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“Grassroots Hustings” in Newport, Wales, 3rd August 2017

This meeting, organised by the Newport (South Wales) branch, was focused on uncensored grassroot questions. Four candidates only made the trip across the Severn, so it was not an ‘official’ hustings. The format though was the one we’ve become accustomed to: initial three-minute statements form the candidates, followed by a Q & A session – the questions written on slips of paper by those present. Questions left unanswered at close of meeting are being sent to the candidates and their written answers will be made public to members.

David Rowlands AM chaired the meeting. Present were the candidates David Allen (DA), David Kurten (DK), Ben Walker (BW) and Anne Marie Waters (AMW).

About 40 members attended, the low turn-out was due to the unofficial format of the meeting. We started at 7.15 p.m. and closed at 8.40 p.m. because the candidates had to travel back from Wales that same evening. Thus there was time for seven questions only.

Most attendees knew the candidates either from earlier meetings or from their online statements – readers of UKIP Daily have certainly read their articles! So without further ado, here are the initial statements:

DA made the important point that the leader, whoever he is, has to think further than Sept 29 because the really important date is Sunday, Oct 1st, where he or she will have to face Andrew Neil on Sunday Politics, addressing the nation, not just UKIP. The Party needs to stand for change in how we are governed, with a change of electoral law.

AMW, in a fiery and passionate speech, stated that she was not an extremist as the MSM and some Party members have labelled her. She wants a free country of law and order with laws applied to all equally, an NHS that works, and controlled immigration, finishing by saying that millions of people in the UK think like she does and that by insulting her, these voters are insulted.

BW, after giving his brief CV, said that UKIP policies are unachievable unless the Party is fixed first. UKIP is broken, the Party structures need to be made to work again, from constitutional, NEC and managerial revision to more and better input by members.

DK also gave a brief CV and stated that UKIP must still win Brexit, that the Party must keep being a thorn in the establishment’s side. He emphasised that the leader needs a good team/spokespeople so that UKIP can start winning elections again.

The first question got the ball rolling:

“Will you declare war on Political Correctness if you’re the leader?”

DA: he’d not be in UKIP if we didn’t do this already, but table-thumping is not the answer. People will listen to cogent and forceful arguments but we need to connect to the people, hearts and minds.

AMW: yes she will – and is doing this already. It’s about the truth which is concealed with lies, often because it hurts feelings. Truth is more important than hurt feelings and the British people deserve the truth, especially as voting is based on lies by the establishment/MSM.

BW: yes, he’d take it head on – PC goes right through society, e.g. the police. Agrees with AMW that we need truth and honesty.

DK: PC is cultural marxism, suffocating free speech. He lists three areas which are symptomatic and need to be dealt with: islam, ‘gender fluidity’ promoted by this government, and climate change. Honesty is needed to deal with this ‘parasiting on our economy’.

The second question came from Stuart Agnew:

“What will they do, as leader, to enforce the MEP’s charter (drafted before the 2014 EU Election, demanding that MEPs donate £6,000 p.a. to UKIP)? Non-observance is losing the Party a huge sum of money.”

AMW: would enforce it, MEPs must show responsibility having been voted in on the Party list in the first place.

BW: enforce it, but need to develop other forms of income.

DK: not sure if this is legally enforceable, but need other income streams anyway because we’ll be without MEPs from 2019 onwards.

DA: it’s a difficult legal position, then asks if those MEPs who left UKIP should not have been made to relinquish their position.

“If elected, how long will you stay?”

BW: would be here to stay.

DK: longer than 18 days – for as long ‘as you want me to’.

DA: leaders need a vision but after four years and no time to think, it usually ends in infighting, so four years is a good time to quit.

AMW: would stay as long as she has the support of the grassroots.

“I no longer feel this is the People’s Party I joined. How will you get our Party back?”

DK: Yes we lost our way, abandoned our voters. Therefore we need a new charismatic leader, need to stand in all constituencies at the next GE.

DA: We cannot field candidates in all constituencies, need more new members, reach out to people with a vision more than just Brexit.

AMW: Brexit has now become ‘mainstream’. We lost voters because of disillusionment, because Party leaders are speaking to the MSM/focus groups and not to the people, they’re living in the establishment bubble. We have to get back to talking to people, with passion.

