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Henry’s challenge

Henry Bolton

After three months of campaigning and bitter infighting, the UKIP leadership election has finally concluded. Yet the result it produced has only raised more questions about its future. Henry Bolton might have emerged victor to the thunderous applause of hundreds of supporters, but everywhere else people found themselves scratching their heads in bemusement, wondering who just came to be at the helm of HMS UKIP. I was no different. So it was only several hours later (after reading Bolton’s manifesto and watching his speeches) that I realised he is no saviour, but neither will he cause our downfall.

One thing is certain – we dodged a bullet with Anne Marie Waters. Ever since Brexit, UKIP’s greatest problem has been its inability to transform itself into a multi-issue party – one that could attract support from across the entirety of the political spectrum. AMW may have had an admirable backbone when it came to combating Islamic terrorism and the ideology held by its perpetrators, but that’s where her appeal ended. She was unable to go beyond the pale of Islam-related politics and unwilling to express passion for any other issues. Her tenure as leader would have defined UKIP solely as an anti-Islam party; thereby limiting our electoral appeal to one concrete idea.

To know with certainty that we have avoided all the possible repercussions that could have resulted in the event of her victory – ranging from the disintegration of UKIP to the formation of an alternative eurosceptic party – is a huge relief.

But with the election of Henry Bolton, UKIP is once again retreating to the past hoping it will save them from the future.

I say this because Bolton adheres to the unexcitable orthodoxy of ideas that have stalled UKIP’s progress for the past year. Echoing Paul Nuttall, he plans to present himself on the home front as a figure of unity. Bolton wants to ‘professionalise’ the various structures of UKIP through the implementation of programmes that will better pick, train and prepare candidates and staff for elections. Further changes to the party will see it improve its financial management and internal communications, as well as involve all of its levels in policy development.

Assuming that a former Liberal Democrat is able to enforce compliance across party lines, the question then arises: what prestige does he have to attract support from the outside?

That is when we unmask the unfortunate truth: Bolton strongly believes that Brexit is still UKIP’s ‘core task’.

And with that statement he lost my support.

The electorate has long made it clear that it considers UKIP obsolete in a post-Brexit world, rightly believing that its purpose has expired. For us to dispel this consensus, the UKIP name must be thrown back into the cauldron of politics as a totally new entity, contemporary in its beliefs and guided by a charismatic voice. A well-meant connection with the common man is needed to reenergise the base of the party and get voters to come out in droves. If Bolton insists on remaining firmly rooted in a cause that clearly brings disillusionment to the party, then UKIP will descend deeper and deeper into the darkness of the political abyss. How can UKIP begin to rebrand itself and raise awareness of its new existence if it persists in a lifelong commitment to Brexit?

In addition to this, Bolton doesn’t exactly inspire excitement. He is a very staid individual and has an imperative manner of speaking that lacks charisma. He exposes an authoritative public facade (a trait that likely stems from his time in the armed forces) but lacks Farage’s ability to connect with people. To bring the party back to ‘relevance’, empathy must become a weapon used to reach out to the British populous. HB will find it hard to establish this bond, if he is the personification of reticence.

Despite all his faults, there is still hope that Bolton may push through projects that’ll change UKIP for the better. On the campaign trail, he called for UKIP not be “constrained by a left, centre or right agenda” and to pursuit the most effective policies “regardless of where they lie on the traditional political spectrum”.

This breathes some life back into the corpse UKIP is becoming.

If Bolton is serious about these endeavours, then we can all retain the hope that sometime in the near future, UKIP will finally begin the process of growing into a broader and fully-formed party. Any serious political force is built primarily by responding to people’s desires and implementing their wishes as policies. The fact that Bolton indicates an understanding of the big tent approach  is enough to convince me that, despite many let-downs, not all is lost.

Which is what makes the party’s fate so uncertain. Should Bolton disappoint us all and keep UKIP a single issue movement, we can expect its dismantling very soon. But should he read the political winds correctly and steer the crew towards them, there is no limit to the amount of success we can achieve.

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39 Comments on Henry’s challenge

  1. I did not vote for AMW because I feared it would alienate the handful of donors and split the party. I accepted that UKIP needs to chart a middle course, though I think AMW is brave and right in her beliefs. I was not happy with Bolton’s election–it just means more of the same–but was prepared to accept it to keep UKIP going.

    But after Farage’s and Bolton’s comments on AMW and Islam I am afraid I am at breaking point. I no longer want to support a party that regards me and others who object to Islamism as racists. A lot of people voted for AMW. Why are you idiots pxssing them off?

