Below are the first comments we received from grassroots members who were in Birmingham. The first is from Paul Herbert, a UKIP Committee member from Stone in Staffordshire. He and his wife manned a stand at the Conference:
Again, didn’t get out much from the stand, I only saw Jill Seymour’s speech and it was very good and the conference atmosphere has been one of ebullience.
We were sited in the entrance corridor, immediately outside the Hall and I didn’t hear any criticism from people coming and going, in fact the opposite mainly. – “the best UKIP Conference I’ve been to” was a frequent comment and it felt really friendly. Police were in attendance, as there was apparently a demo by Momentum outside, the police dealt with it and there were no problems, I spoke with some officers over the course of day (from a social aspect) who said they’d never had problems with UKIP.
My main criticism of the venue, is that there are just two relatively small cafe areas downstairs, which are totally inadequate for a full conference, but the staff were extremely helpful – must say that we were both surprised and pleased with the staff friendliness.
For the people who couldn’t get seats, I heard that there were other eateries in the nearby area, probably OK if you knew where, but with only 45 mins allocated, it didn’t give a lot of time to hunt for them.
The hall itself was pretty much full, only a few empty seats dotted about, so that wouldn’t please the MSM, as they like to report on rows of empty seats.
Our raffle raised just over £300, so good day for West Mids. oh, and one other aspect that people remarked on, was that Officers, Gerard, MEP’s and all were walking about normally, that probably contributed to a relaxed feeling overall to the event even though some of those involved were under pressure. Can now put a few more faces to names for me, so well worth it. A Grand Day Out. (or two)
The next report is from Ernie Warrender, UKIP’s spokesperson for Small Businesses:
WOW!! A 100% positive upbeat sellout conference, held in a sensible professional location presenting a unified party ready to become the de facto party of checks & balances. A position abdicated by the Liberal Democrats, who have shown themselves to be neither. A party that is the only party unified behind the democratic will of 17.4 million + people. The ONLY Party speaking for 6 million Small businesses. A party that has come of age. Brilliant speeches from, well, everybody. A plethora of stalks and fringe meetings. Even Mr Crick gave up looking for a fruit cake or swivel eyed loonie to humiliate, and buzzed off. A terrific forward looking interim manifesto, a sell out Gala dinner with, surprisingly , decent food. A speech by Nigel followed by Gerard, followed by a fundraising auction. Check out the speeches on YouTube (UKIP 2018 Conference) make no mistake we are back, and to quote our Treasurer, we are in the black!!
Finally – so far, I hope! Do send us your impressions! – David Schofield, UKIP North London member and former PPC 2015 wrote:
I went to the conference for the 2 days. The atmosphere was vibrant and upbeat. The message we received was that the party has turned its finances around and is now on the up again. Membership is at 24,000. This is remarkable considering that the party was 6 months away from winding down not so long ago, and after the Henry Bolton debacle. Gerard has done a great job. We have only 10 full time staff now. We are putting forward a Populist message to appeal to all cross sections of society from businesses to those on low incomes. We have an agenda to tackle crime and the housing problem. The message on Brexit was clear, we would like to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU but if we cannot then we will use WTO rules. At the next election election we will put up 650 candidates so we will be challenging all Remainer seats.
Our Populist agenda will tackle political correctness, encouraging and defending the right to Free Speech.
I enjoyed the conference. The party distinguished itself in what was put forward. The speeches were strong and there was a lot of camaraderie. The Gala dinner was excellent as was Gerard’s speech in which he spoke with great passion. An all round successful event.
Sadly we’ve received no photos … do send them in, we’ll publish them!