I was interested to see a copy of the above letter, sent to members by Steve Crowther, the Interim Leader of my former party, UKIP.
It was not the appeal for cash that caught my eye. UKIP, like most other parties, was usually strapped for cash during my ten year membership and “Donate” buttons leapt out from electronic communications hoping to catch the unwary mouse clicker. Rather it was the references to handing over to a new Leader, on 30 September at the Party Conference, and to a party relaunch, unveiling a new mission and brand, on 29-30 September, also at the Conference.
Putting the kindest interpretation on this, it could be that the party management of UKIP have learned nothing from the Leadership Election fiascoes of 2016. Thus, the new Leader will be presented with a fait accompli. The Leader will be bound by an agenda, concocted without reference to members, by the totally risk averse professional wing of the party, a few MEPs and the NEC. A new Leader, who may have campaigned on membership involvement and the full introduction of direct democracy to the party, will be up against a brick wall of bureaucratic rule waving and obstruction. At this rate UKIP Conferences will have to have an annual slot to introduce the New Leader.
What can UKIP members do to prevent this situation? In the first instance they should try to elect a Leader who just may be able to break the mould of the upper echelons of the party. From my reluctant position as observer there seem to be two very different mould breakers in the running – Waters and Rees-Evans. It is for UKIP members to decide between the two. Both will take risks and not be afraid of media attack.
The second thing that UKIP members can do is to provide vocal support and practical back up as the successful one of these two candidates sets out to rebuild the edifice. It will be rough.
Should neither of these two candidates win, I suspect many ‘kippers will think it is time to move on.