15th March 2000
Electorate wants Common Market with EU
Portillo says no to withdrawal from EU
For further information contact:
The Democratic Party has the following items which are of great interest to the British people and hence your organisation.
1. An opinion poll clearly showing that the electorate only want a "common market" association with Europe, not full economic and political union. Details are attached.
2. A letter from the Toyota car company denying that they will leave Britain if we do not enter the Euro and the European Union. (Copy available)
3. An extract of a letter written by one of our supporters, John Gouriet, to Michael Portillo and his reply. The text is self explanatory. (Copy available)
John Gouriet to Michael Portillo
"If only the Conservative Party would pledge to withdraw from the EU if satisfactory re-negotiation and internal reform proves impossible, (which it will) I am absolutely certain the Party would win the next election, save the country and restore its financial fortunes. There are several million disenfranchised and disenchanted voters waiting for just such a clarion call. If the Conservatives will not lead, many of these voters will stay at home on polling day and the minor parties opposed to the EU will embark on guerrilla tactics, especially in the marginals. There may well be revolt in Tory associations if Europhile candidates are selected or foisted on them from above."
Reply from Michael Portillo
"Thank you for your thoughts. I do appreciate the advice, but as you know there is no possibility of the Conservative Party advocating withdrawal from the European Union".
Geoff Southall on 01684 891700
14th January 2000
WITHDRAWAL FROM THE EU
It was with deep regret but without apology that we issued our press release criticising the leadership of UKIP. This has provoked considerable comment, some favourable and some not. Our comments were made with the best interests of Britain at heart. For over 30 years there has been an extremely clever, long term, persistent and very effective campaign and process to weld together separate European countries into a federalist state. In terms of concerted effort, and more particularly the cleverness of thought, the anti-federalist activity has been well meaning but pathetically inadequate. The lack of political acumen amongst anti EU organisations beggars belief.
The time has come for all those engaged in the battle for Britain to put aside emotional reaction and use whatever brainpower we have to win the war. The following comments are intended to provide both the steps that must be taken and the reasons behind them to return Britain to being an independent nation.
It is expected that Blair will sign the Treaty of Paris in December 2000 which will ratify a Constitution for Europe. A general election will probably be held in May 2001, only 16 months away. It is possible that an election could be held in autumn this year. It is also possible that Blair will combine a general election with a manifesto promise to enter monetary union and the constitution of the EU, thus by-passing an EMU referendum. All of us should note that the monetary union question is a deliberate distraction from the main issue of who governs Britain.
The lesson from the above is that time is now extremely short and differences of opinion must be put aside in the interests of our country.
It is usual to look for salvation from an alternative political party; an option which is not open to us from the 'Big 3'. New Labour and the Lib-Dems are beyond the pale and the Conservatives have a European policy "in but not run by" which is untenable. Since they are the most likely of the 'Big 3' to have their policy altered, even if it meant a major split, we should examine their chances of unseating Blair at the next general election. The Tory position in the polls is consistently disastrous and their political incompetence is beyond question. Additionally, the Aitken, and in particular the Hamilton, affair continue to remind the electorate of the deceit and sleaze that appears endemic in the Tory party, thus further damaging their prospects at a general election.
Two years ago when I realised that the Referendum Party was not going to be reconstituted in a broad policy spectrum format I looked at the prospects of helping with the Greens and UKIP. After consultation, particularly with journalists, I decided that it was not possible to convert either party into the broad spectrum which is essential to become a credible threat at a general election. This is because, however unfairly, the moment that a threat is perceived the pro-EU press are able to portray both parties as single issue and in the case of UKIP as extreme right wing; unfortunately, na´ve actions by their hierarchy have allowed the press to hammer home the perception. It is important to understand that perception in politics is reality and any excuse by the opposition to distort reality into the perception by the public of extremism, will be seized upon and utilised to full advantage.
It is vital to understand that while it is important to attract activists to help a party, those activists are impotent if that same attraction is not perceived by the electorate.
THE CURRENT POSITION OF UKIP
UKIP have been trying for almost 10 years to become a political threat. Under the most favourable conditions possible at the European elections, they attracted 1.67% of the electorate (that is what opinion polls are based upon and shows that poll ratings are fairly accurate) and in addition, received the criticism that they should not be standing for an organisation which they did not want to exist. Since it is the Westminster Parliament that will decide this issue, UKIP's performance at subsequent by-elections is all important since they could expect to receive a larger protest vote. These results are not encouraging, being a few hundred at most and at Kensington and Chelsea with much preparation and, we understand, a considerable amount of money invested the result was disappointing. The crucial question is, is it likely that continuing down this path will allow UKIP to become a credible threat at the next general election? What is a credible threat? I suggest the capability to attract several thousand votes in most constituencies and a realistic chance of winning in a few. Imagine that this were the case; it might just be sufficient to split the Tories or pressure them into a "withdrawal from Europe" policy but it would still not get Britain out of the EU because the Tories will not win the next election unless Blair and Brown are dramatically discredited by unforeseen events.
