On behalf of everyone involved with UKIP Ribble Valley, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times and all its readers a happy Christmas and a healthy and positive 2012.
The year 2011 has been a very important one for our branch of the party. When Steve Rush, Ron Loebell and I stood in May’s borough and town council elections, it was the first time UKIP had fielded candidates in the Ribble Valley in anything other than a general election.
The poll results were very positive and, having yielded 14% of the Salthill votes in May, Steve garnered 26% in last month’s ward by-election.
Many thanks to everyone who has supported us, in whatever way, these past 12 months. We have made great strides this calendar year and, with your continued support, will continue to do so.
It would be remiss of me to make this submission without making some reference to the momentous recent developments with regard to the EU. Whether it was because he has finally started to listen to the electorate, or due to the mounting pressure from his backbenchers (perhaps a mixture of the two), David Cameron certainly deserves credit for vetoing the proposed EU treaty at the summit in Brussels.
However, the situation will continue to resemble a boil that can only be properly lanced by our total withdrawal from the EU and the cessation of the daily £50m. membership fee paid to an expensive club that gives us precious little in return. In order for there to be a chance of facilitating that outcome, there obviously needs to be a referendum... if you’re reading this, Santa!
The year 2012 will doubtless bring many more twists and turns in the European saga, but for the vast majority of us the focus will be on matters right here at home and in our communities.
The housing debate will continue to rumble on, as will concerns about job cuts and the provision of local services.
In short, it is a time to pull together and support each other, not least the more vulnerable members of our communities; if we do that, there will always be hope and opportunity.
So, regardless of your political persuasions, here is wishing you and yours all the very best for Christmas and 2012. I even have a New Year wish for a united and thriving Europe... hopefully our golfers will retain the Ryder Cup!
UKIP Ribble Valley Chairman