South East UKIP Leadership Hustings Report
I write this impartially (hopefully) but, to be clear, I will be voting for Henry Bolton for the next leader of UKIP.
This has been the largest Hustings so far during this current UKIP leadership election. I would put the number of attendees at about 150-170.
The Hustings started with the Returning Officer, Piers Wauchope, making an announcement that two of candidates had withdrawn and a third would be announcing his withdrawal on stage tonight. The three candidates are now well known. You can watch this announcement here.
All candidates were asked to limit their opening address of two minutes and asked to answer in this address the 5 points which had previously sent to candidates.
It was explained, by the Chair, why JRE couldn’t be here but would be live commenting on Facebook, people around me were moaning that JRE couldn’t attend the hustings but able to comment on Facebook and was quick to record videos while hill walking etc.
None of the candidates really answered all these questions completely. Three candidates did partly answer the questions; David Kurten, Jane Collins & Henry Bolton.
During the introductions, Andrew Price who was standing in for JRE called Anne Marie Walters a lie, Anne wished to come back on that point but was prevented to by the Chair.
During David Kurten’s introduction speech, Peter Whittle took acceptation to some of David’s points and interrupted David several times. Peter was given the right to reply. This was in my view unfair as another candidate (Anne) didn’t have the right of reply it appeared to me.
The next question was a yes/no question – Would you work with other leadership contenders if you became leader – Peter Whittle demanded on making a speech on this question which then turned into a normal question with candidates waffling and again Peter Whittle cutting across other speakers. Some in the audience by this time were shouting comments and talking amongst themselves, about half a dozen walked out in disgust at how the meeting was degenerating. The Chair was not Chairing the meeting up to this point adequately. Thankfully things started to improve.
The other problem was the Chair failed to use the microphone provided and people couldn’t hear. The Chair read out the pre-selected questions from members but some in the audience couldn’t hear the questions, I was sitting in the middle and found it difficult to hear the Chair at times. The audience asked (shouted) several times they couldn’t hear her and asked her to use the mike. When she used the mike, it was fine.
There were questions on the economy; border security – particularly in relation to Northern Ireland (NI); and party restructuring, rebranding & reorganisation etc.
Henry Bolton said there was technology in place around the world which could be used to better secure our borders between the UK and NI and this view was supported by Jane Collins. Aidan Powlesland talked about how a UKIP Government could save billions. David Kurten was very good on Education.
My view of the Candidates & their responses generally.
Aidan comes across as very honest and sincere, he clearly stated his points of view on issues. He obviously won’t win but has made a good contribution to the hustings debates. A very nice honourable person. It is unclear if Aidan has an official website but you can read his work for UKIP Daily here.
Anne Marie Waters
Honest and passionate responses from Anne but lacks details on many issues apart from one. Anne also stated, along the line of, “I’m not interested in the future of UKIP except in just one issue.” Most candidates didn’t provide policy details but in a minute or two answers that is difficult to achieve. Spoke well on holding the Government to account on Brexit. Not sure what her views are on restructuring the party are/were.
You can find Anne’s website here.
Very clear speaker who answered all questions calmly using his worldly experiences. His military background showed in his appearance. Certainly, he has leadership skills and abilities. Henry again gave details on policy areas and reforming the party to be more democratic and member-focused. Henry will also look for untapped talented people within UKIP to help form policy and will involve Young Independence at a policy level. He spoke well on holding the Government to account on Brexit and how UKIP should keep pushing Brexit as its main policy until the job is finished. You can find Henry’s website here.
She performed well at this Hustings. She has her leadership team already in place – the 3 candidates who dropped out. Jane answered the questions well and was willing to challenge others (Peter Whittle) who tried to undermine her. Ben Walker will be the new party Chairman and more than likely David Coburn will be deputy leader (my words). Jane gave straight answers to questions. Jane will also look for untapped talented people within UKIP.
Spoke well on holding the Government to account on Brexit and how UKIP should keep pushing Brexit as its main policy until the job is finished. You can find Jane’s ‘UKIP United’ Twitter Account here.
John Rees Evens JRE (Andrew Price)
Andrew was more like an attack dog and appeared to me more like Mr Angry. Not sure if he was giving his views or JREs at times. He (Andrew) did state he was giving JRE views. Seemed to be attacking both Anne and Peter at times. It really was a shame JRE couldn’t attend. You can view JRE’s website here.
Very clear speaker and received loud applause on his education points. Stood by his comments on the family etc. David made some well-liked comments on issues concerning the party and policy. On policy detail, David did put some meat on the bone. David will also look for untapped talent within UKIP to help form policy and will involve Young Independence at a policy level. David has interviewed several people as possible Chairman of UKIP and is talking to people about forming a team. Spoke well on holding the Government to account on Brexit and how UKIP should keep pushing Brexit as its main policy until the job is finished. You can find David’s website here.
Peter kept interrupting other speakers, particularly David Kurten, and gesticulating when others were speaking. Peter is very much in favour of UKIP continuing as before and I see no real change for UKIP with Peter. I always used to respect Peter until I saw him at several recent hustings, wish he would stop interrupting people and acting like a petulant child. Peter has a team of four to run UKIP with him (this was stated at the London Hustings). You can find Peter’s website here.
People need to remember they are voting for a leader of a political party. I rate only three of the candidates as credible leaders of a political party whose main aim is Brexit and returning democracy to the people from Central Government and Town Halls. I will be at party conference and will support, to the best of my abilities, the new leader, whoever he or she may be and hope we can all do that. The party hierarchy I’m sure will listen in future to its members more and seek out the talent within.