Battered, Bruised but Unbowed: The People’s Army finally crosses the finishing line after facing up to one of the nastiest, most protracted and dispiriting General Election campaigns run by the Westminster parties and the British media in recent memory.
Our initial reaction was one of disappointment, with none of the major parliamentary gains we had hoped for and even expected. That in itself, speaks volumes for how far UKIP has come as a party. Cameron’s playing of the ‘fear card’ in the last few days, terrifying Middle England by raising the bogey of The Tartan Miliband Coalition, undoubtedly led to the resurgence in the Conservative vote. Many who might have been tempted to vote UKIP probably took fright at this.
Sadly, Nigel failed to gain a parliamentary seat at South Thanet. This was always going to be a high risk strategy. As a vocal, charismatic leader with strong personality, Nigel was an easy target for the ’Circus of Idiots’ who were determined to dog his footsteps and disrupt his campaign at every opportunity. Quite unfairly (but perhaps understandably), those voters of Thanet South who want nothing more than a quiet life and to be left in peace, decided to stick with the familiar and vote for what they already know.
Nigel Farage is an extraordinarily brave man, who through personal conviction and self-sacrifice, has single handedly changed the political agenda of our country and forced issues to be discussed which the Westminster political class would rather sweep under the carpet and ignore. Nigel – we salute you.
Far from being a ‘one man band’ as the media like to present, UKIP has many very able and talented people in our party with the ability and personal attributes to build on what we have already achieved and take UKIP forward to new heights.
The Spring Conference in Margate featured many of our spokesmen who concisely outlined key policies. Louise Bours and Diane James gave impassioned speeches on the NHS and Crime & Justice. See UKIP 2015 Manifesto “Believe in Britain” www.ukip.org
On May 7th, UKIP gained nearly 4 million votes, over four times as many votes as in May 2010, and similar to the size of vote we gained in the Euro-elections last May. The pundit ‘wisdom’ that UKIP votes in the euro-elections disappear in the following General Election, has been comprehensively disproved. UKIP gained just one seat, but 120 second places and over 350 thirds. Deposits were saved in all but a few seats.
We have brought hope and given a voice to millions of British people who have felt let down and ignored by the political class. However much the Cons and Labour may dislike it, we have exposed the imbalance and unfairness of our electoral system for all to see. How can it possibly be right or proper for 1.5 million SNP votes to yield 56 MP’s, while 4 million UKIP votes get just one ? The case for a fairer, PR based system (which would have won 83 seats for UKIP) will become overwhelming.
The Conservatives should be careful what they wish for. All the UK’s financial figures remain headed in the wrong direction at high speed. Facing up to the task of reducing the deficit, never mind the debt, can only be done if Cameron takes decisions which run contrary to his Social Democrat leanings. Unlike the last government, he can’t blame any unpopular measures on his Coalition partners (or visa-versa). The pass the buck game doesn’t apply any more.
Cameron will also be faced with the most unruly Tartan mob to descend on London since Scotland’s last win at Wembley (May 1977 since you ask). The SNP will demand that he honour the rash, last minute promises that he threw to the Scots in the September referendum; measures which can only weaken the stability and cohesion of the UK. The clamour for ‘English votes for English laws’ will become ever louder. Good luck with that one, Dave.
Then there is the EU referendum, provisionally scheduled for late 2017. As it will almost certainly divide the Conservative party for good, Cameron will only push for a referendum if he thinks he can win it (ie. get Britain to stay in). Then we will see a re-run of 1975; the charade of ‘re-negotiation‘; a cosmetic and wholly irrelevant series of minor changes which will be hailed a ‘victory’ for Britain; followed by a massive EU funded media blitz to frighten voters to stay in the EU on this basis. So long as UKIP remains strong (and those 4 million UKIP votes continue to grow), Cameron may not risk such a strategy and could decide to kick the whole referendum issue into touch, rather than risk giving the voters a choice.
