Given current events, it must now be clear that a gulf exists between the unprincipled self-service in parts of the established parties and UKIP’s public service ethic. Compare the money-grabbing, arrogant and patronising attitude of,and sometimes ludicrous statements from, the likes of Jack Straw (Labour) and Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Conservative),along with their utter rejection of ANY concept of wrongdoing, with the recent good deed done by UKIP’s Bill Etheridge, MEP. When he saw that a problem with rubbish in his area was not going to be dealt with by the local council, he put his hand in his own pocket and paid for the clearance to be done by a private contractor. Whilst councillors in Labour-run North Tyneside have voted themselves a 24% rise, at the same time as imposing cuts, UKIP councillors have voted against, and declined to take, proposed increases on councils where they serve. As the campaign hots up this message needs to be broadcast as widely as possible. UKIP is a party for the people, by the people and very much of the people.
More broadly, I have a real problem with public figures who, having taken a job paid for by the people, supposedly in the service of the people, then profit privately by the contacts and experience they gain for use in later life. An example is the books that are published by notables upon leaving civic life who pocket the frequently considerable proceeds. Were it not for their time in the service of the public, there would likely be no story worthy of the telling. I think it would be entirely reasonable to either ban such benefits for a period of one year or, perhaps more usefully, apply a levy – say 10-15% – on any income generated as a result of being in public service for a period of two years; any money thus raised to be applied to agreed charitable causes rather than be returned to the exchequer, there probably only to be wasted. Only the self-centred would be put off entering politics by this.
The time is long overdue for a fundamental rethink and change of direction in the way we do politics in this country. Only the clarity of an outsider’s approach can take the detached, broad view to be able to identify what is wrong, devise corrective plansand have the courage, in the face of persistent malice and hostility, to seek the authority to make things better. With the people’s permission, I hope UKIP gets that chance.