UKIP: A parliamentary candidate’s view of his party conference – and the Tories

Clive Hickman is the UKIP parliamentary candidate for Hove
Clive Hickman is the UKIP parliamentary candidate for Hove

UKIP’s conference in Doncaster presented a series of common-sense policies.

UKIP’s conference in Doncaster presented a series of common-sense policies - from recovery of our fisheries to introducing Australian rules to govern our immigration policy.

Louise Bours MEP was loudly cheered as she called for the protection of the NHS and increasing front-line nursing staff, while cutting back overpaid managers.

Cries of “shame” rang out against the culture of political correctness that encouraged Labour to ignore the warning signs of sexual grooming of children in Rotherham.

Winston McKenzie, a UKIP speaker of Caribbean descent, highlighted the potential for expanded free trade with our Commonwealth. Winston drove home the point that the Commonwealth, unlike the European Union, features growing economies and opportunities for UK global trade free from control of Brussels.

The highlight was Nigel Farage’s presentation of a series of polls reflecting surging UKIP support nationally. This was immediately followed by the surprise introduction of Mark Reckless as the latest MP to join the People’s Purple Army. The hall exploded with cheers and applause with chanting of “UKIP-UKIP” followed by spontaneous dancing in the aisles. Even a member of press was caught up in the celebration by clapping instead of taking photographs.

The Tory conference presented a stark contrast as it reflected a downbeat mood with uninspiring speeches. There was none of the usual exuberance that normally characterises speeches from the young Tory speakers. There was little from the Tory leadership that inspired, unless you were moved by Cameron’s offer of 24/7 access to our already-overworked GPs or Osborne’s promise to attack benefits to cut the deficit.

Dave’s hyperbolic statement that “the United Kingdom is a 1,000 times more important than the European Union” undoubtedly confused his remaining loyal supporters who, on July 1 last year, were presented with an epic vision for the expansion of the EU “from the Atlantic to the borders of Russia.”

The haemorrhaging of Tory grassroots support, two MPs resigning, and the threat of more to come undoubtedly weighed heavily on the Birmingham conference.

Boris Johnson’s gravitas-free speech got the laughs and delivered a promise not to tax the rich people’s homes.

Thankfully, our history demonstrates that all political parties eventually become sclerotic and fade away. We are in an exciting era as a shift in British politics gets underway.

UKIP’s fight is distinctly British, as it champions our evolving liberal-democratic tradition and libertarian principles against the establishment’s offer of Tory elitism or the dead hand of Labour’s failed socialism.

I am honoured to represent Hove and Portslade and am confident that UKIP’s policies will have broad appeal to the people of our city. It is my hope the campaign ahead will be civilised and respectful.  Everyone deserves respect and we are all entitled to freedom of speech and assembly free from harassment or attempts to stifle debate.

Clive Hickman is the UKIP parliamentary candidate for Hove