UKIP Central Office
Dear Mr Challice
Thank you for your polite and reasoned reply (23 January 2014) on the matter of David Silvester and the separation of personal views and those expressed on behalf of the party and party discipline.
I agree that when we are working for an employer or representing an organisation such as a political party we have to be careful about what we say (in a professional capacity) as words can be misunderstood and deliberately misconstrued by 'enemies' in whatever guise.
I agree that there is a difference between personal views expressed by an individual and those statements made in a professional capacity within a particular role. It is therefore necessary at times to make this distinction explicit especially if there is divergence between an organisation's position and personal views.
It is the nature of politics that there is divergence of views and yes some people may focus on particular issues, which they feel are very important. A gay UKIP person may advocate gay rights. A Christian will oppose this and will advocate family values, natural marriage, etc, amongst other issues. Yet today any criticism of homosexuality by any politician results in instant dismissal - that eliminates any opposition completely, leaving us all only with propaganda.
Values of the individual matter and in a true democracy the electorate needs to know what are the values of a candidate before they vote for them. My own MP Geraint Davies (Swansea West), is a strong supporter of gay rights and has proposed a bill to silence anyone from advising or counselling a person that they can change their sexual behaviour and same-sex attraction. I oppose him publically with the strongest words. I reject his values and his agenda completely. It is without scientific or medical foundation. Indeed, homosexual claims are the antithesis of genuine medicine and science, and there are no proofs for their propaganda.
You can't separate a person and their values and beliefs unless you gag them. The word 'discipline' is a term often used by a party's senior officer holders as a 'gagging order' to silence dissent or opposing views.
Politicians are always being asked by the media for their opinion. Listen to every interview on the broadcast media; the politician or candidate says "I think...", "In my opinion..." and when they do it may create a rumpus.
However, the problem we now have in British society, culture and legislation and particularly in the political arena of commentary and debate is that any criticism of homosexuality, which has incorrectly been called homophobia, triggers an immediate and absolute guillotine of discussion. "You can't say that!" "You are out!" – aka Political Correctness.
Political candidates from other parties have been de-selected; employees commenting on their private Facebook pages have been demoted and others who have publically or in the work place expressed opposition to homosexuality, abortion, same-sex marriage, etc have lost their job or business, been fined and even been arrested and charged to be tried in court. This is the reality of the UK we live in today.
In the case of David Silvester, UKIP is thus in danger, under the heading of party discipline, of appearing to be complicit with homosexuals, by seemingly reprimanding and suspending a UKIP Councillor for speaking against homosexual propaganda – putting aside the form of words he used to express those views.
To confirm this perception, Nigel Farage gave an interview to Lucy Fisher for The Times (28 January 2014), which was the leading article on the front page, "Wrong kind of people are in UKIP, Farage says", and was then supported by quotes about not screening out "Walter Mittys seeking a role in politics...", which strongly implied the likes of David Silvester, who was mentioned by the journalist shortly afterwards.
You are right that UKIP is not a church, but a political party and therefore has people covering a plurality of culture, religions, ethical values, interests and sexual behaviour. In which case, UKIP should not appear to be acting as judge and jury on behalf of homosexuals.
Politics by definition is the sharing and promoting of values, personal beliefs, perspective, ideas, theories and ideologies. Some of these views may be politically incorrect at first airing, and generate a lot of heat and opposition, but later become acceptable. UKIP has great experience of this e.g. immigration, EU, etc.
True Christian values and beliefs have historically been, and particularly now are, politically incorrect.
The foundations of our civilisation are systematically being dismantled and reengineered to fit a godless agenda of "do whatever feels good or what I want". Judeo/Christian values that have served mankind so well are scoffed at and considered to be irrelevant, and very harmful ideologies put in their place. Family, mother, father, parenting, marriage, sexual fidelity and behaviour, protection of life, right and wrong, good and evil are being redefined to create a secular anarchy, the full implications of which are difficult to comprehend, but will be revealed in due course. (It is interesting that old Russia went down that road and later regretted it.)
Opposition to this orchestrated self-destruction needs to be liberated and not constrained by political correctness. UKIP have to allow party candidates and office holders to express their own views, which might be contrary to party policy.
Regarding David Silvester (who joined UKIP from the Conservatives for his publically stated opposition to Same Sex Marriage), although I do not concur completely with the wording used or some of his published ideas and theology, he raises interesting topics for public debate:
"Does God execute judgement in the form of 'natural events' on a nation and its people when the leaders of the nation are corrupt, promote sin and call good, evil?"
Without going into deep theology, the answer is 'yes', but then there is the normal course of 'natural' events, which are used for God's purpose.
"Is there a spiritual aspect to homosexual behaviour?"
Absolutely, it is the sign of a reprobate mind i.e. someone completely given over to rebellion against God's law and their addiction to the sin of homosexuality, and the sign of imbalance... what else is behaviour that is fatal?
UKIP may not want to enter into such a debate, but some of its members do want to uphold Judeo/Christian values publically. Like it or not the rejection of homosexuality is a clear Biblical teaching, despite what so called gay Christians and even now the Church of England might like to profanely suggest. It is also the view of the public in general, Christian or not.
The choice has to be made by UKIP, does the party really uphold Judeo/Christian values or not?
If UKIP does not, then say so.
If UKIP does, then say so and this includes criticism of homosexuality by a UKIP candidate or office holder in a public space.
The strong impression made by the David Silvester incident is that if you are a UKIP candidate or office holder you can't make any criticism of homosexuality in any context. This needs to be clarified urgently, as many Christian UKIP supporters have expressed dismay and betrayal at the way UKIP have handled the David Silvester issue and the implied positioning that they are "the wrong kind of people" for holding a similar view point.
In conclusion, I would recommend the following:
- Media training for all candidates and officers, stating party protocol and best practice engagement with the media, including case studies such as David Silvester and Godfrey Bloom (whose case is not in any way similar to that of Silvester’s) to create a 'Lessons Learned' checklist.
- A UKIP candidate/officer media help line where media management advice is on hand 24x7 – contact during office hours if possible.
- A clear statement on what UKIP means in the upholding of Judeo/Christian values... UKIP cannot pick and choose.
- A clear statement on whether UKIP allows candidates and officers, using their UKIP role, are allowed to specifically comment on homosexual behaviour, just like any other issue, in the public space. Or, if they are allowed to speak out so long as they disassociate themselves from UKIP.
At least, then, everyone will know where UKIP stand including the media... and voters.
Dr James B Waddell