When UKIP was founded over twenty-four years ago, the people in the room did so with two main objectives: to make UKIP a force in national politics, and to bring about the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The second was dependent on the first. Following the General Election in 2015 we had certainly succeeded in the first objective, and by 23rd June 2016 it looked as though were close to succeeding in the second.
Nineteen months after the Referendum, UKIP has managed the political equivalent of repeatedly shooting itself in the foot with a pump action shotgun. Brexit is actually no closer than it was on 24thJune 2016, and indeed genuine exit from the EU is uncertain to say the least.
Regarding my first point, I have never underestimated the practical difficulties that we have faced. I never unduly criticised the Party or its officers concerning the genuine mistakes and shortcomings that have occurred. We all make mistakes, and over the years I have held my peace on many occasions for the good of the Party and our cause.
However, someone has to say it: some of the decisions made in the last few years and months can only be accounted for by either total incompetence or sabotage. Three recent examples being:
- Deliberately preventing candidates being selected in time to prepare for the 2017 General Election.
- Changing our long-established pound logo.
- Allowing us to be become liable in legal actions that could yet financially ruin the Party. Some of the officers responsible for those decisions are still in place or still exerting influence.
Despite all this (and more) UKIP did indeed become a force in national politics, so much so that we were able to force David Cameron to promise and hold the referendum. It was UKIP that brought about the referendum and UKIP activists’ boots on the ground that won it. It was not just the leadership of Nigel Farage that achieved and won the referendum, but also the incalculable time, effort and money of our activists and members. Those dedicated people have been let down – to say the least.
As I predicted in my book The Road to Freedom (2014) if a referendum were held, if the Leave side won, and if the government chose to leave using Article 50, then we would see a relentless campaign by the Remain side to delay and impede our exit in the hope of eventually overturning the result. This is precisely what has happened since 24th June 2016.
Many of our members, supporters and voters believed, quite wrongly, that we had achieved our reason for existing by the mere fact of winning the referendum, and they drifted away. However, it is now becoming clear to all that Brexit is in danger of not happening, and that a strong UKIP is needed more than ever.
Can UKIP salvage itself, and does it have a future? Our country certainly needs a political party that stands up for the ordinary working person and small business owner. It has been my conviction from UKIP’s beginning that our natural constituency is the patriotic working class. Those people (mostly, but not exclusively) were the people who voted leave in the referendum.
UKIP’s survival is about giving those people a voice. UKIP does not deserve to survive for its own sake but because those people are not represented by the old political parties.
I believe that to rejuvenate itself UKIP needs to continue doing certain things and to do some new things
- To say thank-you and goodbye to those senior officers who have caused so many of the difficulties we currently face.
- To reorganise our Party structure so that the National Executive Committee is not elected on the basis of two-hundred words and a flattering photograph. One idea is for regionally elected activists whose job is to recruit new members, raise funds, and organise elections, and who will be judged on results.
- To continue (as we have done since Paul Nuttall’s leadership) to promote a complete and unencumbered exit from the European Union. No Article 50, no more billions paid to EU, no transition periods and continued open borders. Brexit must mean Exit!
- To ditch the new ‘Lenny the Lion’ logo. Why would an organisation change its brand that has taken so many years to establish? Why confuse our voters at the ballot box? Incompetence or sabotage?
- To continue to argue the case for a strictly controlled and limited immigration system. We must have a commitment to end the age of mass uncontrolled immigration once and for all. We also need policies for housing, benefits, and the NHS that put our own citizens first.
- To promote economic policies that make ordinary working people feel that the economy works for them, not against them by reducing their livings standards in the interests of enriching a global elite. We need policies to address a reindustrialisation of Britain providing jobs for ordinary working people.
- To face up to the threat posed to our way of life by radical Islam. This means a policy of no more mass immigration from Islamic countries and policies to neutralise the influence of Islam; e.g. no more overseas funding of mosques and imams from overseas.
- To speak up against political correctness and cultural Marxism that are undermining all sense and sensibility in public life. We need a dedicated spokesperson on this subject.
- To increase our membership by adopting policies appealing to those who feel disenfranchised and unrepresented by our current political establishment; for example the police, the military, the prison service, the ordinary law-abiding tax-payer, small business owners, and the victims of crime.
- We need to use social media to recruit new members and spread our messages. I am the first to admit I know very little about how to do that but we need people who do.
Some of these things we are already doing but we need to do them all – and more. We cannot hope to beat the political establishment at its own game, or expect the politically correct left-wing media to promote us. If we bend to accommodate them, we will be irrelevant.
One thing we could do to appeal to a wider audience is to change the name of our magazine to ‘UKIP: Plain Truth’. If the British people need one thing, it is that. Our magazine needs more political and policy content to attract a wider audience.
The essential issue is not just the survival of UKIP, but also the survival of the UK itself. Our country is in danger of not leaving the European Union at all; of selling its soul to the interests of global corporations; and of submitting our civilisation to what Winston Churchill called ‘the most regressive force in the world’, namely Islam.
UKIP came into being out of necessity: it filled a political vacuum. It was needed in 1993 and it is needed now. The question is can we reform ourselves to deserve to survive and serve our country?