Public meeting in Chichester

At the Chichester meeting with Diane James

At the Chichester meeting with Diane James

On Friday, I travelled down to Chichester for a UKIP meeting in the Assembly Rooms – and I was delighted to see that they were flying the Union Jack (OK – for purists – the Union Flag) over the building, and not the EU’s sorry Crown of Thorns.

There were 180 seats in the hall, and by the time we started a couple of minutes after seven I had trouble in seeing any empty seats at all.  I was appearing alongside our parliamentary candidate for Chichester, Andrew Moncrieff, my colleague Diane James MEP, and someone I hadn’t met before but who has worked closely with Diane, Elena McCloskey, UKIP’s council candidate in Rogate.

Andrew Moncrieff has an interesting opponent in Chichester, Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie.  Tyrie is surprisingly realistic on climate and energy issues, but sadly is also a sell-out Europhile.  That should present some easy targets and quick hits for UKIP’s Andrew in the forthcoming battle of the two Andrews.

Elena McCloskey is a very interesting candidate indeed.  There was a slight foreign accent in her perfectly-articulated English, and we learned that she had come to Britain from Russia, started a successful business, and become a British citizen.  She gave a very impressive account of herself, and coming from a former communist country she had a very focused view of the values of democracy and self-determination.  She saw some disturbing parallels between Soviet totalitarianism and developments in the Brussels.

Diane delivered one of her marvellously professional and convincing speeches on the imminent threat posed to British citizens by the European Arrest Warrant.  If this coalition government carries out its plan to sign up to the EAW by December 1st, we’re stuck with it.  No way out except Brexit.  (Roll on the Day!)

I talked about our recent run of election results, and of course about energy — the dual threat to our security of supply, and competitiveness, as a result of failing green policies (and don’t miss Charles Moore’s splendid piece on this subject).  And Andrew ran through some detailed voting statistics that gave the lie to Cameron’s claim that “A vote for UKIP is a vote for Miliband”.  In Heywood & Middleton, 617 Conservative votes gave the seat to Labour.  In Chichester, Labour have no chance of winning, come what may.  It’s a two horse race between UKIP and the Tories.

All in all, a very successful meeting, with lively questions both during the session and informally afterwards.  UKIP is on a roll in Chichester.

I’d been in London earlier in the day, and I got to Chichester in time to have a look around.  It’s a delightful town, with lovely and interesting shops.  I daresay I’d been there before — I have a vague recollection of the theatre — but that was several decades ago.  This time I made a point of visiting the Cathedral.  Begun in 1076, 962 years ago, it is mostly Romanesque, with hints of early Gothic creeping into the later parts.  It was rebuilt after a fire early on, and again after the spire collapsed in 1861 — almost miraculously, without loss of life.  Workmen trying to shore it up were out to lunch.

Both the Cathedral volunteers, and the guide-leaflet, were keen to draw my attention to the Piper Tapestry, behind the high altar.  Woven in France in 1966, it seemed to me far too brash and sixties-modern, and out of place in the splendid and sacramental space of a great Cathedral.  Apparently a Victorian High Altar had been removed as “Out of keeping” with the tapestries, replaced by a modern stone alternative.  Personally, I’d have kept the Victorian altar and gone without the tapestries.

By contrast a High Altar Frontal tapestry by G.F. Bodley (1900), in sumptuous shades of red and gold, was redolent with order, reverence and beauty.  But it was relegated to a side aisle, and neither the volunteers not the guide made any reference to it.

But perhaps the high point of art in the Cathedral was the magnificent Arundel Tomb (what’s the Arundel Tomb doing in Chichester? I hear you ask.  I also asked, but no one seemed to know). It shows a mediæval couple side by side in death.  He is in armour, and has his right gauntlet in his left hand, while his un-gloved right hand discreetly holds that of his wife.  A touching detail immortalised by Philip Larkin in his poem “An Arundel Tomb”. Do read it.

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17 Responses to Public meeting in Chichester

  1. Me_Again says:

    Roger I’m obviously behind the curve on this but I thought we were already using or bound by EAW’s.
    What becomes different on December 1st?

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Vaz was quizzing the CPS director on the subject and in what happens in absence of it (Parliament Ch yesterday). As regards not having the EAW, from what she was on about with the different countries I think cutting off a leg might be less painful. The modern world…not!

