UKIP is at a critical juncture. We all know that. But the question is how to respond for the best.
All sorts of proposals are coming forth. Some are relying on a new leader. Some think policy is the way ahead. Others suggest we need to find a new issue to campaign on.
Then there are the constant challenges which always take up our time and attention – the mechanics of branch life and the latest upset in the party. Just now we have elections for both leader and NEC in the offing.
It all so easy to miss the essentials and fail to do the proper groundwork needed at a time like this.
Getting a new leader to rally the troops is just a first step. I suspect Paul Nuttall will be elected as the person best placed by experience, outlook and judgement to do this.
But then what?
The post Brexit world requires a post Brexit UKIP, and it will take more than a new leader to achieve that. It will take a common appreciation of what we need to do. And what we need to do is:
- Take a good hard look in the mirror at what and where we actually are;
- Determine what and where we should be, and go for it.
Now many are thinking we just need to go for the disaffected Labour vote. Let’s rally round the new leader and do it. With respect, that is just too superficial and fails to address the issues which have caused us to become almost irrelevant post June 23rd.
Yes, yes I know all about holding the Government to account over the terms and achievement of Brexit. Deadline Spring 2019 – then what?
We should have been in a dominant position to sideline Labour – but we are not. We should have a membership in six figures; we should have MSPs; we should have thousands of local councillors. We should have a team of MPs at Westminster.
We don’t have any of this. Reason: the party has been run with the wrong priorities, and the wrong priorities were the result of the wrong mentality and the wrong procedures.
The party has been run on crony lines for self interest. It has not been run as a democratic party going all out for its cause. Cronyism and self interest have attracted the wrong sort of person at the top – and that has led to scandal, time and time again. Cronyism led to the displacement of viable and known candidates in target seats at the 2015 GE. The result of national scandal and the over-ruling of local branch candidate selection was the reduction to just one MP – and his majority was slashed by two-thirds.
The vote was patently there – it was completely mishandled by people obsessed with spin in place of substance. That is why we have a leadership which cannot answer the question of our identity and what we stand for post Brexit.
So we need to root out cronyism and radically reform the authoritarian constitutional procedures by which these people have maintained themselves in power. Tomaz Slivnik’s resignation statement gives us all the evidence we need as to what actually happens at the top and why we are failing. We need to abolish the post of a dictatorial national chairman and disperse the chairman’s powers. We need to directly elect all the top officers every two years to make them constantly accountable. Right now they are appointments we know nothing about and which are used to bolster the chairman’s dictatorship. By the way, just where has our Party secretary, Matthew Richardson, been for the last nine months?
In fact we need a radically new constitution along the lines suggested by the campaign I run which blogs at therightwaycampaign
That constitutional proposal identifies exactly what we should stand for. This is crucial. To become a fully fledged political party is more than setting down a range of policies in a manifesto. It is to stand for one clear fundamental idea to which all can relate, readily. We all know what Labour stands for (or should), or the Conservatives or the Greens, or the SNP. There is one simple concept at the core of what they are and everybody can see it. And that core concept determines the development of policy. Policy must be consistent with core belief.
The only core concept the electorate sees about UKIP is that the Party is anti-EU.
Being anti on a single issue is the stuff of protest politics, otherwise called a campaign. Once the matter protested over is resolved, you pack your bags and go home. It’s all over. The campaign ceases to exist.
I submit that UKIP does not need to cease to exist or have relevance. I submit that UKIP is a proper political party which can and will respond to the challenges of the future – and I detail this at therightwaycampaign
It does not need to change its name, and it does not need to be groping about for a reason to exist. It has a core, identifiable and critically relevant idea and identity expressed in the one word: INDEPENDENCE.
When I voted to Leave the EU I was not just voting to get out of a discredited and undemocratic organisation. I was voting for something. I was voting for a free and self reliant United Kingdom. I was voting for INDEPENDENCE.
I was voting for my country to run its own affairs, I was voting for my country to be self sufficient and responsible. I was voting for our Parliament to be accountable – directly accountable – to us as tax payers for what it spends our money on. I was voting for democracy and the principle that government must act for the people, and do what the people want – not what the bureaucrats want, or the self righteous minority called the PC brigade want, but what ordinary, everyday people with normal everyday concerns and freedoms want.
And that is what I want from UKIP.