Christmas Day has passed now. I hope people had a good time and that a little of the Christian spirit, still evident in that special day, lingers on into the new year.
The 2015 elections campaign started ages ago, though it only officially opened early last week.
There has been much in the local media about the achievements of the old parties. UKIP obviously can’t compete with that, we’re too new.
2015, until late May at least, will be dominated by politics, the elections and no doubt secret meetings in dark rooms as our masters attempt to form some sort of government, from what looks increasing like being a hung Parliament. We can’t hope to be the largest party in May, though we could easily hold the balance of power.
Given the influence we already have on the debate on EU membership, uncontrolled immigration and other matters, it would be remarkably foolish of the other parties to ignore the opinions of our supporters.
All UKIP branches tend to be more or less independent and our HQ organisation is very small compared to that of the old parties.
Looked at impartially, our party is rather more like a co-operative of its branches than the traditional party structure.
Despite this we all get along very well indeed and actually respect our national leadership.
There are very occasional disagreements within the party, usually highly publicised by a media greedy for scandal but in fact of little significance in the greater order of things.
We understand we can’t please all the people all the time and that compromise is the essence of politics.
What this means is that branches, including ours, are far more able to put local matters and local people first.
This extends to our Parliamentary candidates as well as those for council seats. People come before careers.
Every elected representative is expected to put his or her ward or constituency first. Those who fail to do so will not last long. We have no whip system in local government. It is also our policy to introduce a recall system for all elected representatives who fail to perform satisfactorily. This makes us more directly responsible to electors.
Both these concepts are new to politics. They will take time to settle. A proper balance between greater good and micro-local needs must sometimes be made.
For example, new housing developments are unavoidable and have to go somewhere, though not necessarily all in one place, just because it’s convenient or cheaper to build that way. Lateral thinking is needed.
We will be publishing a local policy direction manifesto for South Holland before May. It’s impossible to fill in fine detail without knowing who will govern the country next year, how much cash they will grant to local areas and before knowing how many councillors we’ll have. We’d rather not follow the example of the establishment and make detailed promises we can’t keep but electors will be able to see our direction of travel quite clearly.
As a teaser, we will seek greater public participation in decision making. There are many ways of consulting ratepayers. Obviously holding referendums on every issue would be too expensive but greater use of internet surveying is one possibility.
UKIP wish everyone and we do mean everyone, a happy healthy and prosperous New Year.
UKIP South Holland