Sunday, 27 August 2017

Key UKIP Leadership Questions with John Rees-Evans

1. What is your leadership style and what leadership qualities do you believe you can bring to the party?

My leadership style is one of getting things done, as quickly and as cheaply and as efficiently as possible. I'm demanding of staff, and expect the best.

I'm also a person who's not afraid to get my hands dirty and help. Nothing is beneath me as an activist or a leader. During the general election, I travelled the country in a tent to directly aid and support as many activists as I could, 19 in all, in key seats and / or candidates that were particularly dedicated. The videos I helped make almost always improved their electoral performance when compared to those without a video.

My main quality is one of belief in the British People, the Members, the Party and the Country. I think for too long in the party there has been a cynicism and a 'that'll do' attitude. UKIP will never win seats until it starts believing it can win them. It will not continue to build on its immense achievements until it can harness the talent of its members. I've set out plans for systems to achieve this. One for Direct Democracy which allows the members to have a say and propose policy, one to identify strengths in our activists and allow activists to communicate and use those talents and strengths efficiently (as well as allowing the leadership to identify talent which is unused), and a media platform so we can produce our own content and showcase the hard work of our activists and elected representatives.

In all, my leadership style is one of giving power back to the members, so that the mistakes of the last year, namely caused by small groups of people behind closed doors, are not repeated. It's one of openness and meritocracy. While I have my own convictions and beliefs, I do not and cannot claim to know better than the thousands of people who make the party possible.

2. What is your internal and external vision for the party going forward?

My internal vision for the party is, as mentioned above, one where it is controlled by the members, for the members. One that isn't afraid of the media, and produces our own. One that understands the need to use digital platforms if we're ever going to surpass our rivals and not rely on the traditional media. One that isn't a boys’ club, but instead isn't afraid to pick the best people for the job, regardless of who they are, or whether they’re friends with the right people.

Most importantly, however, is my external vision for the party. I believe if UKIP is to survive, it must have a unique selling point. I see little point in the party pushing particular policies, which other parties will simply claim as their own, and then not follow through on after they have claimed our votes. There is also no point in this approach if we are not in a position that will see us get elected.
Instead, I see the party becoming a mass-membership populist movement that people will join and fight for because it has the mechanisms to take their views into account. One that understands the problems of the country are caused by small cliques that decide what they want to impose on you, and how your money should be spent.

Gone are the days when people travelled for three days by horse to represent us in parliament. We have the means to hand much of the decision making process to the people. And the ordinary people will always have their interests acted against while we rely on small groups of people, corrupted by lobbyists and transnational interests, to make those decisions on our behalf.

I believe UKIP must therefore become a direct democracy mass membership movement, that not only campaigns on the issues that the members vote for, but also for the UK to become a direct democracy, a reboot of our ancient constitution and the principle of 'government by consent'.

I believe UKIP and the country will continue to suffer until we understand this must be our purpose if we want to see genuine change.

3. How will you demonstrate the strength needed from a leader and what will you do to get a grip on the recent internal party issues?

Having operated businesses in competitive and stressful environments I have become reasonably accomplished in conflict resolution, especially when working with difficult people.

I am tenacious in pursuing goals, and will continue to do so, with the consent of, and on behalf of the members. I have no difficulty removing people from positions of authority and responsibility once it becomes clear they are not useful in these roles.

I believe many of the party’s problems and the resentment this causes, come from top-down decisions being made by incompetent or inept people. The people working on the ground, knocking on doors, are invariably better placed to make decisions that affect the party’s future.

The systems I have proposed will ensure infighting will cease, as one cannot argue with a demonstrable mandate from the members, who have the final say.

4. How will you keep the party being radical without focussing on single issues?

Direct Democracy is in itself incredibly radical! It promises to radically change the way the most important decisions are made in Britain. The word 'radical' it is from the Latin 'root'. Direct Democracy gets to the root of many of the problems we face both as a country and as a party, by transferring authority to the grassroots, to the very people affected by the decisions formerly made by government.

No other party in the UK will be handing its members such power. It is the embodiment of anti-establishment politics. We saw it in action with the referendum last year, and we saw how the result of that shook the British political and media establishment.

But the other side of Direct Democracy is that it cannot possibly be, by its very nature, a single issue. The Direct Democracy platform will allow members to address any issue they please, be it the economy, taxation, multiculturalism, Islam, health, education, etc. It will allow real, outside the box, radical policies to spring forth from our massively diverse pool of talent.

5. What attitude will you bring to the party’s campaigns in the future and how will you look to win the hearts of the electorate?

My Direct Democracy approach will, I hope, attract many ordinary people from other parties and from none. The policies created by it will speak to the hearts of those people, because increasingly, our members will come from those people.

I want to not only win the hearts of the British people, but also to engage them, firstly within the party by offering something no other party can possibly offer, and in the long term, by allowing them to have a direct say over how they are governed. I want to invite all of the British people to stand up, be heard, and be the government.