Finally, may I say it has been an honour and a privilege to serve as your Branch Chairman through this exciting, tumultuous campaign. It has been a massive team effort, with many of our members and supporters showing exceptional bravery and doing things that are well beyond the call of duty.
We’ve retained our discipline, composure and dedication to the great cause of British Independence. We’ve been resolute, determined and never failed to be polite to everyone we’ve met, including the few who spout hatred at us. I am proud of you all.
THE PARLIAMENTARY CAMPAIGN …….
For Mid-Dorset & North Poole, Richard Turner came a respectable third with 5,633 votes (12.2%), well ahead of Labour and the Greens. As a key marginal seat, any ‘third party vote’ in Mid-Dorset & North Poole was always going to be squeezed by the intense electioneering and massive resources committed to the area by the LibDems and the Cons, so Richard deserves great credit for more than doubling the UKIP vote in our area and matching UKIP’s average nationally. The loss of Annette Brooke’s seat to the Conservatives by more than 10,000 votes was a shattering blow to LibDem morale. We can hold our heads high, having run a positive, energetic campaign.
In Poole, Dr David Young gained a ‘silver medal’ for UKIP with 7,956 votes (16.8%). Unfortunately most Conservatives continue to vote like sheep, keeping Robert Syms large majority intact, in spite of the fact that he failed to attend any local hustings to defend his status as Poole’s MP. The LibDems Philip Eades (2nd in 2010), came fourth with his vote more than halved.
Elsewhere in Dorset, UKIP candidates gained good results, well above the national average. In Dorset North, Steve Unwin came second with 9,109 (17%), while in Dorset South, Malcolm Shakesby did very well in the little time available to mount his campaign, recording third place with 7,304 (15%). In Dorset West, David Glossop came third with 7,055 (12.5%). In Bournemouth West, Martin Houlden came second with 7,745 (18.5%) while in Bournemouth East, David Hughes narrowly missed second place with 7,401 (16.5%). In Christchurch, Robin Grey recorded UKIP’s top vote locally with 10,663 (21.5%) and second place.
LOCAL COUNCIL ELECTIONS …… In some ways, the local elections are a more genuine test of voters feelings than the national election, as tactical, fear-driven voting plays a lesser role. Nationally, the local election vote for UKIP was very strong and with a growing number of UKIP Councillors across the land, we have a solid platform of local support to help us develop more effective national campaigns in the future. Locally, the trend was for large scale LibDem losses, mainly to the Conservatives. In the Borough of Poole, their 18 Councillors were reduced to just 6.
Borough of Poole: Sadly Tony Woodcock lost his seat in Parkstone in the overall swing to the Conservatives. Tony’s many years of experience will continue to be invaluable to UKIP’s Poole branch. However UKIP gained a seat at Alderney ward, where our local branch member Mike Fisher topped the poll with 1,456 votes, ousting the long established LibDems. The UKIP victory roar nearly lifted The Lighthouse ! Well done Mike: let’s all get round and support him as he takes on the onerous task of sorting out Poole Council. Well done to Young Independence members Zac Stanworth and Dominic Turner, standing for the first time and getting good scores.
