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Letters to the Editor – Saturday 18th March 2017

Today’s first letter, picking up on the debates on UKIP Daily in the past days and weeks, is not just a must-read but also a definite appeal to action. It is by our contributor and reader ‘Stout Yeoman’:

Sir,

I am given to believe by sources close to the top that Banks rattled them (bigly even) and that the penny – that they are out of touch – may be finally dropping. That is, the protests coming in are no longer seen as a few cranks venting spleen but the idea is forming that the membership is indeed increasingly disaffected and that they need to do something.

I remain of the view that UKIP Daily readers should press their own branches. Nothing will be as effective as branches sending a message of ‘not a penny more and no more ground troops until there are worthwhile policies we can actually promote and defend.’ Some of your readers mention branch complacency with the status quo to which I say if, in a democratic party (please see the constitution on that), you cannot persuade your fellow members then you need to focus on better arguments. Branches are where we start for real change.

May I also take this opportunity to counsel against “White Knight Syndrome” which appears to be distorting some thinking. Banks is not a white knight and he isn’t riding in to save us. He has definitely left and is not coming back, He is not a donor like other donors who obtained positions because, unlike Banks, they did not try and humiliate the leadership with a public ultimatum, a childish tactic guaranteed to fail. Those suggesting privileges attach to Banks’ alleged donor status (of yesteryear at best) overlook that they are not comparing like with like. Forget white knights. We must pursue the change we seek ourselves.

Re-posting articles and tweets [Ed: it’s useful and very desired though, so please don’t stop doing that!] is not political engagement. Persuading branch members is. Any member may submit a motion to their branch. Done yours yet? No? Then stop carping.

We have a chance to get Anne Marie Waters, John Rees Evans, and others a higher profile within the party. The  party is, I understand, open to suggestions in a way it has not been before. Take this opportunity. By all means write in – in fact, definitely do – but work at branch level also. But please avoid ad hominem attack (no matter how deserved) in your missive if you hope to persuade.

Finally, a note to the leadership on the off chance that you read this. You suffer from group-think. All coteries do. You need Anne Marie Waters, John Rees Evans to challenge you, to shake you out of group-think, to show you alternatives, to help test and shape ideas. You really do!

Respectfully, Stout Yeoman

The next letter, by our reader and contributor Alan Piper, has an intriguing proposal for Parliamentary Reform:

Sir,

I know PR is current UKIP policy but it does come with issues:

  1. the likelihood of an “Israeli stalemate” where the balance of power is held by nutters or extremists so that in the long term, nothing much changes, and
  2. that the list of representatives is prioritised in the order of the leaderships’ choice. We members know a bit about being ignored by leaderships but the prospect of constituency results being ignored would be extremely unwelcome imho.  

So unless the outcome remains constituency and electorate driven (and I am unaware of whether that is the case in the UKIP policy proposal), words like “can” and “worms” spring to mind, let alone years of argument etc.

But, a while ago somebody (Dave Allen?) posted a proposal here that I’d never heard of.

F2PTP       First 2 Past the Post.

The upside being that the resulting parliamentary mix would be a far more accurate reflection of the electorate’s wishes but the significant downside being either halving the number of seats or doubling the size of parliament. More “cans” and “worms” laced with parliamentary self interest.

But for me at least, the idea kept simmering in my mind and eventually I had an idea which is so simple, I float for your reactions.

I simply wonder whether there is a way achieving the F2PTP upside and putting forward a credible House of Lords reform proposal…. the latter having been getting rather involved in Brexit scuppering just now.

It could be as simple as selecting the first two successful candidates without reducing the constituency numbers, and putting the first in the Commons and the second in the “Lords”, preferably “de-lorded” entirely.

Of course it means the majority Party in the Commons will very likely be the minority in the Lords but:

  • The Commons can eventually over-rule,
  • The present House of Lords swamp is drained,
  • And the electorate gets the mix it voted for, albeit spread across two houses.

Unless ‘er-indoors has been feeding me magic mushrooms, I can’t help thinking there may be merit in raising the idea under the heading of Parliamentary Reform….?

Respectfully, Alan Piper

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10 Comments on Letters to the Editor – Saturday 18th March 2017

  1. Stout, I do hope that you are right about the “penny dropping” but a serious change of attitude is needed which, on present and past performance, I’m not sure that they are capable of. Nutttall has seriously damaged himself and I doubt that there can be any timely recovery. Better that he goes now than later.

