My first involvement with political parties was during the formative years of UKIP. I remember my grandparents were all of a sudden active in politics. They’d been enraged, my granddad in particular, by the decision of the Conservative Party to support the Maastricht treaty. For those of you who don’t know, the Maastricht treaty converted the EU from a system of cooperation between states to a state in its own right, setting the foundation for the United States of Europe.
The United Kingdom Independence Party at the time was campaigning against joining the Euro, just a small part of the overall plan. As always, UKIP was the ‘David’ up against the political ‘Goliath’ of all UK political forces united against it. The action centre was the front room of their suburban 1930s London semi. It had papers piled up, pens, stickers, bags and all sorts of campaign devices daubed with the ‘Keep Our Pound’ tag. The UK didn’t join the Euro and UKIP adopted the £ pound symbol indefinitely. From this early embryonic understanding of the process I went on as a candidate for UKIP repeatedly, standing many times. The experience gained during that time puts me years ahead of some of the freshly elected new-intake MPs now representing constituencies across the country for safe Labour or Conservative seats.
UKIP, just like any other political party is a brand. People vote according to the way they feel about it in the same way people choose to go into a McDonalds or to drive a BMW. UKIP is the only political party which has really succeeded in recent times. The Liberal Democrats and related iterations came close but since they were really a continuation of an existing liberal movement they can’t really be compared to UKIP. Culminating with some substantial achievements UKIP really has a great record to be proud of.
2016 has arguably turned out to be one of the most turbulent years in living political memory and it’s only August. Discounting for a moment all of the quite extraordinary jockeying for leadership positions and the significant resignations which would’ve been major individual headlines any other year. Those events aside, more than 30 million voters went to the ballot box to mark their cross for the most significant decision the country has faced since the founding of the Kingdom itself. It was a genuinely historic moment when at 6am on 24th of June, the results of our EU referendum were declared and the majority had voted for an independent country.
The UK voters now feeling emboldened, feeling collectively that they’ve been listened to for the first time in decades smelt blood.
With this new found expression of democracy it seemed the appropriate time for me to tentatively test the water with the founding of a new campaign group. After the brexit vote the people we voted against have redoubled their efforts against the population of the UK and are determined now to keep their hand in the till and feet under the desk despite doing everything they could to prevent a free choice in the referendum. It has been another experience for the people of the UK of the absurd form of events whereby poorly performing representatives keep their jobs. In stark contrast to the usual form where people failing to perform at work get fired.
At times it seems hardly a week goes by in the bubble without news of the formation of yet another political party. Some of these new parties struggle on for years, swimming towards the target but never quite getting to the egg. The tendency for the advocates of such movements to be uncovered as far-left raving lunatic socialists (in most cases, not all) puts the nail in the coffin and then it dies quickly or slowly in proportion to the size of the ego of the leader. That’s why in this case I’ve created an idea for a brand which is intended as an option for candidates supporting direct democracy to get onto the ballot paper at elections. In founding UKDD – ( www.uk-dd.com ) I have no expectation of success as I know 99.9% of new political campaign groups don’t make it past the first week. However, in an amazing political year some very strange things have happened and there wouldn’t ever be a better time to propose such a venture. With that being the case, the proposal therefore, is for an online party designed to totally change the UK political system. It means to remove the partisan and self-interested elements of decision making from a few people in Westminster and place it in the hands of UK citizens so they have the chance to do what is in our collective self-interest, whatever that might be. Advances in technology over the last decade make the prospect of a system of direct democracy practical and totally achievable.