Why I won’t be standing if there is a leadership contest

I HAVE had lots of messages in recent days urging me to stand for UKIP leader should the position become vacant again in the near future.

I just wanted to explain to party members why I will not be standing should there be a contest soon or indeed at any point in the future. I am very proud of the work we have done in UKIP on getting our country to the verge of leaving the EU, which is the great patriotic cause that brought me into politics from journalism. This simply could not have been achieved without us acting as the primary catalyst for change.

But outside the overarching issue of Brexit, there are too many other issues where the stance I take is at odds with most senior colleagues for me to lead the party successfully.

For example, on economics I simply do not agree with the oft-stated claim that there “hasn’t been any austerity” and I fully support political arguments for much tougher clampdowns on aggressive tax avoidance, whether by multinational corporations or by very wealthy individuals. This led me as recently as December to vote against a UKIP amendment in the European Parliament which sought to argue that tax havens were a good thing. I am totally against any idea of moving away from progressive taxation towards a “flat tax” as is suggested by many of the more enthusiastic libertarians in the party. This would in my view lead to a wholly unjustifiable tax cut for the rich and service cut for everyone else.

I am also strongly opposed to those who wish to privatise the National Health Service, believing it to be the jewel in the crown of our welfare state and one of the benchmarks of civilised life. The idea that private insurance – which often cannot even pay out for flood damage in a timely manner – could be entrusted with healthcare is for me a non-starter.

I am no fan of Donald Trump either and hope a more considered political leader emerges in the US in time for the next presidential election.

On the issue of climate change, I am against arguments which seek to deny categorically that global warming is happening or that human activity could be playing a significant role in it. I would rather focus on the proportionality, cost and effectiveness of UK Government actions in this area given the tiny proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions that take place in our country.

I might as well also admit at this juncture that I am even a regular watcher of Channel Four News (though its obsession with bogus identity politics often frustrates me) and regard Cathy Newman as a fine journalist, though by no means an infallible one. Her interviews seldom leave me wanting to take up the online equivalent of a green biro.

There are plenty of issues in which I am fully in line with UKIP majority sentiment – the need for drastic reductions in the volume of immigration, for big cuts in the foreign aid budget, for more investment in our Armed Forces, for new grammar schools in working class neighbourhoods and for a much tougher approach to law and order, to name but a few. I also do not disregard libertarian arguments altogether, viewing them as often providing a valuable intellectual framework when considering complex issues.

But I know there are too many significant differences with the influential strong libertarian contingent in the party for the idea of me becoming its leader to be remotely sensible. Instead, I propose simply carry on doing all that I can as a UKIP MEP to further advance the Brexit cause and to pursue the “common sense centrism” in which I believe without, so far as is humanly possible, making life difficult for whoever has the honour of leading the party at any given time.

12 thoughts on “Why I won’t be standing if there is a leadership contest

  • January 22, 2018 at 3:54 pm
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    The considered policy position of those in the party with knowledge of the climate change controversy is not “that global warming is [not] happening or that human activity could [not] be playing a significant role in it”. It is that uncertainty in both measurement and theory is far too high to be using climate science to set energy policy with.

    Now it may well be the case that those people also have some preferred theory on climate change that they find more interesting to talk about than the uncertainty, but that’s a different matter.

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  • January 22, 2018 at 4:51 pm
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    Thanks for your feedback. I think you are doing a fine job. We may always agree on everything… but we are on the same side of the majority of issues. I do feel Bolton needs to move on and allow the party to do the same.

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  • January 22, 2018 at 5:54 pm
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    Like Spike Milligan I am proud of my part in the downfall….. (of our membership of the EU in this case) but you were correct in your recent interview where you said that perhaps the electorate needs to be listened to. I am a firm believer that it really is a case of “job done”, echoing W.Hague’s recent Telegraph article.

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  • January 22, 2018 at 8:50 pm
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    You wouldn’t stand because your track record in UKIP elections as a backer, marks you out as a loser, your ego couldn’t take that. You’re not as popular as you think you are.

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  • January 22, 2018 at 9:56 pm
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    I don’t believe you are the right person to lead UKIP into the future.
    I have met you personally and donot believe you have the character or the leadership qualities to take the party forward and unite it.
    I respect your ability and sensible approach to issues beyond Brexit but to be a leader takes much more.
    I think your self analysis is very good and brave and honest.
    I’m an ex UKIP member and chairman local, county and regional board member.

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  • January 22, 2018 at 10:02 pm
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    With regards “Libertarianism’. There is a productive resource of canonical argument. Its usefulness is important in ensuring policy is in service of the private citizen and not in increasing the often violating economy of big state enterprise.

    There is customary set of ideas about gun ownership and radical capitalism which is often expressed in groups who call themselves Libertarian, a set of interests or debates which are marginal interests.

    UKIP is short on real policy and it has mostly cherry picked from centrist agendas pertaining to State service provision.

    What is absent is the radical core which develops a concern for community and the details of government intervention which affect each citizen’s liberty, freedom and happiness in return for their labours.

    What we don’t wish to maintain by mistake is the ideas and customs which have evolved through corruption of public office, the degradation of public services owed by faith in the “social contract”, and corrosive ideas which have lead to excessive control and fines by exploitative collusion. This is an obvious symptom of rampant exploitation using the State as a tool to manipulate both citizen and markets.

    So remember the Libertarian slogan.”Taxation is theft”. We live in an age when cynicism is a healthy advantage for the interests of the private citizen.

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  • January 22, 2018 at 11:50 pm
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    With regard to your views on climate change, you seem to be in agreement with the current orthodoxy, or perhaps I should say dogma. I suggest you read or watch Lord Christopher Monkton’s contributions to this debate which are far more scientific and rational than the global warmists hysterical propaganda.

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  • January 23, 2018 at 6:57 am
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    The need to get broad consensus within ‘management’ is the only way UKIP can survive. It will need a strong leader to bring this about and may involve firing misfits. That’s a tough job!
    I did not renew my membership last year as I did not have confidence in the leader/s appointed. Suzanne Evans was my choice as leader but with each member of the hierarchy doing their own thing she would have struggled to cope. Even though no longer a member I still vote UKIP.

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  • January 23, 2018 at 7:45 am
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    I could go with these ideas and principles but NOT with the strangling existing NEC with a too long wrecking UKIP history! It must be disbanded and s new one selected by the COMPLETE MEMBERSHIP !
    Patrick has done splendid work for Ukip and a great asset!

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  • January 23, 2018 at 10:20 am
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    Actually, I agree with almost everything you say, and I am a firm UKIP supporter. Most people, I feel would agree with your policies. My only criticism, is that I believe we should stop the Trump bashing, as he is very temperamental and can dash our hopes of getting a good trade deal with the USA.

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  • January 23, 2018 at 11:24 am
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    I have been a long time supporter of UKIP and have defended the party in online newspaper reply columns and on BBC Question Time.
    I have always held back from actually becoming a UKIP member primarily due to the issues that you have raised Patrick.
    I’m sorry to learn that you are not standing for party leadership, because if you became leader many centre right thinkers like me would join to make UKIP matter again.
    Support has haemmoraged since Nigel Farage resigned, and the current policies will alienate working class ex Labour voters who could have made a difference.
    All the best.

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  • February 19, 2018 at 4:16 pm
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    Interesting piece Patrick. Ever since you moved into politics from journalism I’ve wondered if you might stand for leader one day and this explains your reasoning very clearly. In effect what you are saying is that your views on issues like the economy, the NHS and climate change are far too moderate and sensible to be UKIP leader and I have no doubt you are right!

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