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