Today I’m launching my new booklet ‘Britain Beyond Brexit’. I believe that we need to be bold, radical and innovative when we talk about what this country can do post-Brexit. I’ve never steered clear of controversy when it’s needed – but we need to be controversial in the right way.
If you distil politics down to its very core, to what we all got involved with politics for in the first place, it’s not about infighting or backstabbing. It’s not even about power or elected office, but if you don’t seek those things it becomes hard to change anything. It is, in its purest form, about making people’s lives better.
This is not a UKIP publication. Indeed, it doesn’t mention UKIP at any point within it. I don’t want to cause anyone any embarrassment by doing so. It’s just my vision of the direction we should be going, and a contribution to the conversation about the future of the Party.
At the General Election, I watched various groups of people completely abandon the Party because they didn’t really think that we were speaking to them. Are we talking enough to the commuter, the pensioner, the young person, the parent of a primary school child, to Theresa May’s ‘Just About Managing’, to the victim of crime, the unemployed, the animal lover, the small business, the person concerned about poverty across the world, those worried about the national debt saddling the next generation, the family looking to save for their child’s university education, the one who cares for our environment (even if they reject the obsession with CO2)? I want us to be talking to these people, even where they’re not already typical UKIP voters. If we’re not selling anything that they want to buy, is there any wonder they don’t vote for us?
What I’ve written here contains plenty of controversial, novel and different ideas alongside traditional UKIP policy.
I would love to start turning defence into attack. For far too long we’ve allowed others to have a go at us.
Take EU regional development funding for example. We’ve always been pushed into saying that we’d continue to fund similar projects in the UK, because we’re on the defensive trying to prove that nobody will lose out when we leave the EU. Fair enough, but when we say things like that we’re not totally believed. The referendum has been won; now is the time to put that to better use. One hugely controversial idea: Scrap every penny of EU funding going to our deprived areas, and give a targeted VAT cut in those areas instead (Terms & Conditions apply to ensure feasibility: see booklet for details).
Goods will then be cheaper in those areas, businesses will flock to invest, jobs will be created. Forget letting the government make a mess of trying to help: let’s let business do it for us, and far more effectively. You’d never hear the Corbyns of this world saying so, but sometimes the State isn’t actually very good: the areas that are deprived today were deprived 40 years ago. Time, perhaps, for something radical and innovative instead?
I’ve always fundamentally believed that the government should be less involved in citizens’ daily lives. It doesn’t make me a card-carrying Libertarian, not by any stretch of the imagination. I’m more pragmatist than philosophical: on every issue I ask two questions: “Does the government need to do this?” and “What will work to make the most difference to people’s lives?”