The first letter today, by our reader Jim Makin, addresses the UKIP Leadership campaign and what it means for UKIP:
I have perused Ray Catlin’s “The Right Way” campaign for UKIP reform, and at the London leadership hustings I heard John Rees-Evans make his impassioned plea for internal reform. This does indeed chime with my own view that with the referendum watershed behind us, UKIP needs to progress from being an insurgency run by one man (extremely talented but also imperfect, like the rest of us), to become a reformed party that will become a model for how a democratic political party in the United Kingdom should be run. In short, we have the opportunity not only to rival the established parties in terms of policy, but also in terms of democratic accountability. Central to our approach should be the notions of transparency and accountability.
I support both Ray and John and salute them for their courage and tenacity in putting forward their message. I do have reservations, and prime among them is both the desirability and the feasibility of making the leadership totally subservient to the membership. The Labour Party is a vivid demonstration of where that approach may lead if care is not taken. Also, I suspect that new members are attracted by good policies that they support, rather than being attracted by the chance to bend the party’s policies to their own hobby-horses.
Rather than supporting any currently proposed solution, I would prefer a more measured approach to run as a background activity (it’s a complex topic). Whilst the foreground tasks (bye-elections, campaigning, policy development, promotion of UKIP in the media, maybe even a snap general election in early 2017) must take priority, this does not preclude a reform agenda developed over time by a small team dedicated to the task.
This team should be overseen by the NEC, drawn from all sections of the party (including the branches) (I would like to see both John and Ray make their contributions to it). The task would be to consult all sections of the party, to report on these consultations and to propose recommendations together with their reasoning. Whatever way forward it proposes, it must be seen to have sought the views of all parts of the party and to have properly taken them into account. Only then will the necessary two-thirds of the voting membership be found to support the proposed change.
I suggest that the overall objective should be a much shortened constitution and modus operandi which will promote transparency and accountability, and will strike an appropriate balance between the powers of the membership and those of the leadership. I commend these thoughts to our next leader, and to your readership.
Respectfully, Jim Makin
The second letter by Rob McWhirter is a reminder for NEC candidates and members:
I have enjoyed your coverage of the NEC elections, so far, but note that one candidate describes themselves on websites as “Branch Parliamentary Spokesman”, and issues press releases as such. I’m writing this letter so your readers can be clear that the only category of spokesman available at branch level is “branch”, e.g. “Zurich branch spokesman”, and that no subject-specific designations are allowed.
UKIP only has one parliamentary spokesman, to my knowledge, and that’s Suzanne Evans. I hope this clarifies matters.
Respectfully, Rob McWhirter
The last letter, by our reader Deirdre Trotman, comments on Nigel Farage’s visit with the President Elect Donald Trump:
For this household, Christmas has come early! Words simply cannot describe our feelings of pride when we saw on BBC News Nigel Farage, Founder and Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, welcomed into Trump Tower in the United States of America. Forgive me if I savor the moment, although I expect many others saw it too.
The reporter was forced to admit “he was the first UK politician, and, we think, the first foreign politician of any kind” to visit the President Elect. They reportedly talked about “freedom, winning, and what all this means for the World” and the report finished by saying that all of that would make “very uncomfortable viewing for the Government”. My cup was full, at that point it ran over, as the saying goes! As, I expect, did the drinking vessels of many other Kippers and Brexiteers.
Whether Mr Trump’s presidency is a triumph or a disaster or something in between is of secondary importance to me at this moment in time. It is my belief that, although the fight is far from won, and no matter how dirty the fight gets or how much the groupthink, politically correct lefties cry and scream and spit and need therapy, people have begun to believe that there is hope for their future and that of their children, that there are many others in the world who think the same as they do, and a wind of change is stirring across the Western World.
That it is doing so is solely down to the awesome courage of just one man, who began to dream of freedom many years ago. With single-minded determination he never stopped fighting, he never gave up, he led his brave followers (and,they were brave, because they endured insults intimidation and worse) out across Britain to spread the message of freedom and independence, at great personal sacrifice. It was a message that resonated with so many who needed a leader, and who now had a party to vote for. And vote they did, and would not be dissuaded.
Brexit may not yet have been won, but a movement towards change has started. There is still a long hard road ahead, but the genii is out of the bottle. There is a chance now, hope is spreading, people are infected with courage, at long last. Thank you, Nigel, so much, just doesn’t begin to cover it, but all I can say again is thank you.
Respectfully, Deirdre Trotrman
On that last subject, here is the video of Nigel’s Farage’s interview on FOX News, after that visit: