The leadership contest is in its last throws, “thank goodness”, I can hear you all say. Yes, it has been a lengthy process, some would say ridiculously too long.
Most commentators have this as a two horse race between Anne-Marie Waters and John Rees-Evans. I declare now that as the campaign manager for Ben Walker, and now Ukip United, I have of course a vested interest in the process and the outcome.
I have some questions:
- Given your potential success, how are we to address as a party, the internal troubles with the NEC and apathy within the branches throughout the country? What, if anything, are your plans to re- engage these members? You have regularly not dodged, but not fully answered, these questions.
- What, if any part, will Jack Buckley your campaign manager/launch facilitator play in the Party? He is/or was a member of a proscribed group (BNP), his tweets and posts leave me and most of my fellow members cold. He is a vile young man in many people’s opinion.
- Same question regarding Mr. Tommy Robinson.
- If we are to follow and adopt the adage that “Islam is evil” or “Islam is not compatible with our culture”, what policies will be drafted from those mantras? Can you as leader come with me onto the streets of Bradford and sell them in our wards next May for the town council elections?
- Who will be your chairman? One expects Mr. Agnew would be your deputy. Will you allow members of proscribed groups to now join the party en masse?
- What changes will be made to the infrastructure? Will you keep the regions as they are, RO`s etc.?
- Finally, what will you do if, on day one of your leadership we have, as expected mass resignations, (the entire Bradford Branch have stated they will resign and form an independent group, as has Richmond in Yorkshire and others)? What will you do to keep the party solvent and how will you protect those members of the NEC that are by definition Directors of the company that is Ukip? If bankruptcy looms, they will hold some financial accountability.
- Where will the server and IT suite be housed, stored and maintained to hold all the information from the four programmes you are asking us to vote for? It will be vast.
- How many staff will be needed to maintain, full time, seven days a week these programmes? The information submitted to them, especially in the early days will be simply enormous in volume.
- Who will own DD? Will it be licensed to Ukip? If so, for how long and at what cost? You have said that you would hand it over entirely to someone who is willing to fully adopt your idea, so if you`re voted leader, would that be a large enough endorsement or will you hold ownership over the party’s head.
- As a guide, a friend of mine who designs and implements IT systems for medium to large companies looked at this (he is nothing to do with Ukip). He estimated start- up costs in excess of £250,000 and onward going costs of maintenance, staffing, offices and ongoing development of £350,000 per annum. He also did not understand how this would work, but that is another topic.
- Why would you not publish the feasibility studies? Why would you not make clear what happened between yourself and the NEC at the original conception, with regards to who paid the initial bill for the system to be developed and how much that bill was?
- Again, on day one how would you keep the party solvent should our creditors pull the plug? How will you deal with the potential problems stemming from their action and assist the NEC with their responsibilities?
- On day one and thereafter, we will have many disenfranchised members not attending meetings. How quickly will they be able to access your programmes, and how quickly will the new manifesto that we need for next May be developed?
- How quickly do you think we will become the government? How quickly will we take back power from the elite and transfer it back to the people?
- Please expand on your idea that people will vote on issues using lottery machines in Tesco’s etc.
- How will I, and my members, sell those ideas on the doorstep in Bradford.
Some readers may take the view I am being facetious, let me assure you am I not. I am being pragmatic. I am a realist, a down to earth ex-copper from Bradford who knows just what is happening in that, and many other cities. I also know, having stood for Parliament in June, just what we are up against with regards, particularly to Labour and Hope not Hate, and Momentum, but also the Tories. A dose of realism here is needed.
Plainly speaking, as recent council bi- elections have proven, and with the defections almost daily of councillors, we cannot even get a parish councillor elected right now.
We have not got a hope in hell next May unless we fix the party and its woes; and at the same time have some serious support, finances, training, and mentoring and some serious vision and direction.
Neither of these candidates have ever addressed the real down to earth nitty gritty of this party and its problems. John has produced a glossy timetable for the next May elections: it is pie in the sky as it does not reflect individual branch problems. It is an overarching, umbrella programme that relies on everyone towing the line. Those branch chairs reading this know first-hand this is impossible; and without funds to hire rooms, produce materials, and for the candidates to find the time for the many meetings it requires, it is about as much use as a chocolate tea cup.
Hard graft case working, getting involved in local issues, driving the agenda, and raising individuals profiles are the only way forward, and we need to start this now. In fact, we needed to start this in June for any chance of real success next Election.
Let`s get real, the single issue of Islam kills us dead by November. Whilst awaiting computer programmes to do their stuff, and awaiting the funds to pay people, as stated we will be lost by Xmas on that route.
This party needs hands on fire fighting, hands on bottom up fixing and engagement on all issues, we simply need to get together to talk, in policy forums and at regional meetings. Communications within the party need fixing.
Talking, discussing, coaching, and training are doable within a very short period of time. We could have a new manifesto up and running in a matter of weeks, a rolling one, always available. All this is at little cost too. A new website that all can access is in place; it simply needs a day`s work to update it and make it look less amateur. Within the package we have through nation builder, we have a further ten websites we have never utilised!
A team to put this right is in place, ready to land running. Ukip United under the leadership of Jane Collins, implemented and managed by Ben Walker, supported by current financiers and with a new full-time fund raiser who has a fabulous proven background in this area.
Do the right thing on your voting form….