Enthusiastic, effervescent, exhilarating! UKIP’s 2014 Conference in Doncaster


In my political career I must have been to twenty or so political conferences, Conservative, and in recent years UKIP.  After so many, it’s easy to get a bit cynical.  But any cynicism was blown away by our 2014 Doncaster Conference which closed on Saturday.

I have simply never seen such a level of enthusiasm, involvement, commitment.  Mostly at conferences I’ve got into the habit of avoiding the predictable and formulaic speeches in the main auditorium, and instead focusing on the trade stands and the fringe meetings, and simply networking.  At the last few Tory Conferences I went to before I joined UKIP, I focused almost entirely on The Freedom Zone (run by TFA and Simon Richards) where real people had real debates — in contrast to the official programme.

In Doncaster, I found I wanted to be in the main auditorium (and was acutely disappointed when I found I had to miss Diane James’ presentation on Justice & Home Affairs to go and chair a Countryside Alliance fringe).

We had an amazing array of speakers: women and men; young and old; former Tories and former Labour Party members.  And if you are concerned about ethnic diversity, we had a British Muslim of sub-continental extraction (Amjad Bashir MEP), and the irrepressible Winston McKenzie, our Commonwealth Spokesman, who is black.  And former Labour activist Natasha Bolter.

Many of our spokesmen were drawn from the ranks of the 24 UKIP MEPs which I am proud to lead (remember — the largest UK delegation in Brussels, ahead of Tories and Labour, and twenty-four times the Lib-Dem strength!).  Although of course I know them all, I have never before had the opportunity to sit and see them each make a political presentation one after the other, and I have to say I was impressed — as were the audience.  I even started to worry that my own speech on energy would not stack up to the others’ standard.  But it seemed to be well received.

So by lunch-time on Saturday, spirits were high, and the mood was positive.  Nigel arrived at 2:30 and started by presenting some recent polling data from marginal seats, which were just astonishingly good.  But at 2:40, he said “That’s me done.  Nothing more to say.  You can go and have a cup of tea if you want.  Or you could stay and listen to my next guest”.  We all realised that something important was in the offing.  “It’s a Conservative MP”.

Then Mark Reckless walked on to the stage, to a tumultuous and ecstatic reception.  Stepping up to the rostrum, he started out with exactly the words that Douglas Carswell had used a few weeks before “Today, I am leaving the Conservative Party”.  Huge burst of applause — and when it died down, he added “And joining UKIP”.  He made a speech which received repeated standing ovations, until we realised we were standing up so often, we might as well stay up.  So we did.

And when he’d finished, the reaction was almost beyond description.  As the BBC put it, “It was like a football club which had just won the Cup”.  You’ve heard the old metaphor about people “dancing in the aisles”.  Well in Doncaster they really were.  At least a dozen people, mostly women but a couple of chaps too, spontaneously dancing between the seats and the podium.  Unbelievable scenes.  A day to remember for a life-time.

Now comes the hard part: we have to ensure that our two new recruits are re-elected in the up-coming by-elections.  Let’s go to work.

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19 Responses to Enthusiastic, effervescent, exhilarating! UKIP’s 2014 Conference in Doncaster

  1. ``` says:

    Your speech was first class Roger, as was Dianes, but they all were sincere, and from people in all walks of life, Barnsley ex miners, blue collar, not toffs at all, a wide spread of backgrounds and talent. A remarkable 2 days, and Tim Montgomery (Concervative Home) has said he has not seen such enthusiasm at a cons Conference in 10 years,
    It was an amazing “together experience”.

  2. vanessa coleman says:

    Yes Roger an historic day. Couldn’t make it to the conference but avidly watched it on the Parliament channel and subsequently on Youtube. I’ve personally waited a decade for this day to come!

  3. George Morley says:

    This has to be good for the improvement of government and a shake up for the other parties who just seem to ignore the will of the people and just offer more of the same with promises made and no doubt broken if eventually in government.
    The run up to the election is really going to be something different and Ukip has them running scared I think. I would hope much more honesty will come out of it all as a result.

  4. Great write-up, I’m sure they could hear the cheers in Sheffield!

  5. Greg Burrows says:

    A good conference and speech Roger, made up for the Gala dinner, not being up to much, fringe meetings are important and the energy meeting, you hosted was very interesting, also the IEA fringe meeting which showed that honest debate is going on, with Tim Ackers views at a slight divergence to Patrick O’Flynn, I think on that I verge more to Tim, but everyone has their opinion.

  6. and grant shaps has the cheek to call mark reckless a liar this is the pot calling the kettle black as shaps is well versed in the art of telling untruths

  7. Jane Davies says:

    You have achieved the impossible Roger, you have made this cynical, politician hating baby boomer tingle with delight about a report about a party conference! You could at this rate change my mind about the way I think of most politicians…liars and hypocrites in the main not to be trusted to serve their constituents interests and putting the party and their wealthy buds before the good of the country and the voters. UKIP is on a roll go with it and conquer!

  8. Is there a limit on defections? I prefer the idea of punishing the Westminster elite by voting them out for good. If more come over to UKIP, the Tory party will just be reformed with the same old hacks we are trying to get rid of.

  9. Thomas Fox says:

    Such an influential and high official as Grant Shapps to declare Mr Reckless is a liar shows the party is getting seriously desperate !

