Looking at the Young Independence conference cancellation the first reaction is one of shock/outrage/anger/disbelief/fear/panic. My first reaction was that the UK is now a one party banana republic. Ok, that’s not quite true, yet, but we are rapidly heading that way – but hopefully not if UKIP have anything to do with it.
We first have to understand what happened there. To put it simply: it was an act of far Left terrorism. There I said it: terrorism. Open any English dictionary and it will likely define a terrorist as
“A person who uses, or the threatens to use, extreme violence for political purposes.”
I think you will agree this describes the situation above succinctly. Their aim was to shut down an opposing viewpoint, and they succeeded in this instance. We have become so hung up on Islamic terrorism, we have overlooked hard Left terrorism. Make no mistake, the latter is just as dangerous as the former.
Now we have to understand why this is happening: the whole episode stank of U.S. Alinsky style tactics. The U.S. Left have been using these tactics for many years, now the U.K. and European Left have adopted them. Why? Because they are effective, nasty, shut down debate, force conservatives to concede ground and help the Left to control the agenda. Google ‘Saul Alinsky’ or ‘Rules for Radicals’ and you will learn about these tried and tested tactics.
I’m going to digress somewhat to make a point: anyone who has worked in retail knows a customer who complains is the best customer. This is because they are advising you on a shortcoming within your business. We should treat this as no different: it has shown us where a lot of weakness lie within UKIP. We have to learn to adapt, prevent, but at the least minimise repeat occurrences for the future.
The incident in my opinion is so typical for that of UKIP: it’s a school-boy error. We need to become professional, look professional and think professional. It is little wonder Peter Hitchens described UKIP as ‘Dad’s Army’. Could you imagine this would have happened to Labour or the Tories?
Let’s look at areas where there should be question marks:
Never, ever, pick a venue from a company that could be lobbied or scared. Private companies are easy to lobby, and the Left are experts at this. Look at what happened to the anti-Corbyn Labour MPs for example. Always go for a public building, one that is owned by the local council. It is less likely to have the plug pulled from it. Corporations don’t like bad publicity, it sends their corporate communication teams into meltdown. In summary, pick a venue that outside forces are unlikely to interfere with.
Know Your Enemy
Learn their tactics and then learn counter tactics, otherwise this will happen again. Look at how other conservatives in the US have dealt with similar threats: knowledge share! If you know the risk is going to be high, expect the worst and have a contingency plan. Did we have a contingency plan and was a threat risk assessment carried out before the speakers were chosen?
Use UKIP’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
I find it amazing that an organisation which contains so many former military and police personnel doesn’t properly utilize their knowledge. I heard this problem discussed at a leadership hustings I attended: UKIP doesn’t use sufficiently the wealth of knowledge within its ranks. Did the leadership use any SME’s?
This will become an issue in future. At the moment the Left are deciding UKIP’s future speakers – after all they managed to cancel a conference with emails. How will UKIP up security? Depending on the leadership results, security may become an even bigger issue.
Can we take legal action against the individuals responsible? I’d be very surprised if the hard Left emails do not fall foul of the Communications Act! UKIP need to push this. Have they written to the Chief Constable, Crime Commissioner, Home Secretary for comment? Has the Hotel provided the emails to the Police? Can some of UKIP’s former police officers offer help here? Doing nothing or being seen to do nothing is the worst case scenario!
Inaction in this instance is not an option. If this succeeds we are now being ruled by the mob. They will decide our agenda, our speakers, our venue, our policies and eventually everything. We will have lost our freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and our liberty.
UKIP cannot afford to let these terrorists get away with this. If they do, UKIP can forget about Torquay, or indeed anywhere in the UK for a conference venue. We may as well wind things up and turn off the lights….
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Ed: we add below the full statement from Jane Collins MEP/UKIP United on this issue, which we only received yesterday evening:
“I was disappointed to hear that the YI conference on the 2nd September was cancelled and those who had spent time organising the event had their time wasted by those on the left who seem determined to remove any vestiges of political opposition to their views. I understand that the venues took the decision because of the threats of violence due to the hard left activists who seem to have time to congregate at events, even during working hours when one would imagine they might be at work.
This isn’t the first time it has happened in UKIP’s history and there are lessons to be learned.
Firstly, I have to ask how this situation was allowed to escalate: we have people in the party who should have advised the leadership of Young Independence rather than, perhaps, concentrating on getting mentioned in the media.
Secondly, that planning and security have to be taken seriously and this includes liaising with the police ahead of any events.
Thirdly, I have to question the judgement of whoever decided that having a very controversial figure like Martin Sellner as lead speaker, when we already had a controversial figure in Anne Marie Waters attending the event, was a good idea.
There is one thing encouraging free speech: it is quite another to poke a hornet’s nest particularly in a Left wing city such as Sheffield.
If I am elected leader I want to include YI as part of the reforms I will make to UKIP; including a representative from YI on the executive board whose job it will be to ensure two way communication and stop these situations from occurring.
I value the youth in our party: they are energetic and bring a vibrancy which benefits us. But they need to be mentored, not just left out in the cold.
Just as the party needs to reform and professionalise, so does YI and I think the fault for this not happening has to lie with the central party. I want to change that and I hope that members of young independence will support me in mine and my team’s plans to put this party back on track and get back to being that driving force in UK politics.
Jane Collins MEP, UKIP United