With the news that Baron Rannoch of Pearson has become the leader of UKIP, it is important to consider the lack of accountability this party now has. As a peer, Rannoch has not been elected by the public and actually went into the upper chamber as a Tory peer, selected by Thatcher. Only in 2007 did he join UKIP. Thus, in my eyes UKIP are unelectable in two ways – not only for their silently racist policies engrained within their anti European stance, but also due to the fact that they now have an unelected leader.
How a party can preach about democracy when they have just elected someone as a leader who hasn’t been elected by the public is beyond me. Everything he now says about the public such as :
“”Ukip is not for sheep, Ukip is not for lemmings. Ukip is for people who think and act for themselves.”
…cannot have the full legitimacy of voters when he has not gained a mandate from the people he is supposed to be representing.
Given this, it is rather rich of UKIP to preach that they would enhance democracy and accountability. For example, Jonathan Arnott said:
“For a long time, it has been clear that there is a major discrepancy between the will of the people and the views of our elected politicians.”
What about unelected?
He goes on to say:
“UKIP are known for holding elected MPs to account over their broken pledges of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty”
Again, what about unelected?
“Only by allowing the public to force a binding referendum on any issue that matters to them (through a set number of registered voters petitioning to demand one) can we ensure that Parliament becomes truly accountable.”
What about simple things that matter to them such as an elected leader (look at the problems surrounding Brown’s leadership credibility)? How does having an unelected leader help make Parliament accountable?
He ends with:
“It is surely time for the UKIP to drag UK democracy kicking and screaming into the 21st Century!”
Oh, and having an unelected leader does exactly that, doesn’t it?
It would be interesting to see what happen to Rannoch if the House of Lords was abolished, which it ideally should be – would he remain their leader still? Interesting conundrum. For a party which talks so much about democracy, they really need to reconsider what they actually mean by it, which would involve conceptualising democracy in other contexts than just Europe.