Saturday, 17 November 2012


Hello, my name is Olly Neville. I am the current Young Independence Social Media Director and former Elections Officer (for my full UKIP resume please see the About Olly section).

I am proud to be YI's continuity candidate and to receive the backing of our fantastic former Chairman Harry Aldridge. I am standing for Chairman to build upon Harry's legacy. My policies and manifesto for YI can be found under the policies tab, but I will here briefly outline why I am standing and what I believe is the best way to take our party forward. If you have any questions or wish to back my campaign please do send me an email via the contact me section.

Young Independence is not just leaflet fodder for the main party. We have grown so much in the last few years and it would be a travesty to throw away so much progress by turning YI into a cliquey campaigning group. I want to make being a member of Young Independence enjoyable instead of being a chore. YI is no longer the small group it once was; we cannot expect new members to be heavily active without first bringing them into the fold with social activities. I want to expand the number of social activities YI hold up and down the country, as well as encouraging as many new members as possible to come to trips to Westminster, Brussels, Strasbourg and beyond. These should not just be held for elitist groups, but to build links and friendships amongst YI members which will encourage more people to get involved and active.

Another branch of my plan to make YI more accessible is to focus on building up the regions and set up regional branches, using YI Yorkshire as an example. There are already moves to do this in London as well as in the West Midlands and I want to see this rolled out across the country. YI needs to be more focused on the regions, not more centralised. It needs to be easy for new members to have a point of contact with a local YI representative, and for them to easily build links with local like-minded people.

Friday, 16 November 2012

YI Chairman Harry Aldridge backs the Olly Neville campaign

YI elections are about YI. Young Independence members do not need other parts of the party telling them how to vote. When I decided to stand for Chairman the only support and endorsements I looked for were from members of YI who knew the issues and challenges in YI because they faced them every day. If Nigel Farage himself had offered me his backing it would not be something my campaign would even mention. I do not believe in patronising YI by having those with little knowledge of what YI needs pushing them to vote one way or the other.

There is no one who knows what YI faces more than Harry Aldridge. Under his leadership we have seen the largest ever growth in YI’s membership, presence on University campuses and activity on social media. The first thing I did when I wrote my manifesto was to ask for his opinion. 

To have Harry’s backing (read his full testimonial here) means more to me than if every NEC member had signed up behind me. I am proud to be standing for YI on a positive platform of growth, carrying on the work Harry has started. With his complete backing I know that if elected I will take YI forward and allow our members to reach their full potential

Thursday, 15 November 2012

A Serious Man for a Serious Job

YI Chairman is a responsible position, one that carries much weight and responsibility. Simply put it has different requirements from my current YI role as Social Media Director and my previous role as Elections officer.

In my current role my job has to be to build an online community, showing YI is a friendly, inclusive and thought provoking organisation. Part of that has been understanding that the online world, particularly twitter, is a much more liberal and libertarian leaning platform.

Chairman is a much more serious position, if elected my online presence will change to suit the new role. I will no longer be playing Devil’s advocate in expressing extreme views to spark debate. When Chairman any online or offline comments can be seen to represent the party and YI. I will therefore, always be handling myself in the professional and dignified way as the Chairman of the third largest party should.

I have enjoyed being Social Media Director, building YI’s Twitter presence from 0 to 1700 followers in less than 8 months, and doubling YI’s Facebook likes in the same time frame. YI now has one of the most active, engaging and welcoming communities online, which is seeing new members joining every week, citing this very community as what brought them to UKIP.

However, I now feel that I am ready to take on the new Challenge of Chairman, becoming less about stimulating debate and more about representing the views and interests of YI and our members. I want to take the online community I helped build and apply to it YI offline as well, and this does not require me to play Devil’s Advocate on issues on Social Media.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Need for a Regional Focus

One of my key policy points, and a big area where I differ from my opponent is on the regions of YI. I want to focus heavily on YI regions. I disagree with some members of YI who believe that only southern YI members are focused and hard working. The recent PCC elections have shown that we have people in North, South, East and West who are committed, will put the man-hours and hard work in and do whatever it takes to benefit YI.

