Picking up the pieces 

It’s nearly over folks. A leadership contest that has felt suspiciously like a not-really-wanted sally into a purple haze version of The Never Ending Story is almost done – btw by my reckoning, from declaration of the contest to declaration of result, this contest will have lasted 98 days (99 if its announced on Saturday), that is a long time. I therefore think I can confidently say that I speak for a large proportion of us all when I say thank the heavens it is nearly over – it has been too long and stretched over the political off-season we have not even had much comic relief from the opposition.

So, when the dust settles where will we be? Right from the get-go I will say I find this election impossible to call. It is probably no secret who I want to win but in terms of who I think will actually win I find it impossible to say. One of the main reasons for this is that I would say that in terms of numeracy of online support I would call it as a clear two-horse race between Anne Marie Waters and John Rees-Evans. However, as we all well know, the bulk of this electorate is not online or particularly active online; this makes it impossible to use online support as a realistic predictor. I do feel it will be a ‘change candidate’ that wins. A particularly brutal electoral pounding is unlikely to create a viable mood for a continuity candidate.

The brutality of the electoral mangling on-top of a stormy pre-election period means that the amount of bitterness and bile we have seen is natural and even, to a degree, healthy. Put simply, leadership contests should be a vehicle for us all to blow-off a little steam. Several factors have spiced things up beyond the norm. Certainly, whether you love or loath her, you cant fail to acknowledge the polarising nature of Ms Waters candidacy and that has probably brought the media spotlight to bear on this contest more than it would have otherwise done given our last set of electoral results. When the Sunday after the Saturday of conference comes and our new leader has been installed they are certainly going to have a substantially full ‘IN’ tray.

Two other things contribute to this possibility. I personally think this will be a low turnout election. Demoralised and atomised our remaining membership may well not vote in their droves. Also, the number of candidates means the winning number of votes and margin could be painfully low. This will mean that our new leader will have a wafer-thin mandate and be easy early prey for challengers who wont unite and sense the prospect of forcing another contest. It would therefore be a shrewd political move for them to immediately reach out to opposing camps when it comes to appointments.

It is also possible that a new leader will be hit with a wave of protest resignations – rumours this may afflict a Waters coronation are rife and well-publicised but it is worth noting that other candidates are not immune, Peter Whittle has been threatened in a similar manner. Incidentally, just to balance things out, I have heard rumours that letters of resignation have been drafted for the eventuality Anne Marie DOESNT win as well –  however, if Anne Marie wins the first 48 hours could determine how long that particular revolution lasts, so her confession that she “doesnt know” what she will do if she does win, made on Newsnight, doesn’t bode particularly well.

Saying something is coming to an end is another way of saying we are at the start of a new beginning and we may have to face the uncomfortable reality that will be the case with this leadership contest. Whomever wins will receive a baptism of fire. Picking up the pieces will be the first test the new leader will face.

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7 Responses

  1. David Allen says:

    The point about the principle electorate sitting at home oblivious to this contest is well made. However, My experience of them suggests that they are not the kind of people who are likely to vote for change, which puts Peter Whittle in the driving seat, particularly as candidates are prohibited from directly contacting the electorate. To overcome that, a candidate needs something extremely persuasive in the Independence magazine, which is probably the first and only time most members will see the field. On that score Henry Bolton does extremely well as no other candidate has achieved any real note, despite election success under the UKIP banner when we had much more support. Our members like service, police, army etc. They also respect honours, so Henry’s OBE (for services to security and stabilisation) will be very influential whilst, quite to the contrary, it is ignored by the on-line community. We had better hope that Henry wins, for the party has little hope with any of the others.

  2. len laws says:

    The deep problems at UKIP Folkestone Branch have largely been encouraged by Mr. Bolton. Why did he tell them he could not run for Parliament[a paid job] then goes for the leadership? Not the actions of a leader. The AMW challenge fiasco coupled with the assertions that Farage backs him ,when he merely acted as a referee show desperation. His days in Brussels have gleaned the support of those who ride the gravy train.

    • David Allen says:

      Nigel Farage, When asked if his being a political referee amounted to an endorsement of Henry Bolton he said “I don’t want to get involved in the election but if members wish to see that as an endorsement then that is up to them”. That’s about as close as you can get to an endorsement, or, at least, that’s the way our members will see it.


    Everyone click my links,a vote for HENRY BOLTON,and UKIP will be finished within a year.
    Do not be fooled by yet another UKIP USEFUL IDIOT ISLAM.
    Vote for Anne Marie Waters and thousand will join us,and there will be a future for both UKIP and our once great and former Christian Country.

    • Pamela Preedy says:

      Well said, Geoffrey! Bolton tried to get rid of AMW and failed. Collins bad-mouthed AMW’s manifesto launch and failed. The Gang of Four are a bust. David Kurten says too much when it’s better to say little. JRE is a tad eccentric. Poundland is dull. Forgotten anyone? It doesn’t matter, the only person I’m going to vote for is our heroine Anne Marie Waters, the one who speaks the truth and shames the devil.

      • David Allen says:

        Fact, were AMW to win. several donors have made it clear they will call in their loans. The party cannot pay and will move into bankruptcy. That will be the end. everyone knows this including AMW. I’m a supporter of her aims but not her approach and certainly not her abilities, which are limited. I’ve written concrete proposals for action against potential jihadists, AMW has no strategy. That does make a difference. I don’t believe that the leadership of UKIP means anything to her, nor does the continuation or demise of the party. I think she sees that as a price worth paying to enhance her personal celebrity, or perhaps infamy, as a mechanism to pursue her campaign. Also it has recently transpired that some of her claims may be exaggerated. It would be wrong to conflate the passion of a campaigner with the qualities needed to lead a political party. Fortunately, she has little chance, outside the hugely unrepresentative arena of social media. She certainly does attract the fringe though.

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