REECE COOMBES: Nigel Farage Is A National Hero, But It Is Gerard Batten Who Must Lead UKIP


Nigel Farage, since I was 14 years old, has been my hero. Without Nigel, and his fantastic achievements as UKIP’s Leader prior to the EU referendum, we wouldn’t have got that glorious referendum and we most certainly wouldn’t have won it.

My great admiration for Farage led to me being known by more students at my college as ‘the guy with a life-size cardboard cut-out of Nigel Farage in his bedroom’ – a description which was not inaccurate – than those who knew me by my name.

But alas, my cherished Nigel cut-out was hastily folded up and shelved away in February of this year when my political idol came out to back Henry Bolton’s UKIP leadership ahead of the party’s crucial EGM. Mr Bolton was, as far as I was concerned, a traitor whose sole aim was to destroy UKIP and who had already gone a very long way in achieving that. Henry and I had a number of rows on this topic and, quite frankly, he should be proud of the fact that as many as a third of our members supported him after his display of total incompetence.

Despite all of this, Nigel supported Bolton and told the party that we should stand by our pathetic leader, even implying that we’d “die” if we sacked him. Of course, I don’t believe for a minute that Nigel was also a traitor; I think he simply got this one very wrong.

Thankfully, UKIP’s grassroots membership took little notice of Nigel’s advice and two thirds of us rejected Bolton anyway. Since that historic day for our party, we have seen our membership rocket upwards, a 44% (and counting) spike in our young membership and a courageous – but effective – shift in UKIP’s direction towards freedom and liberty.

As the age-old saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’ And believe me, UKIP couldn’t be much further from broke right now. We haven’t seen such a positive lurch in membership and such an air of optimism since years before the referendum, and we may never see it again if we choose to divert from our newfound road of success.

But don’t just take my word for it; the most obvious measure of political success is poll ratings, and UKIP’s polling has not stopped rising under Gerard’s leadership. In fact, just this morning a poll was published giving us a 2% increase in support, up to 5%.

Gerard has been absolutely loyal to the UKIP cause since the very beginning. As a founding member, he helped to shape our policy, action and direction and as one of our first MEPs, he helped lead the way to establishing opposition to the EU within its institutions. Even since we won the Brexit referendum, Gerard remained extremely active, serving as our Brexit spokesman under multiple leaders before taking up the leadership himself. Of course, most of that can be said also of Nigel Farage – to his credit – but sadly the post-referendum loyalty is not so evident.

When Nigel stepped down, the first permanent leader to take the UKIP reigns was Paul Nuttall; a well-meaning but ultimately unprepared leader of our party. Within a few months of taking over the party – after an extremely troubling few months following Diane James’ resignation – Nuttall was faced with the challenge of a set of locals doomed to failure ahead of a General Election which, even if we hadn’t fought awfully, was never going to return anything even vaguely purple.

What we needed to at least retain some sort of electoral dignity was a well-known Brexiteer willing to call out the Tories on their fraud. That should have been Nigel Farage. However, Nigel decided that his name would not be in the hat this time round, and that he would barely even show his face during the campaign other than popping up at the occasional action day.

Gerard Batten, on the contrary, was not only active in our campaign as UKIP’s Brexit spokesman but was challenging Prime Minister Theresa May in her own seat of Maidenhead to directly call her out on her Brexit failures. This is just another example of Batten’s total, consistent commitment to not only Brexit but to the UKIP cause.

But throughout his entire career playing an instrumental role in achieving Brexit, Gerard has been extremely vocal on a great variety of issues, particularly those relating to Islamism and Freedom of Speech, two issues which UKIP was noticably quiet on compared to the majority of its membership under Nigel’s leadership.

After recent events surrounding Tommy Robinson, Count Dankula and a number of other victims of state persecution, there arose a very major gap in British politics for a party defending free speech and standing up for our rights. Thankfully, Gerard Batten has morphed UKIP into that party, and we have reaped the benefits.

Count Dankula, Sargon of Akkad, Paul Joseph Watson and Milo Yiannopoulos have all joined UKIP – bringing with them thousands of new members – as a direct result of Gerard’s shift in our party’s focus towards what are becoming the defining issues of our time – Islamism and freedom (especially freedom of expression) while of course retaining our major focus on Brexit. This approach is working wonders for UKIP, bringing in new supporters, new (and old) donors and, crucially, new members.

