The results are in. One seat gained, one held, the rest: lost.
Meanwhile, Suzanne Evans in an ITV interview on Friday said that UKIP ain’t finished:
“So no we’re not finished. I think we expected this. We have achieved our reason for being, we are headed out of the European Union.People have seen us as a single issue party, that’s not true, but that’s how people have seen us. So I think there is a sense out there that our job is done but it absolutely isn’t.”
Lisa Duffy is reported to have said that UKIP was still relevant after that wipe-out:
“I won’t use the word disaster, I use the word challenging.”
Paul Nuttall, in his letter to members, emailed on Friday, wrote;
“If the price of Britain leaving the EU is a Tory advance after taking up this patriotic cause then it is a price UKIP is prepared to pay.”
He goes on to point out that politics is a ‘long game’, as did Nigel Farage. Yes indeed, who knows better than UKIP members that this is the truth. But ….!
But anyone running a business or a project knows that without proper, cold and clear analysis of why things went wrong it’s impossible to avoid making the same mistakes over and over and over again.
Since June 23rd and Nigel Farage’s resigning as leader, UKIP has been in disarray: fact. It is now irrelevant to recapitulate how, why and wherefore this happened – it’s a fact and anybody who has been doorstepping during the local elections has been told over and over by voters that UKIP has no proper leaders, that UKIP has lost the plot.
We’ve lost every by-election, the worst having been Stoke: fact. There’s no need for yet another post-mortem, but let me ask just this: has our leadership, has the team selected by Paul Nuttall learned anything from it? The results of Thursday’s local elections, the remarks by our ‘leaders’ would indicate that no, they haven’t.
It starts with the question of manifestos. Candidates, branches, must represent UKIP policies and not go off-piste. I don’t know how many local branches were left to do their own thing as best they could for their local campaign – that’s ‘leadership’ …?
It goes on with the prediction by branches and members who were standing in the local elections that there would be a bloodbath, after Stoke. Ms Evans’ remark above indicates that the Leadership knew that as well – but what have they done to avert it? Can anyone tell us, please?
Cast your minds back: Stoke took place in February. The Local Elections took place on May 4th. Sufficient time, one would have thought, for the Leadership to have come up with something to avert this wipe-out they knew was coming. Don’t forget that Ms May called the snap general election only two weeks before the local elections – so no excuses that the leaders had to work on a manifesto which has, btw, still not materialised.
Please, someone tell us what our leaders were up to during these months? I’ve heard rumours that they were working hard on ‘re-branding’ UKIP, with new logos and all … not that we members have even seen any proposals, never mind being told why this was deemed to be necessary.
Then the never-ending complaint that UKIP has no money. No indeed, that’s why nearly £100,000 were spent on Stoke. One would have liked to know if there was even the attempt of auditing the Stoke expenses, in a simple cost-benefit exercise.
And that, dear readers, brings us to the main point: the members. There are two aspects. One is that, yet again and in spite of the numerous complaints and proposals from members to the leadership, from offering help, from offering proposals on policies, from attending the meetings in Derby in February about finding talent etc – there is no communication! What, for example, did those meetings achieve? We have no idea! We don’t know! It’s as if we members shout into a black hole and nothing ever comes back.
Again, we’re told, it’s because UKIP has no money and no staff. Well, members have shown again and again that they are willing to volunteer. The whole local elections were financed mostly by the local branches, were they not? UKIP did not have money to spend on incessant leafleting as e.g. the LibDems (see this letter). And this is how we’re supposed to fight the GE?
Confusion reigns supreme, it would seem. First branches were told to field candidates in all constituencies. Then, after some debate, members said that it was unreasonable to field candidates against proper Brexiteers. Now, after polls showed that UKIP nationally stands at 4%, we’re told that basically, letting Tory candidates win is a price we have to pay (see Paul Nuttall’s quote above).
In conclusion: our leadership is working hard to put a brave face on our losses, to spin and to calm members by preparing them for the coming inevitable losses in the GE. Not one word of self criticism.
How is it possible that the polling data have sunk so low, from 17% and more in 2015, from winning Brexit, to 4% at best? No answer.
How is it possible that some ‘big donors’ can talk down members as having produced a ‘car crash’ without having done anything at all to help to prevent it! Where was the input of those shouting for ‘Direct Democracy’? Wouldn’t this local election have been a wonderful showcase of their prowess?
I can assure the Leadership, inside HQ and free floating like Mr Banks: in large numbers, members feel hurt, betrayed, disdained – and fed up. Criticising members who do their utmost, or patting us on the head and giving us pablum, is not cutting it any longer!
If the Leadership is incapable of leading, in spite of all the help members offered, then there’s only one conclusion to be drawn, isn’t there …