Friday, February 4

Reflections of a Campaign, by Peter Troy

At the UKIP Scotland AGM I was asked by a member what I enjoyed most about the Euro Election campaign in the summer. The answer I gave was the same as when I was asked by voters which part of Scotland I was standing in; ''all of it''.
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The majority of callers to the Scottish Campaign Headquarters in Lockerby were asking ''who is our candidate in this area?''. The campaign team explained that the EU classified Scotland as a EU Region and thus all of Scotland had seven Candidates from each party that would be elected on a Proportional Representation System. The explanation to supporters of the mathematical computations avoided a detailed explanation of the complex PR system used by the EU Parliament ( first devised during the French revolution) - 120,000 votes would send a UKIP MEP to the European Parliament with a mandate to leave the EU as soon as possible.
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Starting from a base of some 12,000 votes at the 1999 European and the 2003 Scottish Parliament elections the target of 120,000 votes needed to guarantee a seat appeared to be a formidable target.
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Keep smiling, was the positive motto of election agent and (now UKIP Party Chairman in Scotland) Peter Neilson. To Peter failure was not an option. His attitude together with that of UKIP Scottish Secretary (now UKIP Scottish National Organiser) George Cormack's determined and detailed campaigning were the inspiration of the daily expanding team.
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Whenever or wherever we went campaigning in Scotland the campaign team attracted new members. The professional input from our press man Clive Page was a vital ingredient. I don't think I have properly thanked Clive for scaring me so much and often in so many television and radio studios across Scotland.
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The strap line of the campaign in Scotland was well receiced in the Scottish National press: '' Scotland is a country in the UK it is not a region of the EU''If pressed as to my favourite moment, it would have to be the conversation with the Salvation Army soldier selling copies of War Cry in the centre of Perth on the very hot Saturday afternoon before the election. Having used the comparison that the Salvation Army willingly extracts donations from drinkers in Pubs to save the soles to that of UKIP repatriating UK tax payers money from the EU to save our nation I felt obliged to purchase a copy of the Army's periodical.
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I explained my motives to the immaculately uniformed gentleman and as we swapped UKIP literature with that of the Salvation Army he confirmed to me that ''the only way to effect change was from within''.
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The reassurance was comforting.The evening of Sunday 13 June was a nerve racking experience. The previous week's two opinion polls had pronounced that UKIP would achieve over 12% of the vote which would take the second Scottish MEP seat off the Conservatives.I was actually asking, could we actually win a seat in the EU Parliament in what the EU disparagingly calls the Scottish Region, should I start to pack ?
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Alas the 4-5 percent error referred to in the polls small print was more accurate than the much published predicted result. As the gloriously sunny Edinburgh evening drew to a close it was clear that I would not be joining my 12 colleagues from other EU regions of the UK in the celebratory photo call on college green in Westminster the following day.
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My disappointment at not being elected was tempered by three positive factors. UKIP was now firmly on the political map of Scotland. The party had dramatically increased its membership as well as its credibility in Scotland, my Doctor was relived that my cholesterol levels would not suffer as a result of being on the gravy train and thirdly I had a exciting time electioneering with some truly wonderful people - all true Patriots.
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As an other Doctor and well known political analyst, wrote on his web site, www.eureferendum.blogspot.com as the final results were announced on Monday 14 June, ''Peter will be bakc- he is both persistent and a tad dyslexic''.
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Peter Troy, the editor of this blog was the Lead Candidate for UKIP Scotland in the EU Elections.

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