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On Steven Woolfe’s resignation – a view from the grassroots

Steven Woolfe MEP

What a cad!

No-one could blame Steven Woolfe for his decision to quit UKIP, but the way he did it is inexcusable.

To speak to the media about ‘bitter infighting’ and ‘factionalism’, and claiming the NEC is ‘not fit for purpose’ is an insult to all the members, not only of the NEC, but to every single member of the party – and especially to people like me.

I shall be fighting a local council by-election in two days’ time and have been campaigning hard to get elected, not through any sense of gaining kudos but because I believe in UKIP and what it stands for, and because we all know that having an MP elected is almost impossible without having local councillors.

I have a fantastic team of foot-soldiers, without whom I would not have been able to manage my campaign. Like me, they have been delivering leaflets, putting up posters and talking to people in an effort to get me elected, but did Steven consider how they would feel when he criticised the party? I think not! I would hope my chances of winning this seat have not been compromised, but that can now no longer be certain.

I am not going to say that our leadership is perfect – we are, after all, a very young party compared to the Conservatives, the Labour Party and the Liberals – and of course we have our problems, but I feel these should be ironed out behind closed doors. We shouldn’t wash our dirty linen in public.

If there is a problem with the NEC, then as Party Chairman, Paul Oakden should sort it out. He has written to members saying: “Our grassroots are now optimistically looking forward to getting behind our new leader,” adding that he and the committee have listened to the concerns of members during the last leadership election. Any member who joined the Party more than a month ago is eligible to stand for leadership before the closing date of October 31.

I hope he is right in that not only the grassroots will stand four-square behind the new leader but that the new leader will earn the support of the membership by strong, decisive leadership and by clamping down hard on those members who do not support the Party. Nobody can force you to belong to UKIP but if you don’t back the new leader, then perhaps it’s time you looked for another party to join!

One of the other things Steven said was that he thought the party was ‘ungovernable’ without Nigel Farage leading it.

Come on, Stephen!

Nigel worked his tail off to get the party, and the country, to where we are at the moment and he fully deserves to step back into his own life, at least for a while. To force him to continue with his leadership of the Party is spiteful, to say the least.

Steven is also quoted as saying: “I believe that a strong UKIP would hold this government’s feet to the fire and make sure it delivers a clean Brexit.” If that is his belief, why is he not going to help the rest of we Kippers to get to where we want to be – out of the EU?

And regarding the phrase “death spiral of their own making”, which Stephen also uttered: is he really that sore at the Party that he is prepared to contribute to its downfall?

UKIP is desperately needed, now more than ever, to keep the Conservatives to their Brexit promise and to ensure that the will of the British people – that we leave the EU –  is met. As sure as eggs is eggs, without UKIP, the Prime Minister will fudge the whole issue and all our work to win the referendum will have been in vain.

There is no doubt that the other major political parties have their problems.  Look at the Conservatives, who have Kenneth Clarke on one side of the political spectrum and people like the Wintertons on the other. But they’re all members of the same party and they seem to rub along quite nicely together.  Perhaps they do have their differences but such disagreements are handled quickly and quietly.

As an experienced politician, Steven should have known that the media will home in on any discord in the Party. He would have been far better off saying nothing at all than criticising the Party that gave him so much. But no, he started with a challenge on Mike Hookem and when he lost that fight, he turned on his party.  It is unfortunate that he had a couple of seizures and I hope he recovers quickly, but he should not have criticised UKIP so vehemently and so very publicly.

I am ashamed of him and I am glad that he has now quit UKIP!

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About Debbie (726 Articles)
Debbie has been a journalist for longer than she cares to admit! She has been freelance for the last 15 years and is an associate editor on UKIP Daily, specialising in covering the morning press each day.

31 Comments on On Steven Woolfe’s resignation – a view from the grassroots

  1. Cheer up Debbie, hope your election goes well.

    Even Raphael Behr in the Guardian has some comforting words.

    For a party in total disarray, Ukip’s poll rating is holding up pretty well.