    Dear Sir I have responded to your comment to me which you will find by scrolling below.

  3. Bolton is everything I’m against. Government crony from a wealthy middle class back ground. But putting my feelings aside I try and support the newly elected leader.
    My issue is I and many many others have given hard pressed money and time to ukip over the years and upon brexit Farage just up sticks and leaves, no hand over no finding a new leader. Just cheerio and gone. Then we have a series of terrible leaders which just get worse and worse. But again I put up with this.
    No we have our great leader elected and after over seven days in office he hasn’t even sent a letter/email out to members saying thank you, plans for the future etc.
    Odd I think.
    Has he any respect for us?

  4. Various dog-metaphors get bandied about in UKIP politics. Guard dogs of Brexit, watchdogs of Brexit… Sorry to bore on about it, but Ukip’s success has been as a Husky and as a Lurcher, dragging forwards or hunting down, and that’s the kind of animal we just let go.
    Not sure what kind of beast Bolton is yet. Maybe a basset hound?

  5. During the 2017 election I was asked by a Jeremy Paxman wannabee interviewer from Radio Suffolk what was the point of UKIP now that we’d got Brexit. I had the list prepared of course, defence, housing, no income tax for those on minimum wage, but what came out was ‘to break the political class, to take power away from those in the main parties who go to the same schools and universities, live in the same neighbourhoods, party together, who never have a proper job, who holiday together, scratch each other’s backs and neglect those who vote for them.’

    When there were ten of us on Suffolk County Council, all Labour, LibDem and Con wanted to do was to score political points and damn the needs of their voters.

    No-one is representing the working and middle-class voter, not really. Cons are in the pockets of big business, property developers and land owners, Labour tugs its forelock to the Union barons and the LibDems are in thrall to CND, Green zealots and scientific illiterates. British politics is broken and, until the voters realise this, things will only get worse. It’s worse than being let down. We are being betrayed.

    To plan a new direction for UKIP is not going to be a quick and easy process, but one could do worse than look first at those constituencies which did better than average over the last few years, look at them and see where we can knock chunks off our opponents: Suffolk Cons cutting fire services and children’s centres, decaying roads, a request in to the Public Accounts Committee to investigate what is going on with the LEPs and their millions; Suffolk Labour, a local councillor still not apologised for an anti-Semitic remark, voting against social housing, voting against making councillors’ expenses transparent to voters. Even in 2017 we beat the LibDems into fourth place. These people have given hostages to fortune and we should be looking to cash in on those hostages. There’ll be other constituencies which offer like opportunities.

    I could go on – defence, stirring up the Russians, a nascent German army. There’s a lot going wrong that we can use.


  6. There are some mean spirited and incorrect comments on Mr Bolton the man in this article and posts. Having spend time handing out leaflets to the public with this man last year I know he can connect and relates to Joe Public and his family. If some of the persons above had bothered to search out the material he produced for his campaign it would be clear he is also not a one issue person.

  7. Strange how people moan that Henry was once a LibDem but think it’s OK for a Labour reject to stand for leader. In fact I guess that most Ukipers were once in other parties.
    Give the guy a chance, in six months odd, if he’s not turned things round, we’ll be finished anyway.
    Of course should AMW or JR-E have been elected, it would have been over in weeks. Don’t believe me ?
    Watch how their new parties do.

  8. I watched most of the hustings and read most of the articles and comments on UKIPDaily, the one thing that I thought everyone seemed to agree on was that the most important issue is the unfinished Brexit.

  9. I reccommend the Kellys Heroes Organisation chart.

    However without the bank full of gold, you will still, as a priority, nead a suitable organisation.

    Please take power away from committees.

    Check your aims and organise appropriately.

    Good luck.

  10. I’m off, there is no way I will stay in a party being run by an ex Liberal Democrat, who uses slurs to win an election. I will bet my UKIP will die a slow death now, which I think is what this turncoat is here to do.

  11. UKIP missed opportunity to choose decent leader.
    AMW is unparallel for her clarity, humanity and courage.

    all “other issues” aren’t simply secondary but irrelevant, as far as – Islamization,
    – illegal third world invasion, and
    – normalization of barbarity, lie and corruption that they cause –
    all roll unimpeded as they are.

    UKIP – just hang your heads in shame on the way to oblivion.

    • Henry isn’t decent? Careful, that’s potentially libellous!

      • people like AMW and Tommy see problems realistically, have solutions to propose, and lead by example.
        they earn credibility by risking their lives.
        I name that decency.

