In response to Alex Kane (October 31):
The result of the EU referendum was proof that the UK needs a strong and fearless anti-establishment movement like Ukip to hold government, big corporates, publicly-funded bodies and the old political parties to account.
Ukip can still have a long-term future, including here in Northern Ireland.
To do so, it needs to be a bold, radical and unafraid movement that challenges the status quo and political norms.
For Ukip to be the electoral threat that it can be across the UK (including here) it needs to put distance between itself and others.
Nationally, the party, under the right leadership, keep the government honest with Brexit and can be as much a threat to Tories in “Leave” seats as it can to Corbyn’s Labour in ‘Northern heartlands.’
Despite being told that it was impossible, Ukip broke through in London and won two Assembly seats, and in Wales it won seven Assembly seats after years of work. M
ore locally, with minimal financial support and a short time-frame to campaign, the party managed to elect three ‘Super-Councillors’ in 2014, and finished as the top (at the time) non-executive party in the 2015 Westminster elections. In May of this year, Ukip narrowly missed out on a Stormont seat and there is little doubt that it and others suffered in part due to one party’s fear-based electoral strategy.
Mike’s UUP remainers have abandoned many unionist ‘leave’ voters. They now also seem to want to operate in the centre-ground of local politics. The DUP and its army of reluctant front-bench Brexiteers remain on top within unionism, but they are locked into a relationship with Sinn Fein, and next time round- they’ll be unable to use the “vote Arlene or else” weapon as a strategy. People can now see who is pulling the strings in the executive. (Here’s a clue: It’s not the unionist Joint-First Minister.)
So Alex, don’t pen Ukip’s obituary just yet. Ukip is a long-term, UK-wide project that will have a future as an alternative here in Northern Ireland. Unlike others, Ukip is a true party of the Union, not one part of it: Additionally, it’s the only party that has under its own banner elected representatives in each corner of it.
Rather than being a “dead” entity, perhaps its work has only begun.
Alan Love, Lisburn