At last Saturday’s big South East meeting I was invited to make my views known about UKIP’s dismal efforts at communications. Here are some of the key points, which I’ve been making for years now…
Email output & news broadcasting
Members get almost zero communication from HQ. We get our news from the big newspapers and we have to suffer the unchallenged nonsense from the Guardian, BBC, Sky etc. We rarely hear ANY clearly expressed opinion from UKIP – but we have TWENTY MEPs on good salaries whose job it is to fight for Brexit. They only need to send two emails each a year to give supporters weekly news.
In fact, if you add in other UKIP ‘managers’, Spokesmen and AMs, they’d only need to send one email a year, each. By contrast, Brexit Central, not even half a dozen people, send a DAILY top quality Brexit news roundup every morning before 9am.
Why have we been losing members?
Is it because the Referendum is over? Or because Nigel quit as Leader? It’s neither! This was Paul Oakden’s incredible admission at the South East meeting: ‘by a country mile people said they didn’t renew because they hadn’t heard anything from UKIP’.
So, we KNOW what the problem is but STILL haven’t fixed it!
Roger Helmer was sending out his excellent ‘Briefings’ during the run-up to the referendum but why wasn’t this valuable output sent to all members? We’ve had little from HQ for nine months but suddenly a ‘Briefing’ from Roger on Monday! However, it’s been so long coming it’s 6 pages of A4 and 3000 words, War and Peace anyone?
The gruesome UKIP website
How many years have we all been complaining about the dreadful, ugly website? It fails at many levels. It works like a blog, key issues drop off the page and out of sight... It’s just a series of moans.
There are never any interesting, eye catching photos, just the same photos of politicians with ‘faces for radio’. Look at our national website HERE and afterwards look at the Surrey website HERE. Spot the difference?
The Surrey website is colourful, interesting, funny, eye catching! It has continuous sideways scrolling, no need to ‘click off’ to find more stories, that just loses people. We haven’t made a mobile friendly version of this website yet, that’s next but the basic principles are there if you look at it on a laptop. This was made as a demo for UKIP years ago but now we need something more like Huffington Post.
YouTube! The easy, cheap way to win hearts and minds!
It’s so obvious. How can UKIP managers not realise this? It’s easy to record a 2 minute broadcast. After all these years UKIP should be famous for good quality video output where we make our points, loud and clear, without interruption.
How to mess up communications:
Paul Nuttall was invited onto the Andrew Marr show after Stoke. Marr was in control from the start, asking HIS questions, which Paul tried to answer but Marr had the last word, saying ‘that was Paul Nuttall, going nowhere’. It was worse than a waste of time, it was a public execution. By contrast, Paul Joseph Watson has MILLIONS of fans, one of his videos has 2.4 million hits. He said ‘the BBC and Channel 4 keep inviting me on but I know they’ll edit to suit their agenda so I don’t go, I don’t need to’. Producing short videos is easy, this video which I produced years ago quickly went to 40,000 views. And that was just a pilot. We had a budget the other day – where is UKIP’s summary to members? It was on the website for a day then disappeared again, just like our invisible ‘Economics Spokesman’.
Newspapers really work
Three of us in Surrey have produced hard hitting, professional looking newspapers over the years, Peter Lindsay, Redvers Cunningham and myself. My own angle on newspapers is highly visual, easy to read and bold:
Members loved these and happily paid for them, just 3p each and because they paid, they made sure they were distributed. My first print run was 100,000. Redvers has just published another newspaper, it’s superb.UKIP bosses had nothing to do with it…maybe that’s why it’s so good.
We would have won Stoke if we’d hit hard
We should have had a powerful newspaper, delivered on Day One, attacking Labour from Blair and Iraq, to Vaz and rent boys, to Thornberry and White Van Man. I sent Paul Nuttall proposals, I didn’t even get a thank you. A punchy newspaper would have put Labour on the backfoot. Instead, our troops were given dismal leaflets; the ‘halal’ leaflet was one of UKIP’s worst ever. ‘We love the NHS’ didn’t work either.
A message to UKIP Management
You’re useless at communicating and we’re tiring of your blunders. Patrick O’Flynn was supposed to be our Communications Chief but what has he achieved? He only polled 2668 votes in the 2015 General Election and came 5th, this is Monster Raving Loony Party territory.
Finally, don’t kid yourselves that you won the referendum, you didn’t
Nigel Farage was 90% of the reason it happened at all. UKIP was probably responsible for 75% of the result but the winning edge was provided by the Big Beasts of the Tory Party, good organisation by Vote Leave and Leave.EU, Martin Durkin’s stunning ‘Brexit the Movie’ and many other players. Without all that cavalry coming over the hill, your pathetic ‘communication skills’ would have lost the battle.
PULL YOUR SOCKS UP UKIP!
*Next week. Preaching to the converted. Why UKIP bosses love the easy applause of conferences. Also, how not to turn big donors into deadly enemies.