BW: The real failure after Brexit was party management: we became the one-trick-pony. His strategy: remove the Top Management, we need a massive purge, sack current chairman and ‘toxic people’, become smaller but better. (Huge applause!)

“How do you earn your money?”

DA: self-supportive; AMW: supported by her partner; BW: runs small construction company, would not need pay; DK: salary as London AM.

“Does UKIP need more socialist policies or return to Libertarianism?”

AMW: Left and right doesn’t mean anything, it’s dishonest. Commonsense policies are needed, using taxpayers money for reform, working for people.

BW: Constitution states that UKIP is libertarian (small state, low taxes). We need to get back to this, to commonsense policies.

DK: is for capitalism – free markets – enterprise, but we now have corporatism. We need to get away from that, and we need to wean children in school off the cradle-to-grave welfare system.

DA: Socialism is the systematic removal of liberties from people to the state. We must not have policies adhering to some dogma – freedom and responsibility for all, but some things do need to be run by the state (e.g. infrastructure).

The last question was on a Welsh issue:

“How would you deal with the Welsh Labour Leader’s demand that Wales should be kept in the single Market?”

BW: We’re out! But the new leader must drive the debate to put pressure on the government.

DK: London has the same problem! UKIP is still needed to fight for Brexit, thus the need for a strong leader.

DA: The best way to deal with this is to win more seats at the next Welsh and General Election by working to increase support amongst voters.

AMW: I’d take every opportunity to tell people that LibLabCon and the EU are on the same page, that they hold us in contempt.

After this final question the chairman David Rowlands concluded by quipping that none of the candidates were “good politicians” since none of them dodged a question …

My personal take: it was interesting how the candidates picked up each other’s arguments and words. They differed in nuances only.

I wish I could roll up all four candidates into one single leader! We need the wisdom of David Allen, the fiery passion of Anne Marie Waters for truth, Ben Walker’s strong will to reform the Party structure and David Kurten’s urbanity and ease, based on a very sound grasp of the problems in our society.

Alas, there can be only one leader – but the one who’d firmly commit to giving key posts in his team to all, not just one, of the four candidates present – that one would get my vote.


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About Vivian Evans (322 Articles)
Vivian is a UKIP patron, Vice Chair of UKIP Cardiff and Editor in Chief of UKIP Daily

21 Comments on “Grassroots Hustings” in Newport, Wales, 3rd August 2017

  1. This comment is probably made too late in the day for current action to be taken on it but has UKIP ever thought of having a ‘dual leadership’? A la Green Party. Are there benefits to be had with such a leadership?

  2. It’s ridiculous that 11 people are standing for leadership, this means someone may be elected leader with less than 20% of the vote.

    Why has the party chosen the broken FPTP system for its leadership election? No chance to unite the party in any meaningful way if an overwhelming majority of the membership have voted against the leader.

    Notwithstanding the above, I’m not overly enthusiastic about any of the candidates. I would venture to say that David Kurten appears to have the most nous and appears to be a decent strategist.

    But having done some brief research into the candidates I am somewhat frustrated.

    David Kurten has said we need a war on Marxism and the PC culture it has fostered. He’s on the right track in my view, but that’s just a vague statement. How is that translated into a specific policy?

    Water’s calls islam evil, but that’s just a pronouncement about a particular ideology. How is that translated into a specific policy?

    I’m very surprised that not a single candidate has committed to push for a referendum on the biggest issues ruining this country:
    1) Islam
    2) Unlimited low skilled immigration
    3) Multiculturalism
    4) Marxism (yes, marxism encompasses items 1 to 3, but I believe it would be useful to get the British people to make it clear they reject Marxist policies and want to reverse the spread of Marxism).

    UKIP would be the only party opposing all 4. The other parties would stand in full support of all of them. And it’s my belief that UKIP would win all 4 referendums with ease, exposing the mainstream parties as the de facto enemies of the British people.

    With candidates making vague statements like “reduce tax burden” and “increase NHS funding” we’ll be indistinguishable from every other failed mainstream party. All the LibLabCon have to do is mimic those policies, and once again millions of potential UKIP voters would flock back to those parties, thereby making UKIP irrelevant again. Just as has happened with Brexit.

    I believe we need policies which are very popular nationally, yet which are impossible for the other parties to mimic. That’s when we’ll start winning parliamentary seats. Hence I want to see candidates making clear commitments to referenda on the above.

