Tomorrow, UKIP’s National Executive Committee will meet and discuss perhaps one of the most contentious issues that has come before it for a significant time. I speak, of course, of the infamous ‘Tommy Robinson Question’. Gerard Batten, UKIP’s Leader, will propose a motion that reads:
“There should be a ballot of the UKIP members asking if they approve, Yes, or No, of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) being allowed to join UKIP. This ballot should take place at the earliest opportunity, e.g. in the next edition of Independence Magazine.
“If a majority of Party members vote in favour of the proposition, then the Chairman and NEC will consider his application at the NEC meeting following the result of the ballot. They will then make the decision whether to waive the relevant rule or not based on a majority vote of the NEC.”
His email announcing this had the by-line ‘Your Party, Your Decision’. I agree Mr Batten. Amen to that. Whatever you think of the issue itself, whether you are pro or anti Tommy joining, it is our, the members Party, and it should be our decision. We should celebrate the fact that we have a leader who sees things that way and we should urge the NEC to remember that, no matter what some amoung their number appear to think, they were elected by the members, to serve and represent us.
If this is not the case then please do explain how they are any different to the Remoaning MP’s currently wagging their fingers at the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit because they believe, as Members Of Parliament that they are better than us, better ‘informed’, better placed to take this decision than the ‘plebeian masses’. Remoaners sabotage Brexit speaking in that same voice from hell about the ‘Greater Good’. MP’s have become what Sargon Of Akkad called at the Young Independence conference a ‘managerial class’. Let’s hope and pray the UKIP NEC is not determined to travel down the same road.
Yes, this is a controversial topic. Of course it is and the mood around it reminds me very much of the bitter (and painfully long) leadership contest in the summer/autumn of 17 following Paul Nuttall exiting stage left. This is all the more reason why the right way to settle this question is the democratic way. This way both sides can vent a little, pent up frustrations can be aired and after the vote and result, a process of healing and closure can begin. Of course, I suspect it will not be all sunbeams and rainbows the day after but it will be able to begin. Deny democracy and the bitterness and rancour will only increase, fester and eventually explode, most likely at a time when as strident opponents of even having this debate remind us, the geopolitical state of Brexit means we least need it.
Democracy was never meant to be perfect now does it provide ideal solutions but it is the best thing we have and something that we, as UKIP, should be all about, especially now as the establishment, whether it is through its attacks on free speech, or its reversal of Brexit is seeking to actively close down. So, members of the NEC, this is not about whether you are for or against Tommy Robinson joining but more fundamentally about whether you are for or against democracy and whether you will honour the duties of your office, to serve and represent the people who elected you and trust them to make the right decision for the Party as a whole.