We are sometimes asked why we call for a new party to take on the political establishment and rebuild our country. Some have suggested that UKIP are that party, and that we should join with them to avoid splitting the anti-EU vote. This article, based on a response to somebody who posed those questions, will therefore explain why we are building Union & Sovereignty as a new political alternative, and why we do not believe UKIP are the party to rebuild our country.
First off, it's worth stating that anybody who supports Britain's exit from the EU should give credit where it is due. Under Nigel Farage UKIP brought the issue of Europe to the table and won hearts and minds for British sovereignty, and they did so in spite of very biased and unjust treatment by the political and media establishment. Their victory in the June 2016 referendum was a massive achievement. Since the referendum UKIP have gone down a very different road in terms of policy priorities, but that can be put aside for the purposes of this article.
Why then are we not rallying under the UKIP banner? Most fundamentally we differ from UKIP in that we have a broad narrative and critique of the 'New Britain' project pursued by the Labour/Conservative parties over the past 50 years - de-industrialisation, debt, devolution, widespread referenda to marginalise our parliamentary democracy, social liberalism, secularisation, economic deregulation, multiculturalism and mass immigration. We maintain that we must defeat the Conservative and Labour parties in order to oppose this programme and rebuild our country.
By contrast UKIP are largely a single-issue pro-Brexit party whose strategy was to serve as a sort of pressure group on the Tories over Europe. They do not generally share our broad narrative and largely embrace or at least accept the social liberal, secular, service sector, referendum devo-state 'New Britain' project. This means that they are largely disinterested in many of the things which we view as fundamental to rebuilding Britain, and on a number of issues and principles their values are at odds with ours.
UKIP are for example a libertarian party, as enshrined in their constitution. This means that they embrace social liberalism and the attack by the cultural Left on the traditional married family which has enormously changed Britain's social landscape in recent decades. The Cultural Revolution which began under Labour in the late 60s (no-fault divorce, nationalised childcare, casual abortion etc) is not something UKIP speak about or are interested in challenging. By contrast we are a social conservative party and view the traditional married family as a vital part of Britain's social fabric.
As a libertarian party UKIP also embrace unfettered economic liberalism and are generally in favour of deregulation and international laissez-faire economics; the "Thatcherites in exile". By contrast we support elements of a mixed economy from a pro-nation state/traditional perspective and maintain that core industries, infrastructure and utilities must be controlled and organised on a national basis, and that we must rebuild an industrial economy through measures including tariffs and protectionism, which would be anathema to UKIP's laissez-faire approach. We view national industry and the patterns of stable employment which it provides as essential to the social fabric and the integrity of any nation state (as opposed to multinationals which dominate the service sector). We are highly critical of the transition to a debt-based service sector economy and its social consequences and this is an important part of our manifesto. Our position on the economy, public services etc is therefore quite divergent from UKIP's.
This ties into wider differences with UKIP over Brexit. UKIP are very much signed up to a Jacob Rees-Mogg/Boris Johnson-style libertarian, deregulatory, service sector Brexit. Their focus is on slashing tariffs and opening up trade deals with third world countries and actually embracing and expanding the process of globalisation. Their critique of the EU is based chiefly on the waste and red tape of it all and this is highlighted in their vision of Brexit; it is not concerned chiefly, as our own vision is, with the serious matters of sovereignty, territorial integrity, national self-sufficiency (energy sovereignty; a national economy; nationally-owned core infrastructure etc) and the restoration of the wider nation state system.
Ultimately UKIP went down this road because they were too eager to find a 'shortcut' get out of the EU, even if it meant not doing it properly. UKIP's original position back in the days of Alan Sked was that they must stand on a broad manifesto as a potential party of government and win a mandate to leave the EU through a General Election. That is the correct constitutional position. However they abandoned this for the referendum shortcut and became a pressure group on the Tories, and in doing so entrusted the Brexit process to Theresa May. We take a strict British constitutional position in favour of parliamentary democracy over referendums. The referendum device, introduced by Labour and the Tories, entrusts the result of any referendum to the Labour/Tory establishment and we can see right now what that gets us. Our position is that the only way to leave the EU is for an anti-EU party to win a majority of seats at Westminster; without doing this we will get at best a half-in, half-out fudge.
As a UK Unionist party the constitutional carve-up of the UK through devolution is also an issue of great important to us and something which we strongly oppose; however UKIP's policy on it is very patchy and inconsistent. Their policy in Wales is to support a referendum on abolishing the assembly and not simply to abolish it as a manifesto commitment, although there appears to be disagreement within the party over the issue. In Scotland they have mooted the idea of scrapping MSPs but having Scottish MPs meet at the old parliament building instead to pass legislation for Scotland, which would mean the full retention of legislative devolution. UKIP have always stood on pro-devolution manifestos in Northern Ireland. Our policy in all cases is to seek a mandate for the abolition of devolution through a General Election and not through further referendums; this is an important distinction as the Unionist position is that sovereignty and power over constitutional matters must lie with the British electorate through Westminster.
There are therefore many issues, both general and particular, on which our viewpoint is substantially different from UKIP's. UKIP's strategy has always been to focus on one or two isolated issues: originally Brexit and more recently Islam; while otherwise largely 'going with the flow' with Labour/Tory policy on de-industrialisation, devolution, de-nationalisation (the sell off/marginalisation of core infrastructure, utilities, the Armed Forces etc), social fragmentation/atomisation, the 'permissive society' and the general post 60s Cultural Revolution/New Britain project... in sum the shutting down of Britain as a nation.
On the other hand we stand on a very broad manifesto to Rebuild Britain as a nation based on our narrative of fifty years of destruction and national dissolution under the Labour and Conservative parties. We are the only party that rejects their entire 'New Britain' project and that stands on a broad manifesto to rebuild Britain's constitutional, economic, social and moral foundations. Building this is what matters to us: as the past two-and-a-half-years since the EU referendum show, the rest is just a circus.
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