DONCASTER, United Kingdom — UKIP leader Nigel Farage has delivered his keynote speech in Doncaster today on the second day of UKIP’s annual conference.
Over thousand people packed into the Doncaster Race Course, a stone’s throw from Labour leader Ed Miliband’s parliamentary constituency.
For anyone that has seen any other party conference speeches, it will be evident that his entrance was far more electric that those made by Miliband, Cameron, Brown, or even later years Blair.
In fact it was very much a Blair-esque entrance. The speakers almost broke from the blaring upbeat music, as Nigel made his way to the stage with a headset microphone and delivered a speech, sans notes.
He used his platform, on the same day that the British Parliament was recalled to debate ISIS, to hit out at the Westminster chumocracy who feel an entitlement to lead Britain.
“[UKIP] is not a protest vote… they’re voting for us because the establishment has failed them and their families… we are the party that most represents them… and their thoughts, hopes, and aspirations for the future”.
So instead of trying to just be critical, Farage was positive and upbeat, delivering more than just a string of complaints about the European Union and immigration. It was noteworthy from the media’s attitude to this event that they too understand that UKIP is now beyond one man, and beyond one policy.
Farage skewered the idea that he would be responsible for a failure of the Conservatives to get a majority in Parliament in 2015. “[It is] not because of us, they have done it all themselves!” he exclaimed. The audience, unsurprisingly, agreed strongly.
“This party is not about left and right,” said Farage, “this party is about right and wrong!”
“And so it is no coincidence that we are hosting our party conference at Doncaster Race Course… we are now parking our tanks on the Labour Party’s lawn.”
Farage attacked the “one party state” across much of Britain, where the Labour Party has whopping majorities and no threat from the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats.
“What you get… is complacency… and a form of corruption.”
“The total and absolute corruption of our voting system through the establishment back in 2010 of a postal voting system that has led to fraud, that has led to intimidation, that has led to some of our by-elections being almost pointless to contest”.
The heavy attacks on Labour councis and MPs was evidently going to culiminate in a reference to the Rotherham Child Rape Scandal – and Mr Farage went in extremely hard on this specific issue, that rocked a constituency just 20 minutes away from the Doncaster conference venue.
“But Labour’s failure… is even worse and even more serious that the postal voting scandal. What we have seen in Rotherham in particular… as a direct result if [Labour’s] national policies… is child abuse that has taken place on a scale that I think it actually difficult for decent people to even comprehend”.
“I think it perhaps one of the most shocking things that I’ve seen in my lifetime in this country”.
“Because they were so scared of causing a division within the very multicultural society that they have created… they were more scared of being called racist… than tackling evil”.
“It shows why we need opposition… why we need change.”
Farage promised to show polling from recent weeks that shows that UKIP poses a large threat to Labour in the north of England, “I’ll drink to that,” he said.
“We love Europe, but we hate the European Union,” he said, having made reference to his humourous Paddy Power Ryder Cup adverts earlier this week.
Farage joked about Miliband’s incident earlier this week when he forgot to mention the deficit in his Labour Conference speech, “Oh yes, I almost forgot… the deficit” said Farage to cheers from the crowd.
“I do not believe that Britain’s men and women should be made to abide by the same rule book as Unilever and Tesco,” he said, pointing to the problems that small businesses experience due to burdensome regulation.
And then he pivoted to foreign policy. “We went to Afghanistan… we went to Iraq… we bombed Libya… and a year ago… the Prime Minister proposed that we armed the rebels in Syria against Assad…”
“Our foreign policy has been a total and utter shambles,” he said.
He slammed the current British plans to join in the American bombing of Iraq and Syria, and claimed that the ground campaign should be led by countries more local to the Islamic State”.
“[This] will make the streets of Britain less safe” he said about the new intervention.
“And what about the home front? What about the radicalisation that has been taking place in our prisons and our schools?”
“The multicultural experiment… has been a disaster” he remarked, after noting that even the Archbishop of Canterbury had approved of Shariah law in British cities. Boos from the crowd all round.
Speaking on the Scottish referendum, Mr Farage reiterated his comments from last week where he said that UKIP believes in English laws only being voted on by English MPs.
“I think the issue that will dominate next year’s general election will be the issue of open door immigration” he said.
“We are borderless Britain… I don’t blame youngsters for Italy or Spain for wanting to come here. I’d do the same. But it is no good for our young people,” Farage noted.
He closed by arguing that a vote for UKIP isn’t a vote against another party, or a vote for a different one. “If you vote UKIP, you GET UKIP!” he exclaimed, before leaving the stage to raucous applause.
There was no big defection announcement, no major policy announcements, and what was clear from that fact is that this was a party leader’s speech delivered by a major party leader – no longer a fringe or bit part player.