Of course, going forward Gerard must do everything he can put Nigel in the centre stage within UKIP – giving him the role of Brexit spokesman would be a very positive move to this end – and Nigel must continue fighting for Brexit with his non-partisan approach that he has adopted at the same time. It is only by working together and allowing Nigel to take his campaigning in his own direction whilst remaining prominent within the party that we will truly prosper.

I could continue listing Gerard’s successes for days more but I think my point has become clear; UKIP under Gerard Batten is finally a serious electoral force tackling a broader range of issues than any other political party in Britain, and the public couldn’t be more grateful for it! Provided Gerard is happy to continue leading us down this path to victory, we must do everything within our power to help him.

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Reece Coombes

As a 16-year-old member of UKIP with a cardboard Nigel Farage cut-out in his bedroom, Reece is hardly your bog-standard student, but he cherishes his independent thinking as his greatest strength. Reece is the founder and owner of Kipper Central, a UKIP community blog with thousands of daily hits and is also the Deputy Chairman of Young Independence, UKIP's youth wing, where he works hard to promote Brexit and radical thinking to young people across Britain.

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16 Responses

  1. MIKE MAUNDER says:

    I have said before within Kipper Central, that the Party is on the move under Gerard Batten, and that Nigel Farage would always be a welcome visitor to any UKIP gathering. He is, as we would say in Northampton, ‘A Good Old Boy.’ Why he promoted and backed Bolton is beyond me, but I guess even the best can make mistakes !
    This Nation now needs a UKIP Government. No, I don’t apologise for my optimism. Aim high always, because if you aim low, all you will do is hit the dirt !

  2. Alan Williams says:

    Well said Reece.

  3. StuartJ says:

    I agree with most of what you have written. Nigel Farage was THE reason I started backing UKIP, and there is no disputing the excellent job he did campaigning and fighting for the EU referendum, and for raising the profile of UKIP in a way which saw it collect nearly four million votes at the 2015 General Election, finishing third ahead of the LibDems, SNP and Greens.

    Sadly I myself, as well as many others, felt he was foolish to think “job done” after winning the EU Referendum in 2016. Since then, while being very vocal about Brexit, in my mind he has not supported or backed UKIP enough, to a point where some people even question if he is still a member or not!

    Paul Nuttall, while being a decent enough bloke, simply wasn’t up to the task of filling Nigel’s boots, and the less said about Henry Bolton the better really!

    But Gerard Batten has really invigorated the party, and it has to be said that he was the reason that I finally got around to becoming a fully paid-up member of UKIP.

    I accept that Mr Batten has acknowledged he is currently only a temporary leader, there to steady the ship. But Mr Farage needs to remember that Mr Batten is currently the leader, and all his talk about potentially standing for leadership next year is very noble, but it doesn’t help the present situation.

    I have myself commented elsewhere that for now, I would like to see Mr Batten extend an olive branch to Mr Farage, and offer him the role of Brexit spokesperson, because I feel Nigel is simply the best qualified person for that role, not taking anything away from Mr Batten.

    Nigel’s one failing is that he is very much a ‘single-issue’ man, and while Brexit and leaving the EU is obviously a primary concern, there are other big issues that UKIP will need to address and face up to, which Mr Farage seems unwilling to tackle.

    The first thing that Nigel could do, is to start to mobilise his huge numbers of followers, who currently aren’t UKIP members/supporters, to start backing and supporting the party more boldly.

    Nigel Farage still has a big role he can play, even if it is not as leader of the party, that is my opinion.

  4. Tony T. says:

    Agreed, Mr.Farage did a great job, but you cannot just go and come as you please and expect to have the leading position held open for you. Mr. Batten is doing a good job and he deserves his chance at success, not everything is going well, the website is still not the place to find information about what is going on in the UKIP but when does EVERYTHING go well?

  5. Alan Craig says:

    Excellent analysis and argument Reece except I don’t think Nigel would work with Gerard as leader.
    But apart from that, spot In!

  6. Stuart Beaker says:

    Well said, Reece. You hit the nail on the head – as I see it, GB is at the core of the renewal of UKIP, and NF should be at the sharp end of a revivified fight for Brexit, no-holds-barred and no friends spurned. And where on earth did you get a life-sized cutout of Nigel? I could quite do with some life-sized cutouts of the current PM and her SPADs and Cabinet – I would find them very handy for target practice..

