What the future holds for UKIP.
It seems hard to deny that the poor election results UKIP have experienced of late is, in no small part, down to the disharmony within our Party. But good decent Kippers on both sides of the argument still largely share the same common-sense values and the same aspirations for this great nation of ours.
UKIP’s recent travails have allowed the mainstream media to tarnish our reputation with the electorate – who usually bestow their support upon a party based on its policies, principles, personalities, and vision – and by failing to find a satisfactory resolution to our internal conflict, none of us, being frank, have exactly covered ourselves in glory. It would be a further tragedy if we were unable to find a way of reuniting and reinvigorating UKIP; nevertheless, with the absence of an established personality like Nigel Farage to spearhead and promote our Party’s vision, the main asset we have, besides our patriotic members, of course, is the Party’s living manifesto.
While the state grew enormously in line with a Common Purpose driven far-Left drift within our institutions, a niche grew for a libertarian centre-right party which, nonetheless, held an unabashedly patriotic vision for Britain. If we get our policy focus right, UKIP can offer a natural home for sensible people from the Left, Right, and Centre, just as it has always done.
Reclaiming the Centre Right
As the new Head of Policy, it is now my responsibility to help develop our common-sense patriotic policies so that we can attract support from across the political spectrum. From the disillusioned Labour voters who voted for Brexit that could not support Corbyn and have finally realised that the Labour Party no longer represent the Working Classes; to the ex-Brexit party supporters and ex-Kippers who are all now politically homeless; and the overtaxed, overregulated small business owners and SMEs, who have suffered greatly from the damaging effects of importing too much cheap labour and too many crippling EU directives.
Who else but UKIP is going to prevent the Tories from capitulating during their EU withdrawal transition negotiations by giving in to demands for amnesties for illegals, or for access to our historic fishing waters? Who else will stand up against organised rape gangs, knife crime, gang culture, old-age and in-work poverty, or vanity projects like HS2? And who else can fill the massive void left by a disorganised, lacklustre Labour and a tyrannical Tory party that will continue to cut benefits for the poor and disabled, whilst selling off our national assets to foreign powers and simultaneously failing to close tax loopholes for the rich?
A Strange Political Journey
Prior to becoming involved in politics for the first time in 2010 over council funding cuts to a local old folks’ lunch club charity where I am a trustee, I had seldom voted Labour and never Conservative but had mostly voted LibDem because I had assumed that they occupied the middle-ground. To be honest, and with the 2020 vision that comes with hindsight, I was completely wrong.
Thankfully, I was radicalised by Nigel Farage after Nick Clegg challenged him to debate our membership of the EU. The scales fell away from my eyes, and I gradually began to realise that the poorest people across the whole of Europe were being forced to compete with each other for the lowest-paid jobs in a race to the bottom, where the rich always won and the poor always lost. So, after 35 years of voting Liberal, I had my Damascene conversion; I defected to UKIP in 2014 and have never looked back since.
Gerard and Richard – The Honeymoon Period
Gerard Batten was the first to welcome me into the Party, he mentored me and guided me; we saw eye to eye on virtually everything. He was generous with his time, and I learned a lot from him during our subsequent campaigns. I stood in the locals in 2014, then as PPC in Islington South & Finsbury in 2015 and 2017. Shortly afterwards, Gerard stepped up to take on the poisoned chalice of leadership when few others seemed willing or able. I admired him greatly for doing that.
In the European elections in 2018, Gerard chose Richard Braine as his No 2 on the London candidate list and I was selected as his No 3. I was proud and honoured to be chosen, and I was one of their most ardent supporters; but regrettably, after Gerard appointed Tommy Robinson as his prisons’ advisor, regardless of the good work he had done in helping to expose the disgusting crimes of organised rape gangs, it proved to be a serious strategic error. And he couldn’t have chosen a worse time to do it just a few weeks before the EU elections. He admitted his mistake. Frankly, it made us toxic; I couldn’t even get some of my own family and friends to vote for me because of our associations! We were seen as far-right. We may as well have handed the MSM a loaded gun.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Immediately after we were so soundly thrashed in the EU elections, Gerard indicated that he was probably going to retire from politics altogether, but when some of his supporters urged him to carry on, he didn’t want to let them down, so he continued to try to lead the Party. Sadly, in my opinion, that was yet another error in judgement on his part. Yet again, I found my former unstinting support for him tested to its limit, especially as a repeated refusal to depart gracefully from UKIP had been one of Gerard’s constantly voiced criticisms of Nigel’s former leadership.
It would have been better if Gerard had retired gracefully and allowed somebody else to pick up the gauntlet of leadership, but his undoubted sense of honour, coupled with his commitment to the cause, encouraged him to continue. Sadly, this compounded our toxicity and led to internal divisions over how best to address the question of radical Islamism.
Over the past 18 years or so, I have worked on Counter-Terrorism capacity-building projects around the world, helping to train foreign law enforcement and intelligence agencies on the technologies needed to track and apprehend trans-national criminals. Nobody knows better than I the risks to British interests and culture from radicalism, but when Gerard called Islam “a death cult” and Richard stated, “there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim”, I could no longer support their approach. I even toyed with the idea of following Nigel to his new Party – but that would have been disloyal to the thousands of good honest, decent activists who have pounded the streets leafletting and campaigning for the Party over many, many years.
