There was a common theme running through all the speeches we heard tonight at the Brexit Party event at the Corn Exchange. They were all very much pro Brexit (that stands to reason since that is the sole purpose of the youngest political party in the UK), anti Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, and anti BBC and in particular Andrew Marr.
The fervour increased among the 300 or so in the audience as the time drew nearer for their leader Nigel Farage to speak. By the time he took to the stage all candidates had had their say about the reasons for standing and what the party stands for.
Mr Farage opened by saying that he was amazed to see so many people in the audience as he had been led to believe there was not a single Brexiteer in Scotland. Speaking without notes for over fifteen minutes, he was preaching to the choir who cheered him at every turn. He said : “In Westminster when we talk about the UK as a whole we are constantly told the 48% must be listened to. The views of the 48% must be taken into account, but the views of nearly 40% of the Scottish people the million who voted to leave are treated with complete and utter contempt.
Curiously just as I had noticed previous UKIP MEP David Cockburn and got him to pose for me in the aisle to the side of the audience, he was whisked away by a security person. Security and police were much in evidence, largely owing to the presence of protesters outside the event. But it seems that no arrests were
The introductions were made by Louis Stedman-Bryce who is both an accomplished speaker and the lead Brexit Party candidate in the European elections next Thursday. He is English but now lives in Argyll. He began his speech by explaining that he was quite used to bigotry. He said : “Throughout my life I have faced discrimination head on, because of the colour of my skin and who I choose to love, but I will not stand by and watch my fellow citizens being singled out and targeted because of their political beliefs.”
About the SNP he said : “The SNP would have you believe that Scotland voted almost unanimously to remain in the EU. We know that’s not true don’t we? There are over 1 million Scots in the country who voted to leave the EU and I call them our forgotten one million. I voted with you guys and we have been forgotten.
“I believe 977,000 voted for the SNP in the 2017 election. So more people voted for Brexit than voted for the SNP!”
He introduced the other five parliamentary candidates : Karina Walker who introduced herself as half Polish, half Russian but 100% Scottish. She said that the last three weeks have been some of the most incredible in her life, travelling around listening to people and their life stories.
Paul Aitken is a lawyer and graduate of Dundee University. “We’re here tonight because we’ve been betrayed by the ruling class. The two party system is broken and we are here for democracy.”
James Ferguson said it was a great honour to be on the same stage as Nigel Farage. He also explained that the ‘phenomenal rise’ of the Brexit Party is due to three main factors. ” We have been crystal clear and consistent in our message to the people and our position on Brexit. We’ve made it abundantly clear that we are standing up for democracy, and we are not stopping at the European elections. People across the country are joining us because the main parties have betrayed their supporters.”
Mr Ferguson concluded:” Britain united is far harder to deal with that Britain divided.”
Calum Walker (who I remember meeting a couple of years ago with David Cockburn at the UKIP manifesto launch) then spoke. He said : “Like Desperate Dan I am from Dundee, and I am desperate for Brexit!
“We voted to leave the EU and its treaties, not join a new one. In Scotland we have had two referendums in the last few years and we have two establishments trying to overturn the results.”
Stuart Waiton is a university lecturer originally from Newcastle. He mentioned the protesters outside who had been shouting at those attending the rally. He said : “Shame on them.I always understood that if you want to change people’s opinions you talk to them you don’t shout at them.
” They tell me that the people who voted for Brexit are hate filled bigots, but the hate and contempt that I see doesn’t come from the people in this hall , it comes from them. Most remainers I meet are not tolerant of a genuine diversity of opinion.”
The Brexit Party candidates in Scotland for the upcoming European Parliamentary Elections are :
- Louis Stedman-Bryce
- Karina Kielbinska Walker
- James Ferguson-Hannah
- Stuart Waiton
- Paul Aitken
- Calum Walker
All of the candidates in the election are listed here.