It is time for this party to grow up and have a common sense adult conversation. The debacle at Stoke needs some serious examination. No, this is not a hatchet job born from disillusionment. It is a serious forensic examination of our party, our future and how we need to change.
- It is quite clear that a local candidate should have stood in Stoke, given that the town is wary of us as a party, what we stand for and what our intentions are. Parachuting in a candidate who rented a house a week before the nomination and could not name basic things like the names of the six towns that make up Stoke left the campaign deeply flawed from the outset. His Hillsborough debacle needs no further examination but it does just totally underline the immaturity and naivety of where we are as a collective in the world of grown up politics. We have created radicalism within politics within this country and someone chancing their arm as a candidate was never going to work with a working class plain speaking electorate looking for a radical change in their town. This election was ours to win and ended up being ours to lose, which we duly did. A massive own goal and an enormous missed opportunity in the Brexit capital of this country from which we will take an awful long time to recover.
- Our Leader Paul Nuttall (of whom I am a fan) needs to get his house in order and look to himself and his actions and behaviour. He should not resign, I was there at the conference and stood and applauded him for the five minutes. He has a lot of soul searching to do though and some serious re-thinking.
- The management of the campaign was handed to Lisa Duffy, no criticism here but there is a wealth of experience and good campaign managers in the party, some of whom were there on Tuesday and Wednesday, they were not called on other than to deliver leaflets, one man a chair of a branch has managed three campaigns before for another party and successfully had three MP`s elected …
- To underline the poor quality of the organisation. The shop in Piccadilly epitomised the campaign. It was disorganised, unwelcoming (people arriving from all over the country were not even offered a cup of tea or coffee), it was scruffy, untidy and very poorly presented.
- Copeland is a blot on our party, we should all, every member, hang our heads in shame, giving Fiona £20,000 to fight that campaign with is admirable, but money alone does not get you elected. I was angry on Tuesday and Wednesday to find that I was not really needed in Stoke, we spent the day delivering pledge letters, five of us, it was a job that two could have done. I am sad to say that I should have, and regret not doing, gone to Copeland to help our candidate there. To say she was largely abandoned by the party hierarchy is not a stretch. I congratulate those who did go and help. We should never ever again look to throw the might and finances of the party at one constituency for a senior party member at the cost of another good candidate in a by-election. It is divisive and does not in any way pass the smell test.
- Outside the campaigns in Stoke and Copeland our new leader has seen fit to award the position of party spokesmen to all but one who are MEP`s and AM`s. This is seriously flawed and appears to have been a knee jerk reaction to try unite the party. Many many members of this party have expertise and a lifetime of understanding in these manifesto areas such as business, the Police, armed forces, NHS and others. Especially fishing. Many people have simply been ignored. Yes, we were invited to meet the relevant spokesperson to offer our input into potential policy areas, but this was cancelled. Even if this is brought in again, the question has to be asked if theories, ideas and expertise are offered will they actually be listened to. Just because you are an MEP or an Assembly member does not and should not automatically mean that you are an expert in all matters and qualified to speak in isolation on such matters. It looks and sounds like the old boys network at play here.
- Our only MP, Mr Carswell`s conduct and behaviour on Question time (23rd February from Stoke) needs examining. Are you really for this cause Douglas? I have serious reservations. Your opening statement consisted of you conceding defeat, that was atrocious and at the very least disloyal. You are hardly a committed defender of the party and its policies and future. You snigger and chortle at any defamatory mention of Nigel Farage by others and your tweets are often childish and unprofessional. You need to grow up and nail your colours convincingly to this mast or defect back to the Tories or go independent.
- Nigel said that “if Ukip is not a radical party it is nothing” at his speech at the recent conference, never a truer word has been said. Time then for a radical re-think of what when and how we do things, who are we what do we stand for and how will we move forward from this disastrous night in Stoke and the shame of how we abandoned Copeland.
- I was hurting a great deal, to listen to political commentators having so much ammunition to hit us with, especially when asking if the house in stoke will be back on the market tomorrow.
We are polling well nationally, but my goodness, that will not last with this behaviour! We have to get our manifesto out. It has to be radical, with thinking out of the box and strong. We need to start talking about it, get behind it and sell it to have any future……….or is it actually too late?