      However, Dan Hannan brought the very subject up today…with an evil EU example (again).
      http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100289483/the-european-arrest-warrant-is-a-betrayal-of-our-freedoms-are-mps-really-going-to-opt-back-into-it

      Mr Farage has mentioned the european desire to leave anybody languishing in their jails before.

      • DICK R says:

        The EWA is one of the most pressing reasons for getting out of the EU if Dan Hannan was serious he would join UKIP.

      • Me_Again says:

        I’d prefer the next person who crosses the house to be Labour or Lib Dem. Don’t want anyone to reinforce the silly idea that UKIP is some sort of Tory splinter group. Just fortunate I suppose that two of the smartest and most honest Tories have had the guts to do what their hearts and minds said they should -instead of all the sheep Baaa……

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      You are right, Me_Again. But we have reserved the right to opt out from a range of measures including the EAW, but Cameron wants to Opt In again, and if he does so, that is permanent as long as we stay in the EU.

  2. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Nice area, was based at RAF Tangmere nearby in the late 60’s. Early days for Prince Charles flying training and the Hovercraft tests. I got as far as most of the pubs.

    Tangmere was severely smashed by the Luftwaffe in WW2. Just wondering?

    Don’t understand why the Cathedral should be vandalised in such a way.

  3. Philip Rock says:

    Interesting are your comments on the modern tapestries in the church, smacking of 1960’s banality, and I find your comments accurate and prosaic.
    The reason for this is that it is that it is the same decade that most of the crass simplistic thinking that has ultimately brought us into this EU mess was dreamed up.
    Neither the aesthetic decisions nor the ideas about Europe embodied in and symbolised by the input of he late Edward Heath were fit for anything, let alone purpose.
    As always Roger, top quality blog!

  4. Ian Terry says:

    There is a lot to be said by Philips comments. Lived very close to Arundel and often visited Chichester and for a lot of the residents it is still in the 1960s think set. I was fortunate enough to live in Spain for about 5 years before coming to dictatorship Scotland, then you can realise and recognise simplistic thinking in its truest form. If it ain’t funded it ain’t going to happen. Who do the think is paying for all these communitiy benefits that come with the masses of turbines up here? It is the bill payer and that is about it. Hell do they miss the point or what. Ukip has got to get the data together to show the UK just how big this whole RE scam is. Yes Roger another quality blog

  5. Anne says:

    I would like the people Roger, to have the chance of filling the House of Commons with UKIP MP’s, so is there any possibility of doing so? What is the point in voting for any of those THREE MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES THAT WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EU-FOREVER?

  6. Stuart Bell says:

    I see that Labours Anti UKIP team headed up by Y Cooper is looking at ways to combat the UKIP,threat. Apparently, when Ed called Yvette in to discuss the plan, he said I want you to create this “JUST LIKE THAT!!”

  7. Stuart Bell says:

    Many new UKIP supporters have switched and tell me that the fundamental reason, membership of the EU, was the biggest factor. They Cannot understand Why the 3 parties are so Intent on staying in an expensive Union of countries that pay a lot of money to see their Sovereignty being eroded. They are also annoyed/angered by the fact that they appear to be loathe to give an honest explanation, but revert to critiscism of UKIP as an excuse. Obviously immigration etc was/is also worrying for the future generations.

  8. Anne says:

    Temporary Politicians seem to think they can do “anything thing they like” while they are in Government and Parliament, however, I question “if they indeed can?”. They cannot of course destroy or alter our very own Common Law Constitution, for to do so is indeed TREASON and our Constitution is protected by those Acts of Treason, and even though one Prime Minister tried to repeal a couple of those Acts re Treason-they remain in full to guard ALL parts of our Common Law Constitution. Would the people continue to Vote or Pay anyone that deliberately ignores our very own Common Law Constitution that so many gave THEIR lives for in the saving of it in that terrible WAR in 1939-1945 by accepting the EAW? Are we innocently contributing to the pay of those in our House of Commons that are prepared to destroy parts of that very same Common Law Constitution that so very many people, men, women, children and babies that were bombed to bits in that last WAR, along with so many of our Forces in that last terrible, terrible War?

  9. Right wingery says:

    No ventures to the local ‘massage’ parlours?

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