Monday, 21 November 2016

Diane James resignation, the NEC and the heart of UKIP

Diane James has resigned from UKIP, citing an "increasingly difficult" relationship with the party and lack of support from the NEC during her brief stint as leader.

There have been a few senior resignations or defections since the referendum which, whilst disappointing, isn't particularly concerning. What we're seeing is the Tories in UKIP clothing and protest members going back to their old political lives and those who are left behind are the real UKIPpers.

What is of concern is Diane's comments about the NEC. It's a common criticism amongst those that are leaving the party under a cloud that the NEC are making irrational decisions and are impossible to deal with. The NEC can't keep lurching from one disaster to the next and not take responsibility. We need to not only bring in fresh blood in the NEC elections that close this week but look at how the NEC needs to change to make it work better for the party and its members.

Leadership contender, Suzanne Evans, has suggested that Diane Evans should resign along with Steven Woolfe, Amjid Bashir and Janice Atkinson as UKIP was elected not them as individuals and she's right. UKIP won 24 seats in the EU elections and those seats should be filled by UKIP MEPs. That's what people voted for and that's what they should get.

There will probably be more people walking away from UKIP in the coming months who came along for the ride but were never really UKIPpers at heart. UKIP is its grassroots members and supporters - those of us who stand in council elections, hang around on street corners giving out leaflets, put up posters and work for the communities we live in - and while we're still doing our bit on the ground the party will survive and thrive despite the tantrums, politicking and manoeuvring at the top.