UKIP – Focusing on Winning and Policy Development After Brexit
By Diane James MEP
The result of the UK’s EU Referendum was not only a world class example of democracy in action but will be seen to be an event that will have great historical ramifications for Britain’s place in the world.
It is within this context that the United Kingdom Independence Party’s next leader must have ambitions for the Party to become Britain’s Official Opposition. In some ways this is easier than many people think. UKIP is not a single issue pressure group nor a transient ‘Movement’. It is a properly constituted political party which had the support of several million people at the last General Election. Of course, leaving the European Union was a key theme for UKIP not least because the EU interfered in almost every aspect of a Briton’s daily life. Under Nigel Farage, UKIP’s manifesto at the last General Election was the most professional of all the major political parties. As UKIP leader my vision is for UKIP to continue to lead with innovative ideas driven by a professional policy team which includes the broader range of the talents that we have in Party nationwide because over the next few years’ policy substance will be seen to win support and elections.
If substantive policy development is a strong card for UKIP, working within the constraints of the real world is our card deck in a bankrupt two-party system where an unfair and undemocratic first-past-the post electoral system is close to bankrupting our country. For this reason UKIP will campaign for Proportional Representation.
Here’s a real world fact that all political parties need to face up to if their policies, ideas and representatives are to be seen as credible: The size of the UK’s national debt has soared under David Cameron, from £1 trillion in May 2010 to £1.61 trillion in May 2016. When expressed as percentage of the UK’s economic growth (GDP), debt has increased from 71.7 per cent in 2010-11 to the current level of 83.7 per cent. All of this debt has been accrued for payment for future generations of at the same time that income inequality in our country is increasing. UKIP will not seek to destroy our country’s future by promising grandiose plans which involve unfunded billions in public expenditure. It will however, ensure that monies freed from paying into a broken EU Federalist project can be re-directed within the UK to benefit enterprising small businesses, working mums and sole traders.
Our policies are predicated on the British Government fully implementing the wishes of the British people as expressed in June’s EU Referendum by 2020. No ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ or ‘maybes’. Not Brexit-lite or ‘Associated EU membership’ status. I shadowed Theresa May for the past two years. Her record in the Home Office is one of broken promises. Missed migration targets, prisons in crisis. She says, “Brexit means Brexit”. I say, “Trust but Verify!” We want to see a global trading, outward looking Britain, outside of the EU. In the years (if not months, if a snap election is called) to come, UKIP must be able to stand Westminster candidates in all parts of the Kingdom but particularly against those sitting MPs who do not support or try to frustrate the will of the British people for Brexit. I will lead UKIP to ensure that we have a laser focus on how the government is implementing its ‘Brexit means Brexit’ promises so that decisions are made in Westminster by accountable politicians and that quality bi-lateral trade deals are negotiated with the dozens of countries around the world who want to increase prosperity with an Enterprising Brexit Britain.
Mrs May must show leadership and make a decision in a clear and straightforward way to invoke Article 50 before the end of 2016. She does not need Parliament’s approval for this. It is quick, decisive and immediately puts the EU on notice that the UK is serious about Brexit. Once Article 50 is invoked we must rapidly probe the EU’s negotiating stance on such things as financial services ‘passporting’ and UK access to the Single market bearing in mind that not paying into the EU budget, controlling our borders and our traditional fishing waters should be red lines in any UK negotiating stance.
UKIP needs a transparent, ambitious, motivated leader who can make the Party a formidable winning machine which can fight elections based on disruptive new constituency boundaries. I am that woman.