    • Yes, good post. Offering referendums on important controversial issues would attract voter support. This approach pressured the tories to offer an EU referendum.

    • Indeed, these kind of referendums are what I view as being ‘direct democracy’, but that isn’t what’s being offerred by JRE it seems (odd he didn’t attend this event as surely the one closest to where he lives?). His DD seems to be a form of internal policy development which is a recipe for years of navel gazing, DD should mean offerring the electorate referenda on material key issues to the future of society. I wonder if the rebranding has ever considered the name Referendum Party, oh wait….

    • Welios, I share your surprise that no-one in the UKIP leadership race seems to be pushing for a referendum on a major issue facing the country. It is as if they have not learnt the lesson from last year that it is only through referendums that the popular will of the British people can break the strangle hold of the cartel political parties.

      But a referendum simply on lowering immigration is not sufficiently specific given the multifarious different sources on immigration. For anyone interested in my views on a referendum on stopping the influx of “refugees” please see here

      • Richard. I followed your link. I agree. The use of referendums is an excellent idea. We will have to keep pushing the idea with whoever becomes the leader.

  3. Hi Viv

    Sorry I arrived late and missed the initial statements.
    Sad to say I think 40 members in attendance is an overestimate. I counted 20, plus crew.

    I was surprised to come away with the impression that Ben Walker was the one who really shone. He was the most confident speaker, giving snappy concise answers and thinking on his feet. He was the only one I thought could really hold his own in a national leaders’ debate. And when he said Paul Oakden needed to be sacked, along with the toxic people around him, I was one of the people cheering loudest. He runs a successful business and knows what it takes. If all the membership could hear him speak, he might stand a chance of winning, but that’ll take a long time addressing audiences of 20 people. He doesn’t stand a chance because not enough people know who he is.

    • Quickly about the number of attendees: It looked like about 20 when they started, but more came in. When they finished, I did a quick count and came up with about 40, before everybody started milling about and dashing to the bar.
      And no, I did not count the cameramen or techies …

    • CK, I am also impressed by Ben Walker. He comes across well when speaking. He is also attentive and thoughtful when discussing matters one to one. And we have had a useful follow-up discussion via email.

  4. GEOFFREY CHARLES ELLIOTT. // August 5, 2017 at 3:56 pm // Reply

    Dear Viv,I was so glad you could make it last Thursday,and it was nice to meet up again.Viv many thanks for all that you do for the party,it is much appreciated,thanks for your report of events.I was rather disappointed at the low turn out,I hope this is not a reflection of the huge loss of our members,which is said to be about 20%.
    As Viv says,the usual format,those damn slips of paper,so a bit like a raffle.I was disappointed that those of us present were again not allowed to address the four canditates,unfortunately my question was not asked: “If Anne Marie Waters is stopped from standing,then UKIP is finished,we need to address the elephant in the room-Islam,the appeasement of Muslims,in that pro bloody Halal leaflet,must be
    reversed now”.Out of the four candidates,my preferences were Anne Marie,and David Kurten,I was also impressed with Ben,who received the loudest applause when he said he would “Remove top Management,and sack the current Chairman”I could not agree more,wether that is feasible remains to be seen.As for poor David Allen,I found that he was just not a strong public speaker,so that ruled him out.
    So in retrospect,my own choice to be our new leader would be David Kurten,and our deputy leader,of course would be Anne Marie,both in my opinion are head and shoulders above the rest,of all standing.After the meeting,I spoke with David Kurten whom I have met before,and I spoke to David the concerns I have,about the propaganda and lies that are being taught in our schools,also how I objected to them being forced now to visit a Mosque,I felt the whole ,agenda was to soften them up to accept Sharia Law.It was lovely for me to meet Anne Marie,and I gave her a big hug just before she left,and good to speak to Stuart Agnew,whom I have met in the past.
    So nice to meet up with two of my friends from our Welsh Assembly,David Rowlands,the very person who was influential in me joinng UKIP,all those years ago,
    and Caroline Jones.Thanks to Joe Crocker,Sec.and Stan,chairman of our Newport Branch and all of the wonderful team,thanks for putting up with me before and after,
    not forgetting Ian,a great UKIP supporter for letting us again use The Neon,Newport.
    Thank you,Geoff.Elliott,UKIP RCT Branch,Pontypridd.i

  5. I watched the first 2 hour or so presentation of about 10 candidates and was impressed by many of the comments. I share your view that they could form a great team to work together.
    (If they can swallow their disappointment at not winning)

    The subjects to be tackled are beyond a single person’s ability. No human can know everything or run everything. It is essential that the members of a team are in continual easy contact and have roughed out their agreed positions.

