Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Frank Maloney

When not dedicating his time to UKIP, Frank is one of the UK’s most successful boxing promoters. Frank and his team are relied upon by media giant Sky Sports to setup exciting fights to televise and he has managed many of the world’s greatest ever boxers including former heavy weight champion Lennox Lewis.

Sadly, Frank’s campaign for the London constituency of Barking in the 2010 GE ended in disappointment, painting a very different picture from Frank’s reception on the street. I can testify that many Barking residents showed a genuine fondness for Frank and his desire for jobs, better housing and an end to unlimited immigration. Situated in London’s East End, Barking is one of the capital’s most deprived regions and is home to large migrant communities. Social cohesion is under severe threat and this is demonstrated by the fact that in the 6 years until the 2010 election there were 12 BNP members of the Barking and (neighbouring town) Dagenham council.

There were real fears the BNP would win the seat and this is something Frank, like any other conscious politician was desperate to prevent. Nigel Farage often talks of a group of people who vote BNP with their fingers holding their noses to avoid the stench- these people are not racist but they want action to stop large scale immigration. One can be sure that many of 1,300 people who voted for Frank were of this category and Frank should be congratulated for taking votes away from the BNP.

In the end, the seat was one by former Labour Minister Margret Hodge. Although loathed by many of her constituents, she won a record vote of 24,628 increasing her vote by 6.5%. Many political analysts have commented that, due to the prospect of the BNP winning the seat, migrants voted Labour in droves. Apparently Labour campaigners visited local religious and cultural centres alarming minorities to the fear of a BNP win. Despite an extensive campaign -(Frank personally paid for thousands of leaflets, newspapers and badges) -Frank’s noble pursuit was unfortunately doomed from the start.

Nevertheless, Frank is one of the Party’s greatest assets. Partly this is simply because you must ask what Party wouldn’t want to have on board a high-profile, highly successful businessman working in the exciting world of entertainment sports. But there is more to Frank than just this; he is no ordinary UKIP candidate.

Frank is attracted to UKIP because of its core belief that Britain must leave the EU and little else. Frank’s campaign was humanist and compassionate, he connected to voters on issues like jobs and called for government intervention in the jobs market. He would never have told one of the people he canvassed that our manifesto would slash government budgets, not because of the electoral unpopularity of such a remark but because Frank actually opposes the idea. Frank reminds us that despite a right-wing leadership, UKIP is actually a broad coalition of those who oppose the European Union from all sides of the political spectrum. We cannot be surprised the neoonservative (perhaps New Right) UKIP ideology puts off left-wing eurosceptics from voting UKIP.

The great liberal thinker Ludwig Von Mises wrote that "No politician is any longer interested in the question whether a measure is fit to produce the ends aimed at. What alone counts for him is whether the majority of the voters favor or reject it."
Cynical though it may be this is true. To appeal to a greater electorate, UKIP should not ignore calls to shift a little to the left. This does not mean abandoning our pledge to Europe: our left-wing supporters like Frank are just as Eurosceptic. To reach the widest electorate possible UKIP must become a catchall party. Blair made Labour catchall in the nineties with the "New Labour project". He shifted the party to the right for popularity but as soon as Labour got into power they abandoned their plans and we ended up with nationalised banks just when we thought they'd got rid of Clause 4.

As a party we must broaden our access to potential voters by shifting towards the left. Without doing so we have potentially much to lose including the support of people like Frank; yet if we do so we have much to gain.