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Mike Hookem MEP – “Why I fear for the future of UKIP.”

[Ed: Mike Hookem MEP is Bill Etheridge’s running mate. During the past weeks we’ve published articles by the leadership contestants  as well as the personal views on these candidates by readers and contributors of UKIP Daily so that the members who could not attend hustings have the opportunity to inform themselves. The write-up of an interview with Mike Hookem MEP below has an important place in this debate.]

“UKIP is the only political party representing the working men and women of this country today,” says Mike Hookem MEP as he sits down for this interview. “But I am seriously concerned for the party’s future if we don’t get the right party leader,” continues the former army commando in a quiet, Hull accented voice.

Mike Hookem has been a member of UKIP for a decade and the party’s defence spokesman since his election as an MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire in 2014..

Since becoming defence spokesman, Mike has become a regular media commentator on defence matters, and a passionate campaigner for the clearance of the Calais “Jungle”, after being threatened with a gun in a French migrant camp last year.

In this leadership election, Mike is the running mate to libertarian campaigner and West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridgee, who has fought his way to be among the front-runners to take on the huge job of UKIP leader.

But what are Mike’s concerns for UKIP moving forward? He explains:

“For me, there is only one candidate who has the ready ability and voter appeal to carry UKIP forward, especially in the north of England. That is Bill Etheridge,” says Mike. “The other frontrunners either have flaws such as an aversion to debate, or are supported by people some party members find totally unacceptable. UKIP is at a critical time in its development, but just when we are on the cusp of becoming the only true opposition party in British politics, we are in danger of being ripped apart by various factions and political power games.”

Mike continues:

“On the one hand, we have what’s been described as ‘Red’ UKIP, pushing a series of authoritarian and to me, disturbing policy proposals, championed by figures such as Douglas Carswell and Suzanne Evans. Douglas Carswell has become a Marmite figure within UKIP. You either love him or hate him and from speaking to many local members, my suspicion is the latter applies. As for Suzanne Evans, her fall from grace has been rapid. My opinion is that her political ambition overcame her loyalty to the party and the will of its members. I also have serious concerns that with Lisa and her team leading UKIP, the party would be pushed in a direction that is not representative of the members’ interests and could head for the extremes.”

“Then there is the frontrunner, Diane James, who has the backing of multimillionaire donors like Arron Banks. While I respect Diane James as a person, I have serious doubts that she is capable of leading our party or attracting the working class voters who are UKIP’s core support today. For me, Diane’s biggest failing is her unwillingness to debate even the other candidates, which in a potential political party leader is a serious flaw. Just look at the way she snubbed the membership in the leadership hustings and turned down national television debates during the campaign. The party spent thousands of pounds holding hustings in every one of the UK’s twelve regions, not one of which Diane attended.

“But what has annoyed me, and what I think the membership should be aware of, is her refusal to take part in two BBC debates – one national and one regional, which has meant both events were cancelled, and the whole party lost out on a great promotional opportunity. This is not only damaging to the membership; it is damaging to the wider party image! It also denies the membership the opportunity to see what the leadership candidates are made of and is frankly undemocratic.

“Another concern is that the new leader will have to campaign hard in northern towns and cities to continue the party’s progression; knocking on doors and pounding the pavements in the former Labour heartlands. While Diane may go down a storm at a luncheon in Hampstead, I don’t see her having the same attraction on the doorstep in Oldham or Rotherham. For me, she is just ‘too Surrey’ to appeal in the north.”

“Outside the current leadership campaign, UKIP also has members who are very upset that Steven Woolfe has not been included on the ballot paper and who are now pushing forward an agenda that could see the membership left without a voice on the NEC. While I understand these members’ frustrations, their wish to banish cronyism from UKIP and seriously reform the NEC, I would like to see a system of regional representation implemented, rather than places on the NEC to be in the leader’s or the party chair’s gift.”

“We simply cannot be in a position where the membership does not have a say in the governance of this party, as not only is it totally against the grassroots principles the party was founded upon; it also concentrates too much power in the hands of too few people. And then there is Bill and me, offering what I hope grassroots members will recognise as a return to the original libertarian principles of the party.”

Mike concludes:

“Bill is simply the best all-rounder of any of the candidates!  A brilliant speaker and steeped in a background of policy development, Bill has both the manner and personality that can appeal to people from all parts of the electorate. Bill is not afraid to get his hands dirty and experiencing issues for himself. You only have to look at his recent trip to the Calais “Jungle” to see that. It is only through leading from the front, experiencing issues first-hand, and clearly communicating our values and policies to an increasingly politically disinterested public, that we will see UKIP continue to grow as a force in British politics.

For me, the only person capable of delivering all these things is Bill Etheridge.”


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27 Comments on Mike Hookem MEP – “Why I fear for the future of UKIP.”

  1. THE WITNEY BY-ELECTION will be the first big test for the new party leader. My guess is that we will struggle immensely with gaining a decent vote. If in next May’s County Council elections UKIP does poorly then the new leader will be on a slippery slope.
    2020 will be double or bust if we are still in the EU.I expect someone totally unknown to the party hierarchy – a self styled aristocracy far distant from Northern and Midland voters -will emerge from the ashes of defeat and re-energise the party to victory. By that time only those who stayed loyal and in touch with ordinary people will have a place at the top table.

