead giveaway: “This amended Constitution….” referring to the document it is in, which is the PARTY constitution. I specifically wanted to quote the rules on changing the constitution, rather than the rules around calling an EGM which have already been quoted indirectly in the comments.

    • But what would you want your proposed national EGM to ACHIEVE exactly ?
      If you could wave a magic wand, what specific motion / resolution would you wish this EGM to pass ?

      • It is not MY proposed EGM. Diane James has the ideas there, I am just the messenger, but I did try to clarify what the rules were on changing the constitution. Please do not regard me as a messenger in the other direction, to Diane, as I am NOT one of her agents, much as I support her.

  8. As Nigel Farage is still our leader is it right he should be attending a Donald Trump rally tonight to give a speech? I have read his reasons for going but will people not still think he is representing everyone at UKIP, and is this wise when we are looking to recruit new members only to have this thrown back in our face.

    • I agree with your comment Debbie, but over the years Nigel has done all sorts of strange things, the purpose we (us) often cannot comprehend. I have been wondering and the only thing I can come up with is the reminder to Trump that if he is elected he can depend on BRexit Britain and we expect to be “at the front of the Line (sorry Q) for a trade deal.
      It may be just to keep UKIP to the forefront of MSM – in politics you have to do a lot of supping with the devil – just look at Turkey & USA supporting Assad who would have believed that even a week ago.
      Perhaps he`s gathering funds for our next move?
      I`m sure he`s doing it for a good reason.

  9. Malcolm Marchesi // August 24, 2016 at 6:25 pm // Reply

    The inherent problem in a Libertarian party is that so many different people “know best” . Listen to the different candidates for the leadership , assess what they say and form an opinion of their different qualities and then decide whom to vote for . Simple !
    If you get it wrong , vote for someone else next time . It’s called democracy . If every Tom ,Dick, and Harriet simply wants to tell the leader what to do , chaos reigns .

  10. I would like to see a debate between the candidates and then i will form my opinion of who i will vote for, is this going to happen prior to the ballot???

  11. She hasn’t got the mind for the role, she can be personally unpleasant & unprofessional with it, & she has nothing in common (& likely has no ability) to connect with the voting base in the Midlands & North that UKIP needs to appeal to to replace Labour as the radical party in England’s politics.

    … Apart from that she’s fine.

  12. I attended Diane James meeting near Rotherham yesterday evening, and can clarify a couple of points raised here.

    Rhys and Martin Cohen asked: “A question I would like her ( and the other Candidates ) to answer is ‘Whom would you choose as Deputy, assuming s/he was willing to serve?”

    Diane says instead of a depty, she’ll appoint (through a transparent application/interview process) two ‘cheifs of staff’; responsible for winning over Labour and Tory votes respectively. She is amenable to the Labour targeted role going to someone who will base themselves in the north.

    Stout Yoeman: “At her Eastleigh launch Diane James would only take (filtered) written questions”

    Last night she answered all written questions and then 14 more from raised hands in the audience. She said part of her rationale for holding meetings separate from the main hustings was to be able to respond in depth to questions. Having been to the official hustings in Wakefield, where the questions were laboriously written, transcribed and filtered, and little time was available to each candidate to reply, I think she has a point.

    She said she wants to restructure the governance of the party by devolving disciplinary matters to the regional level, reducing the size of the board (NEC) so its meetings are better focused and shorter, and appointing its members through a transparent application/interview process to include a legal expert, a representative for the branch level, a representative for the donors, and some other roles yet to be finalised.

    She said she wants her shadow cabinet to each have assistants, in order to bring on talent within the party and to allow new spokesmen and women to gain experience.

    She also says the constitution needs an update, parts of it being 15+ years old, and encouraged the idea of holding an EGM to discuss this.

    • Her plans for UKIP emerge piecemeal from different meetings and depend on people like you reporting them for some of what you say was not mentioned at Eastleigh. It would be more impressive if she responded to UKIPDAILY’s request for a written statement and put her proposals for reform or restructuring in that statement, in headline form at least, so all those who might vote could see what they were voting for. That would be respect for members I could applaud.

