Ed: The ancient Romans had a saying: “Audiatur et altera pars” – the other side must also be heard. Below is a letter from a reader of UKIP Daily which started out as a far too long comment post and was therefore binned. We publish it here because it, sadly, points out that we are failing in our debate of the candidates in this contest by focussing on one issue and one candidate only.
UKIP Daily is not an echo chamber. By opening our pages to candidates’ statements and reports on hustings, we do so in the hope that all can be heard, candidates and members. There is very much to be critical about in the current contest. I hope and expect that everybody can have their say without first having to provide ‘credentials’ as to their anti-islam attitude and without being attacked for being critical of AMW. Else we will get only “I’m also against it”-statements from candidates and readers and else we fail debating other vital issues which demand our attention.
I was dismayed when Anne Marie Waters name appeared on the list of leadership contenders because I believed her bid would be corrosive and divisive, and so it has proved. I am concerned at the boost in membership of a thousand which she mentioned at one of the hustings, which confirmed to me that she certainly sees them as her supporters. An additional thousand votes for one member in a small electorate can’t help but influence the outcome and it feels as though the Party is being hijacked.
UKIP Daily itself has become like an echo chamber of intimidatory support for Anne Marie, with an almost total lack of objectivity and fairness, which is itself divisive. There are contributors threatening to resign should she win, and others, should she lose. Other contributors attack anyone who sticks their head above the parapet in support of almost any another candidate and the term ‘cowards’ has been used. My experience of UKIP, prior to this, has been of a welcoming organisation of friendly helpful people at all levels of the Party and I find what is happening quite distressing.
Maybe when Anne Marie joined Labour in the early 2000s she was unaware of the Party’s already murky record on immigration, yet after winning the election of 1997, Labour set out almost immediately to increase immigration and one of their first acts was to abolish the Primary Rule on Immigration. That one act truly opened the floodgates to immigration from the Indian Subcontinent, and neither that, nor the rest of the massive expansion of immigration was accidental, such as the sudden, huge influx of EU migrants from 2004 onwards, which, despite its scale, merely exacerbated what had already been set in train. Anyone doubting Labour’s intent should read the Wiki entry for Barbara Roche, the minister responsible for immigration, until she lost her seat in 2005, apparently because of her vote on the war in Iraq.
Anne Marie has a very narrow agenda, despite her protestations and, despite her massive online presence in the last three years, which seems scarcely to have existed during her years as a Labour activist. Analysing her comments and replies on almost every topic except Islam is pointless. Her responses are perfunctory, stock answers: she’s watching and listening; she’s still making up her mind; she thinks members should decide. Always expressing concern but saying very little except on one topic.
Anybody who paid attention could ascertain Labour’s policy on immigration, but just in case anyone missed it, Andrew Neather, a Labour speechwriter publicly blew the gaffe, in his column in the Evening Standard, in October 2009. He boasted: “It didn’t just happen: the deliberate policy of ministers from late 2000 until at least February last year, when the Government introduced a points based system, was to open up the UK to mass migration.” He was proud of what they had done. Was Anne Marie not aware of that or of the furore caused by Jack Straw when, in 2011, he said: ‘White girls are seen as easy meat by Pakistani rapists.’ (See here)
In addition to being a Labour party member for ten years, Anne Marie was also a leading light in ‘One Law For All’ until 2013 when they seem to have parted company. It’s impossible not to wonder if, during her membership, she shared that group’s unflattering opinion of UKIP. In the 2000s, even I was aware of what Labour was doing. I had never been a member of a political party before UKIP, nor am I a graduate, having left school at the age of fourteen. In fact I paid little attention to politics except for our entry into the EEC and the subsequent referendum. I was a ‘cradle’ Labour voter but outgrew that in my 20s.
Yet Anne Marie, a law graduate, and deeply involved in politics, sought only to further her career in the Labour Party, either turning a blind eye to practices of which she disapproved, since she was still pursuing elected office in 2013 when she said her priority was the NHS, It’s scarcely credible that Anne Marie was unaware of the evidence of Labour’s complicity in mass migration long before she left, having finally accepted she wasn’t going to get a shot at even an unwinnable Parliamentary seat for Labour.
One serious consequence of the preoccupation with the election and particularly Anne Marie’s role in it, is the seemingly total neglect of the unresolved Brexit situation. One UKIP Daily contributor has recently dismissed Brexit as having been won, and now scarcely needing/deserving our attention Our attention should apparently be concentrated elsewhere, ie on Anne Marie and her cause. We ignore what is happening between London and Brussels at our peril, yet that seemed to be was what was being proposed. Every day we remain within the jurisdiction of the EU is another day nearer the time when Mrs Merkel’s guests will start arriving at Dover, waving their EU passports.