LEADERSHIP LATEST: Bown Hedges His Bets & Bolton’s Nothing Burger
We have been following the saga of Alan Bown’s endorsement/s with great interest. Mr Bown, a substantial UKIP donor and certainly an influential figure within the inner-sanctum of the Party, first appeared during this contest as the Political Referee for Jane Collins MEP. Later, Ms Collins actively touted the support of Mr Bown as proof her pulling power when it comes to retaining and attracting donors. Ms Collins gave space during several hustings speeches to praise Mr Bown and the contribution he makes to UKIP.
Four says ago, Team Whittle rolled-out Bown as an endorser of their campaign. This, understandably, caused some confusion as we all swore-blind we remembered Ms Collins trumpet HER endorsement by the self-same Alan Bown. Bown has now attempted to clarify matters by saying he supports BOTH Mr Whittle and Ms Collins. Mr Bown stated:
I am fully behind both Jane Collins MEP and Peter Whittle AM and would be delighted to see either of them as the next leader of UKIP.
He goes on to argue it is “not unusual” for someone to endorse two candidates. He expresses disappointment that ‘certain people’ have allegedly tried to use his endorsement of Mr Whittle against Jane Collins. It seems disingenuous to complain about confusion he principally was the cause of and while his point about endorsement is valid, as this is a First Past The Post Election, it is germane to point out he can only vote for one of the above. This is only one of the anomalies in this situation, another is the clear delight of the supposedly anti-establishment UKIP United in having the backing of a stalwart of the UKIP establishment. I suspect there is more to this story than meets the eye.
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Meanwhile, as we all know, there has been a substantial amount of shadow-boxing during this contest and it was Team Bolton who yesterday found themselves on the receiving end of a story about Henry Bolton’s previous political life in the Liberal Democrats. It was what Americans, somewhat amusingly, call a complete nothing burger of a story, in fact, it was a quarter-pounder nothing burger with a side order of fries. I understand rather than being part of any mendacious plot it originated from comments Henry himself made regarding the Liberal Democrats and strategic failure. Although it did little but irritate and annoy it is perhaps a cautionary tale for Team Bolton who were earlier this week stung by the ‘UK Nazi Party’ story. Having said that, anyone who infers anything practical for today from 12 years ago is wide of the mark.