  2. I was with Liz Jones for a few hours yesterday, she really is a very bright and dedicated woman, but she just cannot loose this slightly compulsive negative streak, I genuinely think it’s over zealousness, and not a malicious nature, and I really hope she can grow rather than change as a person. The potential is there, maybe not as an inspirational orator, but a clever mind is an asset the party needs to nurture, especially when you see some of the highly placed, but low quality offerings, in the other party’s. I hope this post is not perceived as negative, I hope more of a friendly nudge in the right direction. See some of you act conference and ” GO DIANE”.

    • Well, I’ve never met her, but Liz Jones seems to me to be pretty good. I voted for her. She comes across as an intelligent person and she also has a professional career (i.e she is not an MEP). She would dispel the negative perception of UKIP i.e. that it’s full of grumpy old argumentative men.

  3. UKIP needs to avoid what I would call the ‘Robert Maclennan’ syndrome,
    I don’t know if you remember him, or, indeed the SDP. The SDP was virtually the personal party of David Owen, who overshadowed everyone in it. After David Owen left the SDP, the quiet, uncharismatic Maclennan bravely soldiered on, trying to lead the party.However, without the nationally famous Owen, the party faded into obscurity.

  4. A straw poll around these parts (Sunny Southend) suggests Diane James will be elected and by a country mile. No-one trusts Duffy (although she is, interesting, soliciting a lot of support from desperado expelled ex-members trying to get back into the fold!). Which won’t go down well in these parts. It’s Diane all the way, for the continuity, and Nigel-backed too, for me. Now waiting to be shot down in a hail of bullets by the ever-reliable AJAX 😉 …

    • If Lisa Duffy is elected I know many people, including myself will leave UKIP. I used to like Paul Nuttall and just why he supports Lisa Duffy is something of a mystery to me. Diane James has said she will abolish the NEC, up grade management structures, review and update the Manifesto. Above all
      p-l-e-a-s-e clear out the wreckers and trouble mongerers, Carswell. Evans O’Flynn Hamilton & co who kept throwing dust in the air and did not wish UKIP well.. we know who they are.. I admired Diane’s loyalty to Nigel. I also liked the way she said she would use the best talent, lead ‘collegiately’ and involve the membership more.. I like Bill Etheridge. But think Diane has the edge on him especially in themedia.. I wanted to vote for Steven Woolfe.. and then was prevented from doing so like many others.. I have given my vote to Diane James and would like to see Steven and Bill very much involved. Nigel too !

      • I had intended to join UKIP on my imminent return to the UK but am waiting to see who is elected. If Lisa Duffy becomes leader then I will not join.

    • I voted for Diane, having seen her in person and deciding that she seems quite a tough cookie. I detected none of the ‘unpleasant vapidity’ Ajax repeatedly claimed she exuded. I don’t think it ever occurred to Ajax that his remarks were unpleasant and repeating them did not convince the undecided.

  5. Panmelia, Okay, I will accept that Tony Blair was not bad looking when he first came to the fore, but apparently he suffered terrible halitosis which is not exactly a ‘turn on’. As for Nick Clegg he always looks like he is about to burst into tears, so not very inspiring.

    Out of the three Cameron did cut the mustard and actually looked like a leader, but what a pity he did not live up to it when dealing with the EU leaders.

    Unfortunately, I also agree with David that nowadays politics has become like everything else and appearance and presentation really matter. So although I don’t wish to be cruel most of our candidates could do with a ‘make over’, or just look unsuitable for the role. Some require bigger tweaks than others but as we have said that should not be the case.

    If I really wanted to be ‘picky’ I would say that the one that most likely looks the part is Diane James, but that is maybe because she has appeared more on t.v. alongside Nigel.

    Anyway, that has not made me vote for her so perhaps it is all down to personal choice, and what should really matter is what plans they have for the future of the party and the country as a whole.

  6. Panmelia, do you really think that Cameron, Clegg and Blair were reasonably good looking, I think you need to go to specsavers. They all look like the devious little snakes they are.

    • M Mouse, Blair was strikingly handsome when he was still MP for Sedgefield (his former North East constituency) and before he became Labour party leader. As he grew in power and eventually became Prime Minister, those looks faded and the winning smile became a rictus grin. Unfortunately, for Tony he did not possess a Dorian Gray portrait in the attic to display the moral decay of all the vices, sins, corruptions, blatant spin, downright lies and warmongering of his three terms of office; so it all showed on his own face and continues to develop there.
      As for Clegg and Cameron, they were certainly easier on the eye than many of our political figures through the ages. But as my mother used to say:”Handsome is as handsome does”.

  7. Roger, don’t you think that is a bit of a mouthful! Or are you going to shorten it to Mobmen, wait I think that could catch on. However, it would be a bit sexist.

