There are good reasons for the rules about videoing in court buildings. They are in place to protect witnesses, defendants, public, jurors, solicitors, barristers, judges and their support workers. All participants deserve protection from intimidatory behaviour by individuals and a mob. The crimes of the gang were heinous. But most of us did not intimidate nor endanger any of those involved in the trial. Freedom of speech does not include the right to physically and psychologically intimidate others. Nor did we risk a perversion of justice or potentially cost the tax payer hundreds of thousands of pounds. For him to deliberately flout the law was bound to bring a prison sentence and waste much public money. He knew this. As a self-proclaimed champion of citizen journalism, would he not better have spent his time acting like a proper journalist.
Yaxley-Lennon played no part in gaining the conviction. They were found guilty, despite and not because of him.
His actions have brought allegations of racism upon what is a worthwhile cause. Would these issues rub off on our party if we are seen to publicly embrace him and allow him to join us? Would we risk being marginalised and losing credibility?
Is he causing UKIP to take its eye off the ball? Our constitution clearly states that we have two aims. To leave the EU and to keep the UK together. We must also have a raft of other policies, but that all focus and so much time is being spent on one man is anathema to many. His actions have actually clouded the issue. Would inviting him to join UKIP be a PR disaster and open the floodgates for all sorts of extremists?
It would also require rule changes. I suspect that if he did join UKIP the direction of the party would probably follow the pattern of the EDL. Would allowing such a man to join the party be the precursor to such a situation?
Other political parties do not blanket ban former members of the EDL, BNP and so forth. Would making an exception for Yaxley-Lennon guarantee him that his membership application would be accepted? Most importantly, has his criminal behaviour ceased? Refusing membership would surely primarily be nothing to do with politics, but rather more to do with his continued violent criminal and anti-social behaviour.
Would the party survive another major upheaval and change in leadership and chairmanship – consider Farage; twice, James Woolfe; almost, Nuttal; Crowther – in two capacities; Oakden – in three capacities; Bolton; McIntyre; Batten, all in two years. We need stability. We need to focus on our constitutional aims – to leave the EU and keep the UK together – and not be again distracted by other issues.
Should the party leader wish this issue to be put to a ballot of the members, he should ask the NEC to consider such. Great care would need to be taken in ensuring that the rules regarding rule change are followed to the letter.
We should consider what such a motion would be seeking to achieve:
- Should it be to allow an exception to be made for Mr Yaxley – Lennon?
- Or should it be to remove the bar on proscribed groups totally?
Making an exception would be foolish and naïve as it could be argued that there are many more deserving cases than Mr Yaxley-Lennon.
If a change were to be sought at all, would it be better to seek to lift the ban and replace it with a clause that allowed applications to be considered from former members of proscribed groups, subject to a five year period having elapsed since they left and to an interview by the branch chairman and RO – or similar.
Such a vote would decide the future direction of the party. It would be democratic, but regrettably, would almost certainly result in the party entering yet another self-inflicted and avoidable spiral towards self-destruction.
Yaxley-Lennon regularly expresses regret, but actions speak louder than words. His subsequent actions rarely reflect regret. Surely this would be enough to refuse any application he may make to join UKIP, even if the blanket ban on former BNP and EDL members were to be lifted.
The process of deciding whether to allow Yaxley-Lennon to join might easily be the straw that breaks the UKIP camel’s back. We must work to make sure that our camel has a strong back and leads our caravan across the desert to the oasis that is freedom from the European Union. The European Union battle has been won, but the war is still raging, with the ‘dragon’ recuperated and prowling round the garden of number ten, awaiting his opportunity.
We need to focus on the reason why the party was created. We should not allow the Yaxley-Lennon controversy to get in the way of our constitutional objective. As responsible members, we should not create a scenario that may cause yet another split and a wholly avoidable, spiral towards self-destruction.
- Gerard Batten has worked hard to get UKIP back on track.
- Gerard steadied the ship. He rallied members to vastly improve the party’s financial stability.
- Membership and income, has risen.
- Popularity in the polls, following ‘Chequers’ has improved.
- We are on the cusp of a revival.
- We have a task to work for. The one the party was created for. To ensure a real and meaningful ‘Brexit’.
The Conservatives are failing us with their leadership’s deliberate ‘divide and rule’ prevarication policy. The Labour Party are in disarray with no clear sense of direction on anything much at all.
Yes, there are problems with
- seismic changes to our way of life.
- child abuse from grooming gangs.
- housing and welfare benefits being paid to low earning immigrants who drive wages down at the lower end to the detriment of the British workforce and to the great benefit of many huge international companies who pay minimal tax into the UK economy.
- much more.
UKIP is in danger of morphing into a marginal pressure group, with different primary objectives from those set out in the constitution. Our poll ratings have demonstrably risen and fallen in in direct correlation with the BREXIT position – when BREXIT is going badly, our poll rises – viz ‘Chequers’. When Paul Nuttall mentioned ‘Burqas’, it plummeted.
The time is ripe for UKIP to stand up, to take the lead. We should not be deviated from this by a fixation on one man. Let’s work for ‘BREXIT’. Let’s work towards proportional representation. Then, as a mature party, let’s work for a Greater Britain. Such focus is the only way that will give us back control over our own destiny.