“The party now needs to bring in serious people to fix its ramshackle administration, stay relevant and stay radical or it will die,” thundered billionaire UKIP donor Arron Banks after former leader Paul Nuttall suffered his embarrassing Stoke by-election defeat.
He also said the party was being run like a “jumble sale” and accused some members of being “dullards” while Raheem Kassam went on record even prior to that saying UKIP was “staffed by ragtag, unprofessional, embarrassing people who let Nigel down at every juncture.” Calls for the party to professionalise were made several times by Mr Farage himself whilst leader, in an attempt to push the established two parties even further.
These are not the nasty lies or unfounded smears often levied against the party by the mainstream media or its political opponents. No, this is what UKIP people – prominent UKIP figures – have said about their own party.
Banks’ prediction in this regard has borne out. Voters and members deserted the purple party in droves following the historic role it played during the EU referendum. In part, this was a natural consequence of losing its charismatic leader and winning the Brexit vote, with many supporters giving the Tories an opportunity to enact the mandate handed down to them. Another reason for the decline has surely been due to the catalogue of errors the party has been involved in going back a number of years.
Whether it was leadership election debacles involving ‘late’ paperwork, suspensions of senior figures, constant squabbling between factions and accusations of Tory interference, and even fisticuffs in the European Parliament, UKIP is sadly a party which has all too frequently proved Banks’ comments legitimate in recent times. And with Farage still acting as a major spokesperson on Brexit, UKIP have rather become a party without a vision or purpose – indeed, since Banks uttered those words the party has failed to stay relevant or radical and if polling similar numbers as the Green Party isn’t dying, then we don’t know what is.
Seemingly oblivious to the petty antics that have turned many off the party, this latest leadership election has shown that few lessons have been learnt by the UKIP establishment. Again we have seen countless smears, legal challenges, outright lies, tactical game playing, anti-democratic stances and threats of quitting the party en masse – all directed towards one candidate: Anne Marie Waters, or the devil incarnate as they would no doubt like us to refer to her as.
One of her fellow candidates, Jane Collins, encapsulates everything that is wrong with UKIP in its present form. The MEP last week published a press release titled ‘If Anne Marie Waters wins, UKIP is finished’ where she states “It makes me so angry to see everything so many people worked so hard for, from way back in the 1990s, under threat from johnny-come-latelies who want to use our brand, our campaigning machine for their own personal agendas,” before urging members to “wake up” and adding “Sadly I’m more surprised that the party, including some of my fellow MEPs and other elected members, are letting this happen.”
This kind of rhetoric wouldn’t look out-of-place in Labour’s hard-left Momentum which is currently purging the party of people who don’t align exactly to Jeremy Corbyn’s worldview. Where in the UKIP constitution does it state that length of service determines the sway one should hold within a party? Here’s a clue: it doesn’t. Ms Collins is simply part of a UKIP-clique which has held the party back for so many years. Farage achieved success despite these people, not because of them. As for being surprised officials are “letting this happen” – it doesn’t do much to showcase her commitment to democratic principles, does it? Then again this is the same lady who supported a decision to cancel a planned stadium rally in Rotherham to launch Waters’ campaign, after security concerns were raised thanks to leftist thugs. Whose side is she on, again? UKIP does not belong to any one person, group or set of ideas – UKIP, of all parties, should know this after traditionally picking up large swathes of both Labour and Tory voters.
For the first time in years, and certainly since Farage stood down, UKIP have been offered a real alternative – something relevant and radical like Banks so passionately called for while Nuttall bumbled towards mediocrity. And the reaction from some inside UKIP? To start acting like the very political establishment they have always claimed to be against – with shady lies, baseless smears and dirty tactics. It is utterly shameful.
Despite being labelled a ‘single issue politician’, the law graduate and former NHS worker outlines a long-list of common-sense policies in her 24-page manifesto, ranging from law and order, Brexit, the NHS, and immigration. But what really sets Anne Marie Waters apart from the rest is her willingness to speak the truth, something politicians almost universally do not do. It is abundantly clear from members that have watched her in hustings up and down the country, that Waters’ has not entered politics for money or fame or glory – she genuinely wants to change the way we do politics. Her passion is electrifying and in spite of constant attacks on her character, intentions and background (one minute she is far right, then the next she is far left) she remains true to herself and never stoops to the same level.
There’s another big allure to Waters and it’s what terrifies her opponents – both in UKIP and outside – the most. After studying the Qur’an and other Islamic scriptures for years, she has the authority and intellect to say what others won’t or cannot. She dares say the unspeakable: that Islam (not Muslims) in its purest form is an evil, barbaric religion. It’s an ideology which is having a profound negative impact on freedom of speech, law enforcement and women’s rights, among other things.
In a major poll earlier this year, 55% of people across 10 European countries agreed with the statement: ‘All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped’. Majorities in all but two of the 10 nation states agreed, ranging from 71% in Poland, 65% in Austria, 53% in Germany, 51% in Italy and 47% in the UK. In no country did the percentage that disagreed surpass 32%.
But not just in opinion polls, at the ballot box Geert Wilders’ party became the second largest in the Dutch parliament in May with 13.1% of the national vote, while Marine Le Pen attracted 34% of the electorate in May, winning over more than 10 million voters in the second round of the French presidential elections. The Alternative for Germany party, which has often said Islamic values are incompatible with Western values, is predicted to poll at least 10% in the upcoming German elections. Oh how UKIP would love to return to those dizzy heights and beyond.
As her dissenters call it a “niche” issue, or one that would sound the “death knell” of the party, they demonstrate either their lack of intelligence on the subject or their cowardice in tackling this most difficult of issues just like the other main political parties. They offer nothing different to the mainstream Westminster bubble. In truth, the debate around Islam is of era-defining importance and those who belittle Anne Marie show their complete disconnect with working class communities not just in Britain but across Europe and the West at large.
We now need a leader, a team and a party to tackle uncomfortable truths head on. Pussy-footing around the root causes by adding ‘isms’ and caveats on to every argument for fear of offending the official narrative is getting us nowhere. Freedom lies in being bold, making and taking courageous decisions, and while the UKIP establishment attempt to frighten you into voting for more of the same dull, unprofessional dross – you now have another, unique, option.
It’s an option which, as Banks’ statement referred to, will truly keep the party relevant and radical into the future. But more than that, it will also see UKIP reborn with a purpose on to the major stage of British politics. It’s an option which will send shockwaves across the whole political elite, which is exactly why there are so many people telling you not to vote for her.
So, please, join us in voting for change, voting for the truth, and voting ‘For Britain’. Mark your cross in the box for Anne Marie Waters by 28 September 2017.
Standing up for those without a voice in Britain