Douglas Carswell

29 NOV 2016

UKIP's future is bright

Congratulations to Paul Nuttall! UKIP is beginning a new era – and we have every reason to be optimistic about the future. Our greatest victories are yet to come.

In his inaugural speech as leader yesterday, Paul set out his vision for UKIP to replace Labour as the party of the working-classes. It's ambitious – but it's also genuinely achievable.

Over the last year, pundits have pored over the splits in the Parliamentary Labour party between pro-Brussels Blairites and pro-Castro Corbynistas: in other words, between South Islington and North Islington.

But that's an irrelevant sideshow. Labour's real fracture is between Labour elites and traditional Labour voters. Post-Brexit, that electoral coalition could be broken beyond repair.

Seven in ten Labour constituencies voted to Leave. Yet all but ten Labour MPs declared for Remain. Indeed, many still seem to be campaigning for it.

Nor is it just on the EU that Labour MPs are out of touch. From defence, to justice, to foreign policy, to education, the position of Labour MPs is diametrically opposed to that of many traditional Labour voters.

But there's more to it than that. The truth is top-down, centrally planned government doesn't sell anymore.

In the digitised world, people are citizen-consumers. The Internet gives us more choice than ever before.

Yet, when it comes to government, Labour still expects people to take what they're given by Whitehall mandarins. They think the bureaucracy knows best. Voters know otherwise.

To beat Labour, UKIP needs to offer Labour voters choice and control. Autonomy over healthcare – so funding follows patients, not the other way round. Autonomy over education – ending the constraints of catchment areas, so kids' prospects are no longer determined by the price of their parents' house.

The lesson of the referendum is that taking back control is a winning proposition. If we offer control on the domestic front too, we can break the political cartel. Our future is brighter than ever. As Paul Nuttall put it, "there's no need for pessimism in UKIP".

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