On the cold night of 20th March 2018, I travelled from Cardiff to Gloucester to attend a packed meeting in the Guildhall, organised by the Gloucester Branch. The guest speakers were:
- Reece Coombes (RC) – Deputy Chair of Young Independence and Editor of KipperCentral
- Ernie Warrender (EW) – UKIP Small Business & Countryside Spokesman
- Gerard Batten (GB) – Interim Leader
What follows is my precis of what was said from the podium. The message was: UKIP is back – and UKIP is in the black.
It was mentioned that there will be a Brexit march in Exeter this Saturday at 9am.
RC: RC is a very confident and articulate speaker for his youth. He quoted Pastor Niemöller’s famous words to highlight the recent silencing of free speech by the British government. The police, in the last few days, have said online that you can be put away for non-crimes if your thoughts are against the law. There was laughter but it was not funny. The leaders of Britain First have been imprisoned for harassing a known paedophile. You may not agree with them, but we must defend their right to free speech. The UK used to be a beacon of democracy.
Telford is the worst example. The police did nothing to stop rape, even murder, because they’re too afraid of being called racist and we have a politically correct spineless government. The longer we allow this, the more girls get abused – and it’s happening all across the country. If you know about rape going on, report to the police and make sure they do something. We must stand up and be allowed to criticise rape, even if some get offended.
EW: His grandfather died on the Somme and his grandfather was driven mad in WWII, so we won’t give in to the EU or the repression of free speech. Labour is now the Nasty Party.
Two years ago UKIP were booed offstage in Stroud. Recently we were welcomed and invited back. Young people’s attitudes to us change positively when they hear what we have to say.
Theresa May’s Brexit capitulation is humiliating the British people and is a recruitment campaign for UKIP – something we can campaign on in the local elections.
Tony McIntyre is a good chair and Sebastian Fairweather is top drawer. Neither are taking a salary. There has been lots of belt-tightening and branches sending money to the centre. The days of the centre wasting money are gone. Send what you can.
GB: UKIP is nothing without its branches and activists. He inherited nothing except a financial crisis and the great people in Lexdrum House. They are now down to 8, and the only reason we can continue.
The first thing he did was to get rid of “Lenny the Lion”.
We were about to go insolvent. He sent a fundraising letter and we’re now in the black. He wrote to 20,000 ex-members, inviting them back and is initiating other recruitment campaigns.
2 years ago we had 40,000 members. With that we could afford lots we can’t do now.
Re: the £175K award over the Jane Collins libel case: there’s a plan. He can’t say what it is, but has been told not to worry. UKIP is not going to go under.
He stepped up because he didn’t want to see UKIP come to an end. Without us there is no opposition. It’ our job to represent the ordinary working people and small businesses.
He predicted in his 2014 booklet that we’d win the Brexit referendum, but there would be an endless establishment campaign to stop it. It has now been almost 2 years and we’ve just got betrayal: Brexit means leaving the EU, not staying tied in, as was agreed on Monday.
During the transition we’ll be stuck with the CFP, open borders and European law, interpreted by the ECJ. We’ll keep paying in and will be paying Eurocrats’ pensions forever.
They’re delaying until the next general election, when the establishment are hoping the referendum can be overturned as the Tories and Labour renege on the result. A larger proportion of the electorate voted Leave than for any government since World War Two. The referendum vote was effectively for a Common Council of the Realm. A lot of voters believed Project Fear and voted to remain. Now they see the lies. We don’t want a second referendum, but would win a bigger majority if there were one.
What we should have started doing from 24th June 2016 – and it’s not too late – is to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and take us out of the EU under our law, but leaving all the legislation still in place. We could then repeal or amend it according to our timescales and priorities. The first thing would be to offer to continue tariff free trade – otherwise we trade on WTO terms. They sell us more, so their businesses would pressure the politicians. Then we address borders. We do deals with each individual EU country to have selective visa free access and a points-based system – Poland, for example, would surely agree.
The problem is our political class lack patriotism and have no guts.
UKIP must be an electoral threat again. It’s difficult under first-past-the-post. We got a referendum without Westminster seats. We have shown we can get seats in local elections.
There were no plans for the local elections when he came in. Local candidates: please come forward! If we stand more than 740 candidates, we can get a TV broadcast. Even if we get slaughtered, we’re back on the field. The traitors and Quislings will have to look out once again!
There followed a Q&A session in which a number of interesting points were mentioned:
- GB has been explaining to the VAT & FLA that marches don’t change anything and that we need to threaten politicians at the ballot box.
- RC says it’s easy to put videos online. One of his got half-a-million views. That’s how we can bypass the mainstream media and win.
- GB is yet to take a decision as to whether he’ll stand for permanent leader, but may take that decision soon. He will stand if he sees no other suitable candidate. He has no personal ambition and prefers to be part of a team. The party shouldn’t be the leader’s personal possession and we should not accept opportunists.
- Tony McIntyre believes in a grassroots-up organisation and bi-directional communications.
- GB has had no interview requests from the mainstream media since 2 days after his appointment.
- GB isn’t rushing into appointing spokesmen, preferring those with an expertise in the field, such as Professor Stephen Bush, who has written papers about regeneration of industry in the north of England.
- GB heard about a debate at King’s College, London, which was called off because its subject matter was too controversial – freedom of speech.
- GB is speaking on Saturday at a FLA meeting about justice for those affected by the Birmingham pub bombings.
- GB said the Islamic problem will take generations to solve, but first we must stop importing the ideology.
- GB cited David Kurten as having a good grasp of Cultural Marxism and how to fight political correctness. There is no quick fix. UKIP is speaking for those who are frightened to speak.
As for what UKIP stands for after Brexit, GB said the first thing is to stop mass immigration. GB wished NF well in his media career. RC announced that tonight YI has donated £200 to the party.