Having a centralised YI means there is no flexibility. One size most certainly does not fit all, we need to recognise this and adapt. By creating committees in each region of the UK we will allow each new member to have an immediate first point of contact and allow for YI campaigns, training days, recruitment drives and social activities to be tailored to fit every regions individual requirements.

While we have a strong YI presence in London and the South East it is not the only area for YI, yet gets a disproportionate amount of time and focus on it, due to the council being very London centric. By setting up regional committees modelled after the very successful YI Yorkshire team we can have a YI presence all over the country. This will make it easier to organise events and campaigns in different regions as we will be able to tap into local knowledge, with the ground work already done for us by the regional team.

New members in Scotland, Yorkshire, the South West etc do not want to travel to London to attend events with people they don’t know, by having a regional set up new members can meet local activists, which means they are more likely to attend campaigns with their new friends, come to conferences and get more involved in YI.

The majority of YI members are not in London, we need to recognise this and provide a service for them, not expect them to come to us. If we want to be able to show how well YI can do in election campaigns, in terms of pure growth and in helping out the party we need to tap into our biggest resource – our members. We have to give more power to the regions so they can work semi autonomously, not centralise and lose vast untapped support around the country.

I believe in a YI for the whole country, not just parts of it.

The Imporance of Being Social

YI has been attacked in the past as being a drinking club. In fact YI members do and have done an awful lot for this party, if anything we are too modest, focusing on the next task rather than talking up our successes. My policy of having a proper Conference (not just a glorified campaign day) for YI will be a way for Young Independence to acknowledge our achievements.

Social events are often seen as a waste of time in politics, after all why sit around chatting and having fun when you can be relentlessly campaigning? However this is to miss a crucial point. Campaigning needs campaigners, and campaigners need motivation. You will not get new or fringe members getting up at the crack of dawn to have their fingers scrapped in letter boxes in the cold and the wet without motivation. Likewise even experienced campaigners need recognition for their work.

By holding regular social events we can bring new members into the fold, befriend them and give them ties to UKIP, that way they are more likely to attend campaign days if they know they will be with friends not strangers. I have heard many tales of YI members getting up before daybreak, hungover, to leaflet for council elections because the candidate or the person who asked them to go is their friend. If you don’t take time to build up friendships you don’t get that level of dedication.

Socials are another great way to get defections and new members as they are an easy thing to invite people to and then persuade them to join at. You won’t get many non members coming to campaigning days with us, but they will attend socials and are thus more likely to be swayed to us, especially when they see they can easily make friends with people and have a good time.

When I set up York University UKIP society something my friends in the Freedom Association told me was that you would not get people helping you out until they’d gone to at least 3 socials. In the world of actual politics I believe the number is lower but the point is the same, you have to ease people in, we can’t expect everyone to be as enthusiastic as we are straight off the bat.

Social events are a key area for YI, and something that risk being ignored. I want to fire up the whole country to work as hard as they can for YI, not just those who can afford to travel to London.  I do not want YI to become a CF style campaigning clique. To build up our membership, to keep them enthused and active and achieve our full potential we cannot forget the social side


University is a key battleground for UKIP. We have a fledgling Universities presence, but there is more to do. As the only Chairman candidate who set up a University society I understand how hard it is to tackle union bureaucracy, as well as get speakers, hold events people will attend and win members.

We must not let our universities presence die off, while my opponent is well meaning in wanting University societies to be serious places it is dangerous to try and centrally control our campus presences. When Conservative Future try and limit the activities of their members at Universities they see either the societies with and die, or implode such as the recent Leeds CF society mostly defecting to us.

Equally, it is useful to have University students working in the constituency, but we must not force this like my opponent proposes. For many students, University will be the first time they experience UKIP and YI. Pushing them to do things is a sure fire way to lose their support.

Like with other members, we need to bind University students into the party by forging friendships and building links. Once students within a society feel comfortable after making friends at social events then is the time to ask them to campaign, not to compel them before hand. By holding regional events, as well as having a proper YI conference we will encourage new members to get properly committed.

