The following article is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the official view of the party
Following on from the surprise resignation of leader Diane James MEP after just 18 days in the role, we have now seen media headlines surrounding an altercation between two of our MEP’s in the EU Parliament in Strasbourg.
The Party is currently investigating what actually happened and as such it would be wrong for me to speculate before that investigation is concluded. I feel sure that we all wish Steven Woolfe MEP, a personal friend and a thoroughly decent man, a speedy recovery.
Whilst the press speculates that UKIP is in crisis, the reality is far different. There are obviously some disagreements between a small number of senior members of the party as is usual in all parties when a leadership campaign rears its head – a look at the recently concluded Labour Party leadership contest is proof of that and I would hazard a guess that the splits there are far more serious than those facing UKIP at the present time.
The media claim that the Strasbourg fracas shows an ‘ugly’ side to the party and that the scuffle is unprecedented also does not bear up to scrutiny – I seem to remember John Prescott as Deputy Prime Minister being involved in fisticuffs with a demonstrator and Labour MP Eric Joyce had more than one punch up in his time. If there has been some form of physical altercation then, whilst not condoning it, it shows that there is a passion amongst our elected representatives for the party and the cause overall.
Above – Steven Woolfe MEP looking better in hospital yesterday
Despite the negative headlines, opinion polls show UKIP at between 14-16% support levels nationally and, more importantly, we won a by-election for Hartlepool Council on Thursday with 49% of the vote in a solid Labour heartland.
Surely, UKIP has served its purpose and should now disband?
With the success of the Leave campaign, many political commentators are arguing that UKIP has done its job and is now redundant with the core founding goal of the party achieved.
Prime Minister Theresa May has made a couple of speeches talking tough about BREXIT and has also pilfered key UKIP policies on Grammar Schools, social mobility and treatment of Armed Services personnel, moving in on traditional UKIP territory – surely it is time to ‘come home’ to the Conservatives?
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Firstly, if you look at Mrs May’s record as Home Secretary she often talked tough on immigration and law and order. The reality is a record of failure – Police morale decimated, border control pared to the bone and net migration at record levels. Why should her tough talk now be any different to that in her previous position, particularly in view of her remain stance during the EU Referendum?
Indeed, whilst Home Secretary she passed in to law 33 new legal instruments of the EU, including the iniquitous European Arrest Warrant that goes against the basic rights of our citizens dating back to Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights.
UKIP are more vital than ever now to make sure that, once again, we hold the Government to account and make sure that Mrs May and her team deliver the result that the British people voted for. Steven Woolfe was reported to have been in talks to defect to the Conservatives on the basis of the promises being made and decided to stay with UKIP, showing that they cannot be trusted to do the right thing.
Secondly, pinching another party’s policies does not mean you will follow through on them. The more sceptical amongst us would suggest that, with Labour in disarray, the Conservatives are trying to finish off UKIP by appealing to our core voters, thus removing a thorn in their sides who have already made them hold a Referendum that they never really wanted in the first place (exposing splits in their ranks) and ensuring one party politics for a generation. With UKIP out of the picture , the LibDems irrelevant and Labour an unelectable, out of touch ‘far left’ pressure group then such a plan would make perfect political sense.
Finally, ‘coming home to the Conservatives’ would not appeal to the majority of UKIP members as it was never our home in the first place. In Hillingdon, we do have former Conservatives as members – we also have members who are ex-Labour, LibDem and English Democrat as well as people who have never belonged to a political party at all before. Our manifesto from 2015 does not conform to political paradigms with some policies that are considered right wing, some that are left wing and some that could be described as ‘centrist’ – it is about right and wrong rather than ‘right’ or ‘left’, 20th Century terms that are increasingly outdated in the 21st Century political landscape.
With Independence confirmed, we will be the ones leading the way in making sure that government is accountable to the people through our now supreme elected institutions and forcing change where it is required. We will be the ones pushing for the rollback of big government and challenging the Corporatist control of our institutions.
UKIP will be the ones innovating to make sure that the voice of the people is heard as our policies evolve, no doubt leading to another round of ‘UKIP lite’ posturing by the government.
We will lead the political opposition to HS2, working with residents to head off the biggest transport white elephant in living memory.
At a local level, it is looking increasingly likely that the Tories will renege on their promise not to build a Third Runway at Heathrow, a U turn not just on their own stated policy but that of the Prime Minister herself which has led both her Tory led council and our own to threaten legal action against the government, something UKIP will be happy to stand with them on once again.
We will hold councils up and down the country to account, fighting for better services and use of your money to improve local areas and being the listening and pro-active voice in boroughs and districts where we take control.
Now is not the time for defections or saying ‘job done’ after the Referendum – now is a time of immense promise for our country and a strong UKIP is vital in realising it.
Stick with us or join us on our journey as we continue to shake up the establishment and deliver for all of the people of the UK.