The three leadership candidates have sent responses to questions posed to them by Young Independence, the youth wing of the party, and UKIP Daily has been given permission to reproduce them.
Q. How do I see the role of YI moving forward under my leadership, and what do I propose to do attract more young people to UKIP?
A. As I travel throughout the country I see so many talented, highly dedicated, motivated young people who clearly love their country and want to be of service, but who feel that they have little or no useful role within the current structure of UKIP which, frankly, makes virtually no effort to harness the tremendous power of the Internet and media to promote our message and attract people to our organisation.
If I am elected as leader, I will immediately begin the process of creating UKIP’s own internal media organisation, that will be equipped to generate our own international production quality, highly compelling output, and which will largely negate the need to rely on cooperation from the mainstream media when communicating our party’s vision. We should never have to pander to the mainstream media or allow them to emasculate our message, by filtering out whatever doesn’t serve the Establishment’s agenda. If we do this, we will quickly become indistinguishable from the other parties
and will be rendered a political irrelevance.
I will therefore prioritise building a highly organised social media network of UKIP volunteers that leverages all of the power of all available social media channels; word, video and graphic / imagebased. And I will use these channels to begin immediately campaigning towards the next General Election, and drawing in support, whether that is to happen in May 2017, or in 2020.
While we will continue to draw on the benefits of oldschool campaigning techniques at which so many of our more senior members are so adept, I believe it is a huge mistake to ignore what I see as the incredible power of the Internet.
My plans both for the total democratisation of UKIP, and for leveraging Internet-based tools to expand our reach will rely heavily on the young people within the party. For this reason, if I become the leader, I hereby call upon Young Independence to approach me, to meet with me and brainstorm together how best the obvious skills and knowledge and experience of so many talented young people in YI can best be exploited to take the fight to the enemy and initiate a relentless campaign that pervades everywhere that we are not currently reaching as a party.
I hope that YI’ers will make themselves available to be trained in filming, video editing, effective social media use, as well as developing their ability in public speaking, presentation and debating. All who have the drive to achieve and the genuine desire to serve will be welcomed warmly and either trained and developed, or where they already have skills that could be used to help train others will be asked to serve on the mobile training teams that I will create, which will be tasked with travelling throughout the country, either physically, or by means of tools which allow remote control and passing on their skills to gifted candidates throughout Britain who may have a great deal to offer, but who concede that they may be weak on website design and maintenance, video presentation, and social media management elements that should be understood to be essential if we are going to start making the gains that I envisage, and broadening our appeal, without compromise to our core values.
Once we have a highly organised and comprehensively strategised system of engagement in place, and once it becomes clear to our young people that we will no longer be ignoring them until we need them to deliver leaflets for us, once it becomes clear that we respect and appreciate that they are our party’s future and they have an incredible amount that they could be contributing right now, once they see evidence that their contributions are having a real impact in amplifying our reach and challenging the world view of those who have been dripped by mainstream media propaganda for far too long, I have absolutely no doubt that we will see a completely unprecedented surge in growth of our membership amongst the young. Young people for the first time will kow that their voice and their views are respected and will be employed effectively in our cause. And when they know this, they will come onboard en masse. Just watch and see…
Attracting younger voters, supporters and members to our party is essential if we’re going to run successful election campaigns and become a vibrant, diverse, energised party full of talented people of all ages and from all walks of life. As YI can have a huge role in helping achieve this, I’m very keen for you to have a much more central and responsible role within our party.
In acting as UKIP’s ‘Youth Ambassador,’ YI can be at the forefront of helping to broaden our appeal. By taking our message into schools, colleges and universities, YI will be a positive force spotlighting our strengths as the radical, common sense and credible alternative to both Labour and the Tories.
I also see YI becoming the ‘engine’ of our party when it comes to campaigning, not just on the ground at election time but online throughout the year too.
As leader of UKIP, I will give YI all the support it needs to develop as a responsible, respectful and democratic organisation that can take its rightful place at the heart of UKIP. Ultimately, I would like to see YI represented on our NEC; given a regular slot at party conference; and its own column in Independence magazine. Then the wider membership can see what good work YI is doing.
I will of course continue to support you by attending YI conferences. It has always been a pleasure to speak at YI events and I will be delighted to continue to do so as leader.
I very much look forward to working with YI as leader of UKIP.
I was one of the founders of UKIP’s youth wing. Indeed, I was its first secretary a decade ago. Under my chairmanship of the party, our youth wing flourished and grew. I would like to see the Young Independence of today grow and prosper.
I have witnessed the positive aspects of Young Independence in Oldham and other by elections over the years. The commitment, the canvassing and leafleting have been first class. I envisage that this will continue, starting in Sleaford. Promoting the party online, via social media activity, is also a positive.
However, like many within the party I have been increasingly alarmed by the online vitriol, especially towards our own people. The time has come when we must be united. There will be a zero tolerance towards online abuse and social media bullying if I am elected. It will result in immediate suspension followed by a swift expulsion from the party. The days of being abusive online to fellow party members or elected officials without any sanction will be over.
If elected, I will be overseeing a restructuring of the party machine. I expect Young Independence to play a pivotal role in that. I envisage one day that Young Independence will have a seat on the National Executive Committee and on the political committee. I will support Young Independence conferences, raise money for you and ensure you have prime speaking slots at national and regional conferences. I will make sure that you are promoted within the party so that our membership appreciate the good work you do. However, it needs to be a twoway street. Young Independence needs to be a respectful and responsible organisation for this to happen.
Finally, Peter Whittle who is backing my campaign has agreed to be the direct liaison between Young Independence and the party leadership. This will ensure lines of communication are constantly open and we can move on to bigger and better things as a unified party.