FROM UKIP’S DEPUTY LEADER Heading in the right direction
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.
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.