A Fair Appraisal Of The Democrats & Veterans Party
On the 3 of April, I attended a Democrats & Veterans Party open meeting. I had no intention of joining, but I went out of curiosity. I have mixed feelings towards this party which I will explain.
I begin by addressing their Leader, who was a candidate in the last UKIP Leadership election. In my opinion, standing as our Leader then starting another party was a massive betrayal! Nobody should stand as Leader if they are not 100% loyal and committed to the party. If he was determined to initiate Direct Democracy, he could have campaigned for it within UKIP like he was doing during Paul Nuttall’s reign. He, in effect if not by design, gained followers then led them out of UKIP.
I strongly backed him and I would not have done so if I’d known he was thinking about leaving. He could have stood as Leader again if he hadn’t left, with 2 other candidates out of the way, and I would have backed him again. I am still angry about this, though everybody makes mistakes and it does not necessarily mean he is a bad person. If he had attended on Tuesday, I would have said this to his face.
I have nothing against their other members and some are my friends from their time in UKIP. I sincerely believe that they mistakenly think they are doing the right thing.
DVP’s Chairman, Treasurer and Sheffield branch Chairman were there, all of who I know to varying degrees. On the night, 2 of them encouraged me to stand for UKIP, which I am already doing in Gleadless Valley largely because these 2 encouraged me to do it long ago when they were still Kippers.
These 3 speakers were adamant that they “are not enemies of UKIP” and “do not want to split the vote.” Thrice through the course of the evening, I heard that 9 DVP activists campaigned for a sitting UKIP Councillor in a local by-election. I am convinced of their sincerity, but I doubt that a fledgling party like theirs is able to control every member’s conduct when long established parties are unable to do so. I have heard rumours that some of their members have been attacking Kippers online but I have not seen this for myself.
Despite friction in some locales, DVP are graciously avoiding contesting the same wards as us in Sheffield. The members of my branch voted overwhelmingly to co-ordinate with DVP to ensure they would not oppose our candidates and we have given them a list of wards to leave for us. I was reluctant, as advocating tactical voting in the last General Election was the single most damaging occurrence to UKIP.
However, we have a shortage of candidates. We can’t stand someone in every ward anyway, so it makes sense not to split the vote in wards we can compete for. The situation demands an alliance, even if it is short-lived.
DVP apparently want the same things as us with the addition of Direct Democracy. DD is a noble aspiration and I still have hope that it will be incorporated into UKIP in some form, but I do see potential problems with total Direct Democracy:
a) If 27 or 28 leaders of countries can’t come to agreements without taking years, I can see difficulty in getting tens of millions of people to agree;
b) After 2 General elections, the referendum and now local elections, some citizens are suffering “voter fatigue.” Let’s face it – politics is boring and overly complicated. There are people who want elected officials to carry out politics on their behalf;
c) As DVP’s internal workings will be based upon DD, I can envisage their party being susceptible to takeover, as the far left Momentum have taken over Labour.
While they may not want to split the vote, it is inevitable at a National level. I asked “What are your plans for the future?” I wanted to know if this non-aggression stance towards us would continue. The reply was “That depends on UKIP.” I can only see 3 possibilities for the future:
a) UKIP or DVP folds, leaving the other party to collect the Brexit vote;
b) Both parties remain small and mutually avoid confrontation. This would mean we can only ever achieve partnership in a coalition;
c) Both parties grow and we are forced to directly face each other in elections.
Part of me wants DVP to gain seats that we are not attempting to win as they would be better than the other parties. But part of me wants them to fail miserably so that their members come back to UKIP. They will never come back if we alienate them – insults aimed at members of For Britain no doubt spurred them to join DVP instead of rejoining UKIP when they tired of intra-party bullying within For Britain.
The primary folly of DVP is starting from scratch. They face unavoidable teething problems which affect all parties in their infancy. They will also have to contend with the biased media as well as corrupt establishment parties proliferating propaganda about them.
UKIP are victims of this discrimination, but after 25 years are a household name, with more and more people seeing through the façade that others have created for us. UKIP have also proved unequivocally that the party can make a real difference. The referendum and its result – the biggest redirection in British politics for decades – was achieved by UKIP against all odds and with no true UKIP MPs.
This is the biggest reason I remain committed to our party. Rather than UKIP 2.0, I see DVP as UKIP: Back To Square 1.