One Member’s Thoughts on 2017 UKIP Leadership Contest
Here are one party member’s thoughts on the leadership contest.
I joined UKIP just after the Rochester and Strood By Election. I am proud to have been that constituency’s first branch Chair.Standing in the 2015 local elections and subsequently a Referendum Agent. For the recent general election, one of the few approved candidates actually getting the mock media telephone call on the Sunday. Here are one member’s thoughts on 2017 UKIP leadership contest.
Prior to this a thoughtful floating voter. Turning out for every election in my lifetime save one when last moment Territorial Army duty took me away from home.
Never politically blind or partisan, I refuse to support a road cone or hat stand simply for the colour it wears. Taking time considering candidates, parties and policies, doing research before committing myself. Also taking into account the nature of the election, local or General and issues at the time.
No one party ever had exclusivity of my vote. Indeed, on one occasion my cross is for the box of the Monster Raving Looney Party. I find none of the others can offer me anything.
My thirty seconds of fame comes via the BBC the morning after that referendum vote. It brings me automatic recognition locally. I often find myself defending the party, UKIP leadership, or more accurately some specific incident or soundbite which the media is reporting with varying degrees of accuracy.
I fear if we get the current UKIP Leadership election wrong. Come the week after conference I will to struggle to defend a political party with which I associate myself. Our party is so evidently needed in this country for those “little men and women in the street ignore by all those big mainstream politicians”.
The excellently run and presented hustings in Gillingham presented opportunity to hear the remaining candidates in person. Thus I do not simply have to rely upon my own research and the plethora of postings on social media. https://www.facebook.com/GillinghamRainhamUKIP/videos/vb.655871757796032/1433476496702217/?type=2&theater
Here is my take on those wishing to lead our party.
One really has to ask what AIDAN POWLESLAND is doing in the current leadership election? or perhaps more accurately why does he bother? Standing in a pose as if ready to mime the actions to I am a little teapot, his soft-spoken approach did not enthral. He will, sadly, be remembered for his ambition to mine the asteroid belt and also increase membership subscriptions. While revenue will increase considerably, there simply will not be any foot soldiers left. We are a political party, not a business! He should stick to outer space.
JANE COLLINS is every bit the blunt Yorkshire lass I had expected, but to she resembles a double glazing sales rep. While appearing confident about obtaining new party donors she quickly did a ‘Henry’ and name dropped her political referee. During Q & A it appeared she speaks for the sake of it. The key moment for me is the slip. She refers to those who recently withdrew from the race backing her, as “three of my candidates”. Infer from this what you will. The last time we had a gang of four, it was called the SDP. We all know how quickly they disappeared! Jane is calling it UKIP UNITED but if she becomes team captain, in my view, all we will get is instant relegation.
My first impression of ANNE MARIE WATERS, disappointing based on her appearance. She rescued herself when speaking as she comes across as honest and passionate. Her performance and failures with timing demonstrate a lack of professionalism that will hinder should she get the leadership top job. However, she makes up for this with her plain speaking. It was clear she has some good ideas for engaging with grassroots members.
Somewhat perplexing is her failure to put forward her views on the Islam issues with which she is widely associated, but in reply to the question of could you work with the others if they were elected leader, she gave a no nonsense answer. There were plenty she will work with if she can trust them. One can clearly see why she has an appeal with grassroots members. Overall, I believe, she lacks the depth across the spectrum of qualities a leader needs. This is no midfield general but a more than capable player.
PETER WHITTLE reminds me of a warm up act at a cabaret night. An articulate speaker but his words humdrum and hardly engaging. I found him disingenuous. He criticises Paul Nuttall’s performance and then tries to defend his role when pointed out he was and is deputy party leader. My notes on his performance, if you can call it one, run to just a couple of lines. I was grateful to munch one of the free peppermints earlier been dished out by Freddie Vachha. Lacklustre and uninspiring, there is nothing about him and his ideas that will remotely persuade me to vote his way.
Jovial and engaging is an accurate description for DAVID KURTEN. Comes across as quite a jolly chap and easily likeable. Although his opening speech was light on substance, he improves as the evening went on. His knowledge of muslin sects is very impressive. Clearly professional, never overran time and he is clearly a confident individual. Unashamedly referred to those backing him and answers questions well. He stated categorically he would definitely work with Henry should the said Mr Bolton OBE get the nod. His views and ideas are pretty much mainstream along existing party lines. I detected an underlying passion on the need to deal with political correctness and the transgender agenda.
He is a realist and understands the need for the party not just to modernise but also to become more professional. His detailed understanding on many issues make him a formidable candidate but perhaps a perceived lack of flair and charisma may prove detrimental. Definitely a team player and a regular choice for any starting line up.
The question? Who will you work with if they became leader? JOHN REES-EVANS refused to take the mic let alone answer. I expected more from him! He opened with a risky gambit of stating UKIP will become hated (even more than now) if he wins and then outlined ideas for direct democracy. An eloquent and polished speaker but I sensed an underlying desperation. You can tell he has talent from the videos he put together for general election candidates and looking at the work that has gone into promoting his ideas he is clearly talented.
There is a fair amount of support from those who like this idea of removing all powers from vested interests. As a policy platform it simply is not credible! UKIP have no MPs, a falling vote share. To cite this as a policy goal is simply fantasist. It reminds me of a film – “A bridge too far”. Finally, the recent gaffe over paying people to leave the country means he will be haunted by this if he becomes leader. His handling of the damage to his car has also left many wondering. I personally must suggest it was unwise of him to post a video on social media of his journey getting to the hustings.
Local rumour reaches me. One of our political opponents is reporting his driving to the Police. The basis – there is apparent undertaking. It would be truly unfortunate if his trip to Gillingham gives him more points on his licence than the local football club down the road has in League two.
From the instant, he stood up, and promptly rebuking the live media operator, HENRY BOLTON OBE had the audience attention. Daring to mention, and willing, to confront the rise of Islam. Wanting to give the disenfranchised a voice. This is a man who has a clear plan for the future. He is confident and thoughtfully enthusiastic but not overzealous. There is a thoughtfulness with him and his military training and established diplomatic qualities were obvious and in abundance. It is no surprise that Nigel Farage should be his political referee. In so doing Nigel goes as far as possible to endorse this candidate to make the party great again. Truly, HENRY BOLTON is head and shoulders above the rest. Not just a team captain but a club captain with potential to be a national captain.
I should declare I already know of Henry Bolton. As branch chair campaigning with and for him during the Police and Crime commissioner elections. Sadly, Kent ignored his CV and the evident obvious qualities he possessed. The county went tribally colour blind. Kent elected a blue covered hat stand. It came in the form of a former Tory office boy. His only apparent experience for the job – having briefly been in the boy scouts!
I went in favouring HENRY BOLTON OBE and nothing happened or was said to change that view. I was disappointed by some but surprised by others. Some gained my respect, some lost it. Everybody has a version of their dream team. I can easily see HENRY BOLTON takes captain’s armband. DAVID KURTEN as his deputy standing in either on the pitch or at a post-match interview. Keeping loyal fans informed through twitter, facebook, social media should definitely go to JOHN REES-EVANS. This is his forte and where I believe his talent truly lies. UKIP is all one team and a team needs mutual support. Not everybody can be the captain or star striker but some people are perhaps best left in the boot room.
As I say we cannot get this wrong! In the wings lurks the little known but newly formed Veterans and Peoples Party. I know they are making approaches.
These views are my own