  8. I hate to say it but I think Nigel Farage is following ‘the money’ and is floating the idea of starting a new party, I think he and Banks are hoping that many will follow. If that is not feasible they would like to see Diane as leader as she has already promised Nigel a major role if he wants it, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    That pairing may well work to give us more profile and actually I think she may have her own ideas about how she then wants to control the party, after all she will be in the driving seat this time!

    So the party members have to ask themselves if this is what they want and no doubt many have already made their minds up and voted by now. I feel that whoever we vote in it is a risk at this crucial stage, and although I don’t always agree with Ajax and his scathing remarks about all the candidates including Elizabeth Jones, I do agree with him on one thing; Nigel should not have left the party at this point.

    I know he stated genuine reasons for his resignation but I would have thought that if he was so worried for his own security he would not have gone off and showed support for Trump. But perhaps I am being too hard a judge and expecting too much.

    All I know now is that we have just got to get on with it and support the new leader whoever that may be, and show them the respect we would have continued to show Nigel had he stayed.

  9. UKIP has everything it needs to be turned into a modern fighting-force politic al party. It needs fresh ideas, staff, policies and definitely, a Leader of Quality, experience and dedication, not someone looking for glory and to make a name.
    If Arron Banks can work THAT miracle, then I’m with him.

  10. Perhaps UKIP’s future would be a bit brighter if you bothered answering public correspondence to your office Mr. Hookem, instead of just ignoring it when it doesn’t interest you.

    Hookem & Etheridge are nowhere near leaders of a national political party, they haven’t got the personality, character, charisma or the minds for it.

    Elizabeth Jones is a more serious option for the party.

    • They also (in a highly televisualized national political culture) have in combination all the physical appeal of ‘Oddbod & Oddbod Jr.’ from Carry on Screaming.

      • There Ajax goes again with his obsession about the physical appearance of a potential leader. Cameron, Clegg and Blair were reasonably good-looking chaps, but did any of us like them the more for that when they were actually running the country? If I never see their lying faces again, I’ll be a happier person.
        There are MUCH more important qualities than looks, such as honesty, integrity, sincerity, and the kind of patriotism that puts Britain and the interests of the British people before self-interest, self-enrichment, self-aggrandisement and self-image. We can also do with a leader who is not behaving in a way that will lead to exposures and scandals in the media either now or in the future.
        Is Bill that man?

    • I’d like to defend Mike Hookem there.. he telephoned me personally to reply to a question I placed. We had an informative chat..
      Elizabeth Jones is too immature yet for the leader of a Party IMO.

  11. I think I agree with both Mikes here ……

    I have puzzled at the absence of coverage on BBC of UKIP’s leadership election.

    I don’t understand how refusal of one candidate to participate in a BBC debate ( if that is indeed the real reason ? ) would cause them to abandon it : why could they not just say ‘ X was invited to participate but chose not to ‘ as they often do when an issue arises and no Government minister is available to defend Government policy ??

    I regret that I foresee most members voting on ‘name recognition ‘ rather than an appreciation of what the candidates stand for.

  12. Well said. There have been a number of contributions to the leadership debate in UKIP Daily and well done Viv for encouraging them. But the standard of these contributions has been very disappointing. What has been missing is any real awareness of just how important this UKIP leadership election is. It’s far more important than any discussion of internal party organisation. It concerns the future direction of the one party in Britain which holds out some prospect of change. And change is very badly needed in Britain. It won’t come from the Tories!

    • Agreed, none of the candidates have risen to this opportunity of the Captaincy by laying out a vision for the Party, I guess the reason that they haven’t done it at this late stage is … they can’t =(

      Farage shouldn’t have resigned at this time, he’s blundered badly here & may be endangering everything by it.

      June 23 was a turning of the tide, not a conclusion; and now with Aaron Banks stupidly threatening to set up a UKIP MKII (if he’s serious & it’s not just bully-boy bluff to try to strong arm his preferred candidate – Ledsome, no … Woolfe, .. no, … James? – into the leadership?) which will splinter UKIP’s power rather than uniting & strengthening it against the rotting but still dominant Labcon Party poltical order, there is real danger present about UKIP now.

      • Banks’ new party mentioned again today (8th Sept) in the Times. He wants a “Momemtum” style party of the right. He wouldn’t comment on whether Nigel would leave UKIP to join Banks.

        • Farage is toying with idea of setting up a political movement in England along the lines of Italy’s Movimento 5 Stelle (Five Star Movement), he appears to think that UKIP is the equivalent of a political booster rocket, that, having served its purpose now, needs to be cut loose as surplus to requirement (didn’t stop UKIP sending me a ‘personal letter’ from him this week seeking £ for a renewal of UKIP membership though).

          I don’t know whether an English 5 Star would work as I haven’t thought it thru enough yet, so I can’t comment on whether it’s a good idea or not. Certainly it & UKIP can’t co-exist in the same electoral space without undermining each other, & I have a sense that it may be too nebulous at its core to work in England’s political culture, which is very different from Italy. I do like its belief in Direct Democracy though, I think Referendums are far preferable to ‘representative democracy’.

          • How about “Mobiphoeniximento”
            The Grassroots mob rising from the ashes of UKIP and Brexit.
            It`s already got 17.4million members, just waiting to be contacted and sent on their new mission.

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