Where’s the populist party?

The mainstream parties espouse a mainstream narrative that serves the interests of a middle class elite but it offers little to millions of ordinary British people. The fall in general election voter turnout is instructive: for fifty years after the war it ranged between the mid 80% and the low 70% but in the twenty-first century it has been 10% to 20% lower. What the elite dismiss as ‘voter apathy’ is actually a telling sign of the understandable contempt held by increasing numbers of British people for the mainstream parties and their mainstream politics.

The Labour Party’s red wall has crumbled as it becomes a party for better-off university educated voters who tend to live in metropolitan cities. And whilst the Tory Party has benefitted from Labour’s loss of support, its gains are built on insecure foundations.

Many well intentioned people have responded to this crisis by writing articles, running websites, organising single issue campaigns or by engaging with a plethora of small and uninfluential parties. In fact, they have tended to do anything except build the mainstream populist party that could make a difference. Consequently, British politics is dominated by debates within a mainstream framework, with isolated individuals criticising ineffectively from the sidelines. The people of this country deserve better.

The missing element in British politics to break the mainstream mould is a strong populist party. In a democracy change has to be led by a political party committed to change and driven by members who can secure it. Yet Britain has no such party: UKIP was seriously weakened after the Brexit referendum and its challengers – Brexit Party, Reform and Reclaim – have so far been largely one-man bands with no members.

In this discussion document I argue that the urgent need for a strong populist party in Britain can only be addressed by a party that is built on:

* a comprehensive programme of populist policies,

* members who are trained to win political arguments, and

* internal democracy.

I have set out ten principles for making Britain great again in this discussion document. The principles are:

  1. Champion free speech
  2. Revive democracy
  3. Take back control
  4. Control immigration
  5. Win the culture war
  6. Restore education
  7. Rebuild the economy
  8. Cut the green nonsense
  9. Maintain strong armed forces
  10. Fight crime and restore law and order

In this document I set out what a constitution for a populist party could look like. It is styled on UKIP’s constitution but with many alterations in substance and style. Importantly, part four establishes the key principle of a professional party with a two-fold structure of supporters and members. Membership would be reserved for those who are committed to building the party and who have demonstrated their ability to win populist arguments in the face of a hostile environment where mainstream opinion dominates. Who is up for this task?