I hate the phrase “forward thinking”. I cringe at the idea that I may at some point have used it.
It’s awful. It means nothing. Actually, it means you can’t think of what you really want to say – or conveys the fact you have no ideas – and just want to coast through whatever sentence you’re saying. It’s right up there with “liaise with” when you mean “speak to them”, or “brainstorm” when you mean, “I’m shit out of ideas”.
But it also means, if you hear anyone say it, that they believe the reign of Nigel Farage and what UKIP has achieved in its short but glorious history hasn’t been “forward” or “progressive” in its thinking.
I think that’s wrong. I’m reminded of U.S. Presidential Candidate Barry Goldwater’s description of the term “progressive”, in the first footnote of one of my favourite books ever: The Conscience of a Conservative. He wrote:
“This is a strange label indeed. It implies that “ordinary” conservatism is opposed to progress. Have we forgotten that America made its greatest progress when conservative principles were honored and preserved”.
And this applies to Britain too. We’re not talking about Conservative Party principles (no such things exist anymore) but rather about the concepts of individual liberty and responsibility, accountability of governments, and the defence of our respective countries.
After Nigel Farage’s resignation, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) needs to steer well clear of anyone that would seek to imply his steerage of the party was not “forward thinking” by using such a term. And I want to take a second to just remark upon what magnificent man he is for leading us to that monumental Brexit vote just a few weeks ago.
I’m sure, like me, you got goosebumps when you heard him “dare to dream that the dawn is breaking over an independent United Kingdom”. Mr. Farage has been one of the most impactful, dedicated, and successful (non) politicians this country has ever seen.
And hasn’t the reaction been delightful, since?
- Threats levelled at Leave voters but the media only covers one side;
- Middle-class Guardianistas and students shouting abuse at elderly, patriotic women in the streets;
- Farage and his family threatened, even by celebrities, and not a peep from anyone about it.
Perhaps worst of all is when you consider the broader response.
Snowflake Remain campaigners, who are now effectively acting as voluntary lobbyists for Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, are flooding Westminster demanding that democracy is ignored, and that we should stop Brexit so they don’t have to fill in a one-page, online visa application form before travelling across Southern Europe on their Gap Yah.
We have created, in this country and others, a generation of utter imbeciles who derive their liberties not from God, or not from the fact that they are sovereign human being, but from government (in European Union form). They also seem okay with handing those liberties over. This is not the time to take our foot off the accelerator with these people.
This is also why it makes me so angry to hear people like Douglas Carswell – a UKIP MP in name only – bleating to the BBC about how the referendum result was so tight, and how we must now work for “consensus” in our politics while ostracising UKIP.
This is wrong. It is a utopian, idealistic vision born out of Mr. Carswell’s visceral hatred for the party, and his staunch and somewhat creepy commitment to his former flat-mate Daniel Hannan MEP, who has personally lobbied intensely for Turkey to join the European Union.
This is a time for UKIP to do what the establishment has done to the country for the last 43 years (at least): punish it, whip it, smack it around and make it call you “daddy”.
Because it is quite simple: we have the momentum. And the second we give up that ground in order to “seek consensus”, we will once again be on the back foot. You know it has already been happening. All this talk about if Article 50 will ever happen at all? The law firms supposedly launching legal bids against Brexit. The fact that the media has been trying to portray Brexit as some kind of xenophobic “genie in a bottle”.
It is all designed to fatigue us, and the likes of Douglas Carswell, Suzanne Evans, and some others will kowtow to their Westminster buddies because they like “consensus”.
And let’s think about what “consensus” really is.
It’s that word that Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and David Cameron used so much. Oh and Nick Clegg, if you remember him.
It should be about finding the middle ground in the national interest. But in reality it always becomes about finding the middle ground between political parties.
That’s why UKIP is different. Or at least should be. Setting itself apart from the bubble huddle that you see on the College Green in Westminster.
So what does UKIP really need?
- It needs a leader who is unafraid and unashamed of picking up that Farage torch and running full speed at the establishment. This is not the time to seek consensus. It’s a time to hammer the point home, and if we don’t get home, the next general election will see a massive swing to UKIP;
- It needs a rebrand – not really a new name – but a new membership structure, new fundraising methods, new internal party democracy, and hell, even a new logo. The party needs to look to the Five Star movement in Italy for inspiration;
- It needs a vision for 2020, not just for the party, but for the country. What does Brexit Britain look like? How do we get there? How can UKIP maximise its influence in Westminster, in Wales, in Scotland, in Northern Ireland, in the major cities, in Europe, and in the world?
- It needs to make clear that while a “broad church” is good inside political parties, you may not speak for the party if you openly reject the party and its core principles. What’s the point in that? Having people just for the sake of having them? What benefit does UKIP really get by having an MP who takes the Tory whip and hardly ever turns up to Parliament, or his constituency ,and just goes on TV to slag off the party’s base and big up his Tory mates? Enough!
- It needs to reach out in the north, obviously. But not just the north. Look at how places like Wolverhampton voted. And obviously Wales (despite Neil Hamilton). And also to our friends and allies across Europe who will now be pushing for their own referendums. We must support them.
This isn’t a “manifesto”. These are just some preliminary thoughts on direction of travel. But I have spent the past few months discussing these and their finer points with Nigel Farage, with Arron Banks, and with the brilliant UKIP staff who won us this referendum.
Now, we just need a leader with the balls to implement it, and who can’t be barraged by the mainstream media while he or she does it.
Who do you fancy?