Rumours have emerged in the last few days from the top secret address of the United Kingdom Independence Party’s headquarters (Lexdrum House, King Charles Business Park, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 6UT) that the forthcoming annual conference previously scheduled to be held at the Riviera International Conference Centre, Torquay on the 29th / 30th September may well be moved to a new location. The Snoddington By The Sea Village Hall, which has a capacity of 150 (standing) compared to RIC Torquay’s 1500 seated or 2910 standing. That is providing that Snoddington By The Sea’s Women’s Institute can be persuaded to move their annual Knit & Natter competition which, in attracting WI members from all over the south of England, may actually outnumber the UKIP delegates in any case.
Snoddington By The Sea made political headlines only four months ago when its Conservative Club led an initiative to comfort and reassure distraught and soon to be ex-Kippers following the disastrous Stoke By-Election. As reported here COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATIVES COMFORT CRAZED KIPPERS the compassionate face of local Conservatism was shown when, according to some sources, on direct instructions from Downing Street, Conservative Associations and Clubs across the length and breadth of Great Britain threw open their doors and offered Safe Places to thousands of shell-shocked UKIP Voters, Supporters and even Members following the deep trauma suffered by many of them having witnessed the sight of ‘The Two Pauls’ cavorting around Stoke On Trent dressed in Harris Tweed three piece outfits, flat caps and holding ferrets in a vain attempt to win over ‘working class voters’ to the UKIP cause.
UKIP’s ‘interim’ Chairman known as ‘Oakie The Stokie’ to his many supporters, following the ‘success’ of the Stoke campaign, has denied reports that the Party membership has declined to no more than 8000 members following a high understood to top 40,000 at the peak of their success, (it seems difficult to get meaningful membership figures out of UKIP in good times or bad) but a radical decline in membership would explain the need to move the annual conference to a more reasonably sized and cheaper location.
UKIP has faced turbulent times since the high point of being the driving force behind the successful Brexit Campaign only fifteen months ago, losing it’s charismatic leader, Nigel Farage, several MEPs; having had two of their MEPs involved in an unseemly fracas in Brussels, holding a widely distrusted NEC election and are now on their third leadership campaign since June 2016. With a wide candidate field, no winning candidate can command a convincing majority and there is widespread scepticism that the only radical candidate; the only real change agent amongst a mediocre pack, will be able to win. Unless Anne Marie Waters wins, against all the odds, then UKIP seems certain to fade away into obscurity – the real Opposition party that never was and one that’s needed more than ever in light of the most recent betrayal by Theresa May’s government.
Mind you, the party leadership also seems to have reached a North Korean level of inability to take any criticism from current or ex-members or indeed anyone whatsoever. Writing in the recent issue of Independence magazine, Kim Jong-Oakden ranted about ‘online bullying and harassment (for this read ‘online criticism) that would repulse even the most thick-skinned of people’… Getting the bit firmly between his teeth he went on to say how much he regretted people being sucked into believing ‘the ill-informed rantings of rather lonely doomsayers, sitting at home in their underpants, frantically tapping away at their laptops’. This paranoid and rather childish world view of those who don’t agree with his opinions seems even
more perverse coming from somebody who was reported by the Daily Express as having posed as an Aston Martin driving airline pilot on a dating site , an activity, one would be forgiven for thinking, which seems far more likely to have taken place, in his underpants, in the early hours of the morning than the political comment and criticism which he’s taken such umbrage with.
Oakden’s previous boss, Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for for North West Leicestershire since 2010, commented at the time, that Oakden had been sacked as his agent in 2008 for making false claims on the site and for the time he spent interacting with other MingleVille users during work hours adding, ‘I told Conservative Party Central Office that he was a political suicide bomber and I didn’t want him to detonate near me. He was clearly a Walter Mitty character who in my view shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near politics.’
Sound advice which, I believe, UKIP will come to regret not taking.