An Evening With Bill Etheridge In Medway
Tuesday night was my chance to introduce Bill to the members of the 3 branches that make up Medway.
Bill opened in typically bullish fashion, re-telling how he had recently been labeled ‘medium to high risk’ by Sussex University and barred from speaking. Tonight, he said, was not to be any kind of ‘safe space’ but he wanted frankness and bluntness. We have a lot to be proud of as a Party, we have banded together as a team and “changed everything”. In 2014 a brilliant, combined patriotic effort propelled UKIP to victory in the European Elections. Reminding the members of what their hard graft and dedication had achieved Bill delivered a message of encouragement, commitment, and positivity. This open dialogue with those present was rewarding and filled the room with hope, an experience I wish I could share with more members.
Fast-forward to now. We are in disarray, there is “complete confusion”. Locally, we can relate, Medway is suffering from a severe lack of activists, and those that remain are demotivated, battle weary and are looking for a clear direction. However, reports of UKIPs death are greatly exaggerated if we grasp the opportunity in front of us we will rise again.
We need to get right behind Henry Bolton, Bill said. He has made a positive start in addressing the massive organisational issues that we face as a Party. Nigel Farage was a “one-off”, a “once in a generation politician” like Thatcher and Churchill. Although the Conservatives were saying “come home” to some UKIPers, they are “not interested in patriotism, law and order, etc”.
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Bill tackled the critique of UKIP that it had “gone soft” by pointing out that he started off in the campaign against political correctness and using the example of multiculturalism as an issue that UKIP is making a stand against. The straight-talking and affirmation of what the members felt energised those present – The Battle for Medway 2019 got its first call to arms.
His visit brought us all together and was about bringing us closer together as the UKIP family. We need to do things like this more often as Bill himself said:
What we should be able to do is come out and talk to our members, our activists and help to motivate them, to help us to help each other to do this as a team. To do this together
Electoral success is the key. We have to appeal to the public and give them ideas that are both positive and that they are interested in. The Shadow Cabinet has been instructed to take on board ideas from the membership. This is a different way of doing things and it is exciting. We have a strong future with opportunities. Once the MEPs are gone, in a year and a half, we will have to work our way up by winning councils and councilors. We will win elections on local issues and local matters, Bill expressed his “true belief” in “pavement politics”.
In true UKIP style, the discussion continued in the bar. Now having a more clear understanding of Henry’s plans for the future of our party, UKIP Members shared positive ideas about what we, The People’s Army, now need to do. An Evening with Bill Etheridge has left a Purple glow of positivity across Medway and I for one am looking forward to a newer, stronger UKIP.