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What should UKIP talk about first?

Aside from the terrorist atrocities, and once Labour had agreed to seek a full Brexit, the main determining features of the General Election, which started out, ostensibly, as a sitting Prime Minister wanting to strengthen her Brexit negotiating hand, were mostly financial.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party pledged to scrap all undergraduate University tuition fees and restore Maintenance Grants for the poorest students, with assurances that this policy was affordable.  Allied to an active social media campaign, unsurprisingly it reaped a huge young vote.

For many, each appearance of Jeremy Corby on the national broadcasting media, who came across as having genuine belief and conviction, unexpectedly enhanced his standing.  In contrast, Theresa May, with her blank cheque requests in respect of both the cap (or no cap) on end of life Social Care costs and the Winter Fuel allowance cuts, increasingly resembled a dodgy rookie second-hand car dealer – blowing apart her claim and voters’ initial perception of her being the steadier pair of hands for potentially perilous Brexit negotiations.

The Conservatives’ current reputation for sound economics is an example of people believing something they’ve been told many times, although untrue.  Even the Institute of Fiscal Studies intervention saying that both the Conservative and Labour Parties’ manifestos were financially misleading failed to shake voters’ confidence in the Conservative Manifesto.

The Lib-Dems, resurrecting their one-time popular ‘a penny on income tax for the NHS’, nonetheless failed to connect with Remainers, because their seeming attempts to undermine Brexit, were at odds with many Remainers having now accepted that the UK is going to leave the EU.

Once confident that a party will defend the nation from foreign forces, most voters ultimately vote with their wallet: “Which Party’s policies are realistically achievable and are going to be best financially for me?”

Once again UKIP’s 2017 manifesto showed the greatest financial competence, but again much of it was largely unknown – obliterated by the ‘ban-the-burqa’ campaign.

Although easy to find via the internet, few know that the UK’s residual debt pile has increased by nearly a third in just two Conservative Government years from £1.4 Trillion in 2015, to £1.8 Trillion. I suspect even fewer know that the annual interest bill of £46 Billion dwarf’s the Transport budget of £37 Billion and is only £2 Billion short of the £48 Billion Defence budget.  As Council tax raises £30 Billion it approximates to costing 1.5 times Council Tax.

The 2017-18 managed Central Government spend of £802 Billion will exceed projected receipts of £744 Billion by £68 Billion – the equivalent of 11.5p on the basic rate of income tax, which would equate in round figures to an additional £35 a week for someone earning £26K p.a.

The debt pile itself equates to £28K for each person living in the UK – £112K for a family of four.

In the 1980’s with interest rates in double figures, a ¼ point rise although annoying was not as significant as a ¼ point rise would be now: we’d only need a few ¼ point rises to double this annual interest towards the £102 Education budget.  Put another way, we mightn’t have long to half this residual debt pile to avoid the current 5.5% of annual Government expenditure wasted in interest payments reaching 10%: I say ‘wasted’ because we do not see any services for this money.  With it being impractical to clear the debt quickly by raising taxes, clearly expenditure needs to be drastically reduced.

A first stage of UKIP leading this financial discussion is that we should be drip feeding these figures to our members and all voters.  On the basis that advertisers will tell you that most people won’t buy a new product until they’ve seen it advertised eight times, these figures will need repeating ad nauseam – until we’re all saying them in our sleep!  – before they will register.  This will then result in voters being more open to UKIP taking the initiative for the second stage of this national financial discussion in saying that we need an adult debate about what we as a nation can and cannot afford because, as a matter of objective fact, the current situation is utterly unsustainable.

We need to be prepared to carry on the UKIP tradition of thinking and proposing what many initially might say is the unthinkable, but only once we’ve educated people in the current dire UK financial situation.

Low voter turnout in local elections could reasonably be interpreted as a voters voting with their feet against largely pointless local representation particularly when councillor’s local discretion has been all but whittled away over the years: e.g. over 90% of planning applications are now decided by the local civil service and even the more contentious applications which reach the local planning committee are mostly ultimately determined on legal grounds.  The same goes for the recently created elected police commissioners.  If we’re going to have devolved government throughout the UK with the creation of an English Parliament, the national parliament should be severely pruned, and currently unwieldy national services could be run more efficiently with greater accountability regionally.

Particularly from seeing my own children’s education, education spending – about 1/8th of the national budget – is out of control, as far more appears to be spent nowadays but for lower outcomes: at 16 youngsters have GCSE’s rather than the generally accepted to have been more demanding O-Levels.  A-Levels standards have been lowered to reduce the too large a jump from GCSE’s to the old courses.

