OPINION: A Job Half-Done – UKIPs Incomplete Spokes List
I am a little miffed at the latest list of UKIP Spokesmen. In general, we need to establish some new rules for existing spokes; first, timely press releases should be issued on ‘hot button’ topics regardless of whether we have a counterbalancing established policy. Proactivity is better than reactivity. In general, saying something is better than saying nothing because saying nothing gives the impression that you aren’t interested/don’t care (delete as appropriate). Secondly, funnelling all press requests through the central press team is wrong and is a demonstration of unnecessary command and control. Spokesmen need to be allowed to establish personal relationships with the media and be seen to speak for themselves. It is this way that relationships of trust and confidence are built. Of course, there should be a system of check and balance but this is centralised command and control.
Let’s start with the positives. Jane Collins MEP in Animal Welfare is a good appointment both in terms of the recognition of the issue and the person chosen. David Moreland is a promising appointment to Home Affairs and a sadly too rare example in this list of seeking talent outside the very shallow pool of the ‘usual suspects’ and as a grassroots member delivers on a promise that the previous leader made but failed to fulfil of promoting talent from within the membership. Alan Craig though much-maligned, similarly to Jane Collins is a great addition in terms of the recognition of the issue. Social conservatives in Education and Families are wise appointments, however, the lack of libertarians on economic issues is a concern that should be addressed. Social conservatives in the above posts coupled with libertarian thinkers in economic roles would reflect, I believe, the broad Party consensus and where the centre of political gravity is in UKIP.
So, we move onto the negatives. No spokesmen for Local Government, Housing or Welfare and Work? Why not? These are crucial issues and they directly impact on the quality of voters everyday lives. Local Government is a huge issue, especially when it comes to contesting local elections. Housing and Welfare and Work are issues which affect a vast amount of working and middle-class households. Leaving out these areas sends a signal we simply don’t care enough to make the effort. If that is the case then I do have to wonder what we are all doing in politics. If it isn’t then please, someone address this asap.
We have missed a couple of opportunities for innovation while taking some with Animal Welfare and Families. Cleary, the authoritarian creep of the British state and corporate social media demands special attention. We need a Free Speech spokesman who would naturally cover the media and culture. Veterans need a spokesman as do Youth. Two of these areas would give us a specific identity and help define our message to the electorate in a unique way because no one else has them.
As we reported earlier, Mr Batten is requesting we give him another year, a perfectly reasonable and sensible request, however, that being the case we need much more than this current list offers.