      • Saying that someone expressing an opinion is being potentially libellous is a ridiculous statement from one of the permanent nunelected management team, typical of what the LIbLabCon use against us (in fact, very similar to the Nazi slur). AY didn’t even mention HB. You twisted this into ‘Henry isn’t decent’. This is the behaviour of our enemies. If someone says something you don’t like, you reach for a threat of Libel. What have UKIP become?

        • “Ukip missed opportunit6 to choose decent leader” implies the leader they chose isn’t decent.

          • Decent in this case may simply mean unlikely to be good at the job. It is a matter of opinion. I don’t think HB will make a decent leader either. He certainly hasn’t got off to a good start running off to the Jewish Chronicle saying he saved UKIP from becoming a British Nazi Party,

  12. I will agree with the Josef’s comment about still fighting for Brexit. At Stamford Henry Bolton’s first comments were about fighting for Brexit and I was then put off. Of the candidates that I met most were still wanting to fight Brexit when UKIP has no elected Members of Parliament or political clout.

    To survive UKIP has to become a mainstream Political Party. To achieve this firm post “having left the EU” policies and increase its membership. UKIP has to position its self in the middle ground to attract white collar and blue collar workers.

    Governments have to tax people and companies to pay for its public spending. does the new leader have any thoughts on company taxation? Rewrite the taxation policies for the country. Replace VAT by a sales tax. Should there be local income taxes to reduce/replace local council taxes? Follow up on Theresa May’s thoughts on caring for the elderly and long term sick.

    Education, go back to the three Rs, encourage youngsters to use more mental arithmetic. Replace grammar schools by science and technical schools. Encourage more “on the job” education and less university education except for science, medical and engineering studies. For example, do nurses require a medical degree to do their work?

    Should local government be reformed as modern towns and road/rail connections ignore the influence of historic counties.

    No doubt existing UKIP members in all of the branches have their thoughts. Can Henry Bolton introduce and encourage more grass root input into the UKIP policies.

    • May I just say re VAT, having been vat registered for about 30 years, abolishing it for another sales tax is a terrible idea.

      There are a couple of tweaks which would transform the uk economy at the small business end that I’ve tried for years to get ukip leadership to understand, incl Farage, without success.

      But please try to grasp that for every small business operating an accounting system, VAT is nothing more than a parameter. Albeit an expensive one. Very easy to process, very easy to adjust upwards or downwards.

      But a needlessly expensive baby to throw away with the bath water.

  13. I was in the army but a squadie. My view of officers was I think quite normal. Ignore them as much as possible and occasionally salute if theres a lot of them.

    Any way, a story.In one posting we paraded on top of a hill and at attention looking straight into the morning sun, and my eyes began to water. The Regimental Sergeant Major must have been at heart a kind soul. Hard to believe if you experienced it. Any way, he marched across the parade ground to where i stood, rigid. Then shouted at me ” why are you crying soldier ” I predictably replied “They just weep when I look into the sun, sir.” To which he then also predictably ordered. “Disnmissed and go to and see the Medical Officer ”

    So I did. and he gave me a chit to stand with my back to the sun on parade. Ha had a peculiar sense of humour. I asked for permission to avoid parades. Refused. Another warped sense of humour.

    The next morning I went on parade and obeyed the chit. Terrified.

    The point of the story is that at that moment, I think I could have taken over the regiment.

    Is there a moral here. I don’t know but it must have been enjoyed by many. Aware of my general uselessness

    I don’t know but let’s trust HB lives up to his illustrious career so far.

  14. PurplePottymouth // October 8, 2017 at 1:18 pm // Reply

    If May’s Government had truly meant it when they said ‘Brexit means Brexit’and actions matched her words I would agree that UKIP had to move beyond Brexit. ‘Holding T May’s feet to the fire’ was pointless in GE17, when the electorate believed she was on course and it sure ain’t enough now. But our exit is under serious threat and without a strong UKIP calling the shots it may never happen. Next time we try it will be like Barcelona last week, only worse.
    Said it until I’m blue in the face – or should that be purple? It’s the f-ing economy stupid. We picked the wrong fight in June – it should have been how our economic policies would enable GB to make the most of post Brexit opportunities. Henry needs to get his economic policy team up and on course to fill the gaping black hole left by the LibLabCon to row back on the statist, corporist direction they now ALL take. My branch gave him a springboard when our motion on tax reform was endorsed by members at conference.
    As for ‘connecting with the people’ – let’s see what he offers the people and who he takes on his team who can complement him – like David Kurten for example