Universities are a key area for YI, we cannot afford to lose the progress we have started. Handled correctly they could be a big recruiting ground for us.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Dangers of Purple CF

Conservative Future are an incredibly centralised, London centric organisation, used only for campaigning. I never want to see YI become a purple CF. While there are lessons to learn from them such as their impressive record with social events  which are the best way to invigorate and encourage people to campaign, and their universities presence, we must learn the lessons from the less successful aspects of CF

The Tories use their youth members as leaflet fodder, focusing solely on campaigns. While they retain many members due to their impressive social programme many feel disgruntled at not being valued. I would set up a YI policy unit so we could use the vast pools of talent that exist in YI to benefit YI.

CF is a centralised mess, with the organisation being a cliquey and London based. I do not want similar things to happen to UKIP.  Rather than as my opponent proposes only allowing the Chairman to no confidence council members and making YI trips elitist affairs with members chosen by the Chairman, I want to open up YI, improve our presence all over the country by setting up regional committees allowing members to tailor YI’s approach to what is most effective and what is needed in different regions.

To make YI an elitist campaigning unit, unable to bring new members in due to a lack of ways to enthuse new members, while taking away the ability of our University societies to recruit new members would undo all the good work and progress we made under Harry. Have a look at my manifesto, where I set out a rounded balanced approach to attract new members, invigorate them to become active campaigners and empower regions to allow ourselves to grow across the country, not just in localised areas

Monday, 12 November 2012

Why I didn’t look for big party backers

 This election is about YI. When I threw my hat into the ring I decided that I was not going to ask any main party non YI members for support. I did not want to patronise Young Independence members by getting people who know less about the organisation than they do telling them how to vote.

I asked people with experience of YI, like Harry Aldridge our Chairman, John Gill our Secretary, Steve Fowler our Treasurer, Sanya Jeet our Events Officer, Julian Conway Chairman of UKIP Friends of Israel, Richard Lowe North West Chairman and Treasurer of UKIP Friends of Palestine as well as many others (see my testimonials page here)  I did not seek to blind UKIP members with big names, style and little substance. I knew that YI-ers were not the types to be bowled over by names who know little about the problems they face but by substance and support from those who are with them in the fight for a better YI

If you believe in YI like I do, vote for policies, vote for style over substance, please vote Olly Neville and join the Nevolution.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Building Links with Other Organisations

Other organisations

As part of my campaign I want to build strong links to other organisations. Places like the TFA, YBF, IEA, ASI and Liberty League are prime recruiting grounds for YI. I have attended YBF events for over a year and will be going to their conference this December as well. Due to my activism YBF sent me to America back in February to campaign for Ron Paul in the Republican primaries. Likewise I represented UKIP at Liberty League Conference as the only YI council member in attendance. I regularly attend TFA events with John Gill, our Secretary and TFA member, have attended IEA events with Treasurer candidate and former intern at the IEA Allrik Birch as well as being personal friends with the head of Policy at the ASI Sam Bowman as well as Pete Spence who is in charge of their student programs.

I want to build on these links that I as well as many others in YI have already spent years cultivating, I feel as someone who has been well involved in these organisations I would be well placed to help expand UKIPs influence in them, get UKIP and YI speakers at events and bring a larger presence

These events are full of political activists, those that are most interested and receptive to UKIP’s message of freedom and liberty, and who are also the types that will become active campaigners, those most likely to spread YIs message and bring more people on board.

If YI is to expand we need to act immediately, with a proven record at building links with external organisations I feel I am best placed out of the candidates for Chairman to ensure that we can properly utilise our relationships with these groups.

If you want to see YI better use external organisations I urge you, join the Nevolution

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A YI Policy Unit

If YI is to help the main party it needs to do more than just campaigning. Both I and my opponent have a strong record on campaigning, we both worked on the target seats campaign when I was elections officer, I organised YI action days in Feltham and Heston and I campaigned again alongside my opponent in the London mayoral elections. Elections are important and I want to continue to see a rise in YI members on the ground in elections and standing for Council, Parliament and more.