  2. A donation to Anne Marie Waters to help her fight our cause in place of a UKIP membership fee might be a good move.

  3. Someone at our Branch meeting proposed a letter of complaint to Paul Nuttall to express our feelings of disappointment (Stoke) and anger over behind-our-backs policy changes, notably the switch from animal welfare concerns to food information on halal meat.
    Then another member revealed that Paul Nuttall is going to hold a Regional meeting to answer members’ questions, date tbc. Plus Chairman Paul Oakden is to hold meetings to address Branch Chairmen in the not too distant future.
    So the proposal was delayed until feedback came from the Chairmen’s meeting with Oakden.

    This local Branch Meeting was the liveliest, noisiest, most discordant one I can remember, despite the low attendance. Some members are becoming apathetic; others are getting angry. It remains to be seen if the two Pauls can pull off their damage-limitation exercise.

    • I can confirm that meetings of area chairmen are already underway. I attended ours quite recently. It was. as you can imagine, very lively. We were not backward in coming forward. Every Chairman was given several opportunities to speak on a wide range of issues, I think we covered most of the usual complaints posted here. Perhaps the most significant was the issue of the management listening to the grassroots and two new channels of communication were proposed, one direct through a consultation document and another which would allow members to petition and sometimes directly address the NEC. There would also be a new system of organisation which puts County Chairman in a much stronger position. The existing areas with paid officials, would go.
      All in all it looked promising, if it’s implemented. Naturally all this will take time but Paul Oakden promised that we would learn the results of the proposals “within weeks”.
      I live in hope.

    • Panmelia,
      We had our monthly branch meeting on Thursday. I have written a three page document on non-stun abattoirs and circulated it to members prior to the meeting.

      Every member present at the meeting (and several who were unable to attend who emailed their support) want the U turn made in April 2015 to be reversed -(except for one member who stated that he did not care!) i.e. to return to the humane policy, to require proper stunning prior to cutting the throat.

      The one member who repeatedly said he did not care IS the branch chairman. I am not holding my breath that anything at all will be done if we rely on the official chain of command. It almost seems to me as though they have been briefed in order to avoid escalating the real concerns of grassroots members.

      What we urgently need is a network between grassroots members of branches, so that we can know that we are not alone in our concerns, and so that we are not constantly fobbed off.

  4. Stout, it all sounds almost too good to be true! We have so many good people waiting to be given the chance to reorganize how UKIP works – not just the two you mention, I’m sure, although they seem to hold the key to two necessary reforms, being Policy on Sharia (instead of appeasement) and communication via social media. I never get sent communications apart from two or three recent ones via Head Office (!) and not being near enough to attend a branch, even if there was one in my area (I gather they are now trying to set a Brecon and Radnor Branch, Welsh communication is much better) so I don’t know who anyone is – but was very impressed with Freddy Vachha’s (London Region) recent initiative – there must be more like him who could and would have a lot to give UKIP at the top.

    I never thought Arron was a white knight, I understood he was willing to stump up for a professional CEO who would restore order to the chaos that is Head Office, from communications to website and policy statements. Anyway That’s by the by.

    Obviously our letters are working, so in case anyone missed contacts, here they are again. NEC – Steve Crowther, Piers Wauchope and Paul Oakley can only be contacted through UKIP Head Office – Katie Fanning can be emailed as Deputy of YI (though I haven’t heard back) Fiona Mills – Fiona.mills@ukip.org (I had a nice reply) Anish I have messaged through Twitter (you do private messages that way, he doesn’t want to give his email address owing to abuse) he’s on board but a supportive Tweet wouldn’t go amiss, Mick McGough I have yet to send a Tweet, I can’t find any other contact so I guess a letter via Head Office would be best, and then Paul Nuttall email Paul.nuttall@europarl.eu or UKIP North West, P.O. Box 2034, Liverpool L69 2DG, last But by no means least in my book, Peter Whittle, 55, Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL.
    Perhaps a follow-up reminder that we are determined, as well as branch letters before the NEC meeting. However, Stout, if you read Icini’s recent letter he believes that his branch, and many others, are happy with the status quo. That was the nearest I’ve come to throwing the towel in, but I have recovered slightly!

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