The local UKIP branch says its General Election campaign for the South Holland and The Deepings constituency will be “very nominal”.
Just two years after its candidate David Parsons came second to Conservative Eurosceptic John Hayes, only a “paper” candidate will be fielded on Thursday, June 8. Instead, the local branch will lend its support to UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, who is standing in neighbouring Boston and Skegness.
The announcement came on Friday (May 5), just hours after UKIP lost all of its seats on Lincolnshire County Council.
Branch chairman Coun Paul Foyster said: “After much debate and heart-searching and despite having a strong local candidate available, our branch decided well before the county elections, not to hold a hustings but to field a democratic or ‘paper’ candidate, made available to us by our head office.
“Several other party branches are doing the same thing and in most cases, where a seat is a Tory or Labour marginal with a sitting Brexit MP, no candidate at all will be fielded. We feel that in this constituency it’s important not to disenfranchise UKIP supporters but there will be only a very nominal campaign. We will not be canvassing, advertising or producing election addresses. During any future elections, local or national, we will campaign as normal.”
Coun Foyster, who is leader of the two-seat UKIP group on South Holland District Council, said the move did not indicate approval of the Conservative government or leadership, but Mr Hayes has recently agreed to make a statement confirming his commitment to the sort of Brexit which he and UKIP supported during the referendum.
Coun Foyster added: “Just now this is the best way to further that aim. A strong hard left wing Corbyn-run Labour party is unthinkable and must be discouraged. This move sends them a message.
“Our leader is standing in the constituency next door and we want to help him.”
In a further statement, Coun Foyster insisted that there was still a job for UKIP to do.
The county election is over, it was a bad result for us though here we retained the most votes of any opposition party, easily beating Labour, the LibDems and the Greens. In South Holland & Deepings UKIP will take only a nominal part in the June contest but there is still a job for us to do. We forced and helped win the referendum only by presenting a threat to the ‘natural order’.
Underfunded protest groups usually fail to achieve their aims but a full blown political party that has the potential to take seats does motivate politicians to listen and act. The Tories did both, just enough to regain support but if we don’t try to continue they will quickly slip back again.
Whatever happens to UKIP all that work was worth it for the chance of a proper Brexit alone. The EU caused people to lend us their votes but they now believe that job’s done, Mrs May has told them so, it must be true. I very much doubt it, time will tell.
We have not left the EU, that’s at least two years away. Furthermore much in our national political organisation, structure and democratic processes are badly wrong and grossly unfair but there is little popular will to change for the better. We are too lazy to bother if it inconveniences us. In the recent elections only three out of ten could even be bothered to vote.
It’s so much easier to let others do the thinking for us and not to see the damage bad decisions cause to people we don’t know. Established political loyalties are almost impossible to challenge. Supporters of the old parties simply don’t listen to what other groups say, they don’t even read election leaflets let alone a whole manifesto. All that matters are perceptions, truth is mostly irrelevant.
I frequently criticise other parties, so it’s only fair that I comment on my own too.
Had Farage not given up the leadership so soon post referendum and left a vacuum, we would have had time to regroup and present a more united and less “Marmite” front. I think that the party reorganisation in the autumn will allow us to move forward but it will be our last chance, as it is we will have to start again almost from scratch.
It’s sad for the UKIP councillors who worked hard for their communities, have lost their seats and see less committed and able people elected in their place simply based on rosette colours. Unfortunately that is how politics works. Those of us who remain and can prove we’ve made a difference are bound to wonder why we bothered, some have already jumped ship in the hope they can continue to help the people they represent by speaking out. Speaking is often the most we can do, opposition councillors have no power other than that of persuasion. Most of us are far more interested in local matters than in national politics but we are usually judged on national issues.
I’m not a racist, a “phobe” or an “ist” of any kind and neither is my party, though maybe a very few of our supporters are. They and worse lurk in every organisation in equal proportions and are impossible to identify until they leap out and bite someone. Of course they need to be exposed but it’s a fact that at national level the bad apples in other parties often get ignored by the media whilst ours get spotlighted.
The smears, spin and lies do hurt but nearly all our active members will stick with UKIP. The essential changes our politics needs are worth fighting for and the old parties won’t act against their own interests but if our senior leadership can’t turn things round within this next year or so, I suspect some of us may perhaps think again. We will always put national interests and our own communities before party, in the final analysis, it’s what UKIP is about.