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Diane James for Leader – Q&A

Diane James with Nigel Farage

Well, there’s nothing quite as democratic as sparking a fine debate, and my Part 1 certainly achieved that. I will not attempt to reply to each and every comment, but will say the following.

I am not on Diane James campaign team. Frankly, of late, my involvement in UKIP has been minimal because of both personal circumstances and my disgust at all the squabbling. I went to Diane’s presentation because it was at a convenient date/time, in a convenient location and I had always been impressed by Diane’s performances before when I had seen her “live” and in shows like Question Time. She is not a personal friend but I have met and talked with her several times, and have always found her polite, courteous, well-informed and persuasive. That’s my personal opinion, and no longer being the Editor-in-Chief of UKIP Daily, I have the freedom to express those opinions, right or wrong.

My report was written from a combination of memory, a few scrawled notes and it was my record of what I heard – I cannot guarantee absolutely that the words Diane spoke I reported precisely. And, yes, I’m biased in support of her, I said so. Any complaints anyone has about Diane or her website, I would suggest you address them to her, not me, but I do agree that something needs to be done about the sound quality of the Eastleigh event video and to erase the music.

Before my report on the Q+A session I will say it was unscripted, the questions were random from the floor, none seemed to be primed, and my own question certainly wasn’t! To avoid being too long, I will not report on ALL the questions, but I believe I have captured over 80% of them.

Q – A gentleman from the Oldham branch raised the question of postal vote rigging.

A – Diane felt that the whole establishment had tried to suppress the issue of postal vote fraud, even some people within UKIP. One of her plans was to form a Shadow Cabinet and one member would be responsible for Elections – taking the fight on postal vote fraud to the government, ensuring that we had a candidate standing for every election at every level, and thereby scrutinising every single count. She wanted UKIP to have many more MPs to raise the issue of voting reform in the House of Commons.

Q – How do you plan to target Corbyn’s Labour?

A – Many of Corbyn’s close supporters, such as those who have joined for £3, are young. But there are many people who vote Labour who have not woken up to the fact that Labour no longer represents them. Addressing the youth vote was important as well, younger people tended towards Labour and she wanted to see Young Independence strengthened and developed.

Q – One gentleman did accuse Diane of being “part of the problem” of the infighting, a point made by some of the commenters on Part 1. (My feeling on the night was that a majority in the room were hostile to the question. There was another question on the infighting from someone else too.)

A – Her answer was short, that to gain electoral success one could not have factions within the party publicly feuding with each other. She did not want to be part of that: she wanted to unify the party.  She also was appalled that behaviour of some senior members which would get grassroots members suspended was tolerated.

Q – There was a question on regional administration.

A – While some regions are better run than others, Diane wants to see best practice shared and some more responsibility given to the regions to lessen the pressure on the governing body (that, I know from what NEC members have said to me, spends far too much time discussing purely local matters and not addressing the strategic issues). She also said she wanted to see more support to branches, more grassroots people having opportunities in the party. On seeing Jack Duffin (all the way from Thurrock) in the audience she drew reference to the superb work carried out in Thurrock, led by Tim Aker as an example of good Branch practice.

Q – One chap complimented Diane on her TV appearances under interview, but felt she was always on the defensive and asked when she was going onto the attack against hostile interviewers?

A – Her response was simply “See my last interview with Andrew Neil

Q – My question (as an IS/IT Professional) was about how important effective Information Systems were nowadays to manage the party internally, to help win elections and project it externally.

A – Her answer was that one of her Shadow Cabinet members would be responsible for Information Systems. And each Cabinet member would be encouraged to have professional people supporting them in their portfolio and I received an invitation to submit my CV to that person when (there’s confidence for you!) they are appointed.

Q – Would Diane do anything about UKIP Brand Management?

A – Her answer was based on the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra. She had no evidence of any pressing need to retain the current party name and logo or change them, so it would need be a matter for further evidence-based consideration.

Q – One gentleman asked if there would be a Christian manifesto. There was another question on Sharia Law and FGM.

A – Diane’s answer was that religion is a difficult topic. She would not support any divisive measures to restrain any one particular faith, although she would expect all faiths to abide by the law of land. While she was not a practising Christian, she believed in Christian values and accepted the Queen’s role as Head of the Church of England.

Q – There was a question on the environment.

A – She observed that the Green Party had tried to grab the initiative here, but felt UKIP should have a well-rounded manifesto that would include environmental issues like energy policy, replacing (or not) EU environmental grants, water supplies and minimising the building on greenfield sites.

Q – Someone asked about financing

A – Her view was that people back winners. She wanted to create an attractive party that did not repel large donors and to reach a point where all members could wear their UKIP badge with pride. She also wanted to see a Finance Director with professional qualifications whose approach would be beyond reproach.

Q – There was a question on her proposal for an EGM and another on why she felt the party organisation needed changing.

A – She said the primary objective would be to consider the problems of the outdated party constitution, and consequently the structure of the governing body and roles. In terms of why, she said that compared to other parties, she wanted to see the shackles on the leader loosened, as there had been too many examples of the NEC holding up the party’s progress. She wanted to have an examination of the way the whole system worked; to redraft the constitution; to avoid the NEC deliberating on branch disputes, and to have a governing body that held the party to account. Coupled with that, a system that provided the infrastructure and appropriately skilled individuals to gain electoral success; 1st places not 2nd places.