    Everyone seems to see ‘Political correctness’ as an important danger. I don’t like using that name because so many associate it with positive ideas like treating others with respect, and much of the complaints are trivial, but PC is part of a much wider authoritarian and divisive ideology. (DK used social Marxism)

    Everyone seems to share so much that it should be possible to forge a team.

  6. I think Raheem Kassam had some ideas about making UKIP more profitable that should be explored. But a party that would seriously consider dropping Anne from the election as so many people (like myself) have just contributed to UKIP in order to vote for her, is a party that probably doesn’t deserve to continue forward anyway.
    Even if Anne is not barred, it’s clear there has been a determined effort to smear her by some within UKIP, as well as bar her if possible, so UKIP is going to have to change more about itself than a new leader if it’s to continue as a political party with integrity.

    (AMW shows herself to be the main contender again, and one of the few determined enough to turn up to the event.)

    • Indeed it is, Fenbeagle, and transparency would be a healthy start. However, at the moment it is a concept yet to be explored within the UKIP echelons. Self funding and therefore not being beholden is the other way forward.

    • Fenbeagle, I applaud those who are able to attend far-flung, informal Q&A sessions but the inability of some to do so can hardly be seen as a measure of their ability to lead UKIP. One is hardly a measure of the other.

  7. Thank you Viv for attending the ‘informal meeting’ on our behalf. I did try to see if anyone had got Periscope going (so easy to operate) but there was nothing. A short clip from Welsh news showed very few attendees.

    Regarding the funding question, Anne Marie has had public contributions for her For Britain campaign – over £14,000 last time I looked – and the other thing is that going by comments on Twitter, many joined UKIP when she announced her candidacy, so she alone is actually bringing money into UKIP coffers now. It has always been my contention that we should be aiming to make UKIP self funding – she has made a start.

    Regarding your comment about more than one person sorting UKIP out – I too believe that the task is so great that our future Leader needs a team of people committed to doing this – Ben Walker and John Rees-Evans come to my mind. I do hope both that a new Leader won’t shut out offers of help from others, candidates or not, who have particular skills to offer. I would like to see fresh faces at the top, personally, but not just one – though a Leader must lead a team – which surely isn’t too much to ask!

    • I agree about the possibility of a self funding UKIP.

      When Prof Jordan Peterson took a stand against postmodernism in Canada he lost his research funding. Roughly 5,000 of the ordinary public who are intensely angry at the insanity of postmodernist-Marxism are donating to him $600,000 a year. This happened within a few months.

      If ordinary people will donate $120 each a year to an individual Professor, surely they will donate to a political party to save the country.

    • Dee: JRE has consistently refused to work with the technical sub-committee to try to get his DD plans off the ground. It is not, thetefore, a question of a new leader refusing offers from others, but rather, candidates before even being elected, refusing to work with the NEC and it’s designated reps. That does NOT bode well. ?

      As for Ben, regrettably, his short-term plans are financial pie-in-the sky. ?

      • But JRE HAS launched his DD already, it is UKIP Direct and it is up and running. Methinks him being told not to rock the boat last time and the faux welcome for his DD proposal may just have convinced him he needs to work around the establishment rather than with it. Why would the NEC even have a technical committee, this should be a job for the party leadership team? Again the confusion in roles between the management team and the governing body is laid bare. What company (and UKIP is a company) does not have a CTO but has the board of directors trying to run IT?

  8. Thanks, Viv!

    I’ve just been to Ben’s website, and, having been a party director, and knowing how the party finances and our key donors work, I can say that at least in the short term, it’s completely, totally and practically unworkable. The required money JUST WON’T BE THERE!

    Sorry to any disappointed Ben fans, here, but that’s the reality, and it’s best to have realistic expectations now. ?

  9. Excellent summary. I share your conclusion. Let’s hope subsequent hustings ask each who their team will be. We should be told – new broom or same old mafia.

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