On Wednesday the 24th of May we’ll finally get to see the UKIP Manifesto!

Here are some interesting dates:

  • The Tory Manifesto was published on Thursday the 18th May; the Labour Manifesto was published on Tuesday the 16th of May; the Libdem Manifesto was also published on Thursday the 18th of May. Even the Greens got around publishing theirs on Monday, the 22nd of May!
  • Mrs May called the Snap Election on Tuesday the 18th of April, and as we all know, this GE will take place on Thursday the 8th of June.
  • The deadline for an application to get a postal vote ballot is Tuesday the 23rd of May. Apparently, according to polling results, people tend to send in their postal votes within 48 hours of receipt, although the deadline for sending them in is 10pm on polling day.
  • Therefore, chances are that most postal voters have already sent in their ballots without having a clue what is in UKIP’s Manifesto.

So far – so bad.

Let’s look at the dates. There are just two weeks between the launch of the UKIP Manifesto and Polling Day. There will have been five weeks between the call of the Snap Election and the launch of the UKIP Manifesto.

We don’t need to know what’s in it to make two general observations:

Firstly, all PPCs fighting in their constituencies have been left dangling because there’s been no official announcement of UKIP Policies. There were press conferences where announcements of the one or other policy were made, but candidates, never mind us lowly members, were never told beforehand.

The now infamous announcement of the ‘ban the burqa’-Integration Agenda, is an example. It was apparently prepared weeks before, and it was a horrible coincidence that the date for this press conference was set before the announcement of the GE. The more prominent members and candidates were caught flat out and were left dangling when asked about this on TV on that same day – they weren’t even told that this press conference was going to take place, never mind the content of it.

This  is on a par with the chaos that was the vetting of PPCs, leaving branches to decide for themselves what to do and even fielding PPCs who had not been through the vetting process because of lack of time and organisation.

All that is symptomatic for the shambles that is the Manifesto launch. Yes, Suzanne Evans said that she’d publish a manifesto in four weeks time after the GE was announced. Yes, there was a call – not well published – for members to send in suggestions. Some did, but of course their emails with submissions were never acknowledged.

So just as the general public, we members and our candidates haven’t got a clue as to what will be presented on Wednesday, practically at the end of the campaign. We’ll have to guess: will it be another door-stop of a fully costed Manifesto which nobody reads, and which the MSM will disregard anyway? Or will it be something the MSM will attack non-stop in those last couple of weeks with their full ‘fervour’, i.e. the usual slime-and-smear, as i suspect will be the case? Just what is needed to spice up a lacklustre campaign by the main parties … we can guess how that will influence voters!

Will the candidates get a preview of what will be published, so they can defend it and campaign on it? I would be surprised!

It is so obvious to so many members that we are fighting for our lives. It is so obvious to so many members that we have been greatly hampered in this fight by our leaders. The Local elections were a bloodbath. This had been predicted well in advance – candidates and members knew it would turn out badly weeks before the actual polling day on May 4th. I refuse to believe that our leaders were oblivious to this! But was anything done?

Then there’s funding. Members are asked continuously, and are giving generously. Members have been flocking to physically support the last by-elections, especially that in Stoke. Have accounts been rendered?

One obvious question is: what has the Party management learned from the by-election losses? Has there been a critical analysis, a critical look, to give some advice for the Local Elections, of what did work and what didn’t, and how to do better? If there was – members haven’t been told, branches haven’t been told. We’re all campaigning blindfold!

And now that fabulous Manifesto which has been kept a secret!

As I said above – I think prolonging the publication date of the manifesto was a grave error. This is not just because candidates have been left dangling, but because the MSM, bored by now with laying into the manifestos of the three Big Parties, will go full tilt on attacking UKIP on the basis of that manifesto. This will be the main theme of the last two weeks, scuppering the few chances we may have had.

It surely would not have taxed the resources and capabilities of our ‘team of leaders’ to have come out with a brief and snappy Manifesto on Monday the 8th of May, to alleviate the Local Election bloodbath. After all, that would’ve been three weeks after the announcement of the GE! Surely not an impossibility! Did our collective leaders all sit on their hands during that time?

But fear not – this quote (I can’t find the source, but it was posted on his facebook page by someone else and has not been refuted) has been making the rounds:

“Whatever criticisms – valid or otherwise – any members may have of leadership, if we fail to win any seats on 8th June it will be for one reason: that when the party needed its faithful members most, they deserted us.” – John Rees-Evans

This is called ‘getting one’s retaliation in early’. It’s our, the ‘faithful members’, fault when we lose bigly on June 8th. The leaders are blameless. It’s us members who have deserted the Party. It’s irrelevant that our Leaders float above us in a cloud, untouchable by criticism, uninterested by any help we ‘little people’ are offering except for our donations of time, shoe leather and money: ‘us not to reason why’ and all that.

So let’s all enjoy the Manifesto launch and the brilliant campaign which will undoubtedly follow in those last two weeks …

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