A big Thank You to UKIP activists

Newark2

Now that the dust has had time to settle, it’s time to thank all those UKIP activists who came to Newark in their hundreds.  The best day was probably May 31st — the day of the great pre-election rally in Kelham Hall — when we had 300 out door-knocking.  They came from across the East Midlands, but also from further afield.  From the South East, the West Country, East Anglia, the North, from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They achieved extraordinary things.  In a series of bottom-up initiatives — which our campaign knew nothing about until they happened — vehicles in UKIP livery turned up on a daily basis.  Many had been made specific to the Newark campaign.  On the first day we had a purple caravan “The Return of Common Sense” parked in Newark’s beautiful Market Square.  Then no fewer than three large vans, professionally decorated with “Helmer for Newark” slogans and six-foot high mug-shots arrived, dominating the view in the square.

Newark1

A couple of days later, we were heading south to Bingham and had just left the main A46.  We were separated from the main road by a field.  And we were astonished to see a fire engine — yes, a fire engine — with massive UKIP signage, heading north to Newark.  Finally, a Smart Car entirely enveloped in UKIP signage appeared in the market square, and sat on an official market stand for the day.  Wonderful.

In addition to all these free-lance vehicles, we also had the official ad-vans with ads covering wind-farms, the Newark hospital and local jobs.

Despite the biggest turnout ever in a UKIP by-election campaign, we were of course heavily outnumbered by the Tories, who claimed to have (and may well have had) a thousand at times.  But whereas ours were there voluntarily, because they believed in what we are doing, most of the Tories were whipped — the payroll army.  The Prime Minister asked each of his MPs to spend three days in Newark.  With 305 Tory MPs, that’s 915 man-days.  Ministers were there constantly.  Hague, Gove, Osborne, Paterson (making pork-barrel promises about funding for flood prevention — pity they didn’t do it long ago.  They’ve had a Tory MP for long enough).  And of course the Prime Minister attending a by-election for an unprecedented four times.

Of course the Tories also had more infrastructure on the ground.  They had no doubt done a full canvass of the constituency, so they knew where their supporters were, and had the capacity to run a full “get the vote out” operation on the day.  Our local branch, led by Chairman Peter Weston Davies, did a sterling job, but just didn’t have the numbers and capacity to match the Tory effort.

And the Tories spent and spent.  Channel Four’s Michael Crick — no friend of UKIP (he’s the one that Godders hit over the head with a rolled-up conference programme) has suggested that they may have over-spent the statutory limit of £100,000 by up to 150%.  We shall be looking at their expenses returns with great interest.

And in the end, they won.  This is the first time I’ve ever stood for public office without winning.  The press demanded to know “if we were disappointed by the result?”.  Well of course we ran hoping to win, and working to win — and certainly coming first is better than coming second.  Nevertheless, we achieved a remarkable result.  We increased our share of the vote six-fold from the General Election, and we halved the Tory majority, cutting it by 8000.  Any Tory MP with a smaller majority than that had better watch out.   So yes — I’m sorry we didn’t make the Westminster break-through this time, but I believe that the result — in the face of such massive Tory fire-power — was creditable and encouraging.

Bear in mind that the Conservatives can put together that sort of campaign for a single by-election.  But next year they’ll be fighting 600+ seats and a couple of dozen UKIP target seats, and they just won’t be able to match that kind of effort.  Let’s see how they fare on a more level playing-field.  The Prime Minister can’t make four visits to each of 600+ constituencies.

One amusing feature was the way the Tory candidate, 32-year-old Robert Jenrick — variously described as “A posh Tory boy” and a “London Property millionaire” (he has a £5m+ property portfolio) — was hidden from the press in the final days of the campaign.  On the morning of May 31st, he and I were scheduled to appear together on LBC.  I appeared.  Jenrick was nowhere to be found.  Not answering his phone.  On the Monday we were scheduled to appear successively on the BBC News Channel, filming in the Market Square, but Jenrick was withdrawn by his agent, apparently intimidated by the UKIP signage on the parked trucks.  After that, he was not seen at all, and the press pack sat around in Starbucks crying into their coffee and wondering why they couldn’t find him.

