EXCLUSIVE: Stuart Agnew MEP On His Dismay At No Confidence Call And Supporting Gerard Batten, Lord Pearson And Tommy Robinson
I woke last Friday to hear Radio 4 announcing that Nigel Farage was urging a vote of no confidence in Gerard Batten.
I refuse point-blank to support this initiative and am very dismayed that such an incident has occurred.
Gerard and myself had been members for several years before we finally met in 2003 for the first time. Regional list candidates had recently been chosen for the Euro Elections the following year and we were all on parade at Conference. Gerard contacted me a few months later to express his genuine concern at the suitability of one of the Eastern Region upper list candidates. This individual was a minor celebrity and, as such, the darling of the National Party, where it seemed he could do no wrong. I had known the person from an earlier life and was in full agreement with Gerard.
It took the leadership another five years to come to the same conclusion.
Gerard usually sits on my left in the Chamber, so I have got to know him fairly well. It is impossible to be more Eurosceptic than Gerard Batten and it is hardly surprising that he was a founder of UKIP. We sometimes wonder if he takes it too far. However, I was wrong and he was right when it came to supporting an engagement in the Article 50 process. He said it would lead to a Brexit in name only, which is exactly what has happened.
Since taking over the leadership of the Party, out of a sense of duty, last year he has improved both membership and finances. A most creditable performance.
He strongly reminds me of my political hero, Ian Smith, of Rhodesia. There were others in Smith’s cabinet who were more eloquent, media friendly and better connected than Smith. He, however, was able to appeal to poorer whites and, crucially, Africans, being a fluent speaker of Shona.
Smith, like Gerard, deeply mistrusted Conservative politicians and was subsequently betrayed by them.
Gerard has, in recent years, become aware of a thoroughly unpleasant cultural practice slowly undermining the social fabric of this country. Increasing numbers of women are being reduced to their status in the Dark Ages, mere possessions of men. Our politicians pretend this is not happening and vilify those who expose the truth.
Fortunately, Gerard is not alone in his concern. Lord Malcolm Pearson is equally motivated and we witness in UKIP the strange partnership of an aristocratic Scottish laird alongside a working class East Londoner. My idea of a dream team.
This is not their only similarity. Both were aware of the EU threat years before it became fashionable and both were prepared to stand against the tide.
Many of those in UKIP, who are now critical of Gerard, walked into polling booths in the 2001 General Election to vote against the UKIP candidate. They did the same in 2005. Gerard and myself were UKIP candidates in those elections.
So, what is the problem?
A highly motivated member of the public, Tommy Robinson, has opposed the generic mistreatment of women by Asian men. This is a very, very driven man who is incapable of resting until he sees a fundamental change. Like Nelson Mandela, he has not been a paragon of virtue in trying to get his voice heard.
Robinson, who did not have the advantages of my education, has been searching for a vehicle to help take his mission forward. He initially turned to the BNP but eventually realised their gratuitous racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial was too ingrained to ever be substituted for a useful objective.
He formed the English Defence League, only to see it taken over by yobs and thugs, obliging him to leave it.
His campaign to improve the lives of a section of female society, and secure justice for the most appalling crimes committed against them, has seen him harassed, threatened, vilified and finally imprisoned. The courage of this man is humbling. He strikes me as the conscripted soldier with a dubious background who embraces army life and becomes a first-class NCO.
Gerard is willing to take Robinson seriously. So is Lord Pearson. These are decent, genuine individuals willing to risk their reputations to support another genuine person’s genuine cause. Some in UKIP are frightened to tackle this problem in society because of being labelled ‘racist’.
I would regard myself as an out and out coward if I failed to support these three men.
Robinson will be viewed very differently in 30 years’ time. It is important to think long-term.
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