When Country Squire’s Dominic Wightman arrives in deepest Herefordshire at Ernie Warrender’s sprawling country house in the middle of nowhere, he’s met by Ernie holding a high-power blowtorch. For a moment Dominic considers turning his car around. However, after meeting Ernie, Dominic soon changes his mind. “Come on in,” says the affable Mr Warrender with a huge smile as he welcomes the Country Squire Editor into his delightful Victorian home. “You know, the last Tory who visited here left medium-rare. How do you wish to leave, Dom?” Ernie jests. After Ernie lights the lobby fire with the blowtorch, the pair settle down – each with a glass of New Zealand wine – to discuss politics, Brexit and what ‘Newkip’ might look like under its new leader, Henry Bolton.
Ernie talks about how life is good – just thirty years ago he was living in a squat next to Labour’s old headquarters in London. Since then he has metamorphosed into one of Canon’s top photocopier salesmen and then branched out on his own within the same industry. He’s done well. He worked his socks off. He started his own photocopier company 25 years ago, and it is now the largest UK-owned company in its sector in the South West.
The house is stunning, and his wife Janet clearly has a talent for interior decorating. Ernie left school with no qualifications and started work during the three-day week in the 1970s, before ending up on an assembly line. He went travelling to Australia and on his return (he was kicked out of Australia) he ended up in the squat. Now a vintage Bentley, a Transit van and a genuine AC sports car sit in the driveway. “I’m not really a politician,” explains Ernie, “I am just a bloke trying to make a difference. I am as happy in the van as in the Bentley. I love this country. I’ll always try my best for it. I really don’t give a monkey’s what anyone thinks of me and I have no time for these professional politicians who have no idea how to run a business, who never get their hands dirty.” The two settle down and Dominic starts asking the questions….
Q: As small business spokesperson for UKIP you are presumably optimistic about leaving the EU? Why?
EW: I am optimistic about leaving the EU (note, not Europe), principally because of the worldwide trading opportunities. In short, we have turned our back on our closest allies while being drawn ever closer into EU attempts at a federal superstate. As EU members we have neglected our best friends. We should be securing trade deals on New Zealand wine, Australian wine and re-establishing old ties. Many Commonwealth agricultural producers have been destroyed by the prohibitive nature of CAP. Now is the chance to show them IT WAS NOT US. They are ready to listen and trade.
Q: If you could mention one anecdote about the EU which would make a Remainer become a Leaver what would it be?
EW: Well on the doorstep the best anecdote is the Leaver who became the worst of the REMANIACS:
Although, the best anecdotes come from the countless people who sat in the middle, voted Remain with a shrug of their shoulders, but now really hate all the manipulation and detest the realisation that the democratic will of the people will be thwarted at all costs by the ‘Establishment’ while the EU shows it does not care a hoot for Britain and never did.
Q: Your new leader Henry Bolton is little known. Do you think he can break through to the masses like Nigel Farage did?
EW: Henry is the real deal. He will never be another Nigel Farage but the millions of real people will identify with him and his team. People who are left open-mouthed by Theresa May’s inability to lead and the terrifying option of Corbyn will see the light with Henry.
Q: Will we ever see Brexit?
EW: I sincerely worry, and this is why UKIP must continue. The ‘Propols’ – professional politicians – will never have us leave for their own self-centred needs.
Q: What is UKIP’s role if Brexit actually happens? Surely its raison d’être will have gone by then?
EW: I have long campaigned for ‘Newkip’. We have already shown what people power can achieve against all odds and now with the UnLib UnDems turning their back on democracy, there is a yawning chasm in the centre of British politics. Mix red and blue, you don’t get yellow, you get purple. Read our manifesto, not the Guardian. It has all the elements of the True British Labour Party, mixed with the fiscal prudence of the true Tory party. A true middle path of a Great Nation who knows how many beans makes six!
Q: Anne Marie Waters was a dodged bullet for UKIP! Have the BNP brigade left with her now, or are they still part of UKIP?
EW: Oh, that rabble have gone. Good riddance. Waters tried to hijack the party and yes we dodged a bullet. It goes to show how easy, even in 2017, it is to hijack political parties. I guess we were lucky. Look at Labour – they took the Corbyn bullet right between the eyes.
Q: To Tories or others who feel politically homeless at the moment because the Tory Government is hardly conservative and the Labour Opposition has gone mad, why UKIP?
EW: Read the Manifesto. We support council-run housing, free education, a free NHS, dignity for Vets and Pensioners but we know we can’t afford a Victorian railway, HS2, when I can’t get a phone signal; £200 million for Chinese homeless when we can’t put a roof over people’s heads; preferential council housing for returning jihadis when our own Vets starve on the streets etc We offer a party of Common Sense. True Socio Capitalism. Give us a chance.
Q: UKIP do not have a Countryside spokesperson. Do you not care about the countryside? Are you all about attacking urban, Labour areas and stealing working class votes?
EW: The countryside is picked up by Spokespeople that speak on their portfolios from experience. Our Agriculture spokesperson is a farmer, whilst our Environment Spokesperson is a Scientist. Our Business and Small Business spokespeople both have experience of the sectors they speak for. The Countryside is covered and represented by all our spokespeople as the issues determine. It is, however, given the very recent proposed RAPE of the Green Belt, something I will be personally raising to add to my portfolio. Increasingly the STORY Party have turned their back on the very people who were the backbone of their support. UKIP WILL NOT. Great Britain, to so many visitors, is The Countryside. We must never forget that.
Q: You have a deep personal affinity with the countryside? You have a small farm in Somerset and your home now is surrounded by the green fields of England.
EW: I am no city boy. my wife and I have spent most of our life in the countryside. We have to coexist in harmony with towns and cities but, understand us, and understand them. The countryside would not dictate to urban dwellers how to live, and so urbanites should show more respect for the unique issues country dwellers face.
Q: Why did you go into politics?
EW: I could no longer bear the self-centred, self-interested total disregard for real people, that Propols have. I stood in Weston Super Mare and said I would not take the salary, but put it into a trust for kids to get employment as I remember having no chance, no hope and no opportunity, as a kid. Politics should be about giving, but for so many propols, it’s about taking out.
Q: I see you enjoy your cars. You own a beautiful old Bentley. What’s your dream British car collection?
EW: My dream car collection is….mine. I am so lucky to own the cars I want – from my beat up Morris Minor Traveller to my Bentley, She’s really a Bentley (In)Continental….. she leaks!!
Q: Ernie, predict the next 5 years in British politics
EW: Volatile. The British people will slowly realise that they have, at best, been ignored. At worst, lied to and they will revolt. It is UKIP’s job to ensure they do not elect a Labour Govt, for those of us who remember the ’70’s. We must get our message of Common Sense across to the British Public.
Q: Predict the next twenty years for the EU
EW: Slow lingering death. Although, I worry that Nick Clegg’s ‘Fantasy’ of an EU army which has now come to fruition, will use its mandate to ‘restore order in member States’ will result in bloodshed in the EU’s desperation to cling to power. It’s a tragedy we are better off away from.
Q: Ernie, thank you for your time and your hospitality. I wish you the best of luck for the future.
EW: My absolute pleasure, Dom. Tell your most excellent readers to have a good read of our manifesto and not to rule UKIP out when it comes to elections. Thank you.