The leadership contest is drawing to a close. I know there are still a couple of hustings to go in September, but there’s never been much point in campaigning after people have voted so, apart from the few who will attend and who may delay their vote, the contest will effectively be done and dusted well before the first speakers rise to their feet.

A testament to UKIP organisation, which has not disappointed, once again.

Many years ago, when I was deep into critical path analysis, we had a sense of the order in which things had to be done. In an election, I’m pretty sure that would go something like:

  1. Campaign
  2. Send out ballot papers.
  3. Count votes

In betwixt we had the, will we, won’t we, in terms of the voting system. Now, I know that we’ve ended up in the ludicrous situation of 10 candidates on the ballot paper for a FPTP vote (not mentioning that it is the system we’ve always campaigned against), which means that the eventual winner may not have much of a mandate, but come on, nobody could have foreseen that. Oh, hang on, we had 91 candidates for the NEC elections in 2016 so, it’s not foresight that’s needed, so much as memory.

Then, if that weren’t enough, the NEC’s decision to allow Anne Marie Waters to stand has been challenged and that challenge withdrawn to avoid an expected legal counter action, that could cripple the party. It’s worth pointing out that the grounds for the initial challenge remain, but despite that, other candidates have lost no time in grabbing some political capital by lauding the victory of democracy. Or, claiming that she should be on the ballot paper despite the reality, that the challenge was withdrawn, not resolved. When the dust settles, let’s hope no malicious outsider feels the need to force a re-run.

It is, of course, the height of stupidity to ban Anne Marie from standing in a general election, in which she had no chance of winning and then allow her to stand in a party leadership contest where the odds are significantly higher. If the NEC felt that she would bring the party into disrepute by standing as a general election candidate, that must surely hold true a hundred times more as party leader. No logic, no sense. And people wonder why we don’t get elected?

As it happens, I think the original decision to prevent her from contesting the General Election was wrong. For two reasons. Firstly, it makes her not of ‘good standing’, (according to the constitution) thereby ‘severely bending’ the two-year rule. Secondly, and more importantly a losing general election result would have brought some sense of reality into this young woman’s mindset, which is convinced that if only we were more rabidly anti-Islamic millions of people would flock to UKIP, and we would be in government in no time. Then again, David Kurten sees us as the government, Peter Whittle has 650 candidates ready and willing to chuck away more money on another GE if it happened this year, or next, so reality isn’t a strong point for most candidates.

The fact that we led the 2017 general election with an anti-Islamic message (Peter Whittle’s idea?), and a half-baked integration agenda (Peter Whittle’s idea?) and that we tanked completely with only 40 candidates saving their deposit, is conveniently overlooked. Anne Marie, though, doesn’t do criticism, of any sort so watch out if you aren’t an adoring admirer. Oh, by the way Peter Whittle is a leadership candidate also, how nice. At least with Peter you know which way the party will go.

So, we’re left with a rag-bag of contestants, half of whom have no chance at all, yet still pollute the ballot paper, and nine of whom will lose, barring a draw. I don’t think we have a process to resolve a draw, but that is par for the course. It simply wouldn’t be UKIP without some other ‘unforeseen’ disaster about to crash down upon us.

Anyway, I’ve been invited to submit some questions for the Gillingham hustings (below). I’ve been asked to choose one, but won’t tell you which. I’ve no problem with the candidates polishing a reply which I’m sure would be welcome on this forum also.

 

To Anne Marie Waters.

You have made it abundantly clear that you support internment as a tool to use against some in the Muslim Community:

What circumstances would need to prevail for an internee to be released, or is it permanent incarceration?

What level of evidence would be needed to intern someone and would that be subject to any independent scrutiny or judicial oversight?

 

To Ben Walker.

Your leadership manifesto included, the effective halving of Income tax, a reduction of corporation tax to 10% and a slashing of business rates, though I note they have since been modified, and a new commitment to abolish VAT has appeared. The projection for 2016/17 is that vat will raise £120bn so abolishing it would cost that much.

How would you fund that? How many hospitals and schools would you close to achieve this and why do you think that’s a vote winner?

 

To David Kurten

In a previous hustings presentation you suggested that you would ‘put your own people’ on the NEC. Is that not a move away from democratic engagement and how would you accomplish this without amending the constitution?

 

To Peter Whittle.

You are contesting this leadership election as the current Deputy Leader.

Should you not have stood down from your privileged access to party information and membership lists, and does presenting yourself as the current deputy leader give you an unfair advantage?

 

To John Rees Evans

Recent posts on your behalf have suggested that you would support AMW being on the ballot paper even if that were contrary to the party rules.

Were you to be elected, would you overlook inconvenient rules again if it suited your agenda? How can we be certain that you will honour the constitution when you have a) already misrepresented the outcome of this challenge, and b) apparently prejudged it also.

 

With the exception of Henry Bolton, the clearly outstanding candidate, others have said very little of note, which in itself rather sums it all up.

 

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