Under various headings contributors have been submitting their ideas as to what UKIP should now concentrate on to have a chance to recover from the débâcle of Stoke. Some are getting into disputes as to whether UKIP should be heading in a proto-Thatcherite direction (lowest possible taxes and Libertarian, which actually Mrs T never was) or proto-Labour (current levels of taxation or higher and improved social provision).
I beg readers to consider that we (the country, more even than the Party) just don’t have the time for such a debate. It is predicated on a stable society, such as perhaps we had from after the War till about 1980. We no longer have such stability (a problem we share to greater or lesser extent with all the prosperous European countries) because of world population movements, under pressure, especially, but not exclusively, from Africa.
Surely we ought to be able to agree that the greatest danger facing our country is continued mass uncontrolled immigration. The country is already massively overcrowded, which has led to an extreme housing crisis of unaffordability in the South of England especially (but spreading). Even teachers / police officers / local Government officers in the south, who twenty years ago could have afforded on slightly above average pay to buy or at least rent their own place no longer can do so. Housing is where it is most stark, but other areas are under severe pressure (schools / medical services / roads / prisons and so on).
Standards of living in retirement twenty or so years down the line must inevitably decline massively, perhaps to pre-WWI levels or worse. In the past (and to the present day for those of us recently retired) retirement was tolerable largely because people had paid off their mortgages and thus could live on very modest pensions (without housing rent or mortgage to pay).
How is this going to work in 20 or 30 years time when few retiring will own their own place? Continued payments of rent subsidy from the taxpayer? How will that work when there are many millions more people needing such subsidies than is the case today?
There are thirty-somethings, even well paid ones, living in bedsits in shared flats who have no hope whatever of owning their own place. There are now, as you read this, people living in sheds in back gardens in parts of London and west of London with buckets for sanitation. The authorities cannot evict them because they would then have to provide them with council flats (which they do not have ). This is now, February 2017, and with every 1,000 a day new arrivals it must in all logic, if two plus two equals four, get worse.
For some reason the Élite which governs our, and all other European countries just cannot grasp the urgent need to stop the mass inflow of populations, allowing us to attempt to deal with the existing overcrowding and hardships which have resulted from it.
In my view, whether one believes (broadly speaking) that taxation needs to increase to allow for better funded elder care / education / road and rail infrastructure; or one believes (broadly speaking) that lower taxation is preferable (even if it means these desirable objectives are not funded so generously by the taxpayer) is of secondary importance.
So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let us not get into a medieval schism over blue or red UKIPism. Please postpone the blue / red business till we have seats in Parliament in three figures.
The country needs a Party arguing unapologetically for a complete moratorium on all new immigration from whatever country for a five year period (the duration of a Parliament). A few other policies such as I list below should also gain favour.
Our scaled down Manifesto essentials:
1) Full, total, clean BREXIT, with zero leaving payments to the EU and with full reclamation of our 200 mile EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), both to boost the coastal communities and to signal that we are a sovereign nation again
2) A complete (or almost complete) Moratorium on all and any new immigration (not only from the EU but all other countries also) for a period of five years whilst we attempt to alleviate the misery caused by the housing crisis
3) Proportional Representation in Westminster and also all local Elections, so we can never again endure the scandal of a Parliament which is so disconnected from the concerns of ordinary people
4) A complete revamp of the criminal justice system, favouring victims and intended to deter criminality, including increasing the powers of Magistrates’ Courts to 3 years imprisonment per offence, so that they can deal adequately with burglars, car thieves, unprovoked thuggery and so on, and do so within days of offences being committed
Also a massive upgrading of the penalty for murder to a minimum of 30 years imprisonment to be served for anyone guilty of murder.
I don’t think we will be able to agree on a synthesis between the blue and red tendencies, but we should all be able to agree the above and accept that for 2020 if we can largely replace Labour as the party of the patriotic workers on average and below wages, then that would represent huge progress, not just for UKIP, but for the country. Under the vile Cameron we could have hoped to make inroads into the Conservatives’ votes. Frankly, under Mrs May, that prospect has disappeared for the duration of this Parliament.
Please understand the concept that ‘The Best should not be enemy of the Good’. That is, the above might not represent what you would regard as the best ever possible Manifesto for UKIP, but if it represents one you can agree on, and which others can agree on, then it is better to run with it than to continue to dispute all kinds of other pet policies which we all have but which in reality we will not agree on and which disputes will just make us unelectable.
Party politics is about priorities, and compromise on a consensus. We don’t have to agree on everything, just a CORE which will make sense to the mass of people, and which is about the most important and most urgent things which we (the country) MUST start to put right, after decades of malgovernance.
Anyway, we have Manchester coming up; why not give the above a tryout? Could it possibly pan out worse for us than Stoke did?