Chris Wood is a candidate for the Young Independence Chairmanship. This is his election address.
My aims for YI are a low cost professionalisation of our Youth Wing, with a focus on bringing in new members and having our members elected to Councils. This means YI becomes embedded in our local communities for the next 4 years which makes us much more sustainable.
So what is my background? Well I have worked in Royal Naval Bases for 7 years and started training to be a Warfare Officer in the Submarine Service at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, after twice passing the Royal Navy’s Admiralty Interview Board.
Twice I have stood for election for UKIP, my first election was just 5 weeks after I joined the party in 2012 where I came second in the Fareham Borough Council election by 4.4%
Last year I was successfully elected to become a Hampshire County Councillor, I won 50.4% of the vote on a 45% turnout, meaning I won the highest proportion of votes that UKIP won anywhere in the country. I am also our PPC for Gosport for the 2015 General Election.
Having a County Councillor as your YI Chairman increases our respectability, our authority to speak on policy and our ability to be recognised by the mainstream media. It will be much easier for a YI Chairman who is a County Councillor to get onto BBC Free Speech and other media outlets, indeed I have already been on Channel 4 News and BBC Sunday Politics South.
My main policy is to get members elected, this way we are able to make a difference in our communities. This in turn allows us greater access to local media and ensures that we have members in position for the next 4 years, these are the building blocks for future successes. This is the only sustainable way to build both YI and UKIP.
I want to replace the grant scheme to candidates with loans to a wider group of candidates. We will target those whom we believe can win, if successful the money they received is returned back to YI to be reused for our next candidates. With targeted, solid, well-funded campaigns, I envisage every candidate we back getting elected. This makes us more sustainable and is also cheaper. I know how to get elected, I will ensure others get elected too.
I was one of one two target seats for YI last year, whilst we both won we need far more members getting elected.
It is important that YI is recognised nationally, I will be writing to every university seeking permission for us to have a stall at their freshers fayres, this way should any YI members wish to set up a stall they will find it easier to do so. I don’t envisage us suddenly having 100s of stalls however I do believe we can gradually increase them.
When it comes to media training I believe that YI members should use national and regional training days. We must make full use of our resources and attempt to build upon them.
I very firmly reject the idea that the Chairman’s position should be paid. 15 hours voluntary is far better to a £12,000 wage for a proposed 40 hour working week. This ensures that the money we raise is ploughed into YI and our grassroots. It should not go to the Chairman.
Funding is something which has been at the centre of the debate for the future of YI. Having a Hampshire County Councillor as a YI Chairman would provide YI with more clout to attract funding from individual donors and the party, especially if we have my focus on elections and membership.
The YI should be fun. Our Christmas and Conference Balls will remain and become more ambitious. We should also expand to accommodate different parts of the country, to make our connections with the whole of the UK more frequent.
My aims are modest but achievable, they ensure the sustainability of YI for the future, secure the next 4 years of representation in our communities, provide a YI which looks nationally and gives us the authority and recognition we require to succeed.
We are all on the same team, we all want the same thing, I wish all of my fellow candidates the very best of luck and will ensure that this election is carried out decently.