This week is off to a good start, with two letters whose writers are not mincing words in their criticism of ‘those on top’ – a well-deserved criticism, may we add. The first letter is by our contributor Stout Yeoman:
While penning an article for UKIP Daily I was interrupted by an email just in from our Chairman. He says:
“The most positive – and you can’t blame me for focusing on it – was that UKIP has a vigorous energy and will-to-win still flowing through its veins. With 300-400 people turning up for the critical campaigning days, and well over 1000 members taking part overall, it was the most powerful collective effort we have ever made to a by-election.”
Indeed, I do not blame him. I quite understand that he has to appear upbeat. Unfortunately, reminding us that we failed, against a pillock of a Labour candidate, despite our “most powerful collective effort” ever, did nothing to instil confidence in the future of the party. For the problem is that next time, whether with the same or another calamity candidate, running yet another calamity campaign espousing chancer policies that convince no-one, the 1000 activists will be reduced to a rump of six who have nothing better to do, and the party will not be able to spend £100,000 again because no-one is going to donate. “UKIP has a vigorous energy” – fake news now. He goes on to say:
“Like cornered rats, the toxic Labour Party have taken politics to a new level of viciousness, both directly and through their proxies on the streets and in the media. Abuse, vandalism, assault and a relentless characterisation of UKIP, both during and since the campaign, as extremists and xenophobes mark the territory on which we are now fighting.”
Oh dear. Lefties behaving badly. Whatever next. Where have party officials been these past few years? Clearly not on the streets like the rest of us. Does it not occur to the leadership that the problem was not that our message was misrepresented but that it actually got across? A majority of voters in Stoke just didn’t like the new UKIP. What Oakden should have said is that given our calamity leader, given policies that lacked any radical and transformative theme for our country, it was a bloody miracle that anyone voted for us at all. Come, let us pray together …
Just as I wrote that, news came in that the gala dinner part of the South West Region’s conference on 4th March had been cancelled due to lack of attendees – alarm bells anyone? – and that the South East Regional Conference scheduled for 11th March was cancelled altogether. It is being replaced by a “forum” hosted by the party chairman to discuss the “future structure” of the party. Dear God. Structure? After our biggest policy failure to date the party wants to revert to navel gazing over structure – again? Talk about re-arranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship. Utterly pointless when we end up with the same clowns sitting on them.
Of course, it may be smoke and mirrors to see off Aaron Banks’ hostile take over bid. He has been invited to make a presentation to the next NEC meeting. But, equally, it feels like the usual response to the party’s lamentable policy failures and assorted crises.
Speaking of policy: how many freedom of information requests has the party’s Research Dept/Policy unit made to tease out the embarrassing truth about our country’s institutions? We have got a Research Dept supporting our spokespeople, haven’t we? There is somewhere in the bowels of the party a unit producing joined up policies explaining our radical libertarian vision, planning its roll out in controlled stages to prepare the electorate, preparing spokespeople on how to counter the usual attacks and smears? There is, isn’t there? I probably just missed the job adverts (for unpaid posts in these impecunious days no doubt) when it was set up seeking to appoint on ability and qualifications. Surely Stoke demonstrates that the patronage and cronyism approach really isn’t working.
Respectfully, Stout Yeoman
The second letter is from our reader Deirdre Trotman. She also does not mince words:
I gather from UKIP Daily correspondence that many members went to help leaflet in Stoke at the recent by-election.
I wonder how many were aware, and/or happy with a UKIP leaflet that has been circulating on Twitter, carrying a photo of the UKIP Leader which detailed, presumably for information to potential Muslim voters in Stoke, (which, at the last census, were 6% compared to 60% Christian) UKIP policy that might be of interest, and included with the following statement, ‘Let me make it loud and clear UKIP will not ban Halal or Kosher but believe there should be “honest labeling” of all meat sold’.
Since it surfaced there has been a storm on Twitter, with Dr. Tariq Mahmoud asserting that this policy was in the 2015 manifesto. A report then showed up from the Telegraph, 3rd February 2015 with the following: ‘ Slaughtering Animals without Stunning them first should be Banned, the U K Independence Party has said. It is the first political party to back a ban on non-stun slaughter. The move had been advocated by animal rights groups including the RSPCA and British Veterinary Association’.
Call me naive, but it never occurred to me that UKIP had any other policy but pre-stunning, indeed Raheem Kassam’s policy proposals included one to ban Halal, which I fully support as I believe this ghastly practice has no place in the 21st Century. I am horrified to find this is not the case.
Is this, like the English Parliament policy, something which has been decided by the NEC without reference to members, or is it something decided by – who? (I don’t know how these things get done.). Maybe members support it in the majority, perhaps it was discussed at Conference?
I was so disgusted I was simply going to resign my membership there and then – but on reflection I thought it important to make an attempt to fight for the sort of UKIP I believed it to be, so I will be writing to Head Office to complain, it would be interesting to know what other members assumed UKIP policy to be, or knew it to be.
Whether this leaflet added to the debacle in Stoke we will never know. I wish I was able to give a link to the the full leaflet available on Twitter, but my iPad or the operator of it isn’t capable. Dr Ryan Waters has it on his Twitter account, and some of you may want to read it. I personally found it cringeworthy – it overdid the attention to a particular section of the community, it seemed to me.
UKIP was the only party I believed was advocating views I share – that belief is faltering.
Respectfully, Deirdre Trotman