Quercus robur, commonly known as common oak, or English oak, is a species of deciduous tree native to the United Kingdom.

I joined UKIP in July 2015. It was in the aftermath of the general election and my son had persuaded me to accompany him to a UKIP meeting of the Huddersfield and Colne Valley branch where the Chairman at the time was Rob Butler. I had seen Rob Butler (UKIP candidate 2015 in Huddersfield) perform at a hustings alongside two MPs, Barry Sheerman and Jason McCarthy and I had been impressed by his knowledge of his subject matter and forthright defence of freedom and UK sovereignty.  Rob left UKIP following a lengthy and unreconciled internal disciplinary matter. I had campaigned with Rob and remain friends with him to this day.

In anticipation of the forthcoming referendum I had felt duty-bound to give my time and involve myself in the efforts to achieve a successful result in a referendum which had been promised to the electorate by the (so called) Conservative Party. UKIP was the only vehicle that was visible to the electorate which represented my views with respect to the UK’s relationship with the EU and I was delighted to meet good people at that first meeting. Wonderful people. People who care about their country, their heritage, their neighbour and the responsibility for these things that they acknowledge and cannot ignore. People who can see the societal damage unfolding as a direct result of the inability of our failed corrupted Government to represent the British people and protect their rights.

Strong as oak. That is a characteristic that I would suggest is a theme among these wonderful people. The strength to take the insults and slander that comes with wearing a UKIP badge. The slander that emanated and emanates still from those who pre-judge, whose prejudice is moulded by hatred and division spread through the mainstream media, political parties and now a corrupted academia. It was not fruitcakes or swivel eyed loons (perhaps one or two) that I met in the branch meetings and conferences I attended since joining in 2015. I met Quercus Robur – Common Oak.

One of the first things I did after joining UKIP was to subject myself to the experience of being in a potentially uncomfortable situation with a UKIP badge adorning my lapel. I chose to attend a Society of Friends meeting where Professor Paul Rogers (Bradford – ‘Peace Studies) was speaking, and took with me some Angela Merkel related UKIP literature. I first encountered Professor Rogers, a thoroughly dangerous ‘academic’, some 29 years previously, but that is a story for another day. What I did see at the meeting was the nature of human psychology. Some people spoke with me respectfully and normally. Some reacted in a Pavlovian manner to the simple visual prompt of my UKIP badge. Whatever the truth of the matter, brand UKIP had and still retains toxicity in the psyche of a significant proportion of the electorate. Propaganda works.

Whilst the healthy acorns in YI germinate and a new growth of political engagement strengthens their patriotic networks in the new digitised world of mass communication, the old UKIP tree is thirsty and weakened. There is a perception of irrecoverable rot in the trunk and boughs. Was there only Nigel Farage standing above the ground, supported by a healthy, thirsty root network? Since the aspirations of UKIP members were realised (and 17.4million people agreed with us) the sap ceased flowing in the UKIP tree.

I have had the privilege of standing in elections as a candidate for UKIP on three occasions and have received stoic and enthusiastic support from the members in branches throughout Yorkshire (and Wales – thank you, Ed.!), from the rootlets of our party, those who give their time and boot leather: each one – Quercus Robur.

On the last occasion I stood for election, it was in Barnsley East where in the early hours of the 9th of June 2017 Stephanie Peacock (Lab) was returned in a Labour ‘safe seat’. It was the 5th best result for UKIP in the election – by vote share – 8.0%. The 4th best result was achieved by Gavin Felton in Barnsley Central (8.5%), the neighbouring constituency with a common counting and declaration location. All UKIP members and supporters will recall their feelings on that disastrous night for the Party as the public rejected UKIP, despite their distrust in both Labour and Conservatives.

On Friday 12th January 2018 Gavin Felton was announced as an organiser for a new political Party – The Democrats and Veterans Party. I have been in contact with Gavin, who was the Yorkshire & North Lincs Regional Coordinator up until July 2017.

I have today resigned as a member of UKIP. To those who I have met, campaigned with, supported, argued with, conversed with, dined with, drunk with and shared so much camaraderie with, I say thank you and good luck in what you choose to do in pursuit of what remains our common goal. I will be joining my friend Gavin Felton in planting a new sapling, and giving my efforts to help nurture a new, healthy and robust political tree for the United Kingdom.

Photo by Kumweni

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