With Social Security costing £245 Billion p.a., nearly 1/3rd of Government’s annual expenditure, we don’t need unskilled migrants to harvest UK produced crops, and the benefits system should better reflect the seasonal availability of work so that there would be less benefits available and people who took seasonal work wouldn’t be penalised when such work isn’t available.

The only way any party can implement policies is to be in power.  A first pre-requisite to having an adequate number of candidates elected is to connect with the electorate with distinctive and well-presented policies in the key areas which will determine the way most voters will vote.  As the General Election has confirmed once again that most voters vote with their wallets the slight variation of the slogan of Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign comes to mind: “It’s the economy, stupid.”


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About David G. Meacock (7 Articles)

David G. Meacock – UKIP Culture and Arts Spokesman, professional musician and inventor of a leaflet delivery aid which won the Bucks Best New SME Business of the Year Award.

11 Comments on What should UKIP talk about first?

  1. All these ideas are okay, but until we sort out the people running “OUR” party, we will only continue down the slippery slope we now find ourselves on. Basically we need a total clear-out of the upper echelon of the party, and go back to what we were, no nonsense policies, even if we are vilified for them. There are thousands of qualified IT workers out there, looking for a job, why is our money not being spent so we can go down the social media route, why are we not flooding the internet with our policies, and high lighting the failures of anyone and everyone. Some one mentioned Tommy Robinson, one of the reasons he has such a following, is the fact he is always making and uploading short videos on Utube, telling people the truth, that the MSM ignore or hide from us. Come on it’s quite simple, and incredibly cheap, so lets get some brains at the top, and use every means available to us, not sit in a dark room, with our mouths taped shut, in case we offend, stop trying to join the Main Stream Political club, because being a member of that clique means being PC, and the majority of the voting public are sick and tired of it’s failure to protect us.
    I’m going to stop now, because I know my ranting will change nothing, I will cling on till the bitter end, as UKIP is the first party I have paid to be a member of, in all my 70 odd years, and it’s breaking my heart to see the state some power mad idiots have brought us to.

  2. What should we talk about? Nationalism:
    1. Brexit.
    2. Yes, the economy, but not with more failed liberal economics and the inevitable austerity which goes with it, please David. The way to start reducing the national debt in the longer term is to start doing things differently, to regenerate industry to meet domestic demand, to invest in infrastructure, skills and productivity. Which requires state initiative and, in the short term, more borrowing. Or else we will never break the cycle of decline. ‘Austerity’ is Neanderthal economics.
    3. Immigration, culture and saving our ever-crowded environment.
    That’s what we should be talking about.

    • Phil O'Sophical // June 24, 2017 at 9:42 pm // Reply

      I thought ‘Austerity’ was a Left wing euphemism for living within our means; in the same way ‘Investment’ under Gordon Brown was a euphemism for profligate spending and mortgaging the future with PFIs. One of the Right’s failings is always to let the Left dictate the terms, by creating simplistic labels which are lazily rolled out thereafter misdirecting people from exposition of what those policies are actually for or mean.

      • True, but we can’t put these terms back in the bottle, Phil, and it’s a bit much to try and claim that ‘austerity’ isn’t a fair description of what the Tories are trying to do.
        If we all ‘lived within our means’, as our grandparents advised, most of us wouldn’t have houses and life as we now know it would be rather less civilised. Running a successful modern economy entails managing debt – it is a matter of judgement and imagination how successfully this is done, and at the moment we’re failing dismally on both counts.

  3. Excellent piece David.

    It was a huge problem in this election that UKIP’s policies were not available to the public until very late in the day. No potential voter is going to hear a policy pitch 8 times if it has not even been publicly announced.

    I’m aware that the late launch of UKIP’s manifesto was in large part due to the snap nature of the election but this rather misses the point. Newsflash : almost nobody reads manifestos anyway! A single page of HTML would have sufficed; that’s all most people will read; links could have been provided to more detail for those that were more interested.

    If you typed UKIP into Google during the campaign one of the top completion terms offered by Google, which means one of the most common terms being typed by people into the Google search engine, was “UKIP policies”. People wanted to know what they were. Nothing was available. Instead of current policies the top Google search results pulled up old UKIP pages from previous elections, which, and this is very important, in many cases, were not dated. Even today, Google “UKIP immigration policy” and the top result is a policy from way-back-when presented by Nigel Farage and Steven Woolfe with no date on it.

    In future elections UKIP needs to prioritize the posting of basic policy outlines either on the UKIP home page or on a web page linked to directly from the UKIP home page, with hyperlinks to more detail. Indeed, maybe this should be a permanent feature. All web pages should have a clearly visible date, and all historical pages should either be similarly dated or be removed from the website to avoid voter confusion.