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Brian Otridge
About Brian Otridge (140 Articles)
Brian Otridge was Editor-in-Chief of UKIP Daily for 2 years till March 2016. He has been an aircraft engineer, currently works in the IT Industry and also enjoys writing on a wide variety of subjects. He was the UKIP Parliamentary Candidate for Southend West in Essex in 2015, but now lives in Lancashire

12 Comments on Diane James for Leader – Q&A

  1. I am concerned at reports in the tabloids that Diane says “she would not share a platform with Donald Trump”.

    To me, this comment suggests a fundamental lack of judgment. Either she is following the Establishment line – a VERY worrying course for the front-running candidate for leader of the only UK anti-Establishment party – or just taking a cheap shot at Nigel Farage.

    All she needed to say, and all she SHOULD have said, is that, as a candidate for leader of third largest UK party, it would be wrong for her to express an opinion on a foreign election; and she would be happy to work with the winner, whoever that might be.

    Could Diane please explain the reason for this wholly unnecessary and gratuitous comment?

    • I’ll ask her this question at her appearance on 8th September in the Metro Centre, Newcastle. This venue was added to her original list of roadshow sessions, perhaps after complaints (mine was certainly one of them) that she had omitted the North East entirely.
      Perhaps Diane meant that she would not support Trump before the outcome of the election for POTUS. But it’s daft to say anything negative about a potential future world leader if you want to be involved in politics at the highest level. Doesn’t she know any better than Cameron?

    • The Sunday and Daily Express have alway’s been hostile to UKIP, even throughout the Brexit campaign, which they supported. As a 100% supporter of the Conservative party, it is natural they attack UKIP’s most capable, potential next leader, even recycling previously printed, past quotes as slurs. I notice none of the other four UKIP candidates where asked to comment on their positions, Diane is receiving this attention and coverage alone. I wonder why?

  2. Diane Martine James fits the bill and is an excellent competitor to run against Teresa May. All the Conservative claims against BRexit failed to materialise. She can list these one by one during debate.
    May has only a parliamentary majority of 17 and is desperately looking for an excuse for a General Election. This election will at least give us a fighting chance of holding the balance of power in the next Government. If major splits occur in the other camps, with better press reports for the Independence Party then the position of being the largest opposition party is not beyond our reach.

  3. What UKIP’s leadership race needs is an adversarial debate between the candidates recorded & televised via Youtube on its official channel & website, to give the wider membership a clearer idea about who & what these candidates are.

    • We will have to agree to disagree, I saw the last hustings in Westminster tonight, and thought all four candidates had good individual idea’s, strong, but distinctly different personalities and area’s of expertise.
      I attended the Gravesend meeting and have seen Diane speak twice before, I still believe Diane is the most rounded of the candidates, and her proposals for reform more practicable and more intelligently thought out.

  4. Ms James hasn’t got the mind for the job, she’s personally arrogantly unpleasant & can be unprofessional with it, & she has nothing in common & likely no ability to appeal to the working class voters in the Midlands & North that UKIP has to appeal to if it wants to replace Labour as the radical party in England’s politics.

    Elizabeth Jones looks increasingly plausible to me, from an admittedly poor list of candidates.

    • I disagree with the substance of the personal attack by AJAX, she spoke and engaged for over two hours with a UKIP audience in Gravesend, the written questions submitted beforehand were used as topics, open to questions from the audience, with back and forth discussions between audience, questioner and Diane, until the topics had been fully covered, she had no personal criticism for any other candidates or their supporters, she was firm with her idea’s and choices and genuinely interested in those who had different views, most there were chairpersons or counsellor’s and had strong willed opinions, not the sycophantic fans, I have heard only attend her meetings. Her idea’s for the North and South regions to have an equal and direct representation, was in my opinion, an excellent one, and would help UKIP gain a united support across the whole of Britain.

      • @Steven Attwood, I know of which I speak & I stand by the contents of my first post. Ms James is quite capable at public speaking – which I believe she’s taken professional instruction in (?) – and may have sounded convincing & plausible on that basis, but in the other regards I detail she is lacking, & would be I suspect a dead-end for UKIP as a leader, possibly terminally so at this major cross-roads in its development.

  5. I agree. Thanks for taking the trouble. Party structure desperately needs overhaul. Good enough fo me.

  6. Thank you, Brian, for taking the time to write these pieces in support of Diane James.
    My view is that we need a safe, credible pair of hands at this juncture and, for me, Diane fits the bill. That’s no disrespect to the other candidates: we’re a broad church and they will all have a role to play.
    Incidentally, Joe Corals, Mssr Ladbrokes and co. qoute James at 2/7 and Duffy’s next at 8/1. Woofe is next at 10s and the rest out to 33s.
    The bookies have been wrong in the past but here we have as good a “sure thing” as you can get.
    My point is that we should be pragmatically gearing up for a James succession and collectively focus on Article 50 implementation and making sure we get the best deal post-Brexit.

    • Absolutely! My view too. And it gets more pressing by the day. Newsnight last night, Sorrel saying that with any luck nothing would be done for at least 2 years, then it would take (I think he mentioned 10 years ( but I was shouting at the TV by then so might be wrong) to get agreements then another referendum on if…..blah blah….this view is now being widely touted. Add That Welsh Labour chap offering another referendum and we need to be out there shouting.
      In my view Brexit is slipping away – so no matter how many opposing views about party structure/best leader etc. the membership hold we must unite behind the winner to achieve what we all agree on, which is delivering Brexit.

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