There were strong votes for UKIP candidates in all the other Poole wards (placings are by party): Branksome East 2nd (Ken Chambers 565, Robert Pattemore 513); Branksome West 3rd (Mike Browning 755, Steve Sheppard 741); Broadstone 3rd (Alan Gerring 909, Barry Smith 808): Canford Cliffs 2nd (Jacqueline Bigwood 880, Geoff Chidley 876); Canford Heath East 3rd (Zac Stanworth 795); Canford Heath West 3rd (John Hawkins 666, Dominic Turner 497); Creekmoor 2nd (Gareth Cook 1176, Heather Jones 1141); Hamworthy East 2nd (James Jones 698); Merley & Bearwood 3rd (John Butler 1102); Newtown 2nd (Diana Butler 1396); Oakdale 2nd (Janice Long 1335, Larry Adams 1325); Parkstone 4th (Bob Lister 952, Tony Woodcock 789); Penn Hill 4th (David Darling 717, Lyn Thomas 695); Town 4th (Colin Johnson 796, Chris Ramm 772);
Our candidates in East Dorset and Purbeck posted good results too:
East Dorset District: Colehill East 3rd (14.9%): Brian Lowe 548, Stefan Morawiec 415; Colehill West 3rd (12.1%); Stephen Homer 193: Wimborne Minster 3rd (15%); Nick Wellstead 472, Stuart Evans 437; Corfe Mullen 3rd (18.4%), Dave Evans 985, David Mattocks 940, Jo Evans 866;
Purbeck District: Wareham 3rd (16%) (Keith Simpson 631; Lytchett Minster & Upton West 2nd (21%) Mike Fry 657;
Bournemouth West had a fantastic result, with 21 year old Lawrence Fear winning Kinson South for UKIP, at the expense of Labour leader Ben Grower, who paid the price for his disgusting slur about UKIP being a ‘racist’ party. Well done Lawrence, the first in a long line of political successes we hope ! UKIP’s Janet Abbott gained a seat on Christchurch Council (Grange Ward) and well done to Nick Wellstead for regaining his seat on Ferndown Town Council, along with 3 other UKIP colleagues.
Congratulations to you all: well done for having the courage to stand up and counted.
NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN DIARY ……..
Sat 7th Feb: Richard’s campaign starts in earnest with the office opening in Wimborne. Good member support; the local radio attended and press release and photo appear in the Echo.
Mon 16th Feb: It’s clear already that there are two campaigns going on in this election: one is between the Westminster parties, who in spite of minor tactical differences all adhere to the sacred political cows of our age and spout much the same rhetoric, and the other between the Westminster parties and UKIP; the only party which dares to question them.
Mon 23rd Feb: Now its getting very dirty. Three programmes of anti-UKIP propaganda have appeared on national media recently (C4 – ‘UKIP: The First 100 Days’; BBC1 – ‘Meet the Ukippers’; C5 ‘Farage Fans and UKIP Lovers‘) – all claiming to be ‘documentaries’ but in fact malicious works of distortion designed to discredit and misrepresent UKIP. The C4 programme prompts a record number of complaints to OFCOM, resulting in a formal enquiry.
Fri 27th, Sat 28th Feb; National Conference, Margate. A fantastic set of speeches from UKIP policy spokespersons setting out the election manifesto. Plain common sense; who could disagree ? The national media apparently, who completely ignore it.
Sat 7th Mar: SW Conference, Torquay. Attendance is down rather this year – perhaps everyone’s just too busy ! Some idiot attempts to get on stage to present Nigel with a ‘birthday’ cake – security are slow to respond. ‘Pap-media’ are there, trawling for oddballs.
Mon 9th Mar: The 20,000 campaign newspapers arrive, written and designed by our branch. Now all we have to do is to deliver them all !
Thurs 12th Mar; First hustings at QE School, Wimborne, organised by Federation of Small Businesses. First chance to see all the MDNP candidates in action. Richard performs well and connects with the audience, especially some of the youngsters. Slade and Tomlinson are none too impressive.
Sat 14th Mar; UKIP stall, Wimborne Market. Good response from the public, lots of thumbs up (especially from the traders) and plenty of UKIP literature taken.
Mon 16th March; Greenpeace Fisherman’s Hustings, Poole Quay; supporting sustainable local fishing. David Young and Richard are excellent and get lots of support; Conservative candidates ’no show’ says it all. We distribute a box of ’Stolen Seas‘ by UKIP’s Fisheries spokesman, Ray Finch MEP, which goes down very well with the local fishermen in Poole.
Fri 20th March; More Labour Lies – ‘UKIP wants to Privatise Our NHS’ (note how they think it belongs to them). To set the record straight, we order 10,000 ‘Truth About UKIP’ leaflets.
Sat 21st Mar; UKIP Stall, Wareham Quay. Again, a good public response with some interesting people. We met an ex-EU advisor to Barroso and Ashton, now gagged as a whistleblower. Warns the EU is set on a collision course with Russia and wishes UKIP well. Bournemouth Univ. students interview Richard for their media channel.
