UKIP formally launch S.E. Euro campaign

Nigel Farage inspires the audience, at the UKIP S.E. launch event in Portsmouth. Photo: Jim Saunders UKIP

Nigel Farage inspires the audience, at the UKIP S.E. launch event in Portsmouth. Photo: Jim Saunders UKIP

UKIP formally launched their EU campaign in the South East of England this evening, with a rally that filled the Portsmouth Guildhall.

With Eastleigh currently one of the focal points of the UKIP campaign, following UKIPs breakthrough in the 2013 Eastleigh by-election, Eastleigh News travelled to Portsmouth  to see what was happening.

On arrival at the Guildhall, we were greeted by a small but vociferous protest. This comprised the local branches of various political parties and Trade Unions.  Anybody entering the Guildhall to attend the rally was subjected to a tirade of abuse from the protestors, who regarded that as an acceptable thing to do and were clearly well rehearsed in these tactics.

Protest on steps of Portsmouth Guildhall

Protest on steps of Portsmouth Guildhall

Because of the protest, Police were very evident in the Guildhall Square, but always in appropriate numbers and responding flexibly to the changing dynamics of the situation. Their presence quickly increased when the EDL arrived to confront the Socialist Workers party, but the Police presence reduced when protestors followed Police instructions and the confrontation dispersed.

Eastleigh News had mixed fortunes, with Ray successfully getting inside the rally whilst Stephen and his shedload of camera equipment was refused entry. We subsequently learned that all recording of the meeting had been prohibited, with Nigel Farage reporting to the audience that this was because the Portsmouth Lib Dems had refused permission for any recording.

Inside the UKIP launch meeting in Portsmouth, before the stage was occupied...!

Inside the UKIP launch meeting in Portsmouth, before the stage was occupied…!

The meeting opened with Mike Fitzgerald, the UKIP PPC for Portsmouth North welcoming the audience and requesting that there should be no flash photography whilst people were on stage.  To enforce the restriction, there were plenty of ‘heavies’ around the auditorium, who politely asked anybody who did try to sneak a picture to refrain from doing so.

Demo outside Ukip meeting Portsmouth from Eastleigh News on Vimeo.

Mike Fitzgerald then introduced the four main UKIP candidates for the S.E region, one by one, with each taking the opportunity to speak to the Audience.

First up was Hampshire County Councillor, Ray Finch. In his speech, he said;

It’s brilliant to see so many people here today, who want to listen to the words of freedom, because that’s what we’re about. It’s about the freedom to make our own way in the world, about freedom to make our own solutions, right or wrong, it’s about being what want to be, a free independent sovereign nation. That’s why you’re here, that’s why we’re here and that’s why we’re asking you to support us on May 22nd and in the following General Election.

Next up was Diane James, former UKIP candidate in the Eastleigh by-election and a UKIP Councillor on Waverly Borough Council  In her speech she said;

Ladies and gentlemen. You are going to be our ambassadors for the next few weeks. I don’t anticipate that the attacks are going to stop, they must have a little more ammunition to throw at us, but they don’t seem to realise that it doesn’t work any more. That the voters out there, they don’t care any more. They see through the smears, they see through the attacks, but what they do see is a group of individuals,  from backgrounds that are not the political class, that actually want to deliver the best for this country.

And the best for this country ladies & Gentlemen,  is leaving the European Union, being friends with Europe, but not being controlled by the European commission.

Thirdly was Janice Atkinson, who was introduced as a writer for the Daily Mail and Daily Express and Chairman of UKIP South East. In her speech she said.

In 2010 I stood as a parliamentary candidate for the Conservative party.

When I fought a key marginal, in West Yorkshire,  I wasn’t allowed to talk about three issues: the EU, immigration and grammar schools.