However, I see YI as having a bigger role than just leaflet fodder. There are so many people of talent within YI, who can benefit the party with more than just their ability to campaign. While I have set out many ways I want to use the talent within YI one of the big areas are on policy.

UKIP is unique as a party in that if you want to change something you can. We are not top heavy or top down like the old three parties. If you have a good enough idea you can change the party. I want to see YI members who have these idea having a platform to put them forward. While a proper YI conference (not just a glorified campaigning day) is one place to do this, I want to help those YI-ers who want to change party policy.

Stick a good idea in front of the NEC and they will seriously consider it as policy. By setting up a YI policy unit we can help those YI members who have good ideas to polish them and refine them and possibly change their party.

Giving Young Independence Members a real chance to change their party will help them connect. It will also help the party, that will benefit from the radical thinking and different approach many YI members have. Our press office has already congratulated YI before on our radicalism, so lets put that talent to the best use. If you elect me as Chairman I will help YI help UKIP, which will benefit all of us.

Friday, 2 November 2012

My YI Hustings Speech

Alexandra Swann put it best in her recent speech at conference, Young Independence are more than just leaflet fodder. We are not the gagged, controlled sheep of CF, used by the main party as little more than a campaigning tool. The beauty of UKIP is not only its passionate belief in freedom, but its following of it. Young Tories who join YI hail it as a breath of fresh air, the freedom to speak their minds and be valued for more than how many leaflets they can stuff through doors on election day.

Election campaigns are important, YI has a big role to play. When I helped organise the YI target seats campaign and YI action days at Feltham & Heston during my time elections officer I saw first hand how influential YI could be. But we are more than just an election machine.

Under Harry Aldridge YI has changed from being a small elitist group to a truly national organisation, one that is no longer focused on a few small individuals but has the beginnings of a strong regional presence, with Young Independence Yorkshire operating as a semi autonomous council, with moves to set similar structures up in the North West, West Mids and here in London . We have gone from being invisible on University campuses to having societies set up or in the process of being set up in Universities from Portsmouth to Aberdeen. No mean feat in under two years.

We need to build on, not tear up, the foundations that have been laid. I am standing on a platform, endorsed by Harry, to continue his work. As someone who set up a society at University of York I understand the difficulties in facing campus bureaucracy, the need for help from central YI in securing speakers and navigating student unions. That is why I would create a dedicated Universities officer, whose role is to assist all societies in attracting as many members as possible.

The regions of YI are another area that need nurturing, I want to turn the Grassroots officer into a position that focuses on helping build up regional committees so that we can have semi autonomous YI councils all over the country, operating at a regional level, tailoring training, campaigning and social events to their local needs.

One of the dangers of turning Young Independence into just campaigning drones is that it becomes an elitist group once again. When I became Social Media Director one of the things I looked to build on was the fledgling online community of YI activists. Now the Director of Policy at the ASI has said that YI tweeters are a cut above the average, and many of our defectors, including Richard Lowe PPC for Chester and Lee Jenkins Chairman of the Bolton branch among many others, have said that it was this warm community, where friends on sites like twitter debated politics, joked and chatted, was a major factor in convincing them to join.

For YI to prosper and flourish it needs to build on the sense of community we have, not be simply a campaigning clique. To get people to join, and to get fringe members to dedicate their time, effort and money in YI projects we have to build friendships and links, make them feel part of the group. Holding regular social events, not just in London but all over the country, is key to continuing YI’s progress as a rapidly growing organisation. We cannot hope that people will start campaigning for UKIP in a dedicated fashion unless we give them a reason to do so. We need affordable social events, which will encourage new and fringe members to come along, meet others and become emotionally involved in the party.

The trip to Brussels was a great example of this. I met many new members of UKIP, who had been involved in YI for only a few months there, many who have, fired up with enthusiasm after meeting others, gone on to start YI uni branches, Yi regional branches and stand for council for UKIP. As well meaning as my opponent might be in wanting to turn trips into those for the Chairman approves by doing so we would lose a great way to invigorate new members. Successful YI-ers should be rewarded, but not at the expense of expanding and growing our organisation

So how can we reward those who help improve YI? I want to start a YI conference, a real conference, not just a glorified campaigning day YI has in the past been too modest, focusing only in doing the next task to help the party. While I commend this attitude it is not too much to take one day a year to show the party how much Young Independence has done for UKIP as well as using it as a chance to congratulate high performing members.

