What the NEC election means for us grassroots
First of all, I invite you to check out the announcement of the election results on the Party website. Congratulations to the winners – and well done for standing to those not elected, especially UKIP Daily’s own Deputy Editor Debbie Le May.
While this election may have been regarded as a routine event with ‘party politicians’ looking for positions, I think it’s a great boost for us grassroots activists: there are two new NEC members who have won handsomely because they’ve been seen to have worked hard in the dry months which followed the decline of the Party, especially D.B. (During Bolton): Richard Ford, Chair of UKIP Gloucester and the South West Region and Nathan Ryding, Chair of the Young Independents.
Many UKIP Daily readers will have seen the stream of reports coming from the South West Branches where there seems to be an Action Day somewhere every Saturday and how they were welcomed more and more by the voting public. This is no occupational therapy for activists – it is a vital ingredient to get us back into the pubic eye, especially after the dismal display of the Brexit negotiations, with the Chequers shenanigans, the White Papers, the resignations of various Tory politicians and the constant “non” from the EU and M Barnier.
We all remember that Cameron was forced to give us the Referendum in order to prevent the UKIP Fox entering the hen-house that is Parliament. We all remember that, against Cameron’s and indeed the Establishment’s expectations, ‘Project Fear’ notwithstanding, the people of our country voted ‘Leave’. We all remember that, after Nigel resigned, the nation – with the generous help of the MSM – and many members thought and said that UKIP’s job was now done and we all could go home. We all remember our two years in the wilderness, not least the dismal results in the by-elections and the snap GE in 2017, the leadership election a year ago and the dethronement of the then leader at that EGM in February this year.
It’s the grassroots which have kept the Party alive and gave Gerard the basis to go forth and speak and stand for Freedom of Speech, Tommy Robinson, and not be daunted by ‘party politics’. It is working because establishment politicians and the MSM are suddenly taking notice again. Just as Gerard keeps telling us: they are driven by the fear of losing where it counts: at the ballot box – and with UKIP rising in the polls, they know this fox ain’t dead by a long shot!
See for example this interesting article in The Spectator, dedicated to UKIP which would have been unthinkable even a few weeks ago. The accompanying cartoon is priceless, so go and have a look. This article is notable for a few reasons, the main one being that it still reflects the London- and Tory-Party-centric attitude towards UKIP, that it still focuses on the establishment’s ‘bete noir’ Nigel Farage, and that the sneers and the condescending denigration of Gerard, of the grassroots and of the new members, acknowledged stars on the social media as they are, are again creeping in. Sadly, this is helped by the utterances ‘on background’, unattributed, by “Party Insiders”, such as this one:
“But amid the favourable turn of events, Ukip also finds itself faced with some big questions. The most obvious is whether the party can exploit the current openings. Some insiders openly voice doubts about Batten, including his willingness to indulge toxic groups that would alienate the much larger audience of middle-class conservatives. Explaining the markedly different fortunes of the far-right BNP with the pre-2016 Ukip would not be a difficult essay question to answer. Some also voice anxiety over Batten’s reluctance to engage wholeheartedly with the media.” [My emphasis].
Note the cheap shot at Gerard’s alleged ‘reluctance to engage with the media’. You can’t ‘engage wholeheartedly’ with those who are intent on not taking notice except when it’s about smearing you from the sidelines.
I won’t speculate as to who precisely these ‘insiders’ are – I’m sure many of you will have an inkling. It is however interesting that these ‘insiders’, like the London Establishment, have missed the point, the point which Gerard most assuredly has not missed: UKIP is Brexit, no doubt, but it is far more! It is about the freedom of us, the people, a freedom which is most certainly being stomped on in the Establishment’s silent but powerful campaign of suppressing Free Speech. By standing up and defending this Freedom Gerard has attracted those new members. They joined before the Chequers Shenanigans and it is a fallacy – not an unexpected one – to assume that UKIP’s rise is simply due to Ms May’s treasonous Brexit sell-out.
Note well that the author of that article is attempting again to equate UKIP with Nigel Farage, quoting ‘insiders’ about Nigel’s ‘comeback as Leader’, using the well-known media bugbear of Nigel to bash both Gerard and UKIP. He is not alone, see for example David Davis in an article in the Daily Telegraph today:
“If the public decides we have not met the requirements of the referendum and are delivering Brexit in name only they will punish us. The first step will be a regeneration of Ukip, with the return of Nigel Farage and a massive erosion of our vote. There will be a lot of disappointed Tories, it will cost us seats. In the longer run it will be corrosive to all politics.”
It’s the same pattern we remember from Cameron: use the spectre of UKIP and especially Nigel Farage to promote Tory Brexit policies (soft, hard, medium Brexit but not really OUT) while at the same time denounce UKIP as being a corrosive influence. That’s the common EU attitude to all patriots in EU member states: denouncing them as poisonous, far right populist parties which must be squashed.
And that is why the election of proven, successful grassroot activists and supporters like Richard Ford and Nathan Ryding is important. It indicates that our work at the coalface is more helpful, ultimately, than having someone ‘with media presence’, useful as that is. It shows that UKIP is indeed about us grassroots.The reports coming from Richard’s region show that enthusiasm is infectious. There’s nothing stopping us from going out and doing the same in our regions, constituencies and branches!
And just look at the last sentence in the Spectator article:
“Things are looking up for Ukip — it may well be that it is more of a wasp than a bee, and could yet deliver further stings to Britain’s increasingly volatile political system.”
Indeed – but wasps, to be squashed by the usual suspects? Certainly not! It’s foxes set to get into the establishment’s hen houses – lots and lots of them, everywhere! And remember: they cannot hunt us, that would be illegal!
So – onwards, upwards, outwards – and let’s recruit more foxes!