The letters below address the continuing problems facing UKIP at this particular time, with hustings in progress but no particular candidate coming to the fore, and with members pondering having an EGM as well as what to do about the NEC we hope that readers will take these letters as opportunity to have their say as well.
The first letter is from Alan Piper, PPC in 2015:
to quote a wise Branch Chairman,
“The EGM is an absolutely pointless exercise but it’s the first time in forever that members feel engaged with, and influential within the party that we are so personally invested in.”
Ultimately that’s the point isn’t it? Members engaged and influential. Even Nigel didn’t achieve that. He led from the front, achieved much and we engaged. But we didn’t influence. Couldn’t.
So what hope does any replacement candidate have? Of either unifying the Party’s warring factions or providing a lead that gives ordinary members influence?
I read a comment somewhere recently suggesting a 12 month moratorium and asking Paul Nuttall to lead for that duration.
I’d like to add – using the time to refine the constitution, develop a Management Board, add regional representation to the NEC and establish a clear process that enables a bonafide member to directly influence policy development. (That means in person)
If UKIP’s greatest strength is its membership, their knowledge, experience and general contempt for the brand of career politician that now dominates Westminster, its greatest weakness has been it failure to develop a management structure that harnesses that wisdom.
Is it too late to invite Branch Chairmen up and down the country to agree an EGM proposal to invite Paul to step in for the duration and develop the Party’s organisation to that effect?
Rather than rake over the ashes?
Regards, Alan Piper – 2015 PPC
The second letter is from our contributor Jack Russell and addresses a problem which members need to think hard about – and not just members but all who are in paid or unpaid positions at Head Office and across the country:
ever since Steven Woolfe missed the deadline for sending in his application, the Party has been in turmoil, with demands for and EGM, the abolishment of the NEC and for ‘Direct Democracy’ by changing the Party into an online organisation where members are asked by the leaders to vote online for Party policies, candidates and presumably for those who will be entrusted with the day-to-day running of Party business.
This looks to be modern and interesting at first glance, and attractive to the generation which is happy to use social media as their means of engaging with the world.
Many members have already pointed out that an online presence would not automatically mean boots on the ground. Many have also pointed out that without those foot soldiers and ‘street fighters’, elections cannot be won, because who’d do the necessary leafletting, the donkey work?
There’s one consideration however which is far more concerning, and that is online security.
Most of us will remember the brouhaha about that Petition to Government for a second referendum, which suddenly acquired over 4 million votes. Reports in the MSM showed how many of those signatures, which had passed the security measures of the Government Petition site, had been spurious.
Yesterday I came across this report in Breitbart London .
The report explains how someone has developed a simple computer algorithm to create ‘valid’ signatures on a petition site such as that run by the government. It’s not even illegal, and was only detected because he set it up so that it was actually detectable.
Now that this algorithm is out in the open, who is to say that some techies won’t be able to use it and refine it so that it becomes undetectable? Furthermore – can we be certain that, if UKIP becomes a ‘clickocracy’, things like that will be detected by Party techies?
But far worse: what guarantee can we have that online votes on Party issues will not be manipulated by vested interests?
With the general public already very distrustful – for good reasons! – of the way votes are being manipulated in general elections, do we really want to give UKIP members more reasons for distrusting those who are doing the day-to-day running of our Party? And do we really want to reduce the grassroots to an anonymous online presence where we don’t know any longer who is pulling the strings and manipulating online votes?
I suggest that those demanding ‘direct democracy’ think again, and think very carefully about what they are demanding!