From: Peter Griffiths, PPC for Wealden
My children were home for the weekend. Both live in London, one an Investment Banker and one in Shipping. Both are university educated, one studied Politics and History at Oxford, the other Philosophy at Roehampton. They both helped me leaflet and canvass during the County Council Elections, last May. The conversation during the weekend was wide ranging, with their education and jobs, it always is. Over Sunday lunch, conversation turned inevitably to politics and what they had to say stopped me in my tracks.
Their argument was that I and UKIP are always arguing the negative. What the EU are doing wrong, what the Coalition is doing wrong, how much waste and corruption there is in Brussels. All valid points, but all negative. My children are intelligent and well educated enough, that when they both say something of this sort, I have to listen. I reflected for some time and realised that they were right. I was always saying what was wrong with the other parties and not emphasising enough why UKIP are different and what we are going to do to put things right. I am not for one moment saying that we are totally negative, only that the perception, especially amongst the young, is that we are not sufficiently optimistic and confident that we have the solutions.
They quoted me the scene in “Love Actually”, where Hugh Grant, as Prime Minister, finally stood up to the American President and started listing all the things that were great about Britain. If you remember, the response to this was ecstatic. That was what they wanted. More emphasis on just how much we export to the rest of the world, not how much the EU exports to us. Accentuate the inward investment we attract. My daughter reminded me that London is one of the world’s great financial centres. Frankfurt and Paris would only love to have our share of that world trade. We are still the world’s 6th largest manufacturer. Our film, television and computer companies are world beaters. Most of the Grand Prix teams have their bases in the UK, due to the ingenuity and excellence of our engineering skills. We don’t need to be followers, we can be, and in a lot of cases are, world leaders.
The other point they made was that our logo was dull and outdated. The pound sign they thought was iconic, but our colours are not modern or bright and they could not identify with them. According to them, a revamp was urgently needed.
When young people, the next generation of leaders, say things like this to me, perforce, I have to listen. If we want to attract more of this calibre of thinkers and doers, we have to tell them the sort of thing they want to hear. We have to tell them in some detail, fully costed, just how we can sort out the mess we are currently in. Then they will listen. Then they will question. Then, if we convince them, they will vote for us.