A Hole in Henry’s Bucket! Henry Bolton’s Debut to London
Well! The invitation gave the running order in the reverse of the actual event. Rather than appearing first Henry Bolton made a brief appearance at the beginning but presented his speech at the end.
So what of the warm up acts? For the most part they were impressive.
Gerard Batten MEP
The suave Gerard Batten MEP delivered a withering analysis of the Government’s approach to BREXIT and reminded everyone that BREXIT means EXIT! His knack of slipping in, almost unnoticed, the occasional near to the knuckle rebuke of those who oppose the democratic will of the people of the UK introduced a gentle humour to his speech. Here is a man who could charm the pants off you as he gently garrottes you!
Councillor Lawrence Webb
Councillor Lawrence Webb was not to be outdone with the humour and appealed for members to be prepared to stand in the local elections in the spring. When asked about funding he said there was no cost to standing and 5,000 leaflets could be obtained for as little as £65.00. He missed the salient point that the question was about all the member sharing the risk. As things stand most of this money would be money lost.
Tim Aker MEP
Like buses you seldom encounter an MEP but just as with buses two come along at once. Tim Aker MEP delivered a passionate speech about the work he does in his dual roles as MEP and local Councillor in Thurrock. This was the Tim Aker we used to know. Very clearly his work, as a councillor in particular, has had a real effect on his thinking He declared UKIP is the only political party on the side of those who are less fortunate.
Taking the example of a politically motivated action, to remove flags in his borough, he demonstrated the contrast between that hasty action and the slothful approach to the desperate plight of a household within his ward. He was able to say he had managed to have that latter issue sorted out. Tim pointed out that his vote, of 21%, in the recent General Election, was a direct result of being involved with his constituents and being there and acting on their behalf between elections. He recommended this approach to everyone standing.
Peter Whittle delivered a speech with verve but his choice of language left many in the hall uneasy. He concentrated on the issues espoused by a former leadership candidate who has now set up her own rival political party. What he said was true enough but the language he used could easily be used against UKIP by the press, the media and other politicians. His references to “the left” would repeat the offence, caused at the last election, in the appeal to UKIPpers to vote Tory!
No-one could dispute the truth of what Peter said however.
After an interval it was time for the top of the bill and Henry Bolton was no disappointment. He gives the impression of being rather shy at first but soon warmed up and the audience warmed to him. He delivered a few jests about the comparison of facing UKIP members or certain mafia-like elements, in Afghanistan or Eastern Europe,
That Bucket! How the party’s finances stand!
First he delivered a stark and direct message about the state of the party’s finances and administration. He had looked in the bucket and nothing was there!
Already, though, great strides had been made and the situation had been stabilised. Most importantly the party’s financial backers are on board and in April the party will be able to rely on some hefty donations. There are limits on what each can donate within a financial year and that is the reason donations are not coming in until then.
The plan will be to fund the party’s essential administration from subscriptions. Money donated would be applied to campaigns. The party has 25,000 members. Action has been put in place to tighten up on the issue of collecting renewals.
The New Administration
He covered his initial administrative moves and the setting up of groups to cover specific areas of administration and policy. A special group would be dealing with funding and membership. By making military comparisons he discussed how the party should set objectives and deliver on them. Some of the changes that have to be made will be difficult due to the way decision making is made in the party.
Henry delivered a taste of his vision on policy. The first area he covered was defence and his campaign “Save Our Services”. He told us how Government moves would trap us into being treated, effectively, as members of the EU for the purposes of defence contracts. We would no longer be able to ring fence defence contracts.
He paid tribute to the work done by MEPs and their excellent publications on Brexit, fishing and a raft of other matters. He recommended members to read the work of Gerard Batten and Mike Hookem. Responding to a question he also agreed there needs to be engagement with the grassroots members.
Talent in the Party
Henry Bolton’s debut to a London-wide audience was to a packed hall and he received a standing ovation at the end. Gerard Batten was a most effective chairman. All those who spoke showed a level of competence and credibility we have not been used to in recent times. UKIP is not a one man band any more. Very clearly there is real talent among our elected UKIP representatives.
Kipper Central at the event
Kipper Central was represented by two writers. I understand Darrell Goodliffe will be posting his thoughts separately.