What I really, really objected to most of all, was not being allowed to talk about immigration. Now the Lib-Lab-Con had got together and had decided that immigration was not the big issue. But it was an issue in my constituency. The tragedy of not being able to talk about immigration was that the BNP, the vile BNP, didn’t  get just one vote. They didn’t campaign in my constituency at all. They got 4,500 votes and they stopped me going to Parliament.

Shortly afterwards,  I saw the light and joined UKIP.

I tell you its much more fun with Farage…

As the audience found out for themselves when Nigel Farage finally took to the stage.

Farage covered many points, succesfully entertaining and inspiring the audience in his usual affable style. He received a couple of standing ovations, but particularly well received was a pledge to reverse the decline of Portsmouth, with Farage saying;

It is a huge pleasure to be here in Portsmouth.

And when you think about all this City represents, Portsmouth, the home of the Royal Navy. A place where we’ve got not just the Victory, but Warrior and everything else. But isn’t it very sad, that in the last four years, under a coalition Government, they’ve turned Portsmouth from an active working naval dockyard, into being a museum city.

That is something that one day, a UKIP Government needs to reverse…

There was only one significant heckler ejected from the meeting and when a show of hands was asked for, it was established that approximately 45% of the audience were not currently members of UKIP.

Interestingly,  although the protesters outside included the obvious suspects, the Portsmouth Conservatives were also seen leafleting anybody that they possibly could.


Whilst UKIP were rallying and Protestors were protesting, Conservative Flick Drummond was successfully getting her message across

I spoke to Flick Drummond, the Conservative PPC for Portsmouth South at the next election, who said;

It’s a very noisy presence from the Socialist Workers. We had a big street stall here earlier on. About 20 of us were out. They brought Nigel Farage up to meet us, it was quite a barn-fight, I can tell you.

If they’re here we’re here too, as we also want to get our message across.

We see them every week. We have a street stall every week and they’re on the other side the street.  We love it because they go ‘Bring in the Bulgarians and the Romanians and keep out the Etonians’ . What’s really funny is that people are signing their thing, then coming to us and saying ‘we don’t like immigration’…

I say ‘do you realise that you’ve just signed something to bring in the Bulgarians and Romanians…?’

But this is politics and everybody has their own point of view and you have to respect people’s point of view.

The Conservative party are broad-church and we listen to other people, we listen to other people and we just get on with it. I’m running a very positive campaign.

When asked if the Conservatives were worried about the threat from UKIP, Flick replied;

We’ll we see how it turns out at the Euro elections. I don’t know their candidate in Portsmouth South, but I’ve been working here for six years, quite hard. I do a lot of community projects and I think people realise that’s important to them.  I’m certainly getting a lot of very good feedback. I don’t know how UKIP are going to do, but I’m not particularly interested.

A lot of people have said to us that they might vote UKIP in the Euro’s but will be voting Conservative in 2015 because they don’t want to see a Labour Government back again. We have to win this seat to be able to ensure that we have a Conservative Government, not a coalition a proper one..

Ray concluded by asking what would be the problem with a Labour Government, to which Flick replied;

What isn’t the problem? If you look at the last Labour Government and what it did to the country, there was a massive deficit, far too much Government spending.

We’re really putting the country back on its feet, which we have historically done each time the Labour party have spent, spent, spent. It’s all very nice to spend on lots of projects, but we can’t afford it as a country. Each time the Conservatives put the country back economically.

I hope the public will look at figures and see how well we’re doing, see how well the economy is doing and vote for us…

You can hear the interview, complete with background noise, by playing the following track.

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site. 

  12 comments for “UKIP formally launch S.E. Euro campaign

  1. Rosie
    April 29, 2014 at 1:44 am

    Such a shame that our local TV and Radio stations, and the Daily Echo, don’t report the local political events like the Eastleigh News does. Great report. Another event I didn’t know about till it had happened. No surprise that the Lib Dems didn’t want filming – they wouldn’t be able to say they hadn’t said what they had in fact said! No surprise either that the Conservative candidate isn’t in touch with reality and how the majority of people in this country are suffering financially whilst the wealthy grow richer. Naiive too to now think that Labour caused the financial crisis when it was the Banks who would have been advising Labour.