    • The idea of ‘two Chiefs of Staff INSTEAD of a Deputy ‘ is to me evidence of confusion of thought process and / or a preference not to have to make a political choice.
      It’s an attempt to have it both ways, to avoid saying what you think.
      In current English usage a Chief of Staff is essentially a Gopher who does as s/he is told and smoothes the path for the Leader ( or whomever s/he is C of S to ).
      The Chief of Staff does not have direct into policy making, whereas a Deputy would be expected to ( in confidence , not in overt disagreement with the Leader ).
      However many Chiefs of Staff she has she will in practice need a Deputy Leader as well.
      The public, not least the Membership, will need to know whom she considers to be her Deputy.
      Anyone can have a car accident or other eventuality which puts them out of action for a few days or longer.

      The Plan ( as you describe it ) for ‘Reform’ of the NEC sounds to me a recipe for making things much worse than they already are !

      The Complaint against the current NEC , provoked largely ( but not only ) by its decision to exclude Steven Woolfe, is that they are or have become UNREPRESENTATIVE of the Membership.
      This despite the fact that they are, in fact, democratically elected by postal ballot supervised by the Electoral Reform Society.
      In my view the reason for this being not as democratic as I would like is that in PRACTICE the Membership votes on name recognition and there is no truly effective method for assessing and choosing between candidates, as there would be if the NEC elections were simply devolved to the Regions where candidates could debate and take questions at a Regional Hustings. ( Voting still to be via postal ballot ).
      In my version of such an NEC election the Leader would also have a power to co-opt ( eg for specific skills such as legal / financial ) 3 additional members ( subject to approval by the elected NEC ).

      To my mind this would be as democratic as is reasonably possible, combined with including appropriate expertise.

      But Diane’s version appears to be basically that the Leader would appoint the NEC ‘ via a transparent application / interview process ‘. This, it seems to me, is going in the totally opposite direction from democratization / increased responsiveness.

      If it is not the Leader who would conduct all these interviews then who would do so ? It would obviously be someone approved by the Leader.
      The proposal betrays confusion of mind quite frankly.

      An EGM would be hugely expensive to organize, would have absolutely NO power, under the existing Constitution, to change the Constitution, and would of necessity be confined to a small minority of the Membership who could afford to attend.
      Again : it purports to be an exercise in democracy but isn’t really.
      What could be discussed at the EGM which could not just as well be discussed at the upcoming Bournemouth Conference ?
      Surely if the Candidates together requested it the organisers of Bournemouth could schedule at minimum a full half day for such discussion ?
      What is needed is for each Candidate for Leader to put forward her / his own SPECIFIC PROPOSALS for modification of the Constitution so that it can be taken as fair that if that Candidate is elected Leader then the Membership is at least content with those ideas ( they would still have to be put to a postal vote, but the newly elected Leader would have a clear mandate to encourage the membership to back her / him by voting the changes.)

      Personally I think wholesale changes to the Constitution would achieve nothing valuable, and could make matters a lot worse.

      A specific, targeted, change such as I and others propose, to elect the NEC via a Regional mechanism is sensible, modest, and achievable ( though as far as I can see not a single Candidate is proposing anything of this kind ).

      • “But Diane’s version appears to be basically that the Leader would appoint the NEC ‘ via a transparent application / interview process ‘” This is the appeal of the American presidential system. Everyone will serve at the pleasure of the leader which means put a foot wrong and you’re out. While I can see the appeal to Diane, if that is what she envisages, it is a big mistake to surround yourself with yes men (and woman). Winston Churchill understood this and brought Bevan into his wartime cabinet even though Bevan was trouble in many respects. Chruchill was an intelligent leader who took such a decision in the national interest and not his own. I’d like a leader to put the party’s interests first.

  13. The reports from the hustings so far held are not good. Hardly surprising Diane is doing her own thing.
    Go to he campaign website and look at the video there yourself.

    I hope she wins, I simply can’t see anyone else being a suitable face for our party. Lisa is a super organiser but by all accounts just a front for the Evans- Carswell group, who are likely to destroy us.