    • `David says:

      If someone had defected to the cons, no matter which party, they would be cheering him/her as a fine fellow or lady, even if he had also withheld the defection till last minute, they are particularly miffed because its to UKIP.

  10. eddie coke says:

    “We are more than a star on somebody else’s flag.” – Mark Reckless, UKIP Conference 2014.

    A killer last line for a brilliant speech. It encapsulates what this country has become as a result of all the parasitic and slymongering treasons wilfully perpetrated by the odious weasels running/ruining this nation, ready to swap Country for currency and power in an unelected and anti-democratic abomination, once they’re washed up ex-politicians here. A fie upon them; and the gallows.

    Time to plug a middle finger into that ‘black hole of communism’ around which our and other European nation states revolve, and escape to Sovereignty.

    • Jane Davies says:

      Hear, hear eddie!! I just wish the two faced hypocrites that occupy Downing Street would read the thoughts of real people who live in the real world!

  11. Ian Terry says:

    You are so right Jane, But they will hang on till the very end. With a £1.43 trillion debt in reality they are doing three fifths of naff all. With the majority of the euro zone struggling someone has got to make a stand. It may as well be us. Stop immediately all this green nonsense especially all the subsidies, all domestic properties with solar panels upgrade to business rates, fields full of turbines and solar panels are rated as power stations and anyone with more than 2 turbines are taxed 85% on their leasing payments. Laws are on the statute book to overide any previous legistration when the country is at risk. What will it take to do it a £2 trillion national debt? How much CO2 has the volcano thrown up into the air this weekend? We must stop paying out vast sums of money to try and stop climate change and re think how we are going to live alongside it. Driving companies to the wall and millions into fuel debt and poverty which impacts on real poverty is for me is not the answer. The whole european experiment and the non sensical policies regarding energy policies are straight out of the Agenda 21 plan. Like IS it has to be stopped and destroyed. I think that this weekend the boulder called UKIP has been well and truely been pushed over the top of the mountain and can now only gather more momentum. Bravo Zulu to all the team that has made this happen.

  12. Anne says:

    And you all have much work to do before this Government accepts the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP Treaty, and stop this Government from making a terrible mistake of “opting in” (OPT INS See debate 10 July 2014) which most of you will obviously know you are now looking to sacrifice the fundamental principal of Magna Carta: that no one will be imprisoned, fined or held against their will without the judgment of a Court here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Yet the laws on treason state quite clearly, “to destroy the Constitution is an act of treason”. Even though some of the Treason Acts were allegedly repealed under a previous Government, we are aware that they cannot be repealed for they are for all time coming to protect our long standing Common Law Constitutional Documents. That indeed is exactly why they have lasted such a long time, and most, if not all in both Houses of Parliament are well aware that two World Wars were fought and won in order to keep our Common Law Constitutional Documents forever.

    THIS is how we can get OURSELVES out of the EU. Come the next General Election, use it as the RERERENDUM we have been denied. Forget the promise of a REFERENDUM in 2017-it will be far too late, for in 2014 there are opt in’s and Opt outs of Justice and Home Affairs plus Policing-SHEER TREACHERY to even THINK about it! It may well even be TREASON.

    Come the General Election in 2015 only vote for those Political Parties or Organisations that WANT OUT OF THE EU. We know-without doubt- that ALL THREE MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EU-FOREVER, so there is absolutely NO point at all in voting for any of them. It matters not if none have “governed” before-neither have the major three Political Parties-for they have only obeyed EU Orders like the rest of us are supposed to do. BUT NOT FOR MUCH LONGER. MAKE IT HAPPEN!


    • Jane Davies says:

      If the UK joins the technical age and we can vote on-line I and thousands of others who at present live overseas will be able to use our vote. At the moment we are still disenfranchised by distance and snail mail is useless unless one lives in an EU country. Not to mention of course those who have lived overseas for more than 15 years who get no right to vote at all.

  13. George Morley says:

    Jane Davies makes a very valid point as I was in the RAF for 26 years and having missed the deadline on the second election when I could vote due to the lack of sufficient time given to receive it let alone return it as I was abroad, I opted for my twin sister to be my proxy from then on.
    I trust her implicitly but that should not be necessary.
    Doing my duty for my country but effectively denied my vote because of the time and method used to register it is bad for this reason alone. How many servicemen and women have had the same problem ? Did not those serving in Afghanistan have this problem at the last election ?
    Now living in Canada in retirement the same same situation applies to me and other retirees around the world. Hundreds of thousands of votes lost. Hardly democratic !

    • Flyinthesky says:

      There’s the nub George, “Hardly democratic” The government doesn’t do democratic, the eu doesn’t do democratic and increasingly neither does the UN.
      What they do do is issue edicts “it’s for your own good”, it isn’t, it’s for theirs and their sponsors. What they all do is propose dire consequences of not falling in line and in the main we fall for it. The dire consequences are only their own.
      Power has been given, wallets have been filled and comfy chairs occupied, there’s no way they are going anywhere without a fight.

  14. Franziska says:

    Thatt iss a glod tip especially tto thosae new to the blogosphere.
    Simple buut very accurate information… Thanks for
    haring thyis one. A musst rad post!

  15. Pingback: Coal Industry: Osborne’s Coup de Grace | Roger Helmer MEP

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