  15. I am a member of UKIP. I am annoyed by its lack of democracy and by a) the hopelessness of the NEC and b) a self styled self entitled elite that are lazy and incompetent.
    The elite fail utterly to see that active membership of a broad kind is in freefall. We did not stand in hundreds of constituencies in the GE this year because of a lack of willing members who had been approved by a medieval guild like selection process. Only 377 candidates almost all of whom lost their deposit. This follows on from the disastrous county council elections where all extant ukip cllrs lost their seat and there was just one gain ( an old bnp seat in Burnley).
    There is a self satisfied attitude displayed by the elite who must be unaware that a party consisting of only extory golfclub members who are all old men past their sell by date is going nowhere. Some on this site actually applaud that the party is seeing the demission of AMW supporters who object to being labelled nazis.
    Of course I exaggerate but my point stands – branches are becoming inoperative, others have no activity in reality, many have no more than 4-5 members meeting for a drink. By Christmas I expect the real actual membership to be no more than 10,000 with large swathes of the country outwith the Home Counties with no means to participate in next May’s district elections. Most labour constituencies have 500 members min, UKIP will have an average of 15 members.
    JRE was effectively forced out and with him any early prospect of an active UKIP Members’ site. No-one came to the defence of YI members when they were denied a meeting room in Sheffield due to criminal threats.
    If you are reading this in your dressing gown drinking cocoa…well I hope you are enjoying it ( the cocoa) because the future is bleak.
    Ever since the leadership result I have posted no comment on Henry Bolton. He has my support, I will not be criticising him. I remain a member and locally I shall be attempting to help but I am not at the moment optimistic.

    • I am a (founder) member of UKIP and SERIOUSLY annoyed by those who persist in calling the NEC hopeless and JRE “forced-out”.

      Have you ever stood for the NEC yourself, Charles Foster?

      • Mister McWhirter I accept the use of Charles Foster.
        By being a founder member of UKIP you have now and always will have from me profound respect; many thanks for all your efforts.
        I have never stood for any office within UKIP nor am I likely to in the near future. Perhaps that makes me a back seat driver and a pest.
        For many years I struggled to save the money to run a business and since its launch a few years ago I have struggled to make it profitable. For this reason I do not have the time for UKIP office but I have participated widely in UKIP elections inc the Referendum. I have also donated generously but I dare say that you put me very much in the shadow in that dept.
        As I explained before on this website due to business dealings of a sensitive nature I cannot become public as a kipper as I am pretty certain it would have a disastrous effect for contracts.
        I maintain however that with some exceptions inc your good self the NEC is not fit for purpose; this is not personal it is to do with the nature of voting for the NEC and the powers and structure of the NEC vis-a-vis the rest of the UKIP hierarchy.
        JRE could have solved the problem of an online presence for UKIP which without him remains dire. We shall have to disagree about the reasons for his departure.
        Irrespective of anything else you have my deepest respect and I apologise if inadvertently I have offended you.

        • The criticism of the NEC is mostly based on lack of knowledge about what has been going on. Our two previous chairman or rather chairman and puppet have used the NEC as a whiled to deflect those who complaint about the inability of the two individuals to do anything useful. Crother controlled the NEC by allowing them time nay encouraging them to discuss matters of little real import for the party and ensuring that anything important was either timed out or never debated as the meeting finished. Take the matter of minutes. NEC minutes are supposed to be public, try telling Crowther and Oakden that. The NEC is by no means perfect but the membership need to aim their criticisms at those really responsible and bot the elected members as it is not their fault.

    • “I am annoyed by its lack of democracy”

      Policy on non-stun religious slaughter was dictated by a few religious lobbyists within the party. Ignoring the near unanimous opposition to it among grassroots members.

  16. Sorry Josef this is one of the worst articles I’ve read on this website to date. Bolton isn’t ‘the man’ yet he could be ‘the man’.

    I think the more pressing issue is the one alluded to on another article. Is Bolton taking advantage of a small pensioner run freehold managing agent company by avoiding paying his service charges?

    Getting to the bottom of that allegation will give you more of an insight into the man in my opinion.

  17. “The electorate has long made it clear that it considers UKIP obsolete in a post-Brexit world”

    We haven’t left the EU yet, May is weak and wobbly, and we have a remainer chancellor.

    Talk about counting chickens…

      • Roger is quite right Brexit is NOT a done deal, far from it. But the public have moved on (for now) and UKIP must do the same with radical new policies that have broad support. What these policies could be are not rocket science and many of them where outlined by the leadership contenders. UKIP must keep one eye on Brexit for sure but at the same time make it clear it has moved on from being a (gulp) single-issue-party.

    • Unfortunately it was UKIPs leadership that considered it obsolete, hence Crowther, Farage and Nuttall’s decision to resign at same time.

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