How is it that after winning 52% in a referendum, the party that has consistently proposed it, has no seats after a General Election, about a year after?
Answer: poor leadership and processes and training. The current system is designed to pre-empt entryism and takeover by people who are anti-democracy. However the side effect is that at elections the party doesn’t win MPs in order to make the laws the country needs and are supported by opinion polls. There could be an October election, or at least an election within five years. There is a need for a genuine pro-democracy party in Parliament.
The suggestions below are linked to starting with the answer:
- After the next election, 326+ UKIP MPs
- UKIP Prime Minister and Cabinet
- Possible membership of 250,000+ (around 400 per branch)
- The majority of councils run by UKIP
Party Leader election:
– the members elect a leader, with candidates putting up a £5,000 deposit. Four year term.
– the PPCs elect the party leader using the Supplementary Vote system, a first and second choice, i.e. PR. (The PPCs are elected by local branches, vetted by Head Office and are also elected every three months.)
– the PPCs give feedback on performance, every three months, with vote options No = 49% support, Maybe =50 to 59%, Yes = 60%+ support. This allows the PPCs to let the leader know, with a ‘Maybe’ vote that he or she needs to improve, or in three months’ time, they may vote ‘No’;
– Every three months, those members who have paid sufficient membership fees can also vote on the leader’s performance, using Yes, Maybe and No as above. If the members vote ‘No’ by a majority, then the PPCs need to elect a new leader;
– when UKIP is 20%+ in the polls, then elections are held every six months; when 30%+, every 12 months – an incentive for growth;
– if a current party leader is given a majority ‘No’ vote, then an election for a new leader is held within three weeks.
- The PPCs have an interest in choosing a leader who will help them get elected and provide the branch support and professionalism needed;
- The PPCs have some status, and this helps encourage skilled people to become PPCs since they have a say;
- Even after an election and with UKIP having MPs, all MPs and PPCs vote, so keeping the leader as a national party;
- PPCs have a day to day feel of how the party is being led, how the leader promotes on merit, develops a shadow cabinet, helps with training, media skills and is working towards 326+ UKIP MPs, the figure needed to implement the manifesto;
- The doers are given more of a voice.
NEC: (currently 15 members)
– members currently vote for NEC members;
– The same approach for leader – using the Supplementary Vote system, every three months the party chairman is voted by branch chairmen, the treasurer by branch treasurers, general secretary by branch secretaries, and members who have paid sufficient membership fees can give a Yes, Maybe, or No vote. This voting would give three seats on the NEC;
– the other 12 are made up of an organiser from each region, voted for every three months by organisers in the region using the Supplementary Vote;
– The party leader, who should also be a member, can be voted for every three months, using the same system, by those members who have paid an additional membership fee.
- those people, who, on a day to day basis, work with the party chairman, treasurer, general secretary and organiser, are well placed to see if they are delivering, or just good at PR;
- encourages skilled people to be more involved and look for positions in local branches and be active;
- Organisers are in a good position to know about what has been, and what is not, working for success in elections and also in their region.
I would suggest that before the members receive postal ballot papers, and vote on supporting or not, the three month results of PPCs, chairmen, treasurers, secretaries and organisers are made public, so they also can see who is supported, in case they are being swayed by poor media coverage against skilled people.
– electing PPCs, chairmen, treasurer, secretary and organiser every three years
– electing PPCs, chairmen, treasurer, secretary and organiser every three months;
– using similar Supplementary Vote system and three months’ feedback, Yes, Maybe, No;
– those members who pay additional membership fees can receive a postal ballot, others can turn up for the branch election meeting;
– add an additional candidate option ‘More choice please’, which could encourage new people to stand for election at local branches;
– Electing a shadow local council leader who also has a vote of confidence every three months;
– Candidates for each ward are voted in by local ward members, using the Single Transferable Vote.
- encouraging active branch activities, professionalising, building teams, volunteers, fundraising, developing ways to win local and general elections
– none at the moment
– each county elects a leader from amongst the PPCs;
– the county leader puts together a county shadow cabinet based on the cabinet ministries in Parliament;
– The national party leader chooses a shadow cabinet from among the PPCs – likely by shadow ministry in each county;
– The county shadow ministers vote every three months using similar system, i.e. Supplementary Vote, on performance of relevant national shadow cabinet minister, e.g. education votes for education – the vote opinion could well also include relevant manifesto policy support.
- Career progression for active PPCs and opportunity to make a difference and get elected.
The above suggestions, can go a long way in energising the grassroots ‘doers’ with real power and also incentivises good people to stand at national level. When voting for people, the question can be asked on their actions ‘How does this help UKIP get 326+ MPs after the next election?’
The party – and democracy – needs re-energising. Giving the ‘doers’ and people who are working in branches all over the country a voice and a quick ability to replace non-performers, and give positive feedback on good performance, may be better way for the party to succeed electorally.