This article was first published at Kipper Central and is republished with kind permission.
I am extremely pleased with the NEC’s decision to appoint Gerard Batten as our interim leader, but before I talk about the future, I would like to address the recent events that we have gone through as a party.
At the start of Henry Bolton’s tenure as UKIP leader, I was 100% behind him and I was looking forward to building bridges between the youth wing and the main party with him. Unfortunately, things fell apart very quickly. Henry u-turned on all his promises to YI and made matters worse by imposing a 900% membership fee increase for our young members. I was ignored by Henry, even when YI was facing serious times, with our membership dropping by 300 in 2 months. My suggestions and pleas were ignored, by text, by phone call and even in person.
One thing that concerned me at the EGM was Henry’s closing speech, which was supposed to convince people to vote against the motion of no confidence. He decided to once again threaten the party if he didn’t get his way and he said that in such an aggressive tone. This was the third time Henry had threatened the party. The moment he said that, many people, including the YI Executive Council got up and walked to the back of the room to vote against Henry before he had even finished his speech.
I am pleased Henry was democratically removed as leader at the EGM, however I wish he had done the honourable thing and stood down when the NEC had a vote of no confidence in him and the vast majority of his spokespeople, including his own deputy leader, resigned their positions. It would have saved the party a whole lot of money.
Now to the future, I am fully behind Gerard Batten as our interim leader and I believe he is the right man to lead us forward until the next leadership election and certainly through the local elections in May. Thousands of people are already joining or even re-joining the party now that Henry has gone, and Veterans Against Terrorism has already confirmed they are pushing their members to join UKIP and start being active in the party.
After speaking to Gerard before and after his appointment, I am extremely confident that UKIP and Young Independence will have a great relationship going forward.
The membership fee should be lowered once again to an affordable and realistic amount, we should have someone speaking for the youth on a national platform within the “shadow cabinet” and we should start working together again to deliver a BREXIT and common-sense message like we used to.
The Young Independence Executive Council members will be going around the country, speaking to branches and speaking at events to push the YI message, to advise branches on how to attract more young people to the party and to start more interactions between the youth wing and the branches.
If you would like us to speak at your branch, please ask your branch chairman to get in touch with either myself (National Chairman), Reece Coombes (Deputy Chairman) or message the Young Independence Facebook page and we will arrange everything.
Nathan Ryding is the elected Chairman of Young Independence, UKIP’s youth wing.