Last weekend, Mrs C and I attended the UKIP Conference in Bournemouth.
[ Photo by @GawainTowler ]
Friday was the main day, with Nigel giving his farewell speech as leader – he’s not leaving the Party and will, I’m sure, contest a by-election in Thanet if the Electoral Commission rule the contest void due to Conservative election fraud – so we’ll still be hearing from him and watching him attack the EU machine in Strasbourg.
His speech was characteristically buoyant and up-beat. You can watch it here.
This was followed after lunch by the announcement that Diane James had been elected leader. She seemed genuinely pleased and waved enthusiastically to the crowd of over 1000 in the main hall. Her speech is here.
The theme of many speeches at conference was unity and a coming together, although I don’t think the disagreements that have been going on within UKIP in recent months are anywhere near as bad as those in the other main parties.
From my perspective it was good to see Diane welcoming Douglas Carswell back ‘in to the fold’ and she also took the opportunity to stamp her authority on the Party in Wales where there has been a reported power battle between Nathan Gill and Neil Hamilton.
There are other things that need sorting (as Andrew Neil pointed out yesterday on Sunday Politics) but all in all I’m very optimistic about the future for UKIP and our prospects for winning County Council seats in 2017.