Kippers in Skegness

Anyone who still imagines that a UKIP Spring Conference might be a meeting of a couple of dozen mavericks and gadflies in the back room of a country pub had better think again.  I’ve done a dozen Tory Conferences in my time, and the first thing that struck me about UKIP’s event in Skegness was that it looked — and was — the real McCoy.  Five hundred or so delegates packed the Empire Theatre on the sea-front, and unlike a Tory Conference, they were all members and activists — they weren’t 50% lobbyists.  And we had some pretty serious people as well.  MEPs, Councillors, a former policeman who will be standing as an elected Police Commissioner.

I received a hugely warm welcome — I could hardly walk down a corridor without every second person keen to shake hands.

It’s worth mentioning that the Conservative Party’s Spring Conference was cancelled owing to lack of interest.  They seem to have had a “Spring Forum” in London, but by all accounts it was a half-hearted affair for a small invited audience.

Tim Congdon:  The star speaker in Skegness was the distinguished economist Tim Congdon (who took over from me as Chairman of the Freedom Association).  He had come along despite a severe dose of flu, and after a quiet start he warmed to his theme.  He took us on a quick tour of OECD projections for EU and world economic performance, stressing the key aperçu that EU economic output is on a downward trajectory, with the Rest of the World enjoying all the growth.  The EU is also smaller than the Anglosphere, and shrinking in relative terms.  It may be that 40% of Britain’s overseas trade is with the EU — but that’s just a measure of the way that our European obsession has distorted our trade patterns, and left us under-performing in the rest of the World, where the growth is.  His message to the voters: We joined the “Common Market” in 1973 because we thought it would be good for trade and jobs.  We were wrong.  It’s clear in 2012 that the EU is holding us back, and that we should be Better Off Out.

Alexandra Swann:  Alexandra is an incredibly bright (and engaging) young lady of 23, who until last week was National Vice-Chairman of Conservative Future.  Over dinner the previous evening she had been telling us how bad she was at public speaking, and how she dreaded large audiences.  Yet she gave a cracking conference speech and had the audience eating out of her hand.  Her message was the many young Conservatives are increasingly unhappy with the EU, and the Party’s stance on Europe.  Nigel Farage introduced her with the words: “The Swann has migrated to UKIP”.  As I pointed out later, it was good to have her there to demonstrate that it wasn’t only Grumpy Old Men (like me) who leave the Tory Party to join UKIP.

And of course I too gave a speech.  I won’t tell you it was a good speech — but you can judge for yourself:

The picture above shows me with Alexandra, and Nigel Farage, and Stuart Wheeler, former Tory Party donor, now Treasurer of UKIP.  All four of us, former members of the Conservative Party.  As Peter Oborne rightly says, UKIP is “The Conservative Party in exile”.

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16 Responses to Kippers in Skegness

  1. Hugh Eveleigh says:

    As I have said on this forum before, I joined UKIP over a year ago as a disgruntled Conservative and so it is with some relief that I say to you Mr Helmer: at last! and welcome and sorry if you have upset a few Conservatives in the wake of your decision. It has quite made my week to know that you are part of the ever-growing UKIP and I wish you well in keeping up the stirring good sense and reason which is your want. I am sure your decision will make a few others in the Conservative party think again. Best wishes.

  2. BP says:

    Were you spreading your ignorant bile on rape and homosexuals in Skegness too? I think a dead whale being washed up on the same weekend as UKIP’s conference is highly symbolic!

    • Ian says:

      Home Office figures show a higher incidence of paedophilia among homosexuals. Of course, the politically correct LibLabCon party is in denial about this. Little victims can’t vote…

      • BP says:

        Where’s the report that show this? What figures? Provide some evidence. Or are you referring to a certain Dr Raabe who co-wrote a paper in 2005 which claimed that there are a “disproportionately greater number of homosexuals among paedophiles” without being able to empirically prove this and as someone who regards homosexuality as sinful was always likely to reach this conclusion. Yet again you condemn yourselves with your own words and actions.

      • BP says:

        Just had a quick look at your blog Ian and feel utterly nauseated now.

      • Ian says:

        Thanks for the ad, BP. Stick to the Ostrich, er the Guardian, in future.

  3. Sean O'Hare says:

    I can only echo Hugh’s sentiments on your joining UKIP. Welcome Roger! I am sure that NF is correct in saying that you will be a great asset to the party. I understand you are to be UKIPs defence spokesperson a role I am sure you will excel in.

