I attended these hustings yestreen. None of the leadership candidates impressed me but any except Pearson would be better than Farage. What concerns me most is they all lack faith in their ability to speak for UKIP and want Farage to continue as party spokesman! In my book a leader that does not feel up to speaking for his party is not worth having.
The most telling thing to emerge was that the UKIP press office is actually the EFD group press office controlled by Nigel Farage and run by Bridget Rowe! So UKIP does not actually have a press office. This is entirely in keeping with Farage's ambitions to take UKIP into a pan European party with himself as leader.
The candidates performed much as I expected. Pearson mumbled away. He is clearly Farage's man and a first class political disaster that has happened and is waiting to happen again. Malcolm Wood dared not stray more than 2 yards from the Thatcher created Lord all night. Pearson's main attribute is he has money and knows a lot of people with money. His seat in the Lords gives him a platform but given his propensity to put his foot in it that is a doubtful blessing. He was the only one to suppot the BOO group beloved of Nigel.
Gerard Batten spoke well and has some good ideas. In my opinion he lacks political courage and wiil get easilly bullied by Farage. All in all he looked the best of the bunch last night.
Nikki spoke decently but perhaps too passionately. She is the most left wing of the candidates and was the only one to mention education. She has, and clearly will be able to stand up to Farage bullying better than Batten.
Alan Wood has the clearest and best set of political priorities but he is not a good speaker. He knows where the votes are and how to get them. He rightly criticised Pearson for his Islamic remarks, his support of the BOO group and how damaging his Tory ties will be with disillusioned Labour voters. Alan was the only candidate to criticise Farage for stepping down at a bad time for UKIP and will stand up to Farage.
The worst thing about all four candidates was how they floundered on a question about dealing with our ballooning budget deficit and the credit crunch and how spending progammes are paid for. This is the bread and butter stuff of politics and all four are simply economically illiterate even Gerard Batten. Its a standard political interview. First question, what are your policies. Second question how will you pay for them.
All in all not an inspiring evening. Pearson would be best employed as chairman of a fund raising committee. Alan Wood as chairman of the campaign committee. For leader its a toss up between Gerard and Nikki.
Gerard Batten did mention getting back those who had left UKIP. Many of those who have left or been forced out by the Cabal would have made far better leaders than those candidates at Exeter. Their leadership potential and therefore the threat they carried to Farage and the Cabal was precisely why they were forced out and why UKIP is now so bereft of leadership talent.
I received my leadership voting papers just now. I am amused that UKIP has at last seen the merit of using the Electoral Reform Society Service for their elections. When I was on the NEC I argued for this service to be used for the MEP list elections and indeed got a vote passed in the SWCC to use it in the South West. Needless to say on the NEC I was shouted down by the Cabal. Farage stated the ERS only does Single Transferable Vote - completely wrong as usual with NF. Whittaker said he investigated this and confirmed Farage's erroneous view. Clarke seemed to be having apoplexy shouting it was ridiculous as did Zuckerman and the rest. Well look what we have now but Zuckerman uses the ERS!
The whole problem with the Cabal is they do not do their homework. I gave them a fully costed quote from the ERS confirming they could implement any voting system we wanted. This was shouted down and rubbished by the Cabal. Is it any wonder UKIP staggers from crisis to crisis.