MANY thanks to everyone who has sent messages of goodwill to me while I’ve been in hospital recovering from an operation on my spine.
And thank you to all of those who have said how pleased they are to know there is a politician out there with a spine to operate on!
Unlike the wonderful cartoon yesterday in the Daily Express, I haven’t received any cards with a Westminster postmark and nor is there a pint of real ale on the bedside table.
I can tell you I am looking forward to popping down to my village local in a few weeks for a pre-Sunday lunch pint.
While I have been bed bound (which I have found exceptionally difficult and I keep getting told off by the nurses for wandering off) my fellow MEPs have been in Strasbourg. Aside from the customary vote to stop the travelling circus between Brussels and Strasbourg – a sop to the French to get them importing British beef again in the Nineties – a few key votes took place.
One was on yet more billions being given to the EU from hard pressed national governments and the other was on gender quotas in boardrooms.
Ukip are opposed to this patronising of women – MEPs and indeed members of their own sex think they need assistance to achieve high positions in business.
Our internal selections for the order of MEP lists in Ukip were carried out by national ballot.
While the highest number of candidates out of the 60 in England were men, what really pleased me were the number of high calibre women who achieved top spots and who stand an excellent chance of becoming a Ukip MEP.
One candidate is Jill Seymour who topped the poll by a considerable margin in the West Midlands and who is already leading the campaign in that region.
She slammed Labour and Lib Dem MEPs for passing this positive discrimination legislation, which could damage British businesses.In her own words: “I was one of the women in Ukip who topped the poll in our MEP selections.
“I was delighted to achieve that through merit, not vote fixing.”
Ukip MEPs put forward amendments to try to weaken the legislation, including opt outs for national governments.
Sadly, these failed.
Diane James was within a gnat’s crotchet of winning Eastleigh and I suspect she will be on the green benches before long
So rules allowing the fixing of internal elections and recruitment based purely on gender are now at risk of reaching our legislative books.
Jane Collins, another Ukip MEP candidate who holds the No 1 spot in Yorkshire, feels her success in the party’s ballot was special precisely because people had voted for on her excellent track record in two by-elections.
In my own region of the South East, I’m backed up by Janice Atkinson and Diane James, both strong, intelligent women who have made their way in the world through intelligence and hard work, not the patronage of men.
Diane was within a gnat’s crotchet (for you Radio 4 fans) of winning Eastleigh and I suspect she will be on the green benches before long.