Brexit and Corbyn have given us a penalty shot at Labour’s goal, very likely the only one we will ever get. Are we to make a feeble tap straight to the goalie’s hands, or are we going to thump the ball hard into the back of the net?
If we hold it as self-evident that we are most unlikely to win the Conservative south, and must therefore look to the Labour north, we must opt for one of two courses. We can either stick with our traditional libertarian approach and hope that enough patriotic Labour supporters will somehow come across to join those Tories who might also be persuaded; or we can work on that Labour vote with policies designed to get it,without losing existing support.
At present we are set to follow the first course in both cases, because this is what the ex-Tories in our party want. They are convinced that Thatcherite economics must continue as the basis of our policy despite all the evidence that it is not working. It may have done once, but the 08 crash, gaping wealth divides and globalization arenot coincidental: they are the inevitable advanced characteristics of free-market liberal economics. Yet still they refuse to admit that traditional Labour voters are not much interested in libertarianism, that their main concern is decent jobs and some security for their families, who know ‘trickle-down’ is a fallacy and that something more needs to be done.
UKIP stands or falls on this issue. If our ex-Tories persist it will lead to the Party’s demise, and the great battle to save our country from further mass immigration, and possibly a fudged Brexit, will have been lost.
From many of the responses to previous articles it is clear this is not getting through to our libertarians. They really do have to stop and consider afresh, or we are done. We should never stand on a platform we fundamentally disagree with, but we have to recognise the political facts.The Party has to understand why we need to get working people onside, and how this can be done by some judicious changes to economic policy. That is what this series of articles has been about.
This articleoffers a Mini-Manifesto, urgent now because we have ground to make up, because we face by-elections at any time, council elections in May, and a general election possibly sooner than expected. The Party leadership should get their act together, organise a show of hands in all branches – see the article on Direct Democracy – and have new outline policies in place for this April. That is all we need for now; a fully costed manifesto can follow. Alternative suggestions for policy could be adopted in this process now or at any time if the debate moves on. Nothing stands still in politics.
Heading the list are the most important measures from previous articles, summarised below without undue repetition. These are the headline–grabbers to force the MSM to come to us for a change and play to our agenda – we had better be ready. Then come some quick hits not mentioned before but which would add spice to the appeal and show we mean business across a broad front.
Thus we should:
Nationalise the railways, and put the utility companies on notice. These vital sectors of the economy are not true markets, they are not being properly regulated and the service provided is expensive and not particularly efficient. This would immediately send the strongest possible message to working people that we are on their side, and undermine Labour spectacularly. We also know it is popular with the public.
Reform the tax system, with progressive rates for all direct taxes based on the ability to pay, and the abolition of all family trusts. It is vital that the figures are set to ensure that no-one presently earning above a certain figure (possibly say £50K in the case of income tax) would pay any more tax than they do now. Increase the tax-take through radical simplification, proper policing, swingeing penalties and ending the cosy relationship between HMRC and the tax lawyers. We are not talking about just the richest 1% either, but the 3% and the 5% and so on too. With that we start to attract middle earners to our side – this manifesto is categorically NOT just about the Labour vote, although that is its basis, and everything we do should be seen through that prism. The test should always be: will it appeal to all fair-minded, patriotic, ordinary people?
Introduce the reciprocity system into immigration policy, among other firm controls, to bring numbers right down. Ban all systems of alternative justice and cultural practices which should have no place in our country.
Institute an industrial strategy designed to re-balance the economy by sector and region, including a national investment bank, national training board, reconstituted national energy capability including nuclear, state investment in transport and communications infrastructure, import protection for strategic industry, and the re-scheduling of all PFI contracts to reduce contractors’ profits to reasonable proportions.
Institute two-terms-and-you’re-out for all elected public office – and in UKIP.
Fund the NHS and care services properly.
Halve the foreign aid budget.
Retain existing grammar schools for the time being but do not build any more. Make major savings in the educational training establishment, return all state schools to local authority control and invest in them all.
Institute a system allowing business to charge escalating interest on overdue accounts, with rapid legal enforcement and weighted to assist smaller companies. This would cost a little to administer but is perhaps the single most important thing we can do to help small business.
Abolish Police & Crime Commissioners.
Abolish the useless talking-shop of the House of Lords, which is beyond reform.
Ban all professional lobbying of Parliament.
There we are – a dozen for a ton. What are we waiting for?
Do we want to win – or not?