Chairman’s Report 2014
It has been an eventful year, not least for the Scottish referendum. A year where we have been fully occupied. We have visited dozens of events, and spoken at all of them. We have distributed thousands of leaflets, and given dozens of interviews to both television and radio. We have covered not just the general injustice of the present political situation in England but also specific injustices like the closure of the docks in Portsmouth.
Unfortunately this last year has not been without its upsets. Firstly our web site was continually attacked causing it to be out of action for several months. I am happy to say that this has now been rectified after a great deal of effort from James and Saul, for which we thank them.
Also we have had to say good bye to our trusty old Battle Bus. The clue is in the word old. The poor thing wasn’t exactly new when we bought her and we have added over a hundred thousand miles to the clock. Repairing the BB was not an option as the repairs would have cost more than the BB was worth. At this present moment we are without a campaign vehicle for the first time in years and this is proving detrimental to our effectiveness on the street. It is hard to convey to anyone who has not seen the BB in action just how effective it was in making people aware of the campaign. Even when it was just parked on the road side it drew a crowd, many of whom would walk away with some of our literature. We will be campaigning heavily in Rochester over the next month and will hire a truck to carry our hording. This will suffice in the short term but we will need to invest in a permanent vehicle. I am therefore launching an appeal to the membership and the public for funds to purchase a new vehicle. I hope you will all support this appeal.
So, what has been the most important event of the year? Obviously it was the Scottish independence referendum. Either a Yes or No vote had both positive and negative implications for England and our cause. Fortunately the three main Westminster party leaders and the press did the one thing that they have always refused to do up till now and that is publicise (unintentionally of cause ) just how badly off England is in the present political situation. Watching Cameron and co rocket up to Scotland in a panic and shower the Scots with new powers and money brought home to many in England just how disadvantaged we are. For many people devolution has come to mean everything for Scotland and nothing for England, except to pay the bill. The Tory’s realizing this have sought to make some capital out of it bringing forward EVEL, Labour of course are having none of it, and want to carve out a kingdom for themselves by giving devolution to the north, were they believe they will be perpetually elected to power. This is a re-run of their plan for Scotland, just a bit further south.
Over the next year we must expect all three main Westminster parties to push hypocrisy to new heights.
Because of the Scottish referendum resentment in England is beginning to build. Evidence of this was confirmed in an opinion poll carried out by ICM commissioned by Dave Lee on behalf of the campaign. This showed that 65% of the English believe we should have an English Parliament. Even more worrying for the main Parties was that a sizable minority, 40% wanted out right Independence for England. Our Thanks go out to Dave for the work he did in commissioning the poll and organizing its publication.
Another benefit for us has been that since the referendum our membership has been increasing.
To end I wish to say thank you to the members of the national council for their support throughout the past year.