  14. I hate to say this but I started to watch Diane’s presentation on the net and got terribly bored, maybe the poor sound quality was to blame. This does not bode well for me and perhaps it may have been more interesting had the other candidates been there, but as it was I ended up watching Max the cockatoo on another channel he was much more alluring. Sorry, I will give it another go.

    • I couldn’t watch the whole of Diane’s speech on diane4ukip either, but not because I was bored. WHO thought it was a good idea to add a soundtrack of ‘music’ of such mind-numbing monotony that it was like an earworm drilling through the tympanic membrane with a corkscrew? This caused such irritation and impatience that I had to switch off. Someone on Diane’s campaign team needs to be told that once the speaker begins, there should be NO distraction from her voice of any kind, and certainly not the type of noise that might be useful in breaking the spirit of political prisoners in some godforsaken country.

  15. Thank you for the publication.
    It was a pity that Nigel, bless his cotton socks felt the need to rtesign before a new leader was democratically elected.
    I would like to see on the official UKIP website, each applicant who wishes to lead the party is given the opportunity to state what their intentions are and what they will bring to the table. Perhaps the manifesto might be used, in order for each applicant to offer their views on each subject. It should then be for the members to choose the next leader. I also like the suggestion above as to whom they would choose as their deputy.
    At this stage of the game,we have witnessed far too much infighting and abuse, with the news media only too happy to condemn UKIP. This must stop. Leadership and the NEC have the appearance of too many being there for their own career benefits and power. What next, whips being ordered to keep ordinary members in line?
    We need strong leadership but not dictatorship.

  16. This is a very different account of Diane James’ North West presentation from the one posted yesterday on another page of this site.
    Thanks, Brian, for giving us a different perspective. I’ll be interested in reading the Q & A session in Part 2.

  17. I am suspicious of the alleged rationale for refusing to take part in the Hustings organized for ALL the Candidates.
    What has that got to do with internal party squabbling ?
    The Hustings were organized as a service to the membership to see and hear ALL the Candidates on the same platform under the same conditions. To refuse to participate comes across to me as haughtiness, rather than high principle.
    A question I would like her ( and the other Candidates ) to answer is ‘Whom would you choose as Deputy, assuming s/he was willing to serve ?’

  18. Dear Mr Otridge,
    Thank you taking the trouble to write a report and thank you also for having given of your time previously to make UKIPDAILY the success it is.
    A report that is uncritical and partial is not a report at all but campaign propaganda.
    At her Eastleigh launch Diane James would only take (filtered) written questions exactly as in the official hustings. Will your second part mention this? Will you comment on that?
    In-fighting is not the reason for her putting members to the cost and trouble of an additional hustings. On her website she states it is “to give UKIP members the opportunity to focus on me”. She also says that feedback on the official hustings is part of her decision – post propter hoc reasoning par excellence.
    The top was Nigel and Steve Crowther first and foremost.
    The link to comments on in-fighting is sobering. I hope your second part will explain how Diane’s apparent disdain for the official hustings and her comments on the NEC are not contributing to this, that she is a potential leader who is not fanning the flames of division. Far from obvious that she is not I am afraid. I look forward to your part two.

    • Sorry : can you explain please what you mean by
      ‘ The top was Nigel and Steve Crowther first and foremost ‘ ?

      • They operated independently of the NEC although members of it. For example, Crowther ordered Lexdrum House not to cooperate with NEC (UKIP Ltd board directors) when they sought access to accounting records to investigate allegations about Woolfe’s membership and other matters. I make no judgement about this just mention it. The NEC are deemed the root of all evil whereas the real problems are more mundane. Elected NEC directors refused to be “nodding donkeys” but the two at the top couldn’t cope with that. That is, a negotiating, cooperative style was not on offer. May be that got us through the referendum – I don’t know – but it is not workable on a company board. And even if the NEC is renamed or replaced company law mandates a sovereign board – new boss same as the old boss. I can’t see the NEC as the root of all evil. May be some of it and by only some. Some NEC members are generous patrons who have given of their time freely and will be unjust collateral damage if some get their way. As a patron observing how those who donate and give of their time are treated I’ve put my cheque book away. A fair trial, not kangaroo courts on social media, are a British value that appears out of favour with UKIP alas.

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