Monday 29th of December 2014By Patrick O'Flynn
UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for Cambridge
THERE IS no doubt that UKIP had a phenomenal 2014; not only did we win the European elections, but we had two MPs elected at by-elections too. No wonder that Nigel Farage won the Times newspaper's Briton of the Year award.
Our party membership nationwide has now topped 42,000, with 5,000 of those members in the Eastern Region alone.
But just because we did so well in 2014, it does not automatically follow that 2015 will be another year of triumphs. I am afraid I can be rather sharp with members who tell me that they think it inevitable that UKIP will make a major breakthrough in the general election in May - because there is nothing inevitable about that at all.
Winning seats under the first past the post system, especially seats in which we were not even placed second last time, is a formidable challenge. Only if we maintain discipline and a very high work rate do we have a chance of delivering a significant number of UKIP MPs into the Commons in May.
And we must also show to the electorate who placed their faith in us in 2014 that we are growing in authority and responsibility. I believe the British people are very keen for a viable alternative to the LibLabCon cartel they have had to put up with for so long. I further believe that they are willing UKIP to be that viable alternative.
But I also believe we still have a way to go to prove that we are the alternative they seek. Over recent weeks we have not always shown the best of ourselves to the British people. There have been examples of people who seem more inclined to make a name for themselves than to be team players for the party as a whole.
There have also been incidents of racial prejudice - and prejudice against other minorities - on display. Anyone who thinks UKIP can be misused as a platform for bigotry is not only playing into the hands of our political enemies, but is also fundamentally misunderstanding what this party is about.
We are the party for people of all creeds, races, orientations and faiths who believe that Britain should be a self-governing country once again. Anyone who doesn't understand that clearly hasn't been paying attention and quite frankly is in the wrong party.
And when we say there is nothing racist about wanting to control your own borders, we really mean that. That's why we recommend a truly colour-blind, points-based immigration system that is the only non-racist migration policy on offer in British politics.
Yet there is no doubt that among young voters in particular, our media opponents have been pretty successful at planting the view that UKIP is complicit in racism. It is a lie, but a lie that will limit our political potential unless we redouble our commitment to proving that it is a lie. Yes, we are the one party that bans former BNP members from joining. Yes, we are the one party that does not back an apartheid immigration system which discriminates in favour of people from 27 nations and against those from every other nation on the planet. Yes, we have people from many different ethnic backgrounds in senior positions in the party.
But we must still do more. Over the coming months, as I campaign in Cambridge for the general election, I undertake to show in my words and deeds that UKIP is a party of moderation, open-mindedness and common sense.
We are the party that wants Britain once again to fulfil its destiny as a global trading nation, with links to every continent on the planet. We have made massive progress around our central argument for freeing Britain from the suffocating embrace of the failing, bureaucratic EU superstate. As I mentioned earlier, we have more than 42,000 members now and a stack of further membership application forms waiting to be processed.
But Alf Garnett impersonators we can really do without.