Let me make it perfectly clear; I do not want to live in an Islamic state any more than I want to live in a Socialist state, and I totally understand the genuine heartfelt concerns people may have about the threat of radicalism. I absolutely share those concerns and have seen first-hand what evil some people are capable of, but with their ill-considered words Richard and Gerard insulted many ordinary decent Muslims who want nothing more than to live in peace. Many of the people I have worked with around the globe have been Christians and Hindus, but I have worked mostly in Muslim countries supporting Muslim police officers and investigators, all of whom are extremely grateful for our help in combating the scourge of terrorism. I count some of them as my friends, and Gerard and Richard verbally slapped them in the face, causing us to lose a very large number of our Muslim members into the bargain, not to mention our credibility as a serious political party.
The Best Leader We NEVER Had?
It is arguable that Richard Braine was potentially the best leader we never had; he was good in front of the camera, he was affable, and he was quick-witted, and I was prepared to give him my full, unwavering support. There had never been a better time for us to take centre stage. Comrade Corbyn’s Labour Party was in tatters and split down the middle over anti-Semitism, and Theresa May’s unwillingness to push on with Brexit, the very issue which for over twenty years UKIP had made its own, had done exactly the same to the Tories.
There was an open goal right in front of us - and we missed it.
Even this week, both parties are taking a battering by the MSM – Labour for suspending Trevor Phillips for publishing a leaflet (4 years ago) that they consider “racist and Islamophobic” – he called out majority Pakistani Muslim men for organising the systematic grooming and rape of white working-class girls - and the Tories who are still being accused of their own internal Islamophobia, not to mention their extremely poor record on benefits for the poor and disabled.
Another opportunity is opening up before us; let’s try not to drop the ball this time!
The Douglas Murray Approach
There is a right way and a wrong way to address sensitive issues like radical Islamism and whilst I prefer the Douglas Murray approach of using logical, lucid, reasoned argument coupled with sensible, respectful, honest debate to shine a bright light onto unacceptable practices and extremist ideologies, Gerard and Richard chose a different path; and by insulting ordinary Muslims in the way they did, we became totally toxic and completely unelectable. We are now at a point where, with both Richard and Gerard having resigned from the Party, reconciliation with them is, regrettably, no longer a viable option. Perhaps in time, it could be.
The Toughest Job in UK Politics – Probably!
I am not a member of the NEC, but at their December meeting, our Interim Leader, Pat Mountain, selflessly stepped up, as Gerard had done before, to take on the mantle of Interim Leader when few others were prepared to do so. She asked me to help her by taking on the role of Interim Deputy Party Chairman. I had first met Pat at the Eastbourne conference that she had organised and where she had invited me to give the Veterans’ speech. I liked and respected Pat as a true kipper, so I agreed. Then, at the next NEC meeting in February, and following David Kurten’s self-serving resignation, Pat asked me to take on the role of Head of Policy and, again, I agreed.
Some bright spark on the NEC then suggested I should also take on Public Relations too. Frankly, I could not imagine a tougher job in British politics today, and this is why I am appealing to all you good, decent Kippers out there to join with me in fighting to ensure that our beloved Party remains a viable electoral threat. The laughter and ridicule of the LibLabCons will be our only reward if we cannot find a way to resolve our internal differences and reunify the Party.
Where UKIP Lead, Others Eventually Follow
We are now about to hold yet another leadership election and, as the new Head of Policy, I have asked the NEC to consider including a “member survey” within the election materials to help shape our future direction and I invite you all to let me know if you have any positive, constructive policy ideas or suggestions for our manifesto because a decent manifesto is our best possible weapon on the road back to electoral relevance.
As Deputy Interim Party Chairman, I myself will, of necessity, remain neutral in the forthcoming Leadership election, but I wish to make it crystal clear that I will give my full, unwavering support to whoever ends up leading our Party. This really is a chance for a fresh start for UKIP, and for us to regain our rightful place of influence within the sphere of British politics. Just think of how many of our original policies have been hijacked by other parties – a minister for Veterans, a Veterans Administration Department, an Australian points-based immigration system, to name but a few.
I’m Not Here to Make Friends
There has been quite a lot of speculation on social media about the Party’s finances and membership levels; and although I am not a voting member of the NEC, as Interim Deputy Chairman I now attend all NEC meetings; and whilst I am unable to share exact figures, what I can say as an experienced businessman who has run my own companies since the ’80s, I can assure you all that, I am satisfied that the Party is not only solvent but that the cautious measures the NEC have put in place should ensure this Party not only survives but thrives.
As a good chum of mine has often said, “I am not in this party to make friends!”. Speaking personally, I am here to ensure that our Party has some meaningful influence on the kind of world my kids and grandkids will inherit; now is the time for us to reclaim the centre ground and get back to the business of winning elections because, without an effective UKIP, quite frankly, Britain is in trouble!