Wed 25th Mar: Nominations open for Local Elections – its now a mad rush to get our candidates nomination papers in and accepted by local Council’s before April 9th. Less time than usual because of Easter break this year. We also have to deal with three different Councils who all have slightly different admin practices. Who said this was going to be easy ?
Wed 25th Mar: UKIP Public Meeting, Wareham Town Hall. Decent attendance. Good speech by Richard, well supported by Lyn Thomas (Poole) & John Myers.
Fri 27th Mar, Poole: The LibDems are putting out a leaflet calling for ‘stricter border controls’. Their dishonesty is simply jaw dropping.
Sat 28th Mar: Public Meeting, St Aldhelms Church, Branksome. Well attended. UKIP’s Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall gives a barn storming speech to a standing ovation; admirably supported by Richard, David Young and Martin Houlden.
Sun 29th Mar: UKIP stall, Wimborne Market. More positive feedback from the public ! Window posters are very popular; must order more.
Mon 30th Mar: The ‘Short Campaign’ starts. The LibDems are blitzing MDNP letterboxes with piles of stuff. There are signs that people are getting fed up with it already.
Wed. 1st April, ITV – All seven leaders go head to head for the first time. Opinion polls rate SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon as the most successful, with Nigel second on 20%. The Mail dubs Sturgeon ’the most dangerous woman in Britain‘
Fri. 3rd – Tues 7th April – More UKIP leafleting and newspaper distribution. Very few refusals. Anyone disagreeable, we just smile, say ‘thank you’ and walk away. You can’t win them all !
Tues 7th April: Cameron comes to Poole. Heavily stage managed; according to the Mail ‘he meets at least 2 voters‘ and attempts to eat a hot dog with a knife & fork.
Wed 8th April. A mad dash to get nomination papers completed and approved. A late surge of UKIP candidates put the party’s untried national nominations process under huge strain; arrangements are made to sign candidate papers locally.
Thurs 9th April: Finally all our candidates papers are approved by the Council; there are 16 UKIP candidates standing in MDNP wards. Now the designing, printing and distributing of their leaflets !
Fri 10th April; Public Meeting, Upton Community Centre. Richard’s best speech yet – a 20 minute tour-de-force, ably supported by local candidate, Mike Fry.
Sat 11th April; Poole High Street stall and walkabout (with Poole branch) and UKIP stall at Wimborne Market. Great public response; no sign of other parties
Tues 14th April BBC1; TV Debate between the five ‘King Makers‘; Nigel accuses the BBC of left wing bias in the studio audience; an allegation subsequently proved to be correct. He also reminds Dimbleby that it’s the audience watching at home, that really matters.
Wed 15th April: UKIP National Manifesto Launch. UKIP is the only party to present a fully costed, independently audited manifesto which balances the books. Many of its policies are well received by various professional bodies (eg. RICS on Housing).
Fri 17th April: In a major campaign boost, the owner of Express Group Newspapers donates UKIP £1.3 million.
Sat 18th April: MDNP Action Day; we cover the entire constituency in a car convoy covered with UKIP boards and stickers. It gets us noticed !
Mon 20th April: Mencap Hustings in Poole. Richard introduces himself and answers Q’s from the audience. Chairman times all replies, allowing plenty of Q’s. More beautiful weather for leafleting ! The blister on my heel is now the size of a £2 coin.
Tues 21st :Our ‘Corex’ Boards arrive and start to go up around the constituency. Our Area Co-Ordinators now have leafleting and newspaper delivery in full swing.
Thurs 23rd April: according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Cons, Lab, LD and SNP haven’t provided ’anything like full details on plans to cut the deficit’. Voters are being left ‘somewhat in the dark’.
Fri 24th April: First incidents reported of vandalism of UKIP Boards in our area. All incidents are being reported to the police.
