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    Henry Bolton, who has been elected as the new party leader of Britain's UK Independence Party speaks during the UKIP National Conference in Torquay England

    Henry Bolton Can't 'Hang On' to Post of UKIP's Leader - Independent MEP

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    Former UKIP member Godfrey Bloom has outlined in an interview with Sputnik his views on the party’s current woes and future prospects, saying that the party has made a "strategical mistake" by forgoing its grassroots support and now lacks options to pick up a new leader.

    Sputnik: Essentially Godfrey, following the resignations of Trade and Industry spokesman William Dartmouth, deputy leader Margot Parker and Immigration spokesman John Bickley… is this the end of UKIP? 

    Godfrey Bloom: Let’s be honest it’s not looking very good, it’s looking very dicey and I think the problems UKIP has, are the problems of some years ago. There is a general sort of feeling amongst the mainstream media that all this has happened in the last year or so. That is not the case. All this really started back in 2012, when the party started losing grip on its grassroots and I think when you get your strategy wrong, things don’t go wrong in a year or so; it takes years for that bad strategy to come through and I think that’s what we’re seeing with UKIP now. 

    READ MORE: UKIP Deputy Leader Resigns as Bolton Refuses to Go After No Confidence Vote

    Sputnik: Today UKIP chairman Paul Oakden announced that party leader Henry Bolton has lost an initial confidence vote within the party… Will Mr. Bolton be able to hang on in there or could we see another leadership election in UKIP?

    Godfrey Bloom: I don’t see how he can hang on now, because there have been too many resignations, too many key people; so I don’t think he can hang on and I think he’d done well to cut and get out, fall on his sword, a bit earlier before it became quite so embarrassing for himself and the party. A lot of the problems UKIP has it’s not able to replace leaders. They are fishing in a very very empty pond for leaders. UKIP does have some talent and some expertise but it’s very thin on the ground. The reason for this is their failed strategy which of course started in 2012 when they stopped being a grassroots political party which is of course where they extremely successful. 

    In 2012 they decided to ‘rebrand’ the party, change the party, from being grassroots to what Nigel Farage said ‘professionalized’ the party. What this really meant was actually crushing descent and anybody who felt the party was going in the wrong direction or had issues with policy, where simply drummed out the party. The press office rebranded it as ‘Nigel’s Purple Army’, which is alright for a pressure group and a very successful one to get a referendum but it doesn’t cut the mustard as a political party; that rather ‘Stalinist’ approach, essentially got rid of such depth of talent that UKIP had, which in 2011 and 2012 was quite considerable. 

    Sputnik: Finally, looking back to UKIP's formation, its rise to prominence and the challenges the party is currently facing… how has the UKIP changed from the party you served in and what problems, in your eyes, does the party need to address for it be a successful political party?  

    Godfrey Bloom: A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that the party was founded by Nigel Farage, it wasn’t. It was founded a long time before Nigel became the leader and the success of the party (it was 10 or 12 years before it became successful) required a lot of money. A lot of people including myself had to put a considerable amount of money into the party but it had the party faithful. It was a grassroots party and that’s what gave its attraction to an awful lot of people. However, they decided to move away from that grassroots movement and in order to do that, a lot of people saw the success coming. 

    In 2004, such significant success came about in 2004 euro elections. People came to us from The Liberal Democrats and The Conservative Party because they saw a chance for the political advancement of their careers. We had a lot of people, who came in from other political parties, not because they believed in the cause of the political grassroots of the party, but they saw an opportunity to advance themselves and they all went into positions of power within the party. They became the power within the party. They actually became the party hierarchy, with all the old school being kicked out and consequently, lost touch with the membership. 

    The membership is an extremely patriotic, hardworking, lovely people from right across society, everything from surgeons to dustmen. It was a real grassroots exercise and that’s where the success came. It then came to the sort of people who had ‘the whiff of ermine’… Were there knighthoods to be had? Were there OBEs to be had? We were becoming a successful political party… what’s in this for me? I would go to UKIP HQ in 2011 and 2012 and there were people there who I didn’t know, and when you dug a little bit deeper you’d find out they were on big fat salaries. You’d have little old ladies in the North of England donating ten pounds and then people extracting that money as fast as we’re putting it in. That’s when it started to go wrong and I think it’s a great shame.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.  

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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