Secondly the Council needs to use the talents of those who do the most for YI by expanding on the currently used sub teams. The YI Social Media sub team has allowed us to expand our presence online, increasing our twitter presence by 1700 followers, doubling our Facebook likes to 1000 and re-invigorating YI’s IndHome blog that gets between 500-10,000 readers a day depending on submissions. Each council member is only one person with their own life as well, we need to use all the talent in YI if the Council is going to fulfil all its goals.

YI is becoming an organisation that is fitting as the youth wing of Britain’s fourth party. UKIP however is no longer Britain’s fourth party. To catch back up we need to expand. While more focus on Universities and more regular social activities will play a big role in this we cannot expect people to come to us. Having a bigger role for regions will help with actively recruiting people, but I want to go further. Using the links with organisations like Liberty League, TFA and Young Britons Foundations that members such as John Gill, Harry Aldridge and myself have attended I want a much bigger push of UKIPs common sense message of freedom. These organisations conferences and events should be prime recruiting grounds for us, and if elected Chairman I will prioritise building more links with these groups and so spread YI’s influence into those who are both most likely to listen to our message and to, once converted, become full time activists.

So what do I bring to the role as Chairman? While it offends my sense of Britishness to talk too much about myself I suppose needs must. I feel I have a more rounded view of YI, seeing us not just as a tool for the main party but as a fantastic organisation in our own right. Equally seeing YI members not as people who need to be mollycoddled and controlled by centralised YI or UKIP authorities but given as much power and help as possible to go out there and make changes to their local UKIP branches, YI regional branches and indeed their own communities as possible.

I want to carry on the good work that has been started, to help YI fulfil the potential it has and to be the influential group both inside and outside UKIP that it deserves to be. If you share my dream of a YI run for and by its members, treating them as people not tools I would ask you to help me implement it by voting Olly Neville for YI Chair

If you would like any further information please visit, tweet me at @olly4yi, email me at or comment on my Facebook page Olly Neville For YI Chairman

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

What I can do for YI Scotland

In response to a question I recieved today I am setting out how I can help YI in Scotland:

I have been really pleased at YI Scotland operating pretty much autonomously

Decentralisation is a big platform of mine, I want to give local YI much more power. How I see YI central helping Scotland is sixfold  really

1)      As I want to see serious decentralisation if the word Independence is a problem I would be happy to see YI Scotland change to YouthKip, Young UKIP etc or any other name. I would leave that decision up to you guys, you are the ones fighting every day for us you should be in charge of crucial details like this
2)      My council will have a new revamped Grassroots officers whose main purpose is to assist regional YI branches. I will therefore have an officer full time who can assist with any problems you have
3)      Universities – I want to have a lot more focus on Universities, with dedicated fresher’s packs (UKIP bag, branded merchandise etc ( precise make up to be determined)) and a Universities officer to help get branches set up and get people to come help for campaigns, get high profile talkers up etc
4)      I wish to hold a YI conference every year, Scotland definitely would be a place that could be considered for a conference, which could give you guys press attention, as well as having YI members up for the weekend to build links and thus
5)      I want to hold more social events, which is the best way to get fringe members active and involved. Scotland again is another place to hold socials, which can pull YI-ers just south of the border up as well as be a good chance for you to get new/interested members involved and then hopefully turn them into committed members with the links and friendships built
6)      This may seem a cop out but with the regional approach I want I really will be listening to heads of YI branches around the UK and tailoring what the Council does to suit their needs. If YI Scotland needs more funds for a specific campaign, more help with certain University branches etc .I hope to be an engaging chair, I know many have said YI is too London centric and not in touch with other areas of the country and so I want to change that, but the people who really know what is needed are the people on the ground. I wouldn’t be presumptuous enough to tell YI Scotland how it can do better, all I can say is that I have plans that I think will help, I will give advice if its needed, and responded to requests as best I can