YI CONFERENCE: The Revival Is Real
The theme of this year’s Young Independence conference was Revival. Last year’s was shut down by left-wing protests and there was one this time but it was peaceful and short-lived, a couple of hours passed with a handful of protesters outside and they quickly dispersed after they felt their point had been made. Inside, the promised revival was taking shape.
Like UKIP, YI was on its last legs last year. However, things have changed dramatically for the better. Finances are stable. Membership is rising and YI is beginning to make headway in a particularly difficult area and living proof that not all youth are seduced by the false charms of the left and Comrade Corbyn.
Part of the explanation for this is potentially found in the very first speech from Joe Simons, he talked about how University campuses are becoming hostile and “toxic”. Free speech is under vicious attack especially by the left. It is plain for anyone to see and it is one of the issues that UKIP and YI have become champions of, especially on campuses.
One of things that YI Chairman, Nathan Rydings mentioned in his closing speech was a vastly improved relationship with UKIP. This was shown by Ben Walker speaking with his NEC hat on. He is coordinating the local elections campaign and correctly talked about how UKIP needs to start organising from the bottom-up and start selecting candidates much earlier. This is a welcome shift in focus from top-down organisation of campaigns to a more grassroots-led approach and a recognition that there is no substitute electorally for sheer hard graft. Whether it will bear any fruit in the local elections in 2019 is debatable. It probably will not because it really is too late to effectively start now, nonetheless, if the set of results next year is poor this approach shouldn’t be abandoned. Ernie Warrender, UKIPs Small Business Spokesman, also spoke from the podium as, of course, did Gerard Batten and also Gareth Bennett and, right at the end, Kirsten Herriot, UKIP’s Chairman
Another theme throughout the conference was the insidious march of Cultural Marxism and the attack on the traditional family unit. Alan Williams speaking for Support For The Family, directly linked defense of the family to the resistance of “totalitarian control”. Alan Craig and David Kurten continued on this theme. Jonathan Wong, of War Plan Purple, talked of the need to steer the UK back towards individual liberty.
In a clear sign of the expansion of YI’s horizons as well as an expansion of its organisational there were a series of speakers from Europe. Blart Clares from Belgium’s Vlaams Belang Jongeren, Davide Quadri from the youth wing of Italy’s trailblazing Lega Party and finally Carlo Clemens from the AfDs youth wing. All of the speakers from the continent emphasised one thing, the centrality of Brexit to the populist revolts in their own countries, it was literally the spark that produced a roaring flame.
The star quality was provided by Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad and Count Dankula, both notable free speech warriors. Benjamin is clearly a deep thinker. He produced a cerebral analysis of the state we are in and how the essential problem is that “the managerial class” in society think they can essentially do a better job of running things including our lives than we ourselves can. Brexit is the archetypal example of this. We, the people, voted for Brexit but they, the managers, represented by the Remoaners, wag their finger and say ‘no, no, you misunderstood/didn’t understand, let us reverse that result for you’. He also talked about the narrowing of discourse and the marginalisation of figures such as Tommy Robinson.
Tommy Robinson was mentioned at various points of the day, first by Ben Walker who tried to sideline the issue by claiming Tommy hasn’t applied to join, which, of course, he cant as doing so would mean ticking a box which would declare, untruthfully, he has never been a member of the EDL and BNP. Reece Coombes, Deputy Chair of YI, rebutted Walkers point and pointed out that if UKIP is the Party of “honesty and conviction” then we should ignore the establishment demonisation of Tommy as being ‘far-right’. Gerard Batten used the opportunity to announce that he would be bringing a motion to the NEC in the “near future” to trigger an all-members ballot on whether or not Tommy should be allowed to join. This will doubtless involve the Party having the robust “conversation” about the issue that Gareth Bennett called for. Fundamentally, this will be a conversation about the kind of Party that UKIP wants to be and how it fulfills its potential to “reshape British politics” which Reece Coombes pointed too.
YI is certainly starting to realise its potential. Closing the Conference, Chairman Rydings announced that YI’s membership is now over 2,000. He told Kipper Central: YI Conference was a complete success, it was definitely YI’s largest ever conference to date and I am extremely proud to be it’s National Chairman during this time. The future of YI is bright and I can only see it going from strength to strength if it continues down this road. In the very near future, YI will be deciding its future once again and If it wants to continue its growth and move into a position of professionalism then it needs to make the right choice.
This is certainly true. The future is bright and in Worcester on Saturday it had a definite purple hue.
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