FROM UKIP’S DEPUTY LEADER Head­ing in the right di­rec­tion

STRAIGHT TALK­ING

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

IS­LAMIC State – known as ISIS – are a bunch of dan­ger­ously evil loons. That is not in dis­pute.

Any­one who has seen what is go­ing on in their so-called cap­i­tal Raqqa must agree that th­ese peo­ple need to be wiped off the face of the earth.

Pub­lic be­head­ings, shoot­ings and even cru­ci­fix­ions are every­day oc­cur­rences.

But if I was a Mem­ber of the House of Com­mons and not a Mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, I would have voted against Bri­tain get­ting in­volved in any bombing cam­paign.

Bombing alone never works – not un­less you drop a nu­clear de­vice, and no-one is call­ing for that.

Amer­ica has been bombing for the past seven weeks yet ISIS has con­tin­ued to make ad­vances in Iraq and Syria.

In the end we’ll have to put “boots on the ground” and there is no ap­petite for that ei­ther here or in the US.

It is time for the Mid­dle East to man up and deal with the ISIS prob­lem.

The Saudis should be us­ing their large air force and Turkey needs to de­ploy their army.

A broad coali­tion must be formed in the Mid­dle East and they should all come to­gether – both Sunni and Shia Mus­lims – to deal with the ISIS can­cer in their midst. IN July 2008 I got a phone call out of the blue from UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

He told me: “I need to speak to you in per­son to­day – at my house.”

This was a bit of a prob­lem be­cause I live in Liver­pool and he’s in Kent. But he said it was ur­gent so off I trun­dled on a train down south.

Once there we had a meal, drank co­pi­ous amounts of red wine and then started on the port, but still he said noth­ing about the mean­ing of my visit.

In the end I had to ask him why he’d in­vited me and fi­nally, well after mid­night, he asked me to be­come the na­tional Chair­man of UKIP.

At that point the party had nose-dived in the opin­ion polls to a mere one per­cent, was los­ing its de­posit by get­ting be­low five per­cent in ev­ery by-elec­tion it was stand­ing in, and had no money in the bank.

Party mem­ber­ship was un­der 14,000, and fall­ing by the month, and the party was rid­dled with in-fight­ing from top to bot­tom.

Jour­nal­ists thought UKIP was head­ing for the dust­bin of his­tory and Con­ser­va­tive MEPs used to laugh at us in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, con­vinced we would be wiped out in the Euro­pean elec­tions the fol­low­ing year.

That was the low point in UKIP’s his­tory.

But since those dark days six years ago, things have turned around in pretty spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion for us.

The turn­around came as re­sult of hard work and, as with ev­ery suc­cess, a lit­tle bit of luck.

Opin­ion

We came sec­ond in the Euro­pean elec­tion in 2009 – con­found­ing those Tory MEPs who laughed at us just a year be­fore – and have gone on to win another Euro­pean elec­tion ear­lier this year.

We are now hit­ting be­tween 15 and 20% in the opin­ion polls, reg­u­larly fin­ish­ing sec­ond in by-elec­tions with more than 20% scores and mem­ber­ship is touch­ing 40,000.

UKIP now has 24 MEPs, around 1,000 coun­cil­lors at all lev­els of lo­cal gov­ern­ment and three mem­bers of the House of Lords.

We will have at least two Mem­bers of the House of Com­mons by the end of Novem­ber.

The party is re­ally up­beat at the mo­ment and ex­cited about the fu­ture, and that was the at­mos­phere at our party con­fer­ence in Don­caster over the week­end.

Speak­ers lined up to an­nounce that ev­ery­one on min­i­mum wage would be taken out of tax al­to­gether, the Hu­man Rights Act would be ripped up, the NHS pro­tected and im­mi­gra­tion brought un­der con­trol.

One jour­nal­ist jok­ingly said to me that you’d bet­ter be care­ful “be­cause you’re be­gin­ning to look like a proper po­lit­i­cal party”.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any bet­ter, Nigel Farage pulled another rab­bit from the hat and brought Mark Reck­less ( above) – a Tory MP – onto the plat­form and an­nounced that he was de­fect­ing to UKIP.

I felt im­mensely proud over the week­end at the con­fer­ence.

In six short years we have gone from a party that lit­er­ally couldn’t buy a vote and was be­ing writ­ten off by almost ev­ery­one to a party which is now mak­ing the po­lit­i­cal weather.

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