ENGLISH DEMOCRATS' CHRISTMAS DINNER, 8th December 2012.
Ladies & Gentlemen and fellow English Democrats
Welcome to our Christmas dinner. We intend this to be a regular annual fixture and we will have our meetings in various different hotels, clubs etc. Around the country some of our branches are holding other Christmas celebration events and I know the South Yorkshire branch are also holding one today.
This is part of a regular cycle of our social events, including celebrations for St George’s Day, a summer social and, of course, our main conference and AGM and our Spring Conference. A date for your diary ladies and gentlemen, March 9th is the date for our Spring Conference which will be in Doncaster and our Annual Conference will be on the 21st September.
To add to these events we are intending to set up the Chairman’s dining club which will be known as the 927 Club. 927 is the year in which England became a unified Nation State under King Athelstan on the 12th July 927 AD at Eamont in Cumberland.
This year we have also been working on improving our membership arrangements. We have set up a new membership category, the Sterling membership along the lines of the traditional English hallmark of sterling quality. We have had a successful run of our England Awake magazines and our appeals for financial help have been successful too.
So as we reach the end of 2012, it is time to ask has it been a successful year for the English Democrats?
Well we started the year in January having triggered a referendum to democratise the running of Salford City Council to a Directly Elected Mayor and we then won that referendum. So in Salford we have made a lasting change for the better in their system of local government. We hope in due course that will bear electoral fruit.
In January we also had the Institute of Public Police Research come out with their paper about the right of English Nationalism – “The dog that is beginning to bark”!
Over the course of the year we have started to be invited to speak at University debating societies and I was asked to speak at the University of Nottingham’s Politics Society. I was also asked to do a BBC Daily Politics Soap Box film and in April I gave evidence to the West Lothian Commission, which is the Commission chaired by Sir William McKay that is supposed to be considering what the Government should do to adjust the constitution to take account of the process of devolution.
In April and May we stood 101 candidates in the local elections and London Assembly elections. In the London Assembly elections we spent less than £1,000 on the campaign but still got 22,000 votes.
Ladies and gentlemen I ask you to consider what we could have done if we had had the £200,000 which the less well resourced of our rival parties spent on that election? I bet we would have got more than the 2½% that the BNP got for that money. Indeed we would have got more than the 5% that UKIP got for their far bigger spend!
At the same time we also won the Doncaster Mayoral Referendum, much to the dismay of the local Labour Party. As a consequence Ed Milliband started to talk up the idea that Labour needed to re-engage with English Nationalism!
Quite recently we had the Police Commissioner elections which we went into as the only Party with a consistent record of supporting direct elections for the Chief of Police. All our candidates saved their deposits and in South Yorkshire we came second. Unfortunately Labour managed to get just over 50% of the vote which meant that our second preferences were not counted, but I am told that the vast majority of second preferences in South Yorkshire were for the English Democrats.
At the same time we stood for the first time in the Corby Constituency by-election and now have a functioning branch in Corby.
Since then we have also stood in the Rotherham by-election and got our best percentage of vote yet in a fully contested parliamentary by-election and now have a functioning branch in Rotherham as well.
So yes ladies and gentlemen I do think 2012 has been a good year for the English Democrats.
The future looks bright for us as we head towards the New Year which will be a year in which we have County Council elections. I hope that we will be able to manage to stand the 300 or so candidates which we require for us to qualify for a Party Election Broadcast. We also have the election campaign for the Doncaster Mayoralty, which we currently hold and I am already in discussions with Peter Davies about our plans for that election.
Labour’s dirty tricks department “Hope not Hate” have made getting Peter out their top priority. This is what they have said:- “Removing Peter Davies as Mayor of Doncaster is really important. Since being elected he has attacked and undermined trade unions, he has blocked funding for Gay Pride, invited the co-founders of the Campaign Against Political Correctness onto his cabinet to get rid of ‘politically correct non jobs’ and has attacked Black History Month and International Women’s Day.”
It might interest you to know ladies and gentlemen just how much more effective we are on a level playing field than winning votes than UKIP. In the Police Commissioner elections in Essex I managed to have distributed less than 20,000 generic national leaflets and in total, including notional expenditure, spent less than £1,000 on the election. I saved my deposit and got 11,500 votes. The UKIP candidate told me at the count that he had had distributed getting on for 250,000 leaflets. I suspect that we will find when the accounts are published that he and UKIP spent many multiples of what the English Democrats spent and even so he only managed to get just over 15,000 votes. When we can equal the resources and equal the spend of UKIP then we will beat them hands down!
Another interesting item is that, in May, in the Wheatley Ward, Doncaster, our candidate conducted an experiment to see whether our candidates were winning votes because of their personal reputation or whether the votes were coming in because of the English Democrats’ branding.
The candidate, Roy Penketh, is well known in Doncaster, having previously been Chairman of the local Conservative branch and a long serving Conservative Councillor. He is also on various governing bodies.
Roy’s suspicion was that the 786 (23%) vote that he got last year as an English Democrat wasn’t radically affected by his relatively high personal profile, so this year he used only our general recruitment leaflet rather than a personalised leaflet – such as he had used in last year’s election (Doncaster being one of those local authorities that has elections three years out of four in multi-councillor wards).
It is interesting that the results of his experiment show that it was clearly English Democrats’ branding that was bringing in the votes. This year he again came second with 806 votes (28.25%).
Next year we English Democrats need to work harder at raising funds and increasing our brand awareness. We also need more focus upon the nuts and bolts of electioneering, but we can do this with some confidence that if we are able to get the necessary organisational, logistical and resource issues sorted out, that it will be possible for us to achieve a genuine and sustainable electoral breakthrough! I shall be focussed on doing so – please help!
As we continue to grow and mature as a Party and our brand awareness grows amongst the electorate, I expect that the superiority of our brand will become ever more apparent.
Then consider where this shows that our Cause is on Mahatma Gandhi’s famous scale of steps towards political victory? Gandhi said:- “First they ignore you , then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Our route is through the electoral system and there is no magic bullet that will enable a short cut. We need hard work and plenty of volunteers to stand! That is the one and only path that is within our power to progress. It is also the only path that has led to us getting any coverage at all by the media, almost all of which hate the very idea of us and of English nationalism. So please help in whatever way you can!