Possibly overheard in a pub in Stoke-on-Trent a couple of weeks ago: “What has UKIP ever done for us?” asked the barman. “Well,” replied an old chap on the stool, “they gave us Nigel Farage”. “Well, yes,” said the barman. “OK, apart from Nigel, what has UKIP ever done for us?” “Got us out of the European Union,” said the old chap. “OK, apart from Nigel and the referendum, what has UKIP ever done for us?” asked the barman; silence then descended on the conversation.
Clearly, it’s a parody from the scene in the film ‘Life of Brian’ which went on about ‘what have the Romans ever done for us’, a brilliantly scripted moment where the Romans had indeed done many things.
Having campaigned in Stoke and Copeland in the weeks prior to the by-election, as an activist I was told a few times when knocking on doors that UKIP had done their job and got us out of the EU; thanks for that they said and typically closed the door.
My point is, and I am not alone with this comment, what do we stand for? I attend branch meetings which sadly are more of a social event than a politically motivated gathering as broadly we have nothing to discuss or debate.
Stoke was Labour’s to lose. UKIP could have put up an anonymous candidate and put out leaflets that ‘bashed’ Labour and probably walked it, but we chose to go another route. Anyway, let’s focus on the future.
We are a binary party: our policies should be yes or no, agree or disagree, support something or don’t support it; divisive perhaps but simple to understand. We should now develop a direction so people can relate to something and recognise an issue and openly debate it in public or on Facebook. The turnout at the referendum is a tribute to the issues raised by UKIP which galvanised the British population.
With our comprehensive 2015 election manifesto, which was fully audited and funded, along with our main party speakers on TV, we demonstrate a capability comparable to any mainstream party, but sadly we are not. I engage with voters who in the main don’t relate to a fully funded manifesto; they want a straightforward reason to support UKIP.
Anyway, I am just a cog in the wheel who has a view and puts forward an alternative manifesto:
- End overseas aid and replace it with a disaster fund which will be used to help people anywhere in the world following a national catastrophe, saves us £15 Bn a year by 2020.
- Review the Barnett Formula and share the £4 Bn a year windfall fairly between England, Wales and Scotland.
- Bring in a VISA style immigration policy, not the Australian one, which recognises historic systems already in place in this country pre-2004 for seasonal workers (SAWS) and the Youth Mobility scheme.
- Scrap the reductions in Corporation tax and reinstate them, but rather scrap the Apprentice Levy which is real Burden on industry.
- Scrap Hs2 and invest in infrastructure in the North of England and the South West and Wales. A dual carriageway to Whitehaven would be a start (some of you know what I am talking about).
- End the internal market in the NHS, target 10,000 redundancies for administrators and managers in the service.
- Bring back State Enrolled Nurses training immediately. On the job training and with no student loans to worry about.
- End the House of Lords in its current format. Not another elected chamber but a fixed term of 10 years in the chamber and halve the daily allowance to £150.
- Replace Trident with nuclear weapons on the aircraft flying off the two new aircraft carriers supported by a land based delivery systems as well, saves £4 Bn a year.
- Scrap the bedroom tax.
- Replace the idea of Grammar schools with outstanding academies being allowed to introduce an element of selective testing for 25% of their intake always conscious that the SEN children not being disadvantaged.
- Lower the school leaving age back to 16 and develop a more comprehensive apprentice training system in the UK.
- Merge some of the county constabularies with the savings used to create more PCSOs and tackle crime in the community. Test outcome as a future way forward for other police forces.
- Replace Police and Crime commissioners with Health and Social Care commissioners.
- Replace the outdated Parliamentary election system, and bring in an end to first past the post.
- Integrate the Southern Rail Franchise into the TFL network.
- Support FISHING FOR LEAVE, let’s become a great fishing nation again.
Clearly, I could go on but hopefully fellow UKIP supporters understand in which direction, where the party might go. It’s better to have a policy discussed than watch our UKIP ‘spokespeople’ on TV having to apologise or deny statements and comments in the press. Time to move on!