Today’s first letter, picking up on the debates on UKIP Daily in the past days and weeks, is not just a must-read but also a definite appeal to action. It is by our contributor and reader ‘Stout Yeoman’:
I am given to believe by sources close to the top that Banks rattled them (bigly even) and that the penny – that they are out of touch – may be finally dropping. That is, the protests coming in are no longer seen as a few cranks venting spleen but the idea is forming that the membership is indeed increasingly disaffected and that they need to do something.
I remain of the view that UKIP Daily readers should press their own branches. Nothing will be as effective as branches sending a message of ‘not a penny more and no more ground troops until there are worthwhile policies we can actually promote and defend.’ Some of your readers mention branch complacency with the status quo to which I say if, in a democratic party (please see the constitution on that), you cannot persuade your fellow members then you need to focus on better arguments. Branches are where we start for real change.
May I also take this opportunity to counsel against “White Knight Syndrome” which appears to be distorting some thinking. Banks is not a white knight and he isn’t riding in to save us. He has definitely left and is not coming back, He is not a donor like other donors who obtained positions because, unlike Banks, they did not try and humiliate the leadership with a public ultimatum, a childish tactic guaranteed to fail. Those suggesting privileges attach to Banks’ alleged donor status (of yesteryear at best) overlook that they are not comparing like with like. Forget white knights. We must pursue the change we seek ourselves.
Re-posting articles and tweets [Ed: it’s useful and very desired though, so please don’t stop doing that!] is not political engagement. Persuading branch members is. Any member may submit a motion to their branch. Done yours yet? No? Then stop carping.
We have a chance to get Anne Marie Waters, John Rees Evans, and others a higher profile within the party. The party is, I understand, open to suggestions in a way it has not been before. Take this opportunity. By all means write in – in fact, definitely do – but work at branch level also. But please avoid ad hominem attack (no matter how deserved) in your missive if you hope to persuade.
Finally, a note to the leadership on the off chance that you read this. You suffer from group-think. All coteries do. You need Anne Marie Waters, John Rees Evans to challenge you, to shake you out of group-think, to show you alternatives, to help test and shape ideas. You really do!
Respectfully, Stout Yeoman
The next letter, by our reader and contributor Alan Piper, has an intriguing proposal for Parliamentary Reform:
I know PR is current UKIP policy but it does come with issues:
- the likelihood of an “Israeli stalemate” where the balance of power is held by nutters or extremists so that in the long term, nothing much changes, and
- that the list of representatives is prioritised in the order of the leaderships’ choice. We members know a bit about being ignored by leaderships but the prospect of constituency results being ignored would be extremely unwelcome imho.
So unless the outcome remains constituency and electorate driven (and I am unaware of whether that is the case in the UKIP policy proposal), words like “can” and “worms” spring to mind, let alone years of argument etc.
But, a while ago somebody (Dave Allen?) posted a proposal here that I’d never heard of.
F2PTP First 2 Past the Post.
The upside being that the resulting parliamentary mix would be a far more accurate reflection of the electorate’s wishes but the significant downside being either halving the number of seats or doubling the size of parliament. More “cans” and “worms” laced with parliamentary self interest.
But for me at least, the idea kept simmering in my mind and eventually I had an idea which is so simple, I float for your reactions.
I simply wonder whether there is a way achieving the F2PTP upside and putting forward a credible House of Lords reform proposal…. the latter having been getting rather involved in Brexit scuppering just now.
It could be as simple as selecting the first two successful candidates without reducing the constituency numbers, and putting the first in the Commons and the second in the “Lords”, preferably “de-lorded” entirely.
Of course it means the majority Party in the Commons will very likely be the minority in the Lords but:
- The Commons can eventually over-rule,
- The present House of Lords swamp is drained,
- And the electorate gets the mix it voted for, albeit spread across two houses.
Unless ‘er-indoors has been feeding me magic mushrooms, I can’t help thinking there may be merit in raising the idea under the heading of Parliamentary Reform….?
Respectfully, Alan Piper