The forthcoming general election will be quite unlike any that has taken place in my lifetime. Normal election calculations must be jettisoned, and a new strategy adopted. UKIP has a great opportunity to win seats, particularly from Labour, however this must be regarded as a fortuitous side effect of the campaign, rather than the central core of the campaign purpose.
The Prime Minister is a remarkably astute person, she knows that UKIP cannot reasonably campaign against any sitting Conservative MP (with the possible exception of Ken Clarke assuming he stands again). She knows this, because this is for all intents and purposes a second referendum. Those strategists within UKIP need to rapidly appreciate this reality, and respond to it logically. In any case there are only a few active campaigners per branch, and it normally takes quite a few months to leaflet a constituency. There is simply not the manpower to campaign in every constituency in the few weeks available. Get real please!
In normal circumstances I would not suggest UKIP co-operating with the Conservatives, however these are not normal times. The primary task of UKIP must be to ensure we have as smooth a transition to Brexit as possible, and that our negotiators have the strongest hand at the negotiating table. The Prime Minister needs our support in this task at this time. For me patriotism and doing the right thing for the British people comes before any party loyalties.
The Lib Dems think they are in with a chance of regaining a number of seats, and probably they are correct, based on conventional thinking. However in those seats which are finely balanced between them and the Conservatives it makes sense for UKIP not to stand a candidate, for doing so would risk splitting the Brexit vote and letting the Lib Dem in. They are the arch-remainers and must be blocked in whatever way it takes. It is a no-brainer really.
There are constituencies where it makes sense for UKIP activists to actively assist the Conservative candidate with their campaign. For strictly this general election only, the rules preventing UKIP members from campaigning for other parties should be lifted. With the proviso of course that the candidate being supported is in favour of Brexit, or is at lest supportive of the Prime Minister even if they originally campaigned on the Remain side. The Conservative manifesto 2015 clearly states that the Conservatives will honour the referendum results, whichever way it goes.
As described above, the way to deal with the Conservatives and with the Lib Dems is quite clear cut. How to deal with Labour is not so straightforward. It is worth repeating that this General Election is de facto a second referendum.
Clearly any Labour MP who was a member of Labour Leave must not be opposed, and indeed assistance given if asked for with their campaigning on the ground. As an aside, I and several UKIP members delivered thousands of Labour Leave leaflets during the referendum campaign into the Labour supporting areas. Of course delivered separately from other types of leaflets. They were well written and seemed to be effective. It would be a betrayal of Brexit for UKIP to stand candidates against Labour Leave MPs.
UKIP can really put the frighteners on the rest of the Labour MPs. Especially those in Brexit areas. It is a real shame that UKIP did not win Stoke. If it had been won then there would be even more leverage. I think Stoke should have been won, however knocking on doors there I was immediately confronted with the issue of Hillsborough. It would take several minutes to get past that barrier if indeed it was possible, before asking how they voted in the referendum. Once they confirmed that they voted to leave, it was then straightforward to gain their vote. A different candidate with less baggage could have won I believe.
My suggestion is that UKIP examines carefully the speeches and voting records of every Labour MP, to see whether they are accepting of Brexit or not. If they are accepting then ask them to confirm it, and then don’t stand a candidate against them. Those who are still remainers need to feel the focused force of UKIP campaigning against them!
Traditional Labour voters are decent people, who want fairness and honesty in society. Remember Mrs Gillian Duffy and her perfectly reasonable questioning of Gordon Brown regarding immigration. She resigned from Labour as she cannot support Corbyn.
It is not just immigration itself, it is also the massive cultural changes which are impacting traditional Labour voters, caused largely by the Labour Party itself. Labour introduced Sharia Councils in 2008. Sharia is anti-democratic and UKIP really must oppose it. Voters are fed up with this sort of thing, and they will abandon Labour because of it. By now I am sounding like a stuck record I know, however UKIP has to also oppose non-stun religious abattoirs. It makes no logical sense to oppose Sharia but to be in favour of Halal. Oppose both or accept both, not a mixture, that really has no credibility and does not work. (See here)
It may be that an electoral pact can be made with the Conservatives. In any case, with it or without it there is the chance for UKIP to win quite a few seats from Labour. However this is only achievable in my opinion if UKIP campaigns on the basis of returning our own sovereignty from Brussels, so that we can build a decent, just society for all, with one law for everybody and everybody subject to the same law. Without exceptions for this or that religious group to practice their barbaric treatment of animals for example. If UKIP can be seen as a party of consistent decent values then it will readily win votes in traditional Labour areas.
- This is not a normal election, normal campaigning concepts do not apply.
- For this election only, the rules preventing campaigning for other parties need to be suspended, with the proviso that the candidate supports Brexit.
- The incumbent Conservative MPs should not be opposed.
- Lib Dems should be opposed in every case, either directly if there is a realistic chance of beating them, or else indirectly by assisting the Conservative candidate.
- Labour Leave MPs must not be opposed, but given assistance if they want it.
- UKIP must immediately return to its humane policy. It makes no logical sense to be anti-Sharia but pro-Halal.
- Labour seats will be won. As a result of doing the right thing, having decent policies, and behaving rationally and honestly. Chasing after this or that special interest group as happened in Stoke was a disaster for the party, and the error must not be repeated.