  7. Grumpyashell says:

    Spot on

  8. Patrick Dearsley says:

    Reece, you are absolutely spot on with this. Fine to have NF as a presidential roaming orator, but GB is a real party leader and organiser and will go on getting better. What I enjoy increasingly is his refusal to bow to the whinging demands of an always hostile press. It is only sad that it takes the slime ridden treachery of May and the EU Fifth Column to bring him to the fore.

  9. Dan says:

    Excellent Reece!

  10. Robert Bryant says:

    It is to be regretted that Nigel’s judgement of likely political allies has been markedly less than encouraging. The Hamiltons, with their creative proclivities for imaginative expenses claims, unreliable recruits like Killroy-Silk, Carswell and Reckless brought in, flakey leaders like Paul Nuttall and Diane James, would not prompt one to look to Nigel with optimism for the party’s future. Nigel is an excellent platform politician, but he is a disaster as a leader of the party. Gerard is and has long been the rock at the heart of the party and he deserves our support.

    • Robert Bryant says:

      With so many examples to choose from of Nigel’s recommendations to lead UKIP, I omitted to include, probably the most questionable of them all, the latter-day Napoleon, Mr Henry Bolton. Which is why I’m amending my earlier comment, because I worry that readers might think that I supported Bolton.

  11. AlexB says:

    Will Batten be standing again? If so I hope he retains leadership. Less of a character than Nige, but has performed miracles.

    I’m a little concerned about Farage’s stance. He doesn’t want to be UKIP leader (so he claims). So why does he think it’s the only role for him? Why is he leaving it until March’s leadership election to return to home front politics, when Batten will have already done all the important legwork? It just screams publicity stunt to me. And I say that as a fan.

    Not currently a member, but have spent the last several weeks seriously considering it. Hope the upward trend continues.

  12. Les Shepperd says:

    I completely agree-two great men but each most effective in his specific role: Gerard Batten leading from the front, and Nigel free to be doing what he does best as a powerful orator and spokesman with the media etc..

  13. Peter Chodera says:

    I am in complete agreement with your posting, Reece.

  14. Alec Yates says:

    Well said Reece, Nigel is the past and what has he done to support Gerard as Leader, nothing. He left the Party in a financial mess facing bankruptcy. Under Gerard, Tony and Sebastian we are now on a sound footing, we are not broke and membership is rising, 2,000 members in the last two weeks. We do not need another Leader Gerard is doing just fine.

  15. Russell Hicks says:

    DELEGATE, DELEGATE, DELEGATE….the next step for UKIP (Nigel’s key weakness) is to start looking like a PARTY IN WAITING and not a one-man-band. One man (or woman!) can lead but he/she cannot do all the jobs or know everything, it’s impossible. We need a visible UKIP Shadow Cabinet.

    The second most important person in a political party is the SHADOW CHANCELLOR or economics spokesman. We need a big hitter to demolish project fear and make the point that we can be as rich as Switzerland WITHOUT the EU…and have far fewer social/welfare/crime/NHS/gridlock problems. That Shadow Chancellor must destroy the Left on their student arithmetic. Next, we need a SHADOW HOME SECRETARY who can speak out on our appalling rising crime problems and be very clear where the problems are coming from. We need a HEALTH spokesman who can be blunt about the real problems in the NHS; ridiculous management spending, ludicrous procurement deals and a conservatively estimated one million illegal immigrants helping themselves to our health service. Then there’s DEFENCE and I’d like to suggest HOME DEFENCE, we need a massively beefed up Border Force. Then there’s EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT, HOUSING…the list goes on and on. And a STUNNING, HEADLINE GRABBING NEW POST for someone really good monitoring BBC BIAS, putting the spotlight on taxpayer funded Leftist/pro-EU propaganda in our national broadcaster. Why are we paying massive salaries to people undermining our country?

    Those are just a few posts. We have many excellent people in UKIP; sadly not our MEPs, they have achieved sod all in the last two years, none are household names, they’re only ‘famous’ in their Twitter echo chambers.

    Gerard cannot do it all, smart leaders delegate…but sack people who aren’t competent or don’t have an impact with the public. Richard Branson didn’t become a billionaire flying aeroplanes, he delegated to clever people.

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