“Vote For Britain”. I can see it on leaflets and posters already. It is not often that we witness the birth of a new Party in British politics, but that is exactly what is happening as we speak. Anne Marie Waters is launching For Britain, a pro-Brexit, pro-British, anti-Islamification party created to give a voice to the majority of British people abandoned by the establishment parties.
Disclaimer: These are merely the ramblings of an interested supporter looking in from the outside, I do not hold any position within For Britain nor have any inside knowledge. These are my views alone based on what’s in the public domain.
It is very early days. At the time of writing the party’s website is yet to launch, but the focus for the first few months will likely be threefold – getting the Party’s message out to as many people as possible, membership recruitment and fundraising.
The core message will, I think, be that For Britain is a Party that will give a voice to the concerns of ordinary working class people up and down the country. It will say what the other parties won’t. It will speak to people in much the same way as people speak to each other. With straight talking Anne Marie Waters as Leader, I suspect this will be no empty rhetoric.
The Party will have a number of policy priorities. One of which is, of course, Brexit. While being every bit as pro-Brexit as UKIP, For Britain will talk about Brexit in a different way that should resonate more with people. I understand this to mean going back to first principles, to make the broader case for why the EU is such a bad idea and therefore why we must leave, and indeed why we need to bring the whole EU down.
I called for this during the EU referendum. So many people voted not really knowing what the EU is, how it works, or where it’s going. The campaigns, run by politicians who live and breath this stuff, assumed a level of knowledge that many people, busy with their day to day lives, did not have. Too much of the Brexit debate has been about trade tariffs or other minutiae that, although important, mean little or nothing to the general public who are left not knowing who to believe.
The British people instinctively mistrust the EU, even those who voted Remain rarely have a good word to say about it, and we must capitalise on that instinct. We must remind them at every opportunity that the EU is an anti-democratic nightmare, on a one-way road to destroying the nation states of Europe. Nobody wants a United States of Europe, not even Remain voters, yet few realise that that is what a Remain vote was for. It is hardly surprising that no Remainiac would ever tell this truth, sticking to the 45 year old lie that it’s all about trade, but we on the Brexit side should be shouting it loud and clear.
Islam is another policy priority. There is huge demand, particularly in working class urban areas, for somebody in the political sphere to talk openly and truthfully about the religion, its teachings and its practices. Survey after survey shows that people are every bit as unhappy about Islam as they are about the EU. Giving the majority a voice on Islam, and helping to educate people on its true nature, will make For Britain truly unique in British politics, and any new Party must have a unique offering.
I expect to see Islam and Brexit as two threads running through a raft of policy, on free speech, the rule of law, immigration, education and the defence of British values.
The Party’s Twitter account, @ForBritainParty was launched this week, attracting 5,000 followers within five hours. At the time of writing this had risen to 8,500. The Party has just launched its own YouTube channel and Facebook page, in addition to Anne Marie Waters’ own online following. Obviously this doesn’t translate automatically to support in the “real world”, but it is what it is – a strong indicator of interest in and support for this new Party online, and a launch platform for offline activity.
Online recruitment will in turn inform and enable what might be called “stage 2” of the launch. The list of supporters and Members can be analysed to see if there are any geographical hotspots. Those locations can then be used for public meetings, leaflet drops and other “offline” means of campaigning and recruitment. Expect to see such events in “forgotten” parts of the country, perhaps in the Midlands, in the New Year. Coventry For Britain. Wolverhampton For Britain. And so on. Candidates will stand at Parliamentary elections and local elections, aiming to start next May.
Fundraising looks to be based on the crowdfunding model. Anne Marie Waters has said that she would prefer in an ideal world not to give up the control over the Party that a large donor would inevitably demand. Preferable to have 100,000 £10 donations than one million pound donor. The membership fee has not yet been announced, but will be lower than UKIP’s to encourage recruitment, and will include a recurring component. This is the correct model in my view, far better to have, for example, a £10 one off payment with a £4 per month regular payment after that than one £30 payment. A pound a week is not much to ask as an investment in your country’s future.
The Party has its logo, featuring Britannia’s trident. A fitting symbol for a pro-Britain Party founded and lead by a woman. The logo is in red and purple, possibly a nod to the ex-Labour, ex-UKIP support that the new Party will work to attract.
I am reminded of the two Brexit campaigns during the EU referendum. Vote Leave and Leave.eu had nominally similar aims, but entirely different styles and target audiences. We all wished Vote Leave and Leave.eu would put aside their differences and egos to work together. Although UKIP have made it quite clear that neither Anne Marie Waters nor those who support her are welcome, I sense that UKIP and For Britain will make complementary cases for Brexit, using different styles that will speak to different people. I would hope that UKIP Members can recognise this and wish the new Party well, perhaps even join, even if the UKIP machine does not.
I’m sure nobody involved in For Britain is under any illusions about the massive scale of the task ahead of them. Setting up a new Party is not for the faint hearted. But if anyone has the drive and determination to see it through, that person is Anne Marie Waters, and I like what I see so far.