UKIP and UKIP alone brought about the historic Referendum, and UKIP, despite all the odds, was predominantly responsible for achieving the historic result. UKIP achieved the most remarkable political victory of any small political party in the history of our democracy.
And having done all of that, instead of building on that victory we very quickly set about shooting ourselves in the foot with a double barrelled shotgun. We must now most definitely not reload and set about shooting ourselves in the other foot.
There is not much point in recalling the events of the last two weeks, except to ensure that they are not repeated. UKIP has survived many crises, and we must survive this one, otherwise our achievements will be reversed. Here is what we need to do.
The next leader must be someone who actually wants to lead the Party, and who has the intelligence and vision to address the big issues facing our nation. The next leader cannot be someone who was recently discussing defecting to another party.
Our current interim leader should refrain for being an apologist for Donald Trump. Mr Trump is an oaf who talks like an oaf. No surprises there. But on a scale of awfulness Mrs Clinton far outclasses him for her genuine rottenness and corruption. It is a pity they both can’t lose. But for sure there are no votes in the UK in apologising for Mr Trump.
It would have been much better if we had appointed a different interim leader to guide us through this difficult period so that Nigel could get on with ‘getting his life back’ which he richly deserves and in which we all wish him well.
UKIP has had a number of refugees from the Conservative Party over the years, some genuine converts who saw the light and repented; others who were Tory rejects who then tried their luck in UKIP. We almost certainly have a number of infiltrators and sleepers in our Party waiting to do us further damage. Any of the old Tories in our ranks who still pine for the Tory party should to go back to them now and leave UKIP to get on with its own businesses.
We have even heard idiotic comments about ‘the new Conservative Party under Theresa May’s leadership’. Theresa May was an enthusiastic enforcer of EU legislation during her six years as Home Secretary, and she was a Remainer during the Referendum campaign. If Remain had won she would now be telling us that it was the right result and in our best interests.
And regarding Brexit, what is Theresa May proposing exactly? Two and a half years of ‘negotiating’ the mythical ‘deal’ before we can leave. Two and a half years more of unlimited, uncontrolled immigration from the EU. Two and a half years of yet more EU laws coming through the EU’s legislative sausage machine.
At the end of that two and half years not a single EU law will have been repealed. Only at that point will Mrs May repeal the European Communities Act – provided she can get it through Parliament of course – and with all EU law still in place.
We have no reason to trust Mrs May. I fear she intends to delay and delay and then fudge the outcome. I fear that what we could end up with will be a version of the ‘Swiss or Norwegian models’ whereby we have to pay financial contributions to the EU, accept a high percentage of EU law, and have open borders. If that happens Brexit will have been pointless and UKIP might well not have bothered.
UKIP has to propose an alternative policy. We should promote the repealing of the European Communities Act as a first step, enacting emergency controls on immigration and border controls, and then repealing or amending the Acts of Parliament that incorporated the many thousands of EU Directives and Regulations into UK law. This policy would put the UK Government in the driving seat of negotiations and not the EU.
I know Mrs May does not want to do it. I know that the House of Commons and the House of Lords don’t want to do it. That is not the point. The point is that UKIP should be saying it and showing the only real way to leave the EU. If both Houses of Parliament want to oppose that then let them precipitate the constitutional crisis that will follow. The worst thing that UKIP can do is to acquiesce in the continued betrayal of our country.
UKIP’s next leader faces an almost impossible challenge. Most importantly, he or she has to win seats in Westminster before we lose our MEPs and their political platform. What we don’t need is the leadership contest padded out with dangerous potential defectors, and delusional egoists and publicity seekers. UKIP branches should think very carefully before agreeing to sign the nomination of leadership candidates.
We are unlikely to find a new leader with Nigel Farage’s skill in the media and debate and with his knowledge of the EU. We can only be amazed at the number of potential candidates unfazed by the prospect of a 365 day of the year job with unbelievable responsibilities, stresses and strains.
Whoever wins, we do need a leader with a clear and radical view of where we need to be heading. There is more than just UKIP’s future at stake.