Have you heard? There are some local elections coming up.
If UKIP is to have any influence on the future of our country we need people to stand. It’s not necessary to win to influence local politics, being on the ballot paper is a start – the other parties watch each vote they lose, watch where those votes go, paranoid about
the chance of one day losing their place at the trough.
Just by being ready you are striking a blow for your community, just by being prepared to defend UKIP’s policies and our principles, by being straightforward and scrupulously honest you can influence the direction of political travel far beyond your local boundaries.
We need volunteers That means you.
Things haven’t been going too well recently. The collapse in UKIP’s vote at the county elections came as a shock to all of us and the collapse of our support at the general election was even more of a surprise: not long before we’d caused the biggest political upset since WWII, and we were expecting some sort of recognition, some gratitude for having started the process of escape from an increasingly authoritarian and blundering EU.
There’s a valuable political lesson: there is no such thing as political gratitude.
Most of us hadn’t really expected to be county councillors at all, but we had put our names forward as a duty, as a way of giving people the opportunity to express their opinion in as forceful a manner as possible, to put their cross against UKIP as a way of saying ‘none of
the above’. We didn’t expect to win – indeed the local chairman told me in strictest confidence that I was just a paper candidate and there was no chance that I’d make much impression.
Then came the UKIP surge, and when I found myself responsible for the welfare of thousands of people it came as a bit of a shock. In Suffolk there were nine of us, one who’d already done a four year stint, some borough or town councillors and some with no experience whatsoever. In typical UKIP fashion we got stuck in.
Those four years went in a flash. Some bits stand out, stick in the memory and will stick forever. After the closure of a children’s centre so that young mums on one of my estates would have to bus or walk two miles, I stood in front of a full council chamber, jabbed a finger at the Conservative seats and declaimed ‘it’s not that you don’t understand, you don’t care’ while they booed and jeered and wriggled uncomfortably.
That hit home.
Proposing a motion that all the expenses incurred by an individual councillor should be displayed openly on the council website and watching the troughers vote against because they were up to their oxters in taxpayers’ money and they didn’t want anyone to know. Proposing that the council should release land for social housing and watching the entire Labour group vote against, a lesson for me in the hypocrisy of Labour’s claim to represent the people they call the working class. Going down with guns blazing with a motion to investigate the Local Enterprise Partnerships and whether there were shenanigans going on, while the leader of the council left a hostage to fortune in his defence of this most
unaccountable quango of them all.
Volunteer. Don’t worry, you won’t get in. And if you do then…
I’ve had some good jobs. At 53,000ft above the Mediterranean I’ve banked my Vulcan into a tight turn that put a pursuing Lightning onto the edge of the stall, made him plug in the burners to save his neck – he went supersonic, dropped a boom on Limassol and had a hats-on interview with the squadron commander in consequence. That was a good day. I’ve roared across the Nevada desert at 550 kts and 100ft, with the F15s and F4s chasing us looking out for the dust trails we left behind like Roadrunner in the cartoons. That was fun.
When I left the RAF I ran my own plant nursery. On bright May mornings as the sun was rising I would walk through my polytunnels, walk past thousands of plants that I had raised from nothing, the air soft and moist and vibrant with new life. Those were good days.
Being a county councillor was better, better than my climbing plants, better than flying the Vulcan, even better than the Buccaneer. As a councillor people came and asked for my help. I tried to help. Quite often we won. What job could beat that?
UKIP needs volunteers.
There’s nobody else. There’s only us. There’s only you. Good luck.
My apologies to all authors, contributors, corespondents and above all readers. I’ve come down with the current winter bug again – call it cold, callout flue – and needed to switch off completely. I’m still not fully up to things, so ask for your leniency regarding the site, publications, answering your communications.