Two letters today refer to the Leadership campaign and to the fact that two candidates appeared on the BBC’s “Sunday Politics” yesterday, 20th November, but not the third, the first letter coming from our contributor David Soutter:

Sir,

During the UKIP leadership election that took place over the summer I was very critical of the stance taken by Diane James about appearing on stage or in interviews with the other candidates. John Rees-Evans should not have walked out of the party hustings following the ill judged intervention of Paul Oakden. It was a mistake and he was ill advised not to reverse that decision.

That aside I understand that Paul Nuttall and Suzanne Evans have refused to appear on any public national platform to debate or even be interviewed at the same time as Rees-Evans.

This is just wrong.

The party and far more importantly the public have the right to listen to and compare the candidates for leadership of the UK’s 3rd largest party. To put it in context, the new leader should not be reaching out to 20,000 members or even 3.8 million voters, but to the 17 million who voted for Brexit. The current contenders have shown little appetite to do that, and refusing to be on the stage together is not the way to appeal to those voters.

On the BBC’s ‘Sunday Politics Show’ yesterday Paul Nuttall and Suzanne Evans gave completely the wrong message by refusing to debate John Rees-Evans. Why are they scared of him? Diane James was rightly criticised because of her refusal, and Nuttall and Evans should also be rightly criticised.

UKIP does not need a leader for 20,000 members! It needs a leader for the 17 million potential voters who see that having won Brexit the establishment is trying to stitch up a compromise which looks like Brexit but keeps the Single Market the Customs Union and free movement still in place. Failure to find that right person will see UKIP’s 2015 result be a wave that having hit the top recedes and is not repeated. The behaviour of the other Parties, their attitude to Brexit and to UKIP has not changed, and we need to stand up to this challenge.

Respectfully, David Soutter

Our reader Deirdre Trotman also writes in on that subject , with hard words about the behaviour of the two Leadership candidates:

Sir,

It is no secret that I support John Rees-Evans as UKIP Leader. Previously, I have been critical of Paul Nuttall on these excellent discussion forums. Now, I would like, via the excellent medium of UKIP Daily letters, to give voice to my disappointment (to put it mildly) that John was ‘no platformed’ by the other two prospective leadership candidates, Paul and Suzanne, when they appeared on the ‘Sunday Politics Show’ (20th Nov. 2016).

John was invited to appear by the BBC, he accepted, and to cut a long story short, Suzanne and Paul refused to appear with him in the studio – although John was given almost one minute in the introduction beforehand.

I thought ‘no platforming’ was what immature students did when their ‘safe spaces’ were threatened! It is surely not behavior befitting those who aspire to lead an open and democratic party. This was not a hustings for members, this was UKIP on show, via the medium of a public broadcasting outlet which we all pay for. Andrew Neill introduced “the two front runners” with no explanation as to why the third candidate wasn’t present, so the impression was given that Rees-Evans was of no consequence. The fact that John walked out of the Newport hustings is past history, and no excuse for Paul and Suzanne’s behaviour. I don’t recall anything but mutterings when Diane did the same thing.

Luckily, through the medium of social media, and standing outside the BBC Cardiff studio, where he had asked again to be paged in to the discussion and had been refused, John was able to be part of the program via the BBC iPlayer on his phone, which he paused after every question so that he could give his answers to the same questions, watched by those able to access Facebook (no, you needn’t sign up!), and, while on air, John answered other questions from members in much the same way as Raheem Kassam used to.

Fortunately for the good name of UKIP, members of the public would have been unaware of this shameful power play by two of the three leadership candidates, although, if John should win, they might be mystified as to who he is and what he stands for, which would be a shame. But UKIP members who can access social media will now be completely aware of this dreadful democratic deficit in the Leadership campaign.

Was this really behaviour befitting our prospective Leaders, especially as for those without social media? Paul and Suzanne sang from the same hymn sheet – which, I suppose, was the enforcement of the ‘unity’ idea – and cemented the mantra that, in choosing a Leader, ‘unity is the only choice’. This is hardly fair to those in the party without access to social media! There is another candidate, John Rees-Evans, and I have to say, all the public speaking he has been doing has helped him enormously, his presentation and answers to questions were concise and well argued on his ;interview’ – it’s just a pity that the rest of Britain didn’t get to see him.

Respectfully, Deirdre Trotman

Readers can access the ‘interview’ Deirdre Trotman mentioned here. The link was sent in by Jamie McKenzie. The next letter, by our contributor Phillip Smith, looks at the rumours about a peerage for Nigel Farage:

Sir,

We have recently heard rumours that Nigel Farage might be given a peerage. Does this mean that, at last, the government is going to recognise the years of tireless work he has done for the nation, and the achievement of his bringing about a referendum on the EU? Fat Chance! The only reason they are contemplating putting him in the Lords is to make sure that he cannot get into the Commons. The Thanet South election result is under police investigation and, if they find that a crime has been committed and the result is suspect, there may have to be a re-run of the election in that constituency. There may also be an early general election next year if the Supreme Court decide to uphold the High Court decision that Parliament must be involved in any Article 50 notice, and Parliament tries to delay, distort, or destroy our bid for liberation.

In either case, the Thanet South election will be under intense scrutiny, and the establishment will find it extremely hard to rig the result this time, as they are speculated to have done in 2015. After the referendum result, it would be the establishment’s worst nightmare to have Nigel Farage in the House of Commons, asking awkward questions. They will do anything to avoid this, and I suspect that the idea of sending Nigel to the Lords would be a desperate attempt to keep him out of the Commons. I believe that Nigel is far too shrewd to be taken in by such a blatant confidence trick, and has far too much integrity to be bribed by such a stunt.

Respectfully, Phillip Smith

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