During my many years in a small business, I cannot recall ever being told by a customer that we were being given the contract in order to send a message (of dissatisfaction) to our competitors. It was always because they wanted us! We then did our best to exceed their expectations on quality, service and reasonable prices. And our customers were always most interested in what we were doing for them, not what our competitors were not doing. So why should it be any different in the recent Euro and council elections?
Using this comparison, many voters are sending an important message aimed at Ukip; we are prepared to risk trying you out. Voters see something in Ukip that they prefer to the other parties. When the existing incumbent is exceeding expectations there is little reason to risk changing. When change occurs it is because of real failings. The issues raised by Ukip have resonance with many voters’ experiences and conversely the other parties have failed to address these, rather they are part of the problem over the years through their policies and their behaviour towards us, the Electorate.
However, this willingness to vote Ukip comes with a caveat, voters don’t know yet if Ukip can be trusted to deliver. Clearly if you feel that you have been deceived, manipulated and treated with arrogant condescension by the political establishment over many years and their performance in government has been poor, it is wise to be wary.
It is also wise to be wary of what the other parties may do in retaliation against a challenge to their supremacy. We have a proud history, since Boudicca, of revolt against rulers when their impositions become intolerable. Yet many times these same rulers have successfully re-subjugated the citizenry again, and quite ruthlessly. We have only to consider the seemingly endless vilification of Ukip by the other parties and the media to realise that the General Election will not be a fair competition in the Electorate’s interests to choose the best and address real issues. Rather the indicators are that it will be an attack against the Electorate as well to get us back under control.
Ukip has also given the people a voice against the ruling class that has been missing for many years. It is a grassroots party, not an imposition by the existing political elite. Every vote for Ukip then is a voice which says ‘I want to be heard and to take part in the government of my town, my county and my country’.
In response to the message from voters, Ukip has an honourable duty not to fail the people, as the other parties have failed. It is a duty to Competency, Integrity and Democracy;
Competency: managerial ability to get ‘the right’ things identified, analysed and done;
Integrity: the combination of trustworthiness, always doing the right, dutiful and honourable thing, (self) restraint, responsibility, reciprocity (the golden rule of ethical behaviour);
Democracy: government of the people, for the people, by the people.
I am delighted to see that Ukip is taking this duty very seriously in thought and deed, with limited resources. This is only a ‘snapshot’ of a few ‘local’ examples of where this is already happening:
1 For example, in my own branch area, Councillor Tony Hooke, UKIP County Councillor for Andover South, has taken up the fight on behalf of the people to oppose the ‘cabinet system’ in local government which concentrates power in the hands of a chosen few of councillors to ‘toe the Party Line’. He is also active in fighting the closure of care homes. Meanwhile his colleague in Andover North, Cllr Tim Rolt, is fastidious in liaising with local people, attending all the Parish Council meetings in the rural part of his division, and spear-heading large numbers of local improvements.
2 Ukip members are working to restore a sense of pride, identity and heritage for all people to share in many small ways as well as through major policies. Just to illustrate the small ways, flying the Union flag on public buildings and restoring war memorials – these things mean something to many of us and lest we forget many people have made sacrifices for us, our freedom and way of life.
3 Ukip’s Mission, what we believe in, from the website: ‘We believe in the right of the people of the UK to govern ourselves, rather than be governed by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels (and, increasingly, in London and even your local town hall). We believe in the minimum necessary government which defends individual freedom, supports those in real need, takes as little of our money as possible and doesn’t interfere in our lives. We believe in democracy devolved to the people, through national and local referendums on key issues, so that laws are made by the people’s will, not the fads of the political class.
This looks very positive, but it is only a start – with more resources more can be done to truly serve all the people in this country.