Thursday 20th November in #Rochester & Strood will be a day to remember and a case study in Political Science to be referred to and analysed for present and future students studying for a degree in Politics. The case is: What is more important for a citizen in choosing one’s representative in Parliament: the person or the party?
For those who have previously elected #Mark Reckless while he was a Tory, the dilemma after Mark’s defection to the UKIP party and the need for a by-election will now pull them into different directions. They are loyal supporters of the party, and at the same time have witnessed the great job that Mark has been doing as an MP for Rochester and Strood, with a proven track record of achievements, fighting for what he has promised. He could have easily been re-elected in the general elections -as a Tory. The choice was easy for a Tory supporter when both the person and the party were one.
As a person, Mark enjoys all the high qualities of a true civil servant and a leader in his field, seasoned with excellent law, management and business consulting skills and experience, and the maturity and great care for the community for achieving his role. All the late attacks against his person after changing party can only be a proof of the feeling of loss by his opponents and past allies. He has easily reaffirmed his leading status which was evident all through especially at the BBC Southeast TV debate at the Corn Exchange.
The loss of the Conservative party is the gain of UKIP. Although in the past UKIP may not have enjoyed a high social impact, however, new entrants of high calibre such as Mark Reckless can help raise the profile as well as contribute to party policy improvement and members’ political development.
As a person, while a member of the Conservative party, when he thought that his party did not well support him in achieving what he promised his voters, his principles urged him to resign. By joining a party which is growing in popularity but is less popular than the Conservative party, his aim as he stressed was to pursue his promises to the people who voted for him. Risking his political career, putting citizens first, is enough to increase his popularity, and to give him a high chance of being elected for his “person” for the remaining period until the general elections.
On the other hand with UKIP’s own agenda which takes a more extreme approach especially in calling to leave the EU altogether, voters may be torn between the local vs. the overall finished product. This may not be to Mark’s favour for the next country’s general elections- especially if an equally strong opponent would be nominated by the Conservative party or another party. It could only be to his favour if he can influence another charismatic leader; Nigel Farage and his UKIP party to take a more moderate approach with respect to Europe, and to call for a referendum on EU to let the people decide, and or call for negotiations with EU rather than call to quit EU altogether- which seems difficult to achieve with the present UKIP attitude towards the EU. Only by adopting a more moderate EU approach, Mark as a person and UKIP as a party- working as one- could have a very good chance of success in the general elections.
What makes a party other than its members, who in turn set the policies and the general objectives and framework for its operation?
For the by-elections, finishing the remaining period until the general elections, Mark as a person/candidate, who has the best interests of Rochester and Strood at heart, with the capability and the charisma to achieve his promised objectives, appears to be above the competition and seems to have a very strong chance of being re-elected as MP. However, to continue in the long run and for the general elections, the issue on Europe may be an obstacle.
Who knows, maybe the Conservatives would try to win him back before the general elections…!