The first of today’s letters is from our contributor David Allen who is standing as candidate in the current Leadership Contest. It is a critical comment, based on the Leadership Hustings David attended (Dagenham 25th July 2017), raising issues of concern in the current contest:
Once again it was a pleasure to attend a London based Q&A or hustings, if you prefer, and take the opportunity to present a leadership vision, and answer questions.
One issue that I know is of interest to many people is the inclusion of Anne Marie Waters in this contest, because of her campaign against the political correctness that allows criminality to persist in Muslim and other ethnic groups. Many people have indicated that she would be detrimental to the progress of a national party.
I have heard Anne Marie Waters speak before this election was called and have attended two hustings in which she has been on the panel. When I first heard her, I was impressed by her passion and clarity about the, principally, Muslim dominated problems of Sharia law, criminality and, of course, terrorism. I still support her aims and have contributed an article to the Sharia Watch website. It is also true that UKIP is the party to address issues that others would ignore and I hope will continue to do that, but I wanted to offer my impression of the Anne Marie Waters who aspires to move from campaigner to political leader as that is becoming clearer to me as this process goes on.
The first observation I would make is that when she is away from her principal subject area things get a little wobbly. Some of the language used could have come directly from a John McDonnell speech of 20 years ago. We all have aspirations for a better health service but, in Anne Marie’s lexicon of acceptable political and organisational options several mechanisms would be ideologically excluded from consideration and I don’t think ruling out methodologies for dogmatic reasons is an ideal characteristic for a leader of UKIP.
The word ‘privatisation’ was used exactly as the Labour left would use it; a weapon. In matters economic, social and ideological it seems that this candidate is well to the left of most UKIP supporters and members, so in that sense it is an odd mix.
In matters FGM related she is a powerful and influential speaker, but often without a strategy for creating the kind of environment we all want. At one point, she was eloquently and passionately demanding that we ‘must stop it’. When I asked how, she simply said ‘speak the truth’. Passionate, committed and enunciated with an unshakeable belief, but still just rhetoric. One has to have a plan.
There is a difference between rhetoric and political achievement. The object is to get to the place you want to be, and most of us want a country that prosecutes all criminality, but from where we are, with no political power and no parliamentary representatives we need to pursue a strategy to make these changes happen. On that score, I’ve yet to hear from her any strategic plans to do that. Perhaps, at the next hustings?
I also got the distinct impression that, if you didn’t support her ideals and every part of her message then she has no interest in listening. She gives the impression that different views of how to achieve change by, even supporters of her objectives, aren’t very welcome. Maybe that also will change. Earlier in the Q&A session an audience member asked why John Rees Evans and Anne Marie Waters didn’t team up or come to an agreement, to which JRE replied that he would welcome the opportunity to work with AMW. By the time the evening had ended and AMW had gotten well into her stride, I was left wondering if he might be reflecting upon that generous commitment.
The concern of UKIP members and others to whom I have spoken is that AMW simply wants a bigger platform for her campaign, which in itself, is laudable. The more I hear her, though, the more I tend to agree that such concern has foundation.
Respectfully, David Allen
The second letter today comes from our correspondent Roger Arthur. His complaint to the BBC speaks for us all:
I have just sent the complaint below, to the BBC (complaint to the BBC 28-07-17):
“Yesterday (25-07-17) on Business Live, presenters reported that Eurotunnel profits were up “despite Brexit”, two words which are repeated indiscriminately by the BBC.
Yet on another day you would bewail the falling £, which has in fact enticed more tourists to the UK, including many on Eurostar. Of course the value of the £ varies with the country’s trade deficit and the process is is self correcting – unlike in the Eurozone. Also significant is UK Foreign Direct Investment, which is at record levels and is ignored.
So the inane repetition of “despite Brexit” after positive economic reports only devalues the already low perception of the BBC amongst serious debaters, reinforcing the perception that it is biased.
Surely the salaries paid to your presenters are high enough to attract serious people who know their subject, have done their homework and don’t have to rely on the repetition of sound bites.”
Respectfully, Roger J. Arthur.