Our Party is in danger of breaking apart. As things stand, we could see a large number of members leave if they feel their preferred leadership candidate has been unfairly treated or excluded by the party’s governing body. We could also see a large number of members leave if Arron Banks starts a rival movement, with Nigel Farage’s blessing due to UKIP’s failure to address its internal governance issues.
In a recent comment about UKIP’s funding, commenter ‘Graham’ pointed out that that UKIP’s lenders may feel forced to call in loans if the party moved in a direction they couldn’t be seen to be supporting. It’s likely that this has already caused the NEC to act in ways perceived to be undemocratic and underhand by large numbers of the membership.
How do we deal with all these forces threatening to tear UKIP apart?
I’d like to make a modest proposal.
The total owed to UKIP’s lenders is around £450,000. This is less than the cost of a year’s £20 party subscription for our currently renewing membership. If we all donate an additional £20 to repay UKIP’s loans, we can put the party’s finances back into credit and safeguard proper internal democracy within UKIP.
Buying back the freedom to be able to democratically decide the party’s future, free from the internal stresses which have pushed and squeezed the previous two leadership elections looks like bargain of the year to me. In any case, paying back our generous supporters Mills and Bown the money they are owed would be A Good Thing for many other reasons:-
1) It would morally be the right thing to do, since their support was given primarily to achieve Brexit. They should be thanked and honoured for their past support of the party, leading to the success of the Brexit campaign, not put in a position where they feel vilified for crimping its future.
2) It would send a signal to potential future financial supporters that Kippers are decent people who can be trusted to honour their debts; there are more battles ahead where we will need financial assistance.
3) It will wipe the slate clean and create a solid ‘job done’ basis to move forward from, with unity and cohesion, in whatever direction the membership’s democratically elected leader chooses to go. An open and fair procedure will be accepted by all, whatever the outcome.
4) The general public would view this in a positive light. We can emphasise the quality of our internal democracy compared to the main parties; beholden to the Unions in the case of Labour, and big business interests in the case of the Tories. UKIP can rightfully reclaim its position as the honest commonsense voice of ordinary people.
I’m hoping follow-up comments will add more to this list.
We must act quickly to save UKIP. Already there are reports on social media of people enquiring whether they will be able to vote in the leadership election if they join now, and being told June 23rd was the cut-off date. This contradicts party rules and appears to be more of the sort of on the hoof rule-bending which has so demoralised our membership in the recent past. We can’t afford to be discouraging people from joining UKIP. Our financial supporters, the NEC and the membership will all benefit from fairness, transparency and properly conducted internal democracy. It is the only way to win back the trust of our 2015 voters, and more who will support us as we campaign on the great issues of the day facing our soon to be independent nation.