Our first letter is from our reader and contributor Alan Piper. While voters go to the polls today, the letter addresses what is important for the future of UKIP:
It’s Time for UKIP (to get its act together)!
Yes, as a campaign slogan, you can read “It’s Time for UKIP” both ways but I suggest in Stoke, Copeland and everywhere else, that should be our consistent message. The old parties are damaged beyond repair. Bring on the new.
But yet again, UKIP and the top of the Party in particular needs to get its act together before it can make that case effectively. I so agree with the wish of so many here that Party officials engaged and listened to its membership, rather than lecture it. We still have no means, as members, of making an effective contribution to developing UKIP’s vision of the future. Instead, we have to work with whatever the head office “bubble” produces for these campaigns. Whether leaflets or Policy. In addition we have to grit our teeth to the sheer incompetence of someone making inaccurate claims on Paul’s behalf which have given the hostile Press a field day. I too trod the streets of Millom (southern tip of Copeland) alongside Barrow’s mostly ex labour members, posting leaflets, getting a finger nipped by a dog in the process, then towing a UKIP trailer with megaphone blaring away – and we did so to support Fiona and UKIP. And reading Tuesday’s campaign postings from Quercus and James Dalton who have been busy with others doing the same, amplifies the UKIP members’ commitment.
But the media mismanagement and contrary conclusions also amplify the UKIP dilemma. On the one hand, the incredible commitment of volunteers, the undeniable observations of decline, the betrayal of Old Labour voters coupled with the almost pathetic (or pathological) refusal of their voters to embrace change. On the other hand, the conclusion from Quercus and other siren voices that we should rewind the industrial relations clock about 50 years to present UKIP as a pre Thatcherite Labour-credible alternative. Absolute Rubbish. Another post-Thatcherite economic revolution is exactly what is needed because the pain and gain of that era has been frittered away by subsequent governments of all colours, which is why UKIP has so much ex Tory support alongside ex Labour support.
We simply want to see viability restored. Whether running a small business, raising a family or running a country.
We want to see accountability. Whether it’s bankers, Blair, Osborne or Phillip Green.
We want to see career politicians replaced by experienced, like-minded, UKIP supporting grown ups who will fight for gender equality and British tolerance of everything except the intolerable.
And we want to be part of an organisation that seeks political common ground, engages with its membership, harnesses the likes of JRE and works to develop a credible, bold UKIP vision of the future, through the experience of its membership that have lived through the social experiment of the last 60 years or so.
As Nigel said, keep it radical.
The moment we fall into the trap of the old left/right stereotypes, the new career-political classes have won. Again. Electorate still divided and UKIP conquered.
Today we wait nervously for the by-election results.
I wish I felt more confident.
Respectfully, Alan Piper.
The second letter is from Mike Hookem MEP, UKIP Spokesman for Fisheries:
New EU quota rules, which came into force on the 20th January, bans the landing of any sea bass; a move that threatens to bankrupt a small group of shore based fishermen in East Yorkshire who still practice traditional net fishing methods and rely on the species. This type of traditional, shore based net fishing has been practised on the East Yorkshire coast for Millennia, but at the stroke of a pen, the EU are happy to threaten the businesses of local people. The East Yorkshire coast is a mixed fishery and while the EU have banned the landing of sea bass; the sea trout and salmon that are also caught remain unaffected. This ban will do nothing to conserve stocks, as the fishermen cannot help catching sea bass in their nets. Any perfectly good sea bass caught now – much of which will already be dead – will have to be discarded rather than used profitably, robbing these people of a sizeable part of their income.
This is a prime example of why the one size fits all policies often imposed by the EU are totally unworkable and end up destroying traditional industries. The fact is, this is not only a traditional method of fishing that deserves to be preserved, but it is also a very ecological and environmentally friendly, with the fish caught being sold in local shops and restaurants. That is why I wrote to the European Parliament fisheries committee in January, outlining the plight of this small group of East Yorkshire fishermen and how the EU themselves have said they need to do more to protect ‘artisan’ fishing of this type. At the end of the day, these East Yorkshire fishermen deserve our support, and I will provide every assistance I can to make sure they retain their livelihood. In the wake of the Brexit vote, we can no longer tolerate Brussels dictating out fishing policy to us. This case also highlights why we must regain our 200-mile, exclusive economic zone status on leaving the EU to not only safeguard what is left of our fishing industry, but also start the process of regeneration.
Respectfully, Mike Hookem, MEP