FarageMeeting

So let me take this opportunity to thank everyone who was involved in the UKIP campaign.  It was superbly organised by Paul Oakden (who took a month’s leave from his day job as my Regional Coordinator, to work on the campaign). There was enormous support and enthusiasm.  There were new members joining the Party — and existing members writing cheques.  There were the amazing free-lance contributions in terms of vehicles, arriving without the knowledge of the campaign, but beautifully and professionally conceived.  We may not have won the seat, but many UKIP veterans thought it was as good a by-election campaign as we’ve sever done.  And given a decent result in the face of everything the Tories could throw at it, we can take great encouragement for 2015.

 

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23 Responses to A big Thank You to UKIP activists

  1. Maureen Gannon says:

    Nice Misive Roger . yes second is not as good as first but lets face it it was almost like a media blackout , you have them running scared , that for me makes you all winners, who knows they may even come to realise they are the servants of the people not as in they in their arrogance believe they are the masters.

  2. Thomas Fox says:

    No one is totally conviced that Mr Jenrick will do his best for Newark I do not believe that his party’s brief comes anyway near your understanding of energy security and EU disbelief amongst the people !

  3. Well done Roger, this result slashed the Tory majority massively and for a party to come from nowhere to be a serious challenger shows that UKIP is now the only force to get behind if we want our country back.

  4. Cecil Andrews says:

    What a great report on a great effort by so many committed to the UKIP cause. On the night of the count the Tory MP was claiming on the BBC coverage programme that all the Tory activity in Newark in the run-up to the election demonstrated their “motivation” – who does he think he’s kidding? – it simply demonstrated their “desperation”. Well done Roger and team.

  5. Ralph Spurrier says:

    I’m not too sure about that card-holder in the middle of the shot – right behind Mason (and obviously in the camera view). Was that really a good idea? Or was that an interloper?

  6. Roger, a well fought campaign by yourself and UKIP, that under GE would have achieved a different result I believe. Mr Generic, being wet behind the ears and left to campaign for himself, would have hardly registered on the Richter scale. I believe the media blackout was imposed around him after some unfortunate remarks he made in an article in the Daily Mail on 1st June, where he says with regard to people living on the breadline “‘I don’t need to have a disabled daughter to know what it’s like.‘I don’t need to have lost a child in Afghanistan to meet somebody who has and have empathy and support them.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2645084/Newark-election-Tory-candidate-Robert-Jenrick-says-just-three-homes-doesnt-mean-I-dont-know-life-breadline.html#ixzz3491OHXpZ
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  7. neilfutureboy says:

    Congratulations – it is a result we could barely have dreamed of a few years ago.
    We appear to be back in the area of 3 party politics – with 90% of the LD vote disappearing, presumably much of it propping up the Tory corpse.

    Still work to do but then that is how it should be in a democracy.

  8. Henwood says:

    Effort = achievement, I was told at school, but then no one told me that the Head Boy was on first name terms with the Headmaster whose study was in Brussels. So us Upper 5’s and Remove chaps are going to have to plan a subtle scheme for his ousting next year, and an expulsion would of course look bad on his EOT Report. The SCR is rattled, and that is good news. To have thought of that three years ago would have been an impossibility. Well done to all concerned. It was a great team effort.

  9. Brin Jenkins says:

    Very well done.

  10. Chris says:

    The Tories threw everything but the kitchen sink at Newark, due to their concerns about UKIP. There could be another by-election soon, if Andrew Lansley takes over the position from Cathy Ashton (retiring) in the EU. His majority is less than 8000.

    Roger did a fantastic job as the UKIP candidate, more than halving the Tory majority and increasing the share of the vote by over 500%.

    • neilfutureboy says:

      Rhat is an interesting point and may ensure Lansley doesn’t get the job.

      Up to now the Tories’ strongest argument was that you might split the vote. This didn’t work in Newbury because the Tory vote was so high that even split in 2 Labour wouldn’t have gone through the middle. For smaller majorities that is not the case but at this election the labour vote actually dropped so nobody need worry about them being a contender.

  11. DEave King says:

    We may not have won but I’ll bet we had more fun out of it than the others

  12. Mike Stallard says:

    Roger, you have always been nice to me when I asked for things and I am very sorry you were not elected.

