THE ANATOMY OF A UKIP ELECTION CAMPAIGN – Camborne, Redruth & Hayle.
Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 24/12/2015
is what gives the remaining 10% a bad name!
THE ANATOMY OF A UKIP ELECTION CAMPAIGN – Camborne, Redruth & Hayle.
Sad isn’t it that whenever one has the inside information of any trusted task within Ukip it turns out to be corrupt!
Greg Lance – Watkins
THE ANATOMY OF A UKIP ELECTION CAMPAIGN.
Camborne, Redruth & Hayle. The party’s number three target seat for the 2015 General Election
As I see it the problems with the CRH committee go back to the AGM in 2014 when Rosie Ward, (an on record associate of the BNP) was appointed chairman with Harry Blakeley as vice-chairman. I think Blakeley controlled her as his puppet, she was found to be totally untrustworthy in the position i.e. the cannabis party as reported in the Daily Mail and her ‘unfortunate tweets’; she ‘stood aside’ in the autumn of 2014 just prior to the David Evans debacle – Evan’s was jailed after hundreds of dead sheep were found on his farm. Her standing aside was announced by Blakeley at a committee meeting, and the committee was asked to choose a new chairman, Blakeley did not want to do it so I offered my services until the AGM, my offer was accepted and I feel Blakeley wanted to be ‘the power behind the throne’.
We jump forwards to Jan 2015 when Bob Smith and Michael Muldowney, who Bob brought into the CRH campaign and who was approved by myself and the other committee members to manage the branch press, social media and political interests returned from a meeting of the key seat candidates; Michael had already made me aware of the details of said meeting and brought me up to speed regarding the election strategy as laid down by UKIP HQ. We had an election committee meeting in Blakeley’s house (Michael, Smith, Blakeley, Wyse, Parker and myself) and the plan was put to them by Michael to which everyone agreed was a good plan to be led by Michael and I in conjunction with Smith. They also agreed that the need for secrecy was paramount and that only Michael, Smith and I had the full plan and the rest was on a need to know basis which would be unfolded as the campaign progressed.
We had already noted that Harry had been leaking information to Rosie Ward via text during meetings, and when challenged he said she was a committee member and had a right to know what was going on. However, she never attended any of the meetings and had already been identified as a leak. Blakeley, a 70 year old Cornwall Councillor, had been very close to the 16/17 year old and many of us felt uncomfortable with his relationship to her. Our candidate later refused to speak at the YI election launch as she was also due to speak there, so the party removed her from the list of speakers. Primarly it was for this reason we decided to enforce the need to know basis rules so strictly. In fact, the committee knew most of the election plan and we only withheld key information such as levels of funding and information that would compromise other campaigns.
Unfortunately at the very first meeting after Stafford, Smith told them that UKIP was spending “£19 million nationally and 30 thousand here”. At Smith’s insistence we booked 3 halls for him to speak, two were unmitigated disasters and the other one, only one person attended. At the first meeting Peter Channon (a committee member of CRH since booted out of the party) asked stupid and difficult questions about CAP subsidies and Blakeley asked a racist question then badgered a couple of the audience. At a later election committee meeting after Blakeley yet again complained that I didn’t wear a suit and full UKIP regalia including a giant rosette to chair public meetings purusing his personal bullying campaign against me. The Campaign Manager had actually specified that ‘smart casual’ (apart from the candidate) was the order of business, especially when targeting meetings in deprived areas, we didn’t want to give off the impression of elitism. In return, Harry didn’t like it when I pointed that it was he not I who asked stupid question of our own PPC, despite repeated requests that members allowed the public to ask the questions and our people should keep quiet. The public meetings were then abandoned at the Campaign Manager’s and my insistence.
When I removed committee meetings from Blakeley’s house for security (i.e. to stop him leaking) and to put them on a professional footing I again came under fire being told by Blakeley I’d upset his wife, other members (Wyse/Channon/Mimms) backed him whilst he sat there with a beatific grin which is strange considering that Rosie Ward moved meetings from Blakeley’s house to a room in a local pub. Smith did not back me, only Michael did. The main reason for the resistance we encountered because Blakleley was upset we moved the meetings was because Mrs Blakeley was no longer able to serve tea, and secondly, the movement of the meetings had affected the committees’ ability to socialise. Should be noted that after my resignation the meetings were immediately returned to Harry’s house and his wife was officially designated as ‘refreshment officer’ by Bob Smith.
Michael, Smith and I would have regular confidential meetings regarding the campaign and we were spending about an hour each day on the phone when we did not meet. However, we were undermined because Smith would go and have secret meeting with Blakeley and others behind our backs; however he strongly denied this when asked. What would normally happen was, we would book a meeting for say 7pm, but they would have a pre-meeting where they would develop a consensus. Blakeley and others connived behind my back to belittle and undermine my position as chairman and election organiser (along with Michael).