    It cannot be said that the Conservative remainers are entirely vanquished, but they are disoriented and leaderless. So it is not surprising that they are finding a degree of fellowship with refugee MPs of a New Labour disposition who are benighted in a haze of their own.

    It is hard to dispel the pall of decline over the once-mighty liberal centre that cratered when Cameron fell. Its despondent champions wear the faded colours of an ancien regime. They may still claim to represent tens of millions of voters, but they don’t know how to organise their people, nor are they clear about what they are organising around.

  2. How many of the 2014 intake of MEPs have we lost now? Bashir, Atkinson, now Woolfe.

    Never thought I’d be glad that Steven failed to get his paperwork in on time. Had he done so, we would now have the ticking timebomb of a somewhat temperamental leader with one eye on the door marked exit.

    Has to be Nuttall for me. But only if he’s 100% committed to giving the job everything he’s got. If Evans or Kassam somehow get the gig then, each for very different reasons, I won’t be renewing.

    • Given their behaviour I’m glad Woolfe and Bashir are gone, but Atkinson was a proper Kipper who had to go because of a stupid mistake.

  3. Senior Individuals in the public eye who leave UKIP seem to need to justify their decision by smearing us. Often their own inability to make the progress they expected or their personal incompetence is really to blame. This is the case with Woolfe and it’s very sad. At least Diane did not do that. In the branches people who find themselves out of step simply fail to renew their membership and don’t attend meetings.

    In the final analysis, UKIP is it’s branches, not Nigel or HQ. Hopefully the top will get their act together, learn from their mistakes and we will soon all be able to get behind a new leader, accept we do have minor differences but much in common and provide a proper pro-Brexit national opposition.
    I suspect that if the NEC and others do unhappily fail us we will simply do our own thing, forming some sort of co-operative. UKIP will not be allowed to die and some sort of new party would quickly fade away.
    I hope Banks does not withdraw his support or his money, it’s been a life saver and we’re very grateful but he can’t be allowed to run the party, it’s movement not a business.

  4. I suggest UKIP now ‘designate’ S.W. a ‘non person’.

    He has spent the summer, in event after event, doing the Party harm ( and himself into the bargain but that’s his business ).

    Everything he has done over the summer illustrates that he is just looking after No. 1, or attempting, highly incompetently, to do so.
    The needs of the country, then UKIP, mean NOTHING to him.

    Now he has finally gone, Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish should be the order of the day.
    No need to reference him again at all. Bye bye S.W..

  5. Strange how all the front-runners are ruling themselves out of leading the party in one way or another. Do they know something we don’t?

  6. I’m disappointed by some of the comments.
    Please check that your information is correct before you criticise.
    for example, it seems to me that Steven has not said anything that Nigel has not already said.
    There’s also a lot of email and other worrying, checkable facts that should be taken into consideration before sounding off.
    I suggest that people should not be too quick to judge others at this point.

    • Hang on a minute Howard, I have not heard Nigel Farage say there is a ‘poisonous atmosphere’ or that the party is in a ‘death spiral’ or that he was thinking of joining the Conservative Party, which would be outrageous by the way.

      I also have not heard anyone report that despite his differences with Carswell and Hamilton, he has invited them outside for a ‘man to man’. I think we know that Nigel is more sensible than that, he may have reason to criticize the NEC but has always shown respect for the party members as a whole.

      Why did’nt Steven just stay in the fold, face the music and then get on with the work that needs to be done. I think this incident would have been forgotten over time, plus he might have been given a top job from the new leader.

