The sad death of Michael Meacher, a long serving Labour MP, will be a blow to the current labour high command. As a result we may well see the commencement of the purge of moderates during their forthcoming selection process. This would seem to be an opportunity for the Labour party to choose an ultra left wing candidate whilst claiming that whoever that might be would not be all that far away from the political ideologies of the former incumbent. Whether or not they can emulate his achievement and majority in Oldham West and Royton will be interesting to see.
Are the electorate as enamoured with the new celebrity leader as the hard left are, or does the Labour party’s vacillating approach to policy formulation actually turn off real voters who want a consistent voice and approach? Will some, who even voted for Mr Corbyn, now be worried that he is turning out not to be the messiah of their dreams but instead is simply out of his depth in a party that seems to have lost its way? This is not a good position from which to be fighting any form of election.
Such an unexpected by-election though, also provides a challenge to UKIP. We came second in May with 8892 votes against Labour’s 23,680, a majority of 14,788 for Labour which is substantial but, will the watching and voting electorate of 72,341 be content with the machinations of the Labour party uncertainty or will it choose to vote for a settled voice, more interested in them and their lives as opposed to one simply shoring up a faltering regime.
As it stands three fundamental questions, amongst others, will have to be answered by the prospective candidates and only one party has robust and workable responses. To all intents and purposes this is a fight between UKIP and Labour. With the ‘SNP effect’ no longer a factor for the Conservatives; and with Labour in disarray, UKIP has every chance of winning the seat.
- Douglas Carswell has already explained UKIP’s position in declaring to vote for Frank Field’s amendment which would have the effect of slowing the tax credit changes for those most affected and to give the other changes a chance to make a difference. We support fiscal probity and the tax credit system is in need of revision but, on this question as with so many others the Labour party have no clear plan to recoup the £4.5bn that they intend to spend by reversing these changes. It should be noted that it will be a reversal at any price even if the overall package turns out to be working very well.
- We must ensure that everybody in Oldham West and Royton knows that the world oversupply of steel is compounded by the unlawful (against WTO rules) selling of Chinese steel at under cost price. The principle reason our steel manufacturing is closing down is because of EU inaction in allowing China to dump it’s cheap and subsidised steel all over Europe. Even if there is an oversupply the quality of UK steel and its price, when not undermined, will ensure that our steel still sells and is the preferred steel for UK projects. If the Chinese don’t stop dumping then trade tariffs must be imposed. However, the UK is impotent in this area as such trade matters are entirely under EU control and national governments have no direct say. This represents one further reason to leave the EU and control our own affairs.
- Immigration has not gone away, in fact it is higher than ever and the current Labour party policy is to encourage it to increase even further. One more reason to leave a failing EU project our membership of which has consistently been opposed by Jeremy Corbyn. He seems now to want to backtrack on those ‘firmly held principles’ due to internal party pressure and immediate self preservation though it can never help him to abandon his long held views. It also will not help the people in this constituency who want the UK government to be able to take action when necessary on matters critical to the well-being of our nation and its people.
Only UKIP can add a rational and progressive voice on the behalf of the people and it is critically important that we select a high quality candidate.
We have to make the arguments against the EU again and again. The election process itself will present a nationwide forum and, hopefully, judgement on the EU and its self interest, whilst again presenting UKIP as a credible alternative which is both fiscally responsible and on the side of the ordinary person.
There is as big a gulf between us and Labour as there is between us and the Conservatives. Labour want to increase welfare spending, the deficit and the debt until, presumably, we are like Greece with no control over anything and the Tories remain aloof and overly supportive of extreme wealth to maintain their income. There are many social changes needed and we should be the first to present them.
Regular readers of UKIP Daily will know that I’m standing in the executive elections due to happen shortly. As a part of my potential contribution I’m in favour of continual policy development as opposed to hiding everything until the last minute before an election for fear of espionage. Personally I don’t see foreknowledge of what we propose as disadvantageous but it is always a problem when major policy positions are needed for mid-term elections and nothing really exists. That leads to policy on the hoof which is always regretted when subject to closer analysis. The alternative is the constant and irritating evasion of questions by politicians, something that, to date, we have not been overly guilty of.
A clear presentation of UKIP policy on current major issues will cut through to the electorate as opposed to the fog of uncertainty and waffle which will be the Labour party line. The Conservatives cannot win and many Conservative voters as well as Labour ones could support UKIP if we are clear and positive about our campaign.
It just goes to show that a party must always be prepared for the unexpected.
Photo by Jeremy Sutcliffe