Mark Reckless had only uttered the words:
“Today, I am leaving the Conservative Party”
… when the hall erupted into rapturous applause as they stood and held their smart phones a loft to record the moment. When the cheering abated sufficiently, Reckless continued:
“… and joining UKIP”.
More cheers and another thumping standing ovation. The beauty of Mark Reckless’s defection is the timing and what it says about Farage’s ability to keep a secret. The slot during which Reckless spoke was designated as a half-hour slot for Farage, who had somehow managed to keep this amazing prize a complete and utter secret, right up to the last minute. I wonder which of Cameron and Farage the Queen would be most comfortable with as a keeper of secrets.
I’m fresh out of hospital, recovering from a burst appendix, so I will make this brief.
Firstly, I should imagine that you will be somewhat bewildered by the sheer amount of freedom that being a UKIPer gives you (as opposed to the oppressive control that you no doubt experienced in the ‘Conservative’ Party). Remember: freedom has pitfalls and responsibilities, but I’m sure you need not be reminded of that.
I applaud the actions you have taken to join UKIP. Instead of taking the easy option of merely jumping ship, you have chosen to do things the hard way, the right way. While the “right way” of doing things brings with it its own hardships, the rewards will be greater because your detractors will have a harder time attacking you: you’ve not left them with sufficient a target to do so.
There will be relentless attempts to criticize, marginalise, ridicule and isolate you – not just from the usual channels or from your natural enemies, but also from those you had previously considered to be your friends and colleagues. Expect it and be strong. The public will support you because you have shown integrity. You have put your own career on the line for what you (and they) consider to be the “right thing” to do.
When in doubt, during those dark nights of the soul and the dark days of betrayal that will surely follow, think Ghandi.
It is instructive to see life as akin to a game of draughts: each move you make determines the options that will be available to you in the future.
Choose wisely, have courage, and be quietly confident. Say grounded. You are amongst friends now. Welcome.