My ballot paper has arrived. I have to say my ideal candidate is not listed. But then, are they ever ?
I did once get to vote for my ideal candidate – and he actually won! It was a certain Mr Leave and he was up against just one other candidate – a certain Madame Remain (she was married to a Frenchman …) A right little Madame she was too – thought she had some God given Right to win … Nasty little tussle, especially as the lady loser was the winner’s daughter. They’re still not speaking!
Back to our Leadership candidates. Judging from the backers and the media there are two front runners: Lisa Duffy and Diane James.
Both have demonstrated their commitment to UKIP, both can boast significant achievements for the Party and both can acquit themselves well in the media. Both have experience that will stand them in good stead if elected Leader. Both recognise the need for internal party reform and for a change from the culture and approach of the Farage-Crowther era.
Being women is a plus. We need rid of the flashy Peacock syndrome; the sincere sobriety of the Peahen is very much in order at this stage.
Whoever is elected will need to grow into the role and give themselves time to adjust – it is a very unique role and phenomenal pressures go with it.
May the best person win !
But I do have one or two serious concerns.
Candidates have majored on particular policies and on structural reform. They are focused on the nuts and bolts – the mechanics – of electioneering.
Personally, I am looking for the fundamental awareness of where we are as a Party – historically and philosophically.
Where do we go now as a Party in the post Brexit world?
What do we stand for?
What is the Vision?
Answers to these questions are given on the pages of this blog. Is it too much to ask candidates for Leader of the electorally third most important national Party in the UK to have answers to this, too?
The lack of gravitas is indicated in things like the use of PC language, and the willingness to adopt on-line voting without serious consideration.
It is indicated in the talk of Regions as per the Euro election regions. Does Brexit really mean Brexit inside UKIP?
And it is indicated in the button pressing conception of not only preserving the NHS, but of pouring more money down that particular drain in complete defiance of our Statutorily and Constitutionally declared position as a Party for reducing the State and reducing taxation, and promoting greater personal responsibility as well as in complete defiance of the financial realities facing this country – accumulated debt at £1.6 Trillion and rising …
UKIP has before it a life and death moment. If we don’t become a publicly recognised relevance in British politics, UKIP will die. Mrs May only has to deliver Brexit for her to achieve David Cameron’s strategy of killing UKIP once and for all. The Tory Remainers lost the Referendum, but they won’t give up the consolation prize – killing us off.
The next Leader has a twofold strategic challenge:
- to position UKIP in the consciousness of the UK electorate as a relevant alternative in the post Brexit world – that will require doctrinal substance, not spin;
- to radically transform the Party machine and culture to achieve this.
Challenge 2 is contingent on 1.
Challenge 2 in place of 1 will totally miss the point and will miss the desperate need for a liberal/libertarian Party on the right of UK politics. There is a gaping hole – it needs to be seen, and it needs to be filled.
Pale imitations of what is already out there are a recipe for disaster. But will the new Leader see it, let alone act to solve it ?
[Ed: The above article was first published at the author’s website and is republished here with his kind permission.]