I was heartened yesterday to receive a letter from senior and respected members of the UK Independence Party expressing their thoughts, and fears, on the future of the Party. I agreed with them and some of the reasons I stood down as lead candidate in the North West for the Euro elections, and as Regional Organiser, are virtually the same.
Of course the clique in control of the party have tried to blacken my name. They have accused me of using a pseudonym on an internet forum to criticise the Leader. I was not registered on that forum but anyway, big deal, it shows how small-minded the current leadership clique are and how they respond to criticism perceived or real.
They also accused me of using my position as Regional Organiser to gain advantage in the election for the list in the North West. Paul Nuttall, and his little sidekick in Brussels, Michael McManus, lodged a complaint about a letter I supposedly sent to members canvassing their support in the Euro election poll. Of course the letter doesn't exist as every member in the North West knows. The complaint was withdrawn anyway, but they have still used the imaginary letter to try and blacken my name.
Note that this blog is no longer 'Gregg Beaman's Blog'. The reason being that I was tired of receiving unpleasant 'anonymous' comments after I stood down. Who was sending the unpleasant 'anonymous' comments? Well at least one sender was Rachel Oxley. How do I know? Because I goaded the 'anonymous' one and received a text message from Rachel Oxley owning up. How very grown up and mature. Is she the kind of woman who should be Vice Chairman of a national political party?
I then had Lisa Duffy emailing people claiming that I stood down because of a debilitating illness and because I had only expected to come third rather than first. More fibs from a member of the ruling clique.
One of life's ironies is that it was only in May 2008, at the North West Spring Conference in Morecambe, that Rachel Oxley and Lisa Duffy had complained to me that Annabelle Fuller had spent the Saturday evening texting Nigel Farage, quite suggestively and quite openly, about what she wanted to do with him when he came to the North West the following day. Lacking the courage of their convictions they happily passed it on to me. But later Duffy was terrified that the Party Chairman was upset with her for 'spilling the beans' on the Leader. And that was after them specifically asking me to pass on their concerns to the Party Chairman.
But Lisa Duffy was that way inclined. Before the last leadership election she had phoned me in a terrible panic after she had been contacted to consent to Farage's nomination but had already promised to consent to David Campbell Bannerman's candidacy. She didn't understand that democracy worked that way. She clearly lacks the courage of her convictions, if indeed she has any convictions. Don't fight for what you believe, just stay in with the right people seems to be her philosophy.
A few weeks before I stood down I had been critical of Nigel Farage to Rachel Oxley, describing him as a liability. It may be a coincidence but Rachel Oxley never spoke to me again after that. I only received an email from her informing me that she would no longer speak at a meeting of members that I had organised in Cumbria. Not very professional I thought, but very spiteful. I now see that it typifies the lack of respect for the members that typifies certain people in the current leadership clique.
That is some of the background that added to my increasing disillusionment over the last couple of years and, ultimately, to my decision to walk. But, most importantly, I had come to realise that after having MEPs since 1999 the Party had failed to move our cause forward. In 2008 we still only achieved 2% in the Crewe and Henley by-elections. A quarter of our MEPs elected in 2004 had gone, and I don't need to go into detail. In my opinion too many of the remaining MEPs have been seduced by the position, especially the current party leader, and they ignore the fact that we have failed to make any impact in Parliamentary elections, which they continually argue will come with the resources gained from having MEPs.
In August I was told that Paul Nuttall was to become Party Chairman. I knew then that I could no longer continue. I had always felt that Paul was only in it for what he could get. The way he grovelled to Farage, even starting to dress like him, had made me cringe and some of us in the North West had even started referring to him as 'Scouse Farage'.
When the results of the members' poll were announced I was told that Farage was jumping up and down ranting that I had to be removed from the top of the list, and I heard that from three different sources. I wondered what had happened to the Party that had offered so much hope to so many of us. All my doubts about even standing in the European elections were still there and I was not prepared to stand if all it meant was a good living for five years for no political gain. Their behaviour had convinced me, more than ever, that there is an element in the Party only interested in the 'gravy train', their own vanity and little else.
As far as Farage is concerned I knew when I met him, during the Preston by-election in 2000, that he was the personification of vanity and ego with little behind that wafer thin facade. I have seen his childish temper tantrums when he doesn't get his own way, when I was on the NEC and later when I was on the Elections Committee. I have seen him bully people and have stood up to him when he has tried to bully me. He must be one of the coarsest most vulgar individuals I have ever come across. The proposed changes to the party constitution are a result of the complete lack of principle of the current leader and chairman and, it must be said, the lack of courage shown by certain members on the Party's NEC.
One thing Farage has excelled at is driving decent, honest people away. There is no room under Farage's leadership for open debate and discussion, and God forbid there should be any disagreement with him. When people have had enough and go his clique then proceed to try and blacken their names, and others have had much worse smears than I have had directed at them. He only wants around him people who are easily flattered and who do not think for themselves.
The current changes to the constitution, if approved, will remove the right of the members to contribute to the party's future and will certainly remove the right of members to criticise the decisions of the leadership. UKIP will then be no different from the European Union that it was formed to fight.
Finally I remember appearing in a TV debate in 2004 when Labour MEP Arlene McCarthy accused UKIP of lacking the principle of Sinn Fein, who refused to take their seats in a parliament they opposed. I have thought long and hard about that comment since and have to say that Sinn Fein are now power sharing in Ulster. Where are UKIP?