Blakeley told us he was having a meeting with George Eustice (Tory MP for CRH constituency) when I sent a gentle email reminding him not to discuss anything UKIP with George (knowing how Blakeley is not always discrete) I received a vile email saying he was so intelligent and clever he didn’t need me to tell him how to act. Blakeley then used his position as a trustee of St Michael’s hospital to arrange a press op for MP Eustice and (along with Stuart Guppy St Ives and the Scilies Chairman and Ray Wyse, CRH branch officer) appeared in Tory election leaflets supporting how the Tories had saved the hospital from closing – a web version is still on the MP’s page linked here. However, when we asked him to get our candidate a a walkround to meet the staff he stalled and never arranged it.
Blakeley also undermined the organisation of Nigel Farage’s visit continuously asking if I knew what I was doing or asking did I have any experience despite knowing about the ‘Exeter Rallies’ I was SWC chairman and along with Malcolm Wood we organised 4/5 such rallies; the last one being organised on only 3 conference phone calls. Despite being told that the chain of command for the visit was that Michael would report directly and only to Deborah (The SW RO) and Lizzy Vaid (UKIP Head of Events) regarding arrangements and essentially serve as Gawain’s (UKIP Head of Press) man on the ground for the press and media. Michael would then communicate their wishes and directives to me and I was to organise things ‘on the ground’ in regards to the branch. It was made clear that ONLY Michael and I were points of contact for this event. From the onset Harry and co undermined the effort to organise the event, they could not understand why for security reasons Nigel’s movements could not be public knowledge, they did not like the fact that we were instructed that the meeting should be for members and supporters only and would not be publicised. Nigel was very worried about attacks from ANTIFA and the left, and every location we concidered him visiting had to be pre-screened by professional security. Must add, the boys in the black Range Rovers were very good and all ex-forces chaps. Meanwhile in the campaign, Harry and his ‘team’ worked against us at every opportunity to create chaos surrounding the event and so I considered my position had become untenable when the cabal of dissidence within the committee refused to work with me on Nigel’s visit and the election strategy. Blakeley behind my back had been in touch with the manager of the Carn Brea Leisure Centre and local police liaison about the meeting causing confusion, he also started contacting Gawain and giving him false information that Michael had resigned. The final straw came when Blakeley’s minions threatened to withdraw their labour from the event, causing it to collapse.
Having no other option, I then resigned, handing over the draft plan for the security and organisation of the visit to Blakeley who then ignored it nearly causing its cancellation by Nigel’s security on the morning of he event. Despite being told not to, they towed an advertising caravan around the constituency handing out tickets to which Smith was photographed helping them a week before the visit. The also used Rosie Ward to leak information regarding Nigel’s security and movements a week before the event took place, jeopardising the event and Nigel’s safety.
The cabal along with Stuart Guppy St Ives chairman stated this late in the day advertising got an extra 500 people into the meeting, considering there were only approximately 500 people there (and we gave out 700 tickets to UKIP members/supporters and invited guests I wonder where the other 500 were. I think we were very lucky that the entire meeting didn’t turn into a farce; there were also reports of Harry selectively denying entry to supporters of the Truro/Falmouth branch (including a NHS doctor) despite them having tickets, while letting in random people from the street without tickets.
As a matter of courtesy when I resigned, I emailed St Ives and Truro Falmouth chairmen of my action from TR/Fal I got a polite email back saying it was a pity but she understood why. From St Ives chairman Stuart Guppy I received a vitriolic email full of bile, which he also copied to his full committee.
From then on candidate Smith ignored the UKIP HQ election plan and went with the cabals ideas using a banner towing aircraft (at mates’ rates) and towing a caravan and a trailer – the idea to use banner towing was constantly an issue, Michael took it up with David Souter and co at the key seats conference in Stafford and was told that as long as the service provider gave us a quote and a matching invoice at the true commercial rate then we could do it. When Michael returned and relayed this information Harry promised that he would get a quote from Channon, but it never came. For three months Channon kept offering his service and Michael and I kept telling him we couldn’t authorise it without knowing the rates or having proper paper work to go with it, along with Channon’s offical delcaration as a notional donor. When it came to ahead at the finale meeting in which I was present, Michael suggested a figure based on his previous service for UKIP, Channon flew into a rage and almost jumped the table to attack him causing a major argument, Michael then resigned from the campaign.
Afterwards, they did little or no canvassing preferring to just leaflet despite being told about 60,000 leaflets were to be delivered by an outside agency and that leafleting the same areas ourselves was a waste of time. Ray Wyse only job on the election was to arrange and liaise with the leaflet company, he decided out of the blue that he wasn’t going to do it, strangely when Michael was at a job interview with the Brussels wing of the party, which forced Michael to take control over it directly from over there – which ignited a stream of phone calls to me and the leaflet people, from over there costing him almost £100. He then found out they had given a completely different set of orders to the company and not reported it to us, hence the leafleting operation which cost UKIP £6k was a complete farce. Blakeley upset the owner of the leaflet delivery company by going to his home one Saturday demanding to know why leaflets hadn’t been delivered, the consequence of this action is UKIP can no longer use the company.
I always had the impression that Smith didn’t want to win but come a close and plucky second, in fact he came a poor third; perhaps preferring his cosy life style as a self employed psychologist.
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