Let’s have look at what politics is today. As time has gone on, we’ve seen the decline of politicians with real convictions, it’s more about business. Successful businesses, by necessity, need to employ sophisticated marketing techniques to capture and retain market share. It’s an ongoing and expensive process. I’ll give you an example.
I have a friend, a woman who worked in the office of a well-known Political leader. She was given the job of researching a topic and briefing another politician for a TV interview. She did this and tried to contact said politician to deliver the briefing in a timely manner, but she had no joy. She kept trying, until this politician had a quick look at the briefing as he walked down the corridor to the TV studio. During the interview he just regurgitated the party line, obviously had no grasp of the issues at hand, but he was a polished performer and he got away with it. This doesn’t say much for politicians though, the thoughts going through his head were probably to do with what was for lunch, his bank account or what trinket to buy his mistress; he was just a mouthpiece.
We expect far too much from politicians, in reality they’re just mouthpieces or salesmen for a well-oiled marketing machine – a machine with only one purpose: to gain and retain power. This is an expensive machine to run.
Another example: many years ago, we were approached by a leading Blue Chip company to research the effects of a few minor changes to their logo upon their target market. It took about a month and cost over a hundred thousand pounds. That was twenty years ago. The results were read by the marketing director and his team and they decided to try something else, so we conducted more research. Eighteen months or so later at a cost of just under a million pounds, they made the changes to their logo. You can imagine the massive cost of a complete strategic marketing campaign: massive. Ever finer market positioning, promotion techniques, it goes on endlessly and is far more sophisticated than the man in the street could ever realise.
I was talking to the marketing department of a national chain of Pizza restaurants. We discussed how their pizzas, although quite nice, were just pizzas, like any other pizza restaurant’s product. The point is; people were not buying pizzas, they were buying a very cleverly marketed brand.
The Conservatives are an old brand, but they’re having to adapt and reposition to gain a bigger market share. I’ve noticed how May’s appearance has changed since becoming Prime Minister, she looks ever more like mutton dressed as lamb. Hence my name for May, I call her Mutton Chops May. We’ve seen the conservatives over the years, re-position from a right wing party to the centre ground and now May’s just given a speech worthy of Gordon Brown or Angela Merkel. As politicians fight for power – I hope you can see this – it has nothing to do with their values, beliefs or convictions. These can change at a moment’s notice. The truth is that the majority of politicians are whores that will tell you anything to gain power.
So how does UKIP fit into this? The reason I still support UKIP is that it’s a party, in the past led by a man with very strong convictions, backed up by a team of similarly driven people that had the courage of their convictions. I am not about to suggest for one moment that UKIP should abandon its convictions, on the contrary! I think we can do a lot with this.
UKIP has grown from a fringe party to a party that has political influence if not representation. Amazingly UKIP is now the only credible opposition to the Conservatives. As such UKIP has a duty to provide that opposition to maintain our democracy. UKIP has a lot in common with many small businesses that grow and achieve success, and one day they hit the big time. They’re suddenly under-resourced and underfunded, having to play by a new set of rules, so they need new strategies.
UKIP must either learn to play the strategy game or fade into obscurity, and that would be bad for the country. It’s no use blaming Paul Nuttall. If any other Conservative politician was left in a similar position, they would become ineffective too: teamwork is needed. UKIP has become like a rabbit staring into the headlights of a car, but it won’t stare for long, it’ll be run over.
UKIP could be on the threshold of even greater things. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided that the Conservatives are far from invincible and UKIP could win the next election. UKIP will need to find new backers, resources and expert help. This is a step that all growing businesses face and it is not insurmountable.
Our country needs a political party that has some genuine conviction left. From my dealings with UKIP members I know this to be the case. I urge UKIP and all members to grab this opportunity with both hands and make the most of it, for the sake of the country.