  2. April 29, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Thanks Rosie. It was certainly an interesting experience, but I didn’t particularly care for the drama of the event. I can see how folk get sucked along with these political parties and their various ideologies. I mean all of them of course, not just UKIP but Lib-Lab-Con and the Socialist Workers too…

  3. Jackie
    April 29, 2014 at 8:34 am

    We attended the UKIP meeting last night and enjoyed it very much. Nigel Farage is a brilliant speaker and brings the stage alive with his persuasive style mixed with his clever sense of humour.

    We got there about 15 minutes early and when we arrived there was just Flick Drummond and a few polite Conservatives smiling and handing out leaflets. The foul-mouthed Socialist Worker brigade mentioned above were only represented by a couple of silent forlorn looking chaps with their placards at their sides. So having psyched ourselves up ready to run the gauntlet of a noisy mob – that part of it was a damp squib for us. I almost felt like asking them to do a little demo for us as we felt we had been a little short-changed. They had gone when we left the meeting in possession of our newly acquired Farage-signed tea towel with Farage’s infamous ‘damp rag’ quote on it.

    We will be voting UKIP in all the coming elections because unlike the Socialist Worker brigade and people who vote for the main three parties, we don’t want to see our country concreted over to house more immigrants; we don’t want people to suffer in pain due to long NHS waiting lists; we don’t want children to be denied local primary school places and we don’t want our roads to become ever more gridlocked; all a side-effect of uncontrolled immigration.

    Not only have Ukip got the political will to so something about immigration, they will also have the political means if elected because they will regain control of our borders from the EU. Their policies on education (grammar schools); their policies on trade (our own trade deals with China etc) and the NHS (not a free-for-all) seem pretty sensible to us.

    • Pete Stewart
      April 29, 2014 at 10:15 pm


      If you have not yet joined UKIP, you might like to consider ringing the UKIP Eastleigh hotline 023 8000 5599 (I’m assuming you come from Eastleigh). You sound like a real activist.

  4. April 29, 2014 at 9:10 am

    The Event was great apart from the mob outside waving their stop UKIP banners. On young woman even sent a 3 year old baby girl into the crowd holding a small stop UKIP plaquard. I cannot understand how people like that can expect to be taken seriously.
    Not only to risk losing such a small girl in the crowd but also the danger of someone stepping on her. Having children myself, it was unnerving to watch.
    The Green Party had hired the huge screen in the square and an anti everything video was playing. As usual the men an women of Hampshire Constabulary did a fine job of keeping the peace.
    The atmosphere outside was quite surreal. Lots of security on the door and Inside the place was a buzz. Packed! Amazing!
    You can follow UKIP Eastleigh on facebook and stay informed of events like this. Twitter @UKIP_Eastleigh.

    • April 29, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      I just find it difficult to understand how anybody (whatever their politics) can think that the kind of noisy, loud-mouth protest that was staged yesterday in Guildhall Square, directed at people who were attending a PUBLIC meeting, portrays them as even a remotely credible alternative..?

      At least the Tories were aloof from that, when we spoke to them…

      • mm
        Eastleigh Xpress
        April 29, 2014 at 4:53 pm

        And not the Green party?

  5. April 29, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Interesting to note people being quoted that they will vote UKIP this May in the euro’s but at the general election, will vote Conservative to keep Labour out.

    If the predictions of a political earthquake caused by the election of many more UKIP MEP’s do happen and push the liblabcon share of the vote downwards, maybe the intentions of voting Conservative to keep labour out will disappear.

    With UKIP riding high in the latest opinion poll and The Times headlining that Labour’s core vote will go to UKIP, on this premise, Labour won’t get back into government. If Scotland also votes yes, Labour won’t be in power for a very long time to come. Lets not forget the Lib Dems where there are reports that they expect not to have one MEP elected.

