I must stress that I don’t speak officially for the Party and this is for UKIP’s Leadership to decide, but I’d like to suggest that if there’s a general election we field only a small number of candidates in a few highly-targeted seats, concentrating money and activists where we can win (or at least come second and give the Remainers a real fright).
When members suggest forming pacts with other parties, we’ve always said: “No. UKIP’s a political party, fighting elections, getting onto ballot papers. Otherwise, we’re just a pressure group.”
But this time it’s different. This time it’s serious.
If Boris Johnson really is pushing a "no-deal Brexit", it would be crazy for UKIP or The Brexit Party to field hundreds of candidates across the Country, chopping him off at the knees three yards from the winning-tape.
This is that rare occasion where we should be very, very careful about fielding candidates. Personally (and you might disagree), I think UKIP should be targeting only, say, ten seats, where we don't risk toppling a pro-Brexit opponent. Maybe fight a few more, but nowhere can we risk stealing votes from pro-Brexit candidates, letting Remainer MPs win by default.
“Country Before Party” is an overworked phrase, but it applies here. How will you feel, waking up after the election, to hear, thanks to UKIP and The Brexit Party, the Government is now a coalition between Labour and the SNP, ready to scrap Brexit? All thanks to us. All because we lacked the courage, the gumption to see beyond the end of our own selfish noses.
Nigel Farage must answer exactly the same question.
Finally, there’s a call for us not to field any candidates at all. I can’t agree with that. It feeds the critics who say: “UKIP’s finished. Can’t even fight a general election.” Also, our activists want to get stuck in, wearing their UKIP rosette with pride. They want to get out there and deliver leaflets, even if it’s for a neighbouring area. But if we sit on our hands and do nothing, voters and the media will think: “Why is UKIP invisible? Where are they? Why do they even exist?”
Fighting only a few seats means the best of both worlds: we campaign politically but don’t wreck Brexit, the very reason we were formed 27 years ago.
David Challice. Head Office Manager and member since 1999.