I don’t want my country to be one where the rich-poor divide just gets wider and wider, where even working families are driven to use foodbanks whilst global corporations get away with paying barely any Corporation Tax. However, I don’t want to overtax the wealthy and make them poorer either, because these are the wealth creators of this nation; they are the ones who invest their own money to create the private sector jobs that generate the Income Tax and NI revenues that, in turn, pay for our public sector and our pensions. Corbyn and his lot have never understood this. But I definitely do want to lift the poor out of poverty to ensure that NO CHILD IN BRITAIN EVER goes to school without a decent breakfast inside them, or goes to bed hungry!
Our Core Principles and Values
I don’t blame anybody for wanting to come to this wonderful country of ours for a better life, just as my great-grandparents did; but that was when immigration levels were at around 30,000 a year, and very few people were leaving to retire to warmer climes, taking their pensions and their spending power along with them. But it is of paramount importance that those whom we choose to allow into the UK must embrace our culture, not try to change it, and UKIP must survive to ensure that the Tories do not renege on their promises or knock this ball into the long grass.
Of course, we value and respect all other nations, especially those who have faithfully served, fought and in many cases died to protect this nation and its values; especially those from the Commonwealth; Indians, Jamaicans, Sikhs, Canadians, Aussies, Kiwis, and the Ghurkhas, etc., but we really must STOP talking about NET immigration because those net figures mask the true problem. We now have around 650,000 migrants (that we know of) coming here every year, many of whom do not share our cultural values; so we must ensure that the Government enforces sensible limits to stop this uncontrolled mass migration madness – even speaking as a true libertarian, current levels are simply unsustainable.
Uncontrolled migration has placed such an enormous burden on our nation’s infrastructure, our NHS, Welfare, Housing, Education and Policing that these services are buckling under the weight of supporting too many people who haven’t paid into the system. What is worse is that it is ALWAYS the poorest who pay the price, the poor who cannot afford private healthcare or private schools, and unfortunately, many of them still vote Labour because they just don’t realise it was Blair who was responsible for this mess.
Honouring Our Military Covenant, Fighting Injustice and Protecting the Weak
I am sick of hearing about our veterans having to fight with inadequate equipment and then live, freeze, starve and die on the streets because they could not get social housing, proper benefits, or mental health treatment when they return home. I am sick of hearing young mums at the primary school (where I’ve been a governor over the last 30 odd years) saying they cannot get their child a place in their local school or a bed in a care home for their elderly parents. And I’m sick of hearing about children as young as nine years old, carrying knives or getting stabbed with nowhere near enough Police on our streets to provide an effective deterrent or solution.
Statistically, because of the colour of their skin and where we live (in the Champagne Socialist heartland of Islington) my three grandsons are more likely to become involved in gun crime, knife crime or drug crime than almost every other demographic in the country - and the thought of this both breaks my heart and terrifies me at the same time; and we simply cannot allow this to persist. The solution to this starts with more Police on the streets and zero tolerance of ALL anti-social behaviour.
We must champion free speech, so that those who try to shut down open and honest debate of these problems cannot end that discourse by using ridiculous hate-crime laws. We must minimize state interference in our lives, fight for a low taxation economy with a much fairer deal for the working classes, and for “Generation Rent” who, without our help, may never be able to afford a home of their own.
I’d like us to make a massive effort to embrace technology so that we can use it to help regenerate areas of the UK that have been so badly blighted by the economic conditions created by the EU; conditions that have forced many thousands of manufacturing jobs to be exported to countries where labour is much cheaper, Turkey and Romania for example. Let’s really try to help our neglected Rural, Coal Mining, Steel, Fishing, and Farming communities by creating well-paid jobs in the tech and digital sectors.
And surely, we need to support the WASPI women who had their state pensions quietly stolen from them, pickpocket like, by the Government - it was theft, plain and simple; it was unfair and defies natural justice. And while we’re at it, let’s ensure that no pensioner, or parent of a young family, has to choose between eating and heating in the wintertime because green tax levies have forced them into fuel poverty. Oh! And let’s make sure we abolish that damned BBC and its license fee!
The Environment and Climate Change
Yes, of course, we should protect the environment and our children from diesel fumes; we should encourage people to plant trees, keep bees, cycle, recycle and stop single use of plastics; but let’s not be hoodwinked into paying out fortunes in green taxation or generous subsidies to wealthy landowners with windfarms due to the climate change fallacy. And let’s stop penalising drivers with punitive congestion charges and rising fuel duties. Damn it – I bought a diesel car in 1996 because the government told me it was cleaner – I now refuse to get rid of it! And by the way, my next car (when I do finally get one) WILL be built in Britain!
The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Purple
Whatever the future holds, I believe that we have a duty to work together to safeguard that future for the unborn of this nation and I urge everyone who shares our common-sense, traditional, patriotic values, and long-term vision, to set aside past differences and join, or re-join the Party and to work together to help realise our Party’s aims, for the sake of our children and our grandchildren.
There is a stark choice before us, between burying the hatchet or burying a decent future for our kids and grandkids - and that’s no choice at all. Future generations are depending on us – please let’s not let them down!
Join UKIP today, and let’s make this Party, and this country, great again; only UKIP can!
By Pete Muswell, Head of Policy and P.R.