Sovereign Draw Conference Speech by Mark Harland, Promoter

Mark Harland

We now have a total of 91 Winners spread across the whole country, and I do mean the whole country – from Aberdeenshire to Cornwall. If you want to know where the winning ‘hot spots’ are then as a Region the Southeast is ahead, the leading County is West Sussex BUT the leading City is Kingston upon Hull with no less than three winners. Now I know it’s the European City of Culture in 2017 but please, don’t wait to move there, just play the Sovereign Draw wherever you live.

So, how is it going?

Well I guess it’s reasonably OK…BUT…we are still only scratching the surface of its true potential. Sales remained static throughout this year so far UNTIL the Indy came out in early August. The introduction of the ONLINE facility has, we hope, given a huge boost to sales. It is too early yet to quantify the progress but by the end of this calendar year we will have a very good indication.

At the Spring Conference in Margate we announced a Branch Incentive initiative and twenty Branches were pulled out of the hat to see how they responded to the chance to earn money by taking part in the sales process. Of those twenty, 8 didn’t respond at all and, of the dozen that did, TWO actually declined. They must be loaded down with wonga, that’s all I can say. If the Treasurer’s of Cheltenham and Shrewsbury & Atcham Branches are here today, the drinks are on you!

We promised a reward of £500 to the most successful Branch. In this respect I am delighted to tell you that Thirsk & Malton Branch beat all others hands down. The Branch signed up roughly a third of all their members to play the Sovereign Draw. Considering that their 90 odd members are spread across almost 2,000 square miles and sheep outnumber them ten to one, that is a great achievement. So, if Thirsk & Malton Branch can do it, why can’t every Branch?

One of the (probably) valid criticisms of Sovereign Draw to date, is that the Branches don’t benefit, so we will be extending this scheme to EVERY BRANCH in the country early next year. Treasurers, stand by for further information in due course.

On the subject of Treasurers, all 375 of them, I would like to say a few words on their behalf, because I am one. I know just how tough it can be to raise money. There’s nothing more depressing than the arrival of the monthly bank statement showing a balance of less than £100. We were all ‘spent up’ after the elections in May and rightly so. But we all have to start again.

One day, I hope in the not too distant future, Sovereign Draw will be able to make meaningful donations to every Branch, every year, and it is the intention to do this as soon as possible. Until that great day arrives, we are doing our best to help Branches. I am pleased to tell you that since November last year, every sovereign won also triggers a payment of £100 to the Branch that the winning member belongs to. Thus 33 Branch Treasurers have, out of the blue, received a cheque for that sum. I don’t need to tell them that the more of their members that play then the greater their chances of winning £100. If Richard Barrett, the Treasurer of Hull Branch, is here today then you will see him wearing a broad smile because his Branch has won £100 two months running.

So, where do we go from here?

Well, the bad news is that currently only 5% of members actually play the Sovereign Draw. The other 95% pay it only lip service.

The basic arithmetic is very simple indeed. If ALL our members played the Sovereign Draw at just the basic level of £3 per month, it would earn £1million a YEAR for the Party.

BUT the Sovereign Draw is open to anybody who wants to play, not just members. If 10% of the people who voted UKIP on 7th May played the Sovereign Draw it would earn UKIP £1million a MONTH.

That would make us the richest Party in the country and would enable us to get our message out there like we have never done before. Just imagine if you will, what that would enable us to do. Every Branch in the country would be very solvent indeed.

But, back to the present and reality. If we can get monthly sales up from the current £7k to £20k, it would trigger much larger donations to Head Office, YI and the Branches. If we can do that before the year-end it would be great. Please help us achieve that end.

I am willing to visit any Branch to give a talk on the Sovereign Draw if I can get it into my diary. You have only to ask.

Nigel Farage and Mark Harland