Dear Editor, dear Readers –
the weekend just gone was the most uplifting and optimistic for a very long time. It feels like we’ve turned the corner. Not only was Henry Bolton decisively thrown out at the Birmingham EGM and Gerard Batten installed as interim leader, but Veterans Against Terrorism (VAT), with their 16,000 members, announced that they would be joining KIP en masse. (Note that, despite loudly trumpeting his previous military career at every opportunity, Bolton didn’t command the respect of these vets.) Here is a link to that fantastic interview with them on Kipper Central.
We could see groups like the Football Lads’ Alliance and Gays Against Sharia follow the veterans and come into the fold, joining forces with us to transform UKIP into a powerful political force equivalent to the AfD in Germany. It feels like the cavalry are on their way and we’re poised to rumble the political establishment.
Gerard Batten is the man of the moment, with the credibility and courage to say the unsayable, who gives groups like VAT the confidence to place their trust in UKIP. One can’t help but notice when looking around the hall at the EGM, or any other UKIP meeting, that many of our members are elderly. They are stalwarts who have memories of a better Britain and they still have plenty of fight in them, but they won’t be around forever. We very much need the infusion of new blood which the (relatively) younger generation of activists in groups like VAT bring. The Remainiacs think enough Brexiteers will have shuffled off this mortal coil in the next few years for them to reverse the referendum and the Cultural Marxists think they have the youth under their spell. It’s time to prove them wrong.
It all seems too good to be true, and that might just turn out to be the case.
Batten is only Interim Leader at the moment. Another leadership election has to take place under the constitution within 3 months. It’s too much to expect him to turn the party around in that time and as Interim Leader it might be said he doesn’t have the mandate to take UKIP in a radically new direction. He hasn’t publicly announced whether he’s going to stand in the leadership election and, according to some, it would be considered bad form for an Interim Leader to do so.
Some, like myself, would be quite happy to see him crowned unopposed. We could do with stability and purpose going forward and without the expense, infighting and navel-gazing of yet another leadership election. This is UKIP though and that ain’t gonna happen. We are a democratic party after all. Several other contenders have already thrown their hats into the ring.
We still don’t know whether Bolton is going to stand again. The powers that be will be keen to prevent UKIP linking-up with groups like VAT and melding into a powerful force politicising the working class. If Bolton has backers behind the scenes and an agenda to try and do as much damage to KIP as possible – as I believe he does – he quite possibly might stand. If it were a straight two horse race, we could be reasonably confident that Batten would win the day.But this is a UKIP leadership contest, and past experience shows us that this means all sorts of deluded no-hopers will come out of the woodwork to have a go and try to promote themselves, even if they have to pay £5,000 for the privilege – plus a few bigger beasts too. It’s quite possible the vote will be split enough to let Bolton back in.
Astonished as I am that 500 Kippers were moved to take a day out of their time to travel to Birmingham last weekend to cheer, jeer and vote to actually keep Bolton in, it shows we still have large contingent of members who would still slavishly obey, if given the nod by Nigel Farage.
We would be back at Square One.
If all the VAT, and more besides, were to join UKIP now, they wouldn’t be allowed to vote in the leadership election, as it has already been called. If they were, some would accuse them of entryism and see it as a take-over – and a take-over by suspiciously ‘far-right’ looking street marchers at that.
We have a fair proportion of members – a larger proportion following so many of Anne-Marie Waters’ supporters leaving the party – who don’t want to broach the subject of Islam. They think it’s a toxic vote-loser (while strangely thinking talking about ultra-Thatcherite economics is a vote-winner.) To grasp our opportunity to have future and be the future, we may sadly just have to let those people fall by the wayside, but the upside will be to reverse our decline, to welcome many back and to attract a lot more. The two veterans interviewed looked like potential UKIP leadership material themselves.
It’s been very refreshing and dispelled many myths over the last few weeks that current and former NEC members have contributed to the debate on UKIP Daily and been so open and honest. It feels like Henry Bolton has unintentionally united us from the grassroots to the top, in a way which we haven’t been in years, to oust him and take our party back.
Our problems didn’t start with Henry Bolton though. If UKIP falls into the same old pattern of inaction – legions of spokesmen appointed who then never say anything, lack of policies, lack of organisation, lack of communications, lack of transparency, lack of new donors, lack of campaigns, lack of campaigning materials and lack of a process to get prospective candidates in place ready for a snap election – then we’ll fall back into the same old mire we’ve been caught in for the last year and a half.
The veterans in the interview said they were looking to UKIP for our political expertise. They may find they’re much better at it than we are.
Kind regards, Comrade Keith