The votes have been cast, the ballot papers have been sent in and are being counted today.
Conference starts tomorrow at 9 a.m. in Bournemouth, and we will have a new leader.
Looking back, it has been a tumultuous time – twelve weeks since the result of the EU Referendum was announced on June 24th in the early hours of the morning. So many members, from Nigel Farage down, have been fighting for this victory: for decades, years, months, and not to forget the intense weeks of the actual campaign.
We won on glorious June 23rd, and let nobody forget that!
But that was then …
In the weeks that followed, turmoil and mayhem rattled our Party: the resignations of our leader, of our deputy leader, of the Chairman left us all stunned. Then we had the start of the leadership campaign, where for one reason or another out of the seven original contestants, once the cut-off date had passed, there were only five left.
We all remember the ensuing anger and vituperations, the vociferous demands for an EGM, the attacks on the NEC, the hustings, the debates amongst members at their branch meetings and online.
What I found of surpassing interest was that the MSM and the establishment simply didn’t take notice. Suddenly, UKIP didn’t exist any longer.
Yes, there were a few token smear articles, but that was all. Yes, there were the Summer Holidays, the Olympic Games, and yes, there was the exceedingly strange dismantling of the Labour Party, but since this was the ‘Silly Season’, where even stories about humans biting cats can make headlines, this was odd. Instead the MSM were and still are full of stories about the Remoaners, as if they alone were the most important part of our political landscape.
Sadly, we have only ourselves to blame for this, because while we were engaged in sometimes vicious infighting, we ourselves took our eyes off the Brexit ball. While we attended hustings and listened to the contestants, events outside our little “safe space”moved on.
So lookit here: now there’s suddenly a new campaign group called ‘Change Britain’, under the leadership of Gisela Stuart, Labour, which will ‘campaign hard’ for Brexit, according to this report. Just look at the list of people involved, here at their own website .
How many UKIP members do you find on it?
I find none.
Did nobody notice at Head Office that this was being planned? Was there no ‘care-taker’, in the absence of Leader and Deputy Leader? If someone did – why weren’t the members told? How is something like the electronic voting system going to work if such vital information isn’t passed on to members? This is happening now, and doesn’t it llook like we, the members, the past and prospective leaders and those leading the Leave.EU and GO campaigns allowed it to happen, by taking our collective eyes off the Brexit ball!
Whoever will be announced as the new leader tomorrow: what can we, the members, now look forward to? More of the same we’ve witnessed in these last weeks: inner-party warfare, from self-selected members’ ‘advocates’ all the way up to the members of the governing institutions of UKIP? Or should we now look forward to becoming a sad, “right-wing” imitation of Labour’s “Momentum”, being on call to do the Leadership’s bidding, from pressing buttons to pounding the streets when called upon, without any influence on the decisions taken by ‘those above’?
Our new leader must address these issues as a matter of urgency, and we members must be prepared to hold that new leader to account, as we maintain that we must hold the government to account. But the first step surely must be a far more comprehensive way of informing members, honestly and without bias!
And we all must recognise that in the eyes of the Westminster establishment UKIP is not needed any longer. In their eyes and in the eyes of their MSM, we’re back again to being that quaint little outfit of gadflies, with odd little people squabbling amongst themselves over who gets to inherit Nigel’s mantle. For them, it’s now back to ‘normal’, politics back in the hands of the Establishment. The MSM don’t even ask how it is possible that a group like ‘Change Britain’ can suddenly appear without any involvement of UKIP.
Wasn’t it us ‘wot won it’?
Not according to them! After all what are 3.8 million votes compared to 17.4 million – peanuts, that’s what.
Time is running out for all of us.
We can still pick up the ball we’ve dropped, and win coming from behind – so let’s hope that by Saturday we know that what we’ve heard was the whistle for half-time, and not the final whistle for UKIP.
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