      • You may have a reasonable point as regards the literal words used Donald, but Nigel did refer to the NEC, as ‘total amateurs’, ‘amongst the lowest grade of people I have ever met’ and ‘unfit for purpose’.
        He also said on TV that ‘being leader of UKIP is a rotten job’.
        Maybe that’s what dawned on Diane James at the very last minute.
        Also, if you’ve read Tomaz Slivnik’s resignation letter and subsequent articles here on UKIP Daily; if you’ve seen the many NEC emails, released into the public domain; if you take into account the other NEC resignations and the unpleasant sight of Neil Hamilton berating Steven Woolfe on TV at the party conference then I wouldn’t have thought the term ‘poisonous atmosphere’ was unreasonable.
        My personal opinion, for what it’s worth, is that Steven Woolfe has been treated appallingly by the party over the last few months, both at the NEC level and at MEP level, so it’s hardly surprising that he’s become disillusioned.
        And there’s not enough space here to get started on the treatment of Nathan Gill…

        • Howerd,

          You are right Nigel did say that about the NEC but I thought he was annoyed because of what happened to Steven Woolfe’s application. The problem is that we have to read between the lines and hearsay, it is not a very satisfactory situation. But what is the truth about his application, was it late or not and if so why did he leave it so late?

          And for me the biggest question of all, could he still be leader with a spent conviction, there are rules about these things.

          You say he has been treated badly by the NEC and the other MEP’s but is that because he has not been altogether frank with them both? Because he would have needed their support on becoming leader and would have worked closely with both groups. If he felt so aggrieved about beening so badly treated why did’nt he make an official complaint through the proper channels, instead of taking matters into his own hands because that did not come off too well did it?

          With Nathan Gill I do not understand what happened there at all, but there seems to have been an almighty power struggle and he was eventually edged out by Hamilton. But as far as I am aware Hamilton was legitimately voted into the position he presently holds and is doing a good job as far as we hear.

          It is true that Nathan was holding two jobs is’nt it? and that does not seem right, but you may know better. I do not remember seeing Hamilton saying anything about Steven Woolfe at the conference, was it as terrible as that? To be honest I do not always take everything he says too seriously, he has a sardonic turn of phrase, which just seems to be his way of expressing his views. We all need to have thick skins especially being ‘kippers’ and either give a suitable reposte or just take no notice.

          We all know that politics is a nasty business these days, it is not like being a member of a gentleman’s club. Just look what is happening in America, it is terribly personal and spiteful, it is very unpleasant to watch and I have given up now. Not interested anymore in their childish antics.

          And that is how I felt about the ‘scuffle’ that went on in Strasbourg, it is unbelievably embarrassing and worrying if someone gets hurt. The media have had an absolute field day with it as have those who hate UKIP, my question is why keep giving them this extra fodder to feast on.

          It is time for the party to grow up and become much more professional if it wants to be taken seriously, that way we can put the other parties to shame. I feel if we do not start pulling together instead of knocking lumps out of one another there really is no hope, we must unite with solid goals.

          • Howard Keating // October 20, 2016 at 9:09 pm //

            I feel sure Donald, that if we had a chat over a pint (or two) we’d find much to agree on.
            Certainly, I would agree that unity is the way forward but, for that to happen, I think the sources of division, and their agenda and objectives, have to be identified and confronted.
            And I think an important question is: Would the existing constitution allow the new leader to do that?

          • Thanks for that Howard, I like the odd pint.

        • you mean two jobs gill?
          enough said

  7. Diane James and Steven Woolfe have let us down badly. Woolfe betrayed us and will likely move on to the Tories now. Diane will likely drop out once her role as MEP is finished.

    This isn’t the end of UKIP but it is the end of continuity Farage. I’m a Farage fan but it’s time to move on.

    It’s actually a good time for a proper shake up. The Tories are going to have their hands full with Brexit and won’t want to attract friendly fire from UKIP. The media are still trying to dismiss/ridicule us so after the Woolfe debacle we’ll be mostly ignored for a while. No doubt we’re going to have a lot of defections back to the Tories now that Brexit is underway. That’s fair enough, really.

    The many thousands who stick with us will be solid Democratic Kippers. I hope we’ll be able to come together and focus on properly representing our vote.

    We need purpose and confidence. Personally I’m praying for a Nuttall leadership bid and a focus on national democracy. We must be a voice for public concerns that are too distasteful for Westminster. I’d like to see UKIP demanding a truly Federal UK and English parliament.