    For the record one of the other top Google search completion terms during the election was “UKIP racist”, which is a whole ‘nother discussion.

  4. I’m sure it will be heresy to say why oh why (!) do Kippers keep wanting, with the Party we have, to be a Government? We aren’t in a position to afford it – and with promises of free stuff from the other Parties, headline Policies of fiscal prudence will, for the next election anyway, go down like a bucket of cold sick with voters. We need to be far clever than that.
    To be honest, the Ban the Burka thing was so ineptly handled its no wonder it didn’t work. Once it was announced no one robustly defended and explained anything, they back-tracked, hid behind their sofas, muttered ‘we didn’t mean it’ and deselected Anne Marie, after our Leader had dissed her in the media, which sealed the fate of anything to do with Sharia. Peter Whittle was the only one who defended it, and credit to him.
    At the risk of my being called BNP EDL and so on – why do any of us think that Tommy Robinson has commanded so many followers and such respect all over the World? It’s because he has fearlessly stuck to his message, and without really knowing how to run any kind of campaign, has resonated with millions who now discover he was telling the truth all along. Would that UKIP were now in the position of supporter numbers that he is! But because of cowardice and the longing to ‘be in Government’ which necessarily means being loved by MSM, we have nothing like the number of members that Tommy has supporters. Don’t think that numbers of people at Marches are anything to go by. Those are simply the truly and desperately committed. Many people are afraid to go on Marches, for a variety of reasons from violent Antifa to being seen there and losing your job, or ending up having your collar felt. Thousands more cheer them on from the sidelines. Are these Tory voters? No! Are these Labour voters? No! They certainly aren’t Limp Dems! They are the Party of the dis-possessed, people without a Party to speak for them, that’s who they are, potential UKIP members and voters!

    • It’s a given that UKIP stands for Brexit, total and complete Brexit, and yet, we got no, or very few votes at the General Election. We don’t need endless Brexit policies going forward, although by the next Election we may need something like Complete Brexit or Total Brexit now! What we need is to do what UKIP used to do – tell the truth and give people the chance to come on the journey with us. The reason UKIP did so well when Nigel led it was because he didn’t care about being loved or being in Government – he just kept grimly on, against all the odds, delivering his message, and in the end it achieved victory for UKIP.

      All our MEP’s needn’t flatter themselves that their MEP positions are anything at all to do with personal merit, they all achieved their positions, with attendant handy salaries, on the back of Nigel’s single mindedness and UKIP members dedication to manning stalls, leafleting and getting Nigel’s message out. That’s what none of them, or our useless lot in Head Office can grasp. They are all there because of either cronyism or because Nigel and UKIP members put them there, and for no other reason.

      People like Anne Marie, Gerard Batten, James Dalton, John R-E, Peter Whittle and some of the wonderful young candidates who put themselves forward at the last election know what UKIP’s task should be. They know what the next great danger is for the people of Britain, going forward. These brave and able people have been ignored and even vilified by those pompous idiots who want to control the members and the Party, and sadly, by some in UKIP for whom the lure of being ‘in Government’ is greater than the urgent task ahead.

      The Public hate what our country is turning into – I don’t need to go through it, Debbie’s ‘When in Rome’ article puts it perfectly. Give the dispossessed a chance to vote for Taking Control once again – Policies to address these problems should be our main focus – we must not be afraid to grasp the nettle. If we do, we could well find ourselves with a substantial number of MP’s – if we don’t, UKIP will be just another also-ran.

  5. The first thing to talk about is surely Brexit. I’m not confident that a proper Brexit is going to be delivered. Where is the UKIP strategy to at least get our voice heard about what Brexit should be, whether the government is delivering and more importantly communicating the opportunities that Brexit offers. If we don’t continue this fight then everything that we previously fought for will evaporate.

    • Everyone knows the UKIP position on Brexit and so exclusive talk about it only reinforces the impression of one-trick-pony, job done. I’m not saying stay silent about Brexit – far from it – but we need to show we’ve a broader agenda to offer. While negotiations are going on we should restrict ourselves to measured positive comment when we hear things are going well, so nobody can accuse us of jeopardising the outcome in any way. Thereafter, mastery of the economic situation would be a good starting point as policies need to be based on honest money.

      • You misinterpret what I’m trying to say here. I don’t doubt that the things you draw attention to in your excellent article are extremely relevant. Your title is “What should UKIP talk about First”? I’m not hearing any defence of Brexit from UKIP or am I aware of any strategy to shut the “remoaners” up. The remainers are dominating the media and are getting their message across. Is a “soft” Brexit what we want? Do we want to see a 2nd referendum? I hear nothing from UKIP HQ or my local branch. We will see the Referendum result overturned if we do not take action now.

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