This meeting was called at short notice because Henry Bolton (HB) was unable to attend the informal Grassroots Hustings in Wales on August 3rd. At that time he’d only just announced his candidacy and was moreover returning that day from his work in Brussels. It was a small audience (ca 20 members), thus everyone had the chance to ask questions which HB answered after his introductory speech. David Rowlands AM chaired the meeting.
In a welcome change from the usual introductions we’ve heard so many times, HB went straight to the point: what is UKIP for, after the EU referendum?
“On June 23rd 2016, the British Lion stood up, roared and burst his chains”,
he said, pointing out that, contrary to the MSM reports and to what voters believe, the ‘Job’, i.e. getting Brexit, is not at all done:
“We have a moral responsibility as Party to see that this is accomplished”.
Government/Whitehall still don’t know what to do; we’re still under the jurisdiction of both Brussels and the ECJ and there are numerous indicators that the process is sliding.
Brexit is an ongoing effort to turn us back into the confident nation we once were, HB said. It’s a necessary effort so we can control our own destiny. It is is for us in UKIP to shape this process. We are the only Party who can do this.
HB described the other major concerns which UKIP must address: immigration with focus on islam and the islamic influence in our country. He proposes to ban funding of mosques and schools by countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia and to permit only imams trained and vetted here in the UK. It’s what the Belgians do, he added.
“We are not at war with islam, we are at war with any group that aims to subvert our way of life and our historic past.”
This should shape UKIP’s policies, e.g. by demanding the reversal of government cuts to the Border Agency, to Customs, to the Police Forces, pointing out that there’s ‘no thinking going in in Whitehall on these issues’.
He then described how the Left has been dumbing down our education so that a generation has lost their identity:
“We must reclaim Britain for the British”.
Another deep issue is the disenfranchisement of the people at all levels of government:
“it is for us in UKIP to give people back their voice. We work to solve problems, not just moan about them.”
However, we as Party will fail unless we’re organised so that we can work as team, so that branches and members are no longer being left alone (details on his website). Importantly, there would be a shadow cabinet, with spokespeople of expertise drawn from members, involved in formulating policies and presenting them to the MSM.
The NEC would become a board of Trustees, elected by members in their regions. The regions would be retained. The NEC would elect their own chairman. It would have the power to conduct audits – and conducting a thorough audit would be the very first thing HB would do as Leader!
He pointed out that the new Leader, whoever it’ll be, is already being manoeuvred into a corner, given the recent appointments/announcements from Head Office, e.g the restructuring of the regions and the ‘rebranding’/’new logo’ – without any consultation of candidates or members …. [My impression: he’ll have none of that!]
HB briefly described his CV in order to explain why he stands for Leader. His experience in the EU showed him how Brussels destroys nation states. He wants to maintain the character of our country and believes passionately that only UKIP can do this. He closed this part of the evening by quoting the Sandhurst motto which has shaped his life: “Serve to Lead”.
The Q & A session followed without a break:
“UKIP has establishment problems, a leader must take the grassroots with them” – absolutely, said HB. He has seen things there which have stunned him, e.g how there seems to be a ‘right’ to give instructions without then taking responsibility: this must end! He expects to have a ‘battle royal’ with the UKIP establishment, but would not hesitate to take this to the members, calling on their support. There is a problem with unity. The party was always diverse but coalesced around the goal of Brexit. That job however is not done, so this would be a policy uniting members.
“What about that new logo? Would he keep the old one? Were the new ones costed and/or tested?” – This should not have been something for two or three people to decide, HB said. Members must decide this. If he were elected, he’d ask the AGM to vote on this, there and then.
“Who are the people who now run the Party, what are their objectives?” – HB did not want to point fingers, but said that the Party “elite” seems to sit in an ivory tower where they talk to each other but not to members, just as happens in the EU and Whitehall. That must be undone. The new leader must be aware that the old management will try to shape him/her: it’s normal behaviour in organisations, but HB will stop that, having the know-how from his work experience.
Questioned about his action against AMW HB said: ‘If we cannot take our own NEC to task, legally, how can we talk about ‘one law for all’? He has explained his reasoning to AMW who is now ok with it.
On islam, he drew on his experience of fighting in muslim countries. He pointed out that we are on the cusp of a major new terrorism offensive across Europe because, losing in Syria and Iraq, ISIS needs facilitators and ‘success’ elsewhere to be able to recruit. Therefore the cuts to police forces and the Border Agency must be reversed as a matter of urgency – a policy UKIP ought to adopt.
“Is he against halal?” – Yes, he is opposed to all non-stun slaughter, no matter the religious reasoning. He added that we must preserve our country and our culture, and that we need policies to manage this. A simple anti-islam policy does not work, as the burqa fiasco showed. But, he said, for once he is in complete agreement with the ECJ: sharia law is not compatible with our laws.
The obligatory question about Wales: HB sees UKIP Wales, in spite of our problems, as success story for UKIP which the Party ought to translate to England.
On Cultural Marxism: responsibility in our society has been turned away from individuals towards government. Everything is unravelling, the rules ensuing a cohesive society have been broken. What to do about it? Change education so that people learn to take back responsibility for themselves, for their jobs and their lives.
“Are you confident you have the intelligence to understand UKIP?” – HB says he’s held numerous conservations with many members, the other candidates and with some from Head Office, so is fully aware of the problems. Does he have all the answers? Of course not – but his aim is to bring back members’ confidence in the Party, to identify and solve the problems.
On UKIP United and perhaps setting up a ‘team’ with other candidates, HB answered that if one has a chance of winning one doesn’t step down. He has had talks with other candidates who’d be happy to work with him as leader, DK first and foremost.
With this final question the chairman closed the event, thanking HB for coming and for his excellent presentation.
Afterwards I talked to the chairman. He was very much impressed by HB who hadn’t dodged one single question but always gave concise answers. A UKIP founder member was equally impressed, stressing the high quality of the answers HB gave.
I also chatted with members who were still hanging about trying to talk to HB. They were equally impressed – some will now change their vote from their previous preference to HB while six ‘undecideds’ have now decided to vote for him on the strength of his performance.
The video of the event will be published on UKIP Daily.