    • Sorry SmokedKipper,
      Your last paragraph mentions Paul Nuttall and a Federal UK Parliament in the same breath.
      I do know he has floated this idea before, but I for one would not be encouraging it if he is elected.
      Take the Scots for instance, if they do remain part of the UK, they will continue to vote Scottish Nationalist.
      UKIP will (if it gets its act together and recovers) have a solid ex labour voting base; to make progress in Scotland UKIP should be able to attract any voters from Scotland who actually want a “say” in UK affairs.
      I would also point out that England probably has more Scots extraction, perhaps more than there are Scots actually voting in Scotland – many are very proud and attached closely to their roots and I believe they would be considerably upset if it was UKIP that brought about their political isolation.
      Don`t know about the Welsh or Northern Irish, but I`ll take a bet similar views obtain.
      Finally Federation is the “Gold Standard” of the EU, why on earth should it have any relevance for us, surely our Gold Standard is the Free democratic unity of of the whole UK and re-unity with the Commonwealth, many who are actual kith and kin and would probably have similar views to our national residents.
      I know Paul has recently made a speech on unity and I support his re-entry into our set – NOT with a policy of federation.
      Incidentally, just heard on Channel 4 Nuttall and Suzanne Evans are “chewing over” whether they will stand in the leadership contest.

      • I don’t think a federal UK would necessarily upset the dispersed nationalities with the UK if it were handled properly. Also as I see it a Federal UK is the only workable alternative to eventual Scottish Independence.

        More immediately, I think we need to be debating the big themes as part of UKIPs leadership contest so that we can rally around a new purpose and get our mojo back.

  8. Will someone please explain why candidates for the leadership can stand if they have only recently joined the party. A month is a very short time. One assumes that the powers that be might have someone in mind. It would be good to have the reasoning explained.

    • Mike,

      It might have something to do with Nigel Farage wanting Raheem Kassam to stand, he has only been a member for one month as I understand.

      • Farage backing Raheem Kassam for leader? Now that would be a dream come true. Pull the UKIP obituaries and prepare for take-off!

    • Like you and all other members, I’m not privy to the deliberations of the NEC and how they came to this ruling.
      However, given that one candidate (Raheem Kassam) had his membership lapse and only re-applied a few weeks ago, and that Suzanne Evans was only reinstated a month ago, it would seem the NEC made this ruling so as not to be accused yet again of thwarting candidates who want to stand.
      I’ve not heard yet if Suzanne Evans will stand – but after they vociferous campaign Raheem Kassam started online well before the NEC ruling, with huge presence on twitter and Breitbart, you can perhaps imagine the outcry had the NEC not ruled thus. The “Woolfe Pack” shenanigans on Facebook during the summer until the last leadership election would’ve been like a gentle breeze compared to what might have happened.

    • The NEC have taken the view that members, by and large, are sensible, and that raising the deposit retaining threshold to 20% of votes cast will ensure that hopefully only serious candidates stand. As Viv rightly points out, any other decision would have been seen as a fix, and so we agreed that all members “in good standing” can throw their hats in the ring if so minded.

  9. “because I believe in UKIP and what it stands for”
    Well one begins to wonder what that is. The media in their never ceasing mischief making, always invite the left-most, the wettest if you like, in Ukip terms, people on to discussion programmes. Where are the solid, dependable, know-their-stuff, trukippers like Helmer and Aggers, who go about their briefs day in day out, showing all the best of the party, but rarely surfacing nowadays?

    “he should not have criticised UKIP so vehemently and so very publicly.”
    Well much of Ukip felt free to criticise him publicly, and before the facts are known. The investigation is dragging its feet, but we know verbal accounts from witnesses seem to differ depending upon their political leanings, so we may never know; which is a dreadfully devisive thing to have made public, and in itself, because it destroys the trust of the foot-soldiers in the integrity of some their MEPs. And now, because of the delay, he has been excluded from running for the leadership for the second time. Neither or both may have been his own fault, but many have claimed so nevertheless, for their own purposes. It is not surprising that he has had enough.