Nothing less than a broad policy spectrum party attractive to all across the political spectrum stands a chance of obtaining the necessary result. Our best hope is to form a single party which the press perceive to be a credible threat and hence create a speaking platform. Without this there is no possibility of retreat from the brink.
When UKIP Leader Michael Holmes heard I had started the DP he asked me why and I gave him the above answer. He also asked whether I had registered the Democratic Party name, because he said he realised that while the name UKIP was suitable for European elections, the perception of UKIP must be changed for the U.K. With a different name and more work on its image it would be attractive to the U.K. public. I thought we had agreed that we would leave the field free for UKIP at the European elections and discuss co-operation in the autumn of '99 with a view to arranging whatever collaboration, amalgamation etc was possible. This discussion has not happened and although I have assured an intermediate, honest broker of my willingness to co-operate fully, it has proved impossible to get leaders of organisations together since they will not attend a 'summit'. Unfortunately UKIP is now believing its own propaganda which, with Britain's interests at heart, is extremely unfortunate; hence the criticism.
In general, campaign groups have little or no influence on the policies of political parties if, as now, politicians are hell bent on their own agenda. Also, many leaders and members of campaign groups become so wrapped up in their own organisations that they forget its original purpose. They become unwilling to support even those organisations with allied purposes in case their own group be consumed; or political parties in case they should compromise their own underlying political affiliations. In every case there is a need for campaign groups to focus exclusively on their primary objective and consider how that objective can best be achieved. Meanwhile, creeping federalism continues apace.
For the pro-democracy, and hence anti EU, movement to succeed two elements must be in place.
Firstly, a political party must exist for which the majority of British people want to vote.
Secondly, that political party must be able to command sufficient media attention to ensure that the British public knows of its existence, ideals, aims etc.
The new political party can easily be formed from some combination of the existing small parties providing that there is goodwill from all and in particular the interests of Britain are foremost; not the interests of an individual or particular party.
As UKIP have found, even with their perceived success, daily media attention or even weekly media attention is not forthcoming. This is because they are not seen to be a significant threat at the next general election. We believe the best possibility for attracting such attention is for all anti EU and pro-democracy organisations to get together immediately, since time is short, so that the press perceive the new organisation to be that threat.
If we can achieve the above co-operation phase two becomes a matter of analysing the marginal seats around the country and fighting as many as we can, hopefully all, using the following principles.
Upright local citizens standing as candidates standing in their own areas.
The message to the electorate would be that we are a new party comprised of ordinary people but with vast experience in many areas; definitely not politicians. We have decided that our current politicians are not, in general, worthy of the British people.
We have decided that control of Britain's destiny must be taken out of the hands of our current discredited politicians so that the country's destiny is returned to the people.
We must realise that the British people, many will say with much justification, will decide the next general election by voting on three or four major issues, and although EU activists realise that the European question overrides everything, unfortunately Joe Public does not.
The electorate will decide the European question by voting on the National Health Service, education and the economy. This point is crucial and dictates the absolute necessity for a broad spectrum party.
The message to the local electorate would be that the new party is for people who believe that our current politicians are riding roughshod over the democratic rights and aspirations of the British people. We intend to wake people up to this fact.
An example of this is that Britain has been taken into the EU without a clear democratic mandate from the people. Without such a mandate, control of our destiny must be taken away from Brussels and put back firmly into the hands of the British people. We will withdraw from the EU.
The new party would have policies across the board to meet the aspirations of the democratic majority of the British people. We intend to engage the British people in a process of developing inclusive democratic policies. For example, we believe that a majority exists for more spending on the N.H.S. rather than Brown hoarding a treasure chest for bribery at the next General Election.
These points are fundamental if we are to overcome the inevitability that the media will do their utmost to project us as a single issue party focussed only on the EU. There will be no escape from this unless we:
With all due conviction and integrity, expand our primary agenda to one of aiming to restore democracy, thereby shifting the focus away from single-issue to broad spectrum.
It would be crucially important that this expanded agenda had real integrity, not merely expedience.
Maintain our collective integrity by highlighting the EU issue as an important issue amongst the broad spectrum of issues; the issue which requires urgent redress and is the most serious casualty of non-democratic government.
Do what is necessary to shake voters out of their apathy and inspire them with the possibility of a more responsive, democratic government.
All of the above points are fundamental and mandatory. The many issues which must be discussed and decided upon are trivial by comparison. If we do not achieve the fundamentals then all is lost, and since we have dismissed the three major parties, with justification, then unless unforeseen and quite dramatic events intervene it is only UKIP, the Democratic Party, the Democracy Movement, New Britain etc etc working together who can make a difference.
Now is the time to forget personal and party interests, bury the hatchet and work together for Britain. We are happy to discuss the best way ahead with any seriously-minded individual or party who has in their hearts the ideal of a free Britain.
Geoff Southall, leader
The Democratic Party Council
Contact tel: (01684) 891700