    These are politically interesting times for us all regardless of who we support and intend to vote for. Nonetheless nothing is forever where times change. Will people change with those times or be left behind in a political wilderness? On 22nd May, we will all find out.

  6. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    April 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I’m not sure protest was organised by the SWP – there were quite a few groups there including the Green Party, Portsmouth Trades Council and reps from the RMT union.

    It was policed well and if there had any intimidation I’m sure the police would have acted swiftly.

    While the meeting was under way things got a bit heated outside when there was an EDL counter demonstration – police spoke to people on both sides while at the same time allowing a ‘frank exchange of views’ between the opposing camps.

    Before the meeting I managed to speak to Ukip County Cllr Chris Greenwood who said he respected peoples right to peaceful protest though both he and Cllr Martin Lyons were upset to be called racist, as coincidently they had been brought up with immigrant children fostered in their family homes both men said.

    For the record I was refused entry with my shedload of camera gear and without it, despite having a valid ticket and having put my gear in the car.

    Although Nigel Farage blamed the Lib Dem council for a recording ban (I’m sure there are restrictions for live shows) a Ukip’r told me they were worried there might be a repeat of the incident last week when two men dirupted a Ukip meeting in gateshead by repeatedly chanting “**** off back to Toad Hall” at Farage and then posting it on Facebook.

    I’m sure the Lib Dems wouldn’t go to the extent of hiring ‘heavies’ to patrol the audience for picture takers.

    The were also worried about egg pelters so everyone was being body checked.

    This last tactic resulted in a haul of booze being put to one side.

    Who in their right mind turns up to a political meeting with a four pack of lager?

    I attended a lively Euro Hustings in Portsmouth during the 2010 elections when the New Labour candidate was roasted alive by probably some of the same people who were outside last nights meeting.

    It seems Nigel Farage promised to rebuild the Navy giving hope to families in Portsmouth that Dockyard jobs will return.

    I agree we should have a strong military to defend and deter and it would be great if someone could save Pompey dockyard but as ever, where does the money come from?

  7. Rich
    May 1, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I have had dealings with the SP/SWP in the past before seeing them and their members for what they truly are.

    I realised a good while back that their views are FAR from promoting liberalism or free speech. Their entire ethos appears to be ‘we don’t agree with you, therefore we’ll shout, disrupt and in some cases get nasty or even violent’ – as those (including myself) were subjected to on Monday.

    I am well aware of the ‘right to shout FIRE in a crowded room’ argument, but essentially these apparent ‘socialist’ groups and their minions actively stifle freedom of speech or opinion.

    Everybody votes for parties for differing reasons and to lump every voter and every party together is naive and childish in the extreme. I’ll ve voting UKIP on the 22nd to get help get us out of the bureaucratic, undemocratic mess we’re currently in. Does that make me ‘racist’? I think the fact that I’ve actively taken legal action against racist groups (BMP/EDL) proves otherwise.

  8. Pete Stewart
    May 1, 2014 at 9:02 pm


    You ask where the money would come from to save Pompey docks. The answer is from British taxpayers.

    We pay enough taxes to cover the maintenance of the nation’s infrastructure.

    Alas every year since we joined the EU, we have paid 10% of our income tax as “EU Contributions”.

    Although this is a loss of a relatively small proportion of total taxes, it equals around £20 billion each year.

    More to the point, the cumulative damage this small annual loss has caused has now become extremely serious.

    If you don’t believe me, just look around at our crumbling infrastructure and all the cuts.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      May 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      So 10% of my income tax goes to EU.. last year I paid £1120 in income tax so £112 went to EU..

      That’s 30p a day.

      My wife didn’t pay any income tax – doesn’t earn enough – and neither did the kids so EU membership is costing each member of my family 8p a day?

      Is that what all this is about?

      So we can save 8p a day?

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