It is always best to be honest and get one’s politics on the table before commenting on another party.
We here at Country Squire Magazine tend to reflect the countryside and be from the land of blue. Most of the editorial team are Tory and many of the writers – given the chance – would likely vote for the Conservatives if there were an election tomorrow. That is not to say we have Labour and Lib Dem voters who regularly or occasionally write for us. We’re soon to have a piece from a revolutionary communist – we are a platform for all. Almost all views are welcome and none of our contributors are afraid of critical banter.
We were drawn this week to a comment by UKIP Funder and arch Brexiteer Arron Banks about the need for a UKIP rebrand. Banks wrote to UKIP’s leader Paul Nuttall and offered to become party chairman to bring about a “total rebrand”. Mr Banks said ex-leader Nigel Farage was UKIP’s “biggest asset” and should be “engaged once again”. Banks criticised UKIP’s tactics in the Stoke Central by-election where Mr Nuttall failed to unseat Labour and said the party had wrongly adopted a “red UKIP” strategy, copying Labour’s policies on the NHS.
We agree with Banks.
More than that, we think UKIP has lost its way, which is understandable for a party which has almost certainly achieved on its predominant mission – UK independence from the EU.
So – take them or leave them – this is how we think UKIP should rebrand. Why are we bothering to give our advice to a party we would not vote for? Because the UK is crying out for sound opposition. We advise as friends and fellow countrymen, not as blue snipers.
How would we rebrand UKIP?
UKIP needs to drop the “I” from its name and replace it with a U. UKUP sounds rather too akin to a colloquial term for vomiting so we’d urge UKIP to become the UP party – the Unionist Party of the United Kingdom. The Conservatives claim they are the Conservative & “Unionist” Party which is true but few know that the “Unionist” add-on to the Conservative Party name is nothing to do with uniting the UK, rather it is entirely due to the title of a political faction among the Liberal Party which opposed Home Rule for Ireland and later allied with the Conservatives.
As Unionists, UKIP again captures the zeitgeist – UK union as opposed to Scottish nationalism. The new Unionist Party can park its tanks so to speak across all the Scottish constituencies and fight the SNP in ways that the Tories cannot. This will generate extraordinary goodwill across Britain from voters who want our Scottish cousins as part of the UK team. Ruth Davidson is excellent and the best the Tories could possibly muster in Scotland but a few Scottish seats at Westminster is a realistic limit for Conservative ambitions as the Tory brand was made truly unpalatable up there years ago during the Thatcher and Major years. UP can ally with the NO voters and expose the hell out of the SNP’s links with Russia, incompetence at governing and tackle head on their madcap independence desires which they use as a cloak for their growing embarrassments as a devolved government. The SNP are currently getting away with murder because they are unopposed and hide everything behind independence.
UP should somehow get as many Lords as it can together along with Farage in a strong House of Lords team which can prepare the ground for an attack on Westminster.
Banks is correct. Going Red like Labour is the wrong approach. UP must permanently demarcate from socialism. But UP must go after Labour voters as priority. How hard can this be? By positioning the party centrally with specific focus on regeneration of Labour seat areas, UP simply needs to list all the wrongs of a particular area, ask the locals what voting Labour has brought them in fifty plus years and stick some dead cats out there – the Co-op scandal which robbed the working class, the PFI scandal, the building sell-offs which made Labour cronies wealthy. So many dead cats after so many years. How many of the poor Labour constituencies are rich after all these years? None. They are still poor after all those years of whining and, worse, after all those years of government. Promise all that Labour promises but based on sound maths, honesty and economic growth not borrowing; on regeneration, not hand-outs. UP’s economic outlook should be akin to Tory economic outlook, which, to remain centre ground, is essentially social democratic. Instead of parroting Labour on the NHS, instead UP should be explaining it’s no longer affordable in its present state – start a nationwide conversation and present alternatives while promising to protect the little guy.
For an UP revolution to happen in reality three things need to occur: first, UP needs to build a team of prospective candidates. These candidates should be a mix of talented locals and successful professionals. By professionals, what we mean is a Headmaster to be education spokesperson, a sportsman to be sports minister, a City whiz to be chancellor and a farmer to be rural spokesperson. Getting that mix early on ensures local support and excellence in opposition. It also smashes the idea of career politicians which both Labour and, to a lesser extent, the Tories have been afflicted by. Second, UP needs to spend on a professional agent network and tidy up the party apparatus, so come conference or election time everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. Finally, UP needs to purge UKIP’s nutters who let the side down. This will be achieved by MEPs retiring, more centralised controls, Kroll checks on any potential candidates and attracting the right crowd through a well-positioned new image and message. UP should stand out still as being the party which expects candidates to have lived … this means those candidates who have no criminal record but have something colourful in their knicker drawer should be welcomed. By distinguishing between UP real and Westminster grey, UP will reflect the nation better than the existing parties. The British public want MPs with experience of life. So, what if a potential MP has some business enemies or ended up naked on a stolen pedalo on a lake in Munich after a crawl on a stag night.
Now for the cool bit: UP shall build on Tory achievements of cautionary conservative economic policies when it achieves office. That is what shall demarcate it most of all from Labour, who tend to take over Tory surplus and fritter it away on a load of rubbish when they get into power. So, UP will build on Tory achievements instead of frittering them away as Labour do in the name of socialism and Fabian ideology. By being the Common Sense Party UP can take Labour and Lib Dem ground but should do a deal with the Tories. Yes, UP should oppose the Tories but UP should form a compact with the Tories to annihilate Labour forever. This means co-operation in voting in certain seats, not splitting the votes where necessary and letting Labour or the Lib Dems in as well as agreeing on the fundamentals of Tory economic policy (which, until 2008) used to be keep the economy tidy and grow off the fat. By working together, UP could change the face of Westminster and banish ideology; replacing it with common sense.
We have plenty more ideas where those came from if you want them. Mr Banks, it will cost you a lunch. UKIP can be so much more than a short-sighted pressure group focused on immigration. The Unionist Party could reunite Britain and bind the Anglo-Saxon world ever closer in a Commonwealth of nation states which could be a model for ensuring Europe grows symbiotically focused around free trade and classical liberal concepts of liberty.
All the best,