  4. BP says:

    BTW it’s the Embassy Theatre and long may UKIP remain in exile.

  5. Roger, When we first met at the launch of the Freedom Association Scotland a few years ago I did suggest you would be better of in UKIP. When I have made comments on your various blog posts I have often ended by reminding you, you should be in UKIP. I am one of those you refered to in your speech on Saturday who kept telling you should be in UKIP and I was also the one potographed with you at the bottom of the stairs as you came in. I’ll still keep commenting on you blog posts but I’ll no longer have to keep nagging you to join us. Welcome to UKIP

  6. I meant photographed not potographed. Either way it was great to see you there.

  7. Ian says:

    Good. Will Daniel Hannan MEP and Douglas Carswell MP be the next genuine Tories to leave?

  8. Faustiesblog says:

    Stonking speech you gave there, Mr H!

    How does it feel to be a free man? 🙂

    And as others suggest, might you have a quiet word with Dan and Douglas and other men and women of integrity to follow your lead – so as to trigger a stampede to UKIP?

  9. Jonathan Oakton says:

    It was a great pleasure to meet you at our conference and wish you a warm “welcome aboard”. You must have seen many faces that 15 years ago, used to visit the conservative conferences when we used to have a real Conservative government- including mine. I walked out when John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty and have never looked back and have never felt that I had missed anything.
    Its a very exciting time in UKIP, the public have finally had enough of the fiddling while Rome,Madrid and Athens burn , Britain is with us 65% want to leave euroland, 20% wants to stay behind; maybe they should join the Conservative Party ?

  10. Congratulations on your decision (only just noticed by me). Now please try and bring some sense and order to UKIP. The party has so much stifled potential.

  11. A very cogent and rousing maiden speech Roger. The video has been added to UKIP Scotland Media page, and we look forward to many more from the benches at Brussels & Strasbourg.

  12. Andrew Peacher 01754 228 273


    Opening the event the mayor of skegness and prayers by minister of skegness
    Ukip Chris Pain been Invited mp john hemmings parents social workers british association of social services.

    Are you Social Worker, A Doctor, A Teacher, A Mental Health Professional, A Health Visitor, A Journalist, a Cafcass Officer, A Parent, A Care Leaver, A Foster Carer, An Adoptive Parent or looking to Foster or adopt. Involved by working with Children in need, on the Child Protection register or Children in Care – Yes well then we want you and need you to come to our Event.

    This is your Opportunity to be heard and understood at the Biggest and Best Conference happening in the UK this year in Relation to Families involved in the Care System.

    What: The Child Protection and Future of the Family Conference

    Where: Suncastle, Skegness, Lincolnshire

    When: Wednesday 12th September 2012 9am – 6pm

    Thursday 13th September 2012 9am – 2pm

    Confirm you place by emailing where you can also request links to Hotels, B&B and transport options. The actual Conference is free all you pay for is your accommodation, food and drink and we will also be having workshops running. Come along and see what different areas are trying to do to change the system.

    We need people from all areas to attend so that we can all work together and find a better way forward for the future, we need to raise awareness and understanding and a better working relationship for all. WE NEED YOU.

    What do we want to Achieve?

    * A better understanding and the procedures and help available for Children on the at needs and protection register

    * A better support Network for Parents that find themselves in the system and what they need to do and how to be better parents and how to work well with the professionals and stay calm.

    * Support and Advice for Children that want to return home no matter what their age if it’s at all possible and how the family can get the correct support.

    *We need to hear and discuss both sides of the arguments for children in care, but ultimately we need to find a way to keep families together and Care and Adoption be a last resort unless the children are being constantly abused.

    Don’t Miss out, Places are limited due to the overwhelming response to the High Profile Guest Speakers who will be attending. We can confirm we have Brian Gerrish who works with the Uk Column Newspaper in Plymouth We Have Child Protection and Mental Health, Roger Hayes from the British Constitutional Group, We also have the Mayor of Skegness Attending along with some Very High Profile Parent Speakers with more to confirm, would you like a chance to speak on your foundations behalf, don’t miss out Book NOW.

    We already have over half the seating taken by parents and professionals throughout the UK that are attending, so don’t miss out on your chance to say I was a leader and I made a difference.

    Take the First Steps yourself Say YES to the conference, Say YES to being there both days, Just say YES, YES, YES and book your place now, as these are filling up fast.

    The Conference Organisers

    Andrew Peacher, Stephanie Freeman – Event Organisers

    Tina Challencer, Sam Edwards – Joint Organisers


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