Mon 27th April: More Corex Boards arrive with Richard’s name and portrait. They look great ! Poole Churches Together Hustings, Canford Heath. A rather depressing evening; heavily loaded questions; the minister fails to keep candidates answers brief, allowing LibDems, Labour and Green to spout on and on and indulge in moral grandstanding.
Wed 29th April: Poole Churches Together Hustings, Broadstone. Much better ! Minister ensures all candidates get equal time, answers kept to one minute only, good choice of questions. Richard does well and gets good audience feedback afterwards. Tomlinson refuses to answer how he would vote in an EU referendum (A: it will be whatever Cameron tells him).
Fri 1st May: The fight back begins as we identify some of the vandals on Facebook, report it to the police, who seem to be taking it very seriously indeed. Every UKIP board vandalised is replaced immediately, often with a larger one. These people won’t win.
Sat 2nd May; Final leafleting push ! Both my knees ache and my boots are falling to bits, but the task is nearly done. ‘Ask Nigel Farage’ on BBC1 is an excellent performance from our leader, in spite of yet more audience selection bias.
Mon 4th May; The LibDems put out a leaflet in UKIP colours with Nigel’s photo, warning: UKIP will: Take Britain Out the EU; Scrap the European Human Rights Act; Cut Foreign Aid by £9 bn a year. We e-mail Annette Brooke’s office and ask for a box of 5000 !
Tues 5th May: The Miliband Megalith – will it be his political tombstone ? Meanwhile the Cons ’Securing Britain’s Future’ large board on the A351 has blown over in the wind ! Not secure enough obviously.
Tues 5th May: An appalling attack on UKIP supporter Mark Smith at Bearwood, defending his ‘Vote UKIP’ board against a gang of thugs (Daily Echo).
Tues 5th May: Poole Churches Together Hustings, St James (Town) and Lantern Church (Merley). David Young and Richard are in fine form on the final push. Still no show at the hustings from Robert Syms MP – disgraceful arrogance – a repeat of 2010.
Wed 6th May: More last minute leafleting – every vote counts. We’ve now pushed out every scrap of UKIP literature left in the boxes.
Thurs. 7th May: ELECTION DAY ! I drive around the constituency in my MPV, clad with ‘Vote Richard Turner’ boards. Members and volunteers are outside polling stations, to smile nicely and greet the voters.
Forthcoming Socials :
Thursday 4th June, 2nd July, 6th August, 7.30pm onwards; Charlton Inn, Bournemouth Road, Charlton Marshall, DT11 9NH. Join us for a drink, chat, meal (optional); contact John Baxter john@ukipdorsetnorth. org.uk
Thursday 9th July, 13th August, 8.00 onwards: Poole Social Evening, Twin Sails Wharf, Sunseeker Marine Complex, 23 West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HX. Contact; David Darling, email@example.com .uk
Saturday 4th July, 5th Sept 11am Chat, coffee or snack at Corfe Coffee, 137 Wareham Road, Corfe Mullen, BH21 3HH – Dave Evans : evanshome28@ talktalk.net
FINALLY ….. Thank you to all our local candidates and our superb parliamentary candidate Richard Turner; his wife Olga for all her work in the office and phone answering; to my wife Diana for the brilliant leaflet designs and much else besides; to our Area Co-Ordinators and all their helpers who distributed 20,000 newspapers, 15,000 ‘Richard’ leaflets, 12,000 local candidates leaflets, 12,000 ‘Truth’ leaflets; 3,000 ‘20 Reasons’ leaflets, thousands of public meeting flyers and lots of other material. To our helpers on the 14 UKIP market stalls that we ran; to members and supporters who displayed posters, Corex boards and flew UKIP flags; to everyone whose help has made it such a memorable campaign. We‘re going for a short holiday now and hope to see some of you over the summer, before we regroup and muster our resources for the challenges that lie ahead.
Items for next Edition by 31st August to:
John Butler, 20 Nightjar Close, Poole BH17 7YN
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org All items in this newsletter are personal views only and do not necessarily represent the views of the UK Independence Party Mid-Dorset & North Poole