Colleagues, we have been here before, four times in a year. Since that glorious day, June 23rd we have, as a political party, had our ‘annus horribilis’ and the jury is out as to whether we can survive it. We have to subject ourselves yet again to the gut wrenching process of choosing a new leader.
Casting my net amongst the likely candidates to take us forward, like the North Sea, it is slim pickings. Although it is still three weeks to the closing date for nominations the list of declared interest is depressing, with a certain exception.
We would of course expect a plethora of interest from those already established in the party, to chance their arm at the top job. They could of course, not resist. I would have taken the view personally, that if I had thrown my hat in the ring last time, to be firmly rejected by the membership it would be a definite forlorn hope to submit myself again and suffer such bad press and derision.
It is clear that some, having the letters MEP after their name are deluded. Deluded in their belief, that this label still carries with it any of the significance it once did. The membership of this party have been very much ignored and too often let down by members of that Brussels club.
Our messages on Islam and Immigration have at last begun to resonate, the latter much more so. There is still an enormous task ahead of us with regard to the many issues that arise within the Muslim population of this country and the perversion of the religion they live by. We know this, and the people of Great Britain know this. An integration agenda written in isolation was a total embarrassment to the author and the party, it gave the press a veritable feast to dine on, and goodness they satiated their hunger.
The fight against the extremes of Islam and associated issues just cannot, if we are to be taken seriously, be our one and only message. Our core message has to still be Brexit, and a range of integrated policies. That, that is why we are here, this is still our fight and will be so for at least another two years. The other big topic evolving from the last general election is the enormous voting fraud that took place. Electoral reform is also a subject that we should be strongly campaigning on, not only to tighten up the atrocious fraud but also for a reformation of the process of first past the post, which will greatly enhance our chances of success.
Imagine in future, in order to avoid protests and trouble, branch regional and other meetings and gatherings having to be held at secret locations, the location of which is notified to the members just an hour before the start time. Well that’s what has happened at one candidate’s leadership launch, this cannot be the way forward for this party. If this candidate is elected then that is surely the pathway we would be taking.
The case I am making, as the campaign manager for Ben Walker is simple. In order to succeed we need to establish a national and local platform. Nationally, we cannot be led by someone who has to spend three quarters of any interview time explaining and apologising for their past speeches and comments. It cannot be someone who the press will salivate at interviewing in the hope of ridicule and a cheap easy victory. We need a leader who is fresh to the plate, no baggage, someone who will take on the press in a calm and resolute manner and who gets our message over. Ben Walker ticks all those boxes.
Locally we need a leader who knows the ins and outs of ward, district and constituency politics. Someone who has cut his teeth at the sharp end of local politics. Ben Walker ticks those boxes.
To the membership, Ben makes this solemn promise, never ever again under his leadership will you, the members, the lifeblood, heart and soul of this party be ignored, left in the dark and most importantly, never ever again under Ben’s leadership will you be taken for granted. Direct democracy will be introduced, strengthened and will form the centre piece of this Party’s future.
Yes, we are at an enormous crossroads. To go back to where we have been, the old guard, is retrograde and will sound the death bell for this party. To lurch to the right will have the same outcome, only it will be an instantaneous death as many, this author included will simply leave.
No, the way forward is to ensure a move positively forward with a new fresh approach, a fresh new start with a new leader born from the membership who knows and understands the frustrations and disappointments felt by the membership. A leader that knows local politics and all that that entails. A leader that understands the many and varied problems this country faces on a national level. Experience counts and experience is what is on offer.