*** BREAKING NEWS *** BREAKING NEWS ***
Tomorrow’s UKIP Young Independence conference has been cancelled by Hilton hotels, due to security concerns, and the alternative venue also withdrew. In a statement, Young Independence, said:
It is with great reluctance that we have been forced to announce that the Young Independence #Horizons conference that was due to be held tomorrow, Saturday 2nd September, has been cancelled / postponed indefinitely.
Unfortunately, the Hard Left ‘Stand Up to Racism’ organisation planned a protest at the hotel and has sent a large amount of abusive and threatening emails to Hilton Hotel staff. A handful of emails contained threats of violence if they host our conference, branding UKIP as ‘far right’, ‘fascist’ and ‘Islamophobic’ to name a few. The Hilton inform us that the quantity of emails that were of an aggressive nature was overwhelming and they decided that owing to an increased security risk posed by the Far Left to delegates, hotel guests and Hilton staff they have been left with very little option than to cancel the event.
Regretfully, the Far Left also caught on that we would be holding a boat party (The #Revolutions Cruise) after the conference and they decided that it would be appropriate to send abusive messages to the small business that is hosting our boat party. The lady who runs the boat company informed us that protesters were threatening to cause damage to the boat and although she was personally disgusted with their actions, she simply could not take the serious risk posed by the protesters.
The YI Executive Council was working around the clock to secure a new venue for the conference, and we obtained a second venue, the Novotel, which regretfully also cancelled our booking.
After securing a venue in nearby Barnsley early this morning, only three of Leadership candidates and / or UKIP speakers confirmed their attendance (two confirmed they would not attend, and one confirmed they would only attend under certain conditions, objecting to us inviting Mr Martin Sellner). Mysteriously, many phones went unanswered simultaneously. The council believes this is disappointing and contradicts our party’s message of freedom of speech.
We defend our decision to invite Mr. Sellner as a person who has experienced first-hand one of the greatest man-made crises in Europe since the Second World War and, arguably, one who attempted to prevent politically motivated NGOs from encouraging human trafficking and illegal immigration. We understand the controversies, however we simply do not believe in no-platforming a person because we don’t agree with every aspect of their views. We have invited controversial speakers to YI events before, including Milo Yiannopoulos and the leader of the Young Sweden Democrats, and it could be said a number of the leadership candidates are themselves not without controversy. Indeed, one of the reasons for the planned action by the far-left was the inclusion of Anne Marie Waters in our conference. Naturally, it would be unthinkable for us to exclude her while she is a candidate in the current leadership elections.
Members of the YI council will still be travelling to Sheffield this weekend, as will many of our speakers so if you have already purchased hotels, train tickets, or arranged to stay with members living nearby, we will still be meeting, although it will likely be in an informal public venue. It would be great to see you there. Please call/text YI Secretary Will Donnelly on 07469707360 or YI Treasurer Jonathan Wood on 07984718152 if you’re at a loose end.
This state of affairs is a massive attack on freedom of speech and reflects the very worrying times we face in this country where those who have opposing views are able to force events to be cancelled because of their keenness to be violent towards those of an opposing view. We cannot express how sorry we are that we have had to make this announcement at such short notice and we will be working to issue refunds to all of those who have purchased conference and boat tickets.
Disclaimer: The thoughts expressed in this article are those of the author, and not necessarily of MBGA News.