    Please may I ask, now about the future?
    There are three options viz-a-viz the EU.
    1. Stay in and get moved along very fast into the EUSSR. The commission are the Politburo. The President is the General Secretary. The parliament is the Supreme Soviet. Of course, there are many more than one party. But the Groupthink more than makes up for that. I am not going to try and prove it because anyone who has been following the speeches and election puffs will know it is true.
    2. Walk out. Not possible to do legally of course because Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has been carefully fixed so that the Commission has the last word at every stage and, of course, the Commission wants us to stay in. So if we decide to leave, then there will be an uphill struggle for decades (literally). And who will lead our own negotiating team in Brussels?
    3. Leave the EU and join EFTA. This ought to take about 2 years to do. It will make us as rich as Norway and Iceland per capita. It will free us up to trade with the rest of the world. It will take away all those nasty little Directives which pass into UK law without any kind of scrutiny. It will free us to make and obey our own laws away from the ECHR. Of course, we will still be part of the international bodies, so in no way will it become a laissez-faire economy. And everyone agrees that what we need is the Common Market without any interruption of trade.

    At the moment there is absolutely no leadership on this very important point. What do you think?

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Not sure I agree with your list of options, Mike. Of course we could just stay in, and without UKIP, we would. But the other two options are (A) Repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, and just leave. It’s not clear to me how this could be regarded as “illegal”, since parliament is entitled to make a sovereign decision. And if it were in some sense “illegal”, who’s to stop us? De facto beats de jure. Or (B) Go through the Lisbon Treaty Article 50 exit route. I’m inclined to prefer this, as the more orderly option and likely to facilitate future trade relations with the EU. But EFTA? I think that a newly independent UK should develop free trade deals as widely as possible. We are, after all, a global trading nation. But I’d need convincing that EFTA added value.

  13. Mazzzz says:

    An excellent result, congratulations, Mr Helmer!

  14. Right wingery says:

    Yawn…. UKIP lost because their candidate was a relic of the 1950s. Clearly the good people of Newark knew that the best way forward was to pursue with a serious party with serious candidates.

    • At last, we have an alternative to Freddie Starr on the stage. I thought for a second that you were serious, sorry, I should have realised that nobody could really be that stupid.

    • Henwood says:

      Right Wingery – your serious party with serious candidates is leading this country down a blind alley, and if you can’t see that then you have my sympathies.

    • neilfutureboy says:

      I take it you mean that 90% of the LDs switched to the Tory & put him in.
      But if they were looking for a “serious” party why did your friends vote LD in the first place?

  15. Stuart Bell says:

    Right wingery, being a highly skilled business person, I did PMA on the state of the present, so called, bigger parties and they are full of relics!! WELL ACTUALLY ‘RELIC IDEAS ‘. THAT’S WHY AS A MAY 2013 NEW MEMBER, HAVING PREVIOUSLY VOTED CONSERVATIVES, I DECIDED ENUF IS ENUF OF DINOSAUR, IDEAS!!! And perhaps you should consider moving back down the team formation from Right Winger to MORE MIDFIELD AS YOU, APPARENTLY, SEEM TO BE RUNNING OUT OF IDEAS YOURSELF! I WANT TO BE IN TODAY’S PARTY AS OPPOSED TO THE OLD MARXIST, OUTDATED WHINGERS, WHO JUST WORRY ABOUT PEOPLES AGE, NOT NOTING THE AGE AGE OF THEIR OWN PARTIES IDEAS!! DON’T HAVE ANYTHING POSITIVE TO SAY, APART FROM SILLY COMMENTS!! Now take a good look at your own ideas, take stock, listen and BECOME MORE POSITIVE, OR YOU ARE FIRED!!

  16. cerberus says:

    The UKIP share of the vote was roughly in line with the trend of recent bye elections at 26% of the vote. However the interesting question is just how much were the Tories able to hide an ongoing increasing UKIP share of the vote by the desperate almost military style operation they mounted in Newark. Without that huge effort what exactly would UKIP have polled? 27%? 28%? That possible one or two per cent extra is of huge significance and they know it. This really is the burning question because it enabled Shapps to boast that UKIP’s advance had been defeated. But really, had it?

    Wonder if the boy will hold onto his job as a result?

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