    One of the selling points of Ukip was that it was ‘ordinary folk’, that it was not an overtly political party like all the others, that it was without the internecine warfare or driving ideology, but focussed pragmatically on what was best for the country. A few outstanding individuals excepted, it appears not. We have lost that moral high-ground at the precise moment we should have been capitalising on the disarray and duplicity across the rest of the political spectrum.

    • Dear Phil,

      I do not think you are looking at this situation clearly. Steven Woolfe has excluded himself from the race, he has not even waited for the outcome of the investigation into the incident, that might be because he is not going to like what comes out.

      I might have been able to believe and forgive him even if he had not started the ‘scuffle, but what is unforgivable is the bile and poison he spewed out on leaving. Like some petulant child who did not get his way, so tries to spoil it for everyone else, now all he has left is a bad taste in everyone’s mouths.

      I think he will be a very lonely figure when he returns to Brussels, probably even the Tory MEP’s will not want to know him.

  10. Debbie,

    Quite. I doubt Steven considered you and your foot soldiers (and equivalents across the land) and if he had considered them then he didn’t care.

    Good luck in your election. Fingers crossed.

  11. I am very glad he has gone: he’s a traitor to the cause and has betrayed all those people who are working hard to win seats for UKIP up and down the country. There was no need whatsoever for him to denigrate the Party – if he wanted to go, that was his choice and he should have gone quietly for the sake of every other member.
    According to Woolfe, there was something ‘rotten’ in UKIP. He was right: it was him, and now he’s taken his rotten self off, let’s keep together and carry on.

    • I also think there is something rotten in UKIP, when I first joined in 2004, at meetings there were only a few of us and different opinions were expressed but I believe everyone was there because they cared for their country, not because they thought it might improve their career prospects or might get them new business contacts. Prior to the European elections 2014, if I remember correctly standing UKIP MEPs had to compete against new members of the party for the right to be considered by the membership to stand. New shiny bright members were put forward who management considered were “professional”. Decent people who cared about their country were discarded in favour of newcomers on the make. Now as the saying goes UKIP will reap what the Elite have sown. The infighting, the belief that ordinary members are “swivel eyed loons”, that personal advancement comes before your party and country are all there in UKIP. Something is rotten and it needs sorting or people will only have the choice to vote for LibLabConKip instead of UKIP or the rest

    • Hear hear, Panmelia. I was so ashamed to hear him spewing that stuff all over the BBC – of course the gleefully sympathetic interviewer encouraging him to bare all. My thought was that if he had ever cared about UKIP and all those who believed in him he would have given a very different interview, and if he had, we might all have felt sorry that he was leaving and wished him well. He will fit in well, should he be welcomed into the Tory party.
      Again, this will not be popular here, but I thought Raheem rescued the situation somewhat on Newsnight. At least he didn’t make it worse, and had to guts to talk up UKIP. Well done him.

  12. I also, am ashamed of Steven Woolfe, especially after his public tirade against the Party. Totally inexcusable. Disloyal, petulant,full of sour grapes and totally unsuitable to lead the Party. He fell at the first fence and that means he does not have the stamina, resistance, strength or backbone to hold a top job, as Leader of UKIP.
    The problem now is, of course, to find someone who can step into Nigel’s shoes and THAT, needs a miracle!

    • It just needs PAUL NUTTALL !

      Of course he has a different personality from Nigel, but actually I believe he will have greater appeal to the former Lab voters, esp in the North, whose party has abandoned them in favour of Islingtonian / Camdenonian multi millionaire snobs playing at VirtueSignalling.

      PS: they’re not even as clever as they think they are !
      PPS: Eddie Izzard in his Pink Beret; MyLady Chakrabarti in her PreposterousHypocrisy – were they invented by VIZ magazine or what ?

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