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Leadership Election

I am not one to dive into something without giving the matter due consideration. I do not make major decisions lightly. The pathway that Ukip is potentially taking greatly disturbs me. We are in danger of disappearing which would give the political commentators the victory they have worked so hard for this past year. We are also in the very real danger of lurching to the far right as a certain candidate for the leadership is gaining enormous support from some members and those who are being encouraged to join now to also give her the support she would need to become the leader.

The rhetoric of this potential leader is, in my humble opinion simply not of this time, it is far too extreme and totally out of place and not in any way reflective of the libertarian values that the United Kingdom Independence Party was formed on. If we do take this path then this blogger is most certainly gone.

I therefore decided to stand for the leadership.The election though, has taken a sinister twist.

The qualification requirements were suddenly changed at the last NEC meeting, merely a week before the leadership timetable was published. The requirement to have been a member for a continual two years is a seismic change as it was previously 28 days. This precludes me from standing as I joined the party in January 2016. I would point out that for the following reasons I could not stand in all honesty anyway, but this rule change, taken in isolation, again, by the NEC underlines again that the NEC is not fit for purpose. You have to ask, why, apart from wanting to negate chancers and keyboard warriors from standing was the change made, such a sudden change arises suspicions yet again about the motives of the NEC.

Do the NEC have someone in mind, a coronation by stealth, one wonders. Is Nigel Farage coming back to throw his hat in the ring, if he does will it be a coronation or a contest? It would be someone brimming with confidence and oozing personal belief to take on Mr Farage.

Missing out by five months is disappointing to say the least. I was vetted, assessed and cleared to stand as an MP in the general election. I paid my money to attend the assessment day; I paid my own deposit of £500 to stand. Leading up to the election I was disgusted when told, that on the nod of a Regional Organiser the party were accepting anyone as candidates. In fact two members from my region who had never expressed an interest in standing were encouraged to. They did, and were guaranteed initially 100% of their deposit, this changed to 50% just before nominations closed. They had not undergone any vetting or assessment and this was in my opinion a retrograde, ill thought out and knee jerk reaction which has led yet again to ill feeling amongst the membership.

No, the reason I could not stand is that it will, potentially, if I did not poll 20% of the vote cost me £5,500. This is an enormous sum of money split between £5,000 deposit and £500 un-refundable admin fee. If I did poll 20% and won or came second it would still cost me £3000 as £2500 is all that is returned to the candidates. A money spinner for the party? Certainly an enormous financial risk for any ordinary member.

This financial risk, this financial penalty, is pernicious and lacks any equality of opportunity across the membership for would be candidates. These decisions have caused a great deal of unrest, again within the membership, who again have been ignored and taken for granted. A contest is a contest and should be just that, a fair playing field. £5,500 to stand for the leadership is ridiculous.

Candidates lacking the ability and status to lead this party into an uncertain future for sure would be found out by the membership at hustings and on social media. Candidates would have to be special in their thoughts, presence and the delivery of their message to gain the trust of the membership. The membership would be much more forensic in their examination of potential leaders, especially given the debacle of the previous two.

What a shame, yet again that the NEC did not and could not find it in themselves to trust the membership that are actually the blood, heart and soul of this party. What a shame that they are clearly so frightened of having the wrong person elected that they sought to so narrow the chances of anyone actually standing with sudden pernicious and expensive preclusions. Shame on them and I sincerely hope that the new leader makes it his or her mission to rid this party of this ridiculous committee which so seeks to rule in isolation.

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Stephen Place
About Stephen Place (28 Articles)
I am the Chairman of the Ukip Richmond (Yorks) branch. I am also deputy chair of North Yorkshire.

36 Comments on Leadership Election

  1. I am beginning to wonder how democratic the party is. The financial outlay to stand for leader is outrageous. On a different slant, I wrote an article rebutting Paul Nuttall’s argument in support of fox hunting ( just before the 2015 election) and was informed that the editor could not possibly print it as he was standing as a PPC ie did not wish to rock the boat and invite the ire of the Ukip elite.I always believed that the party was better than the others but now I do wonder.

    • I’m afraid the way this Leadership election is run will tell us once and for all whether it’s being run for a few at the top. I intend to vote for Anne Marie, a decision reinforced by her very good manifesto yesterday – so if her name isn’t on the ballot paper I shall write it on mine, send it in, and leave the Party and stop doing any work I have been doing.

  2. “We are also in the very real danger of lurching to the far right as a certain candidate for the leadership is gaining enormous support from some members and those who are being encouraged to join now to also give her the support she would need to become the leader.”

    Do you mean Voldemort?

  3. As a member do I get a vote in the Leadership Election, where do I get more info about it

  4. I’m left wondering why my frank response to Stephen Place’s article that I posted earlier today has not appeared. What did I say that was unprintable?

    I supported Anne Marie for leader and gave cogent reasons why I would not vote for anyone else if she is prevented from standing. Have I broken one of the many rules that sponplague is always quoting?

  5. Stephen, I am really sorry that you haven’t been able to stand in the Leadership contest – it would have been nice to have had as wide a range of views put forward as to how UKIP would be led and what Policy might be favored, bearing in mind DD, if it ever happens.
    I thought the 28 day thing too short, but 2 years is ridiculous – as is the amount of money you would have had to put forward. If rules were going to be changed it would have been say to send out a letter before now canvassing Branch views, with a simple optional list of time frame and cash needed. But Member involvement is only used when leafleting is necessary, in case we might have an input.

  6. I think the best option is to vote for AMW just to blow up the whole thing and start again!

  7. If you had stood and won, Stephen, how would yiu have dealt with salary/expenses/security costs in the short term, at least?

    28 days, I think was way too short. But what should a fair window be?

  8. FORGET ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP ELECTION
    We are members of such a democratic party that the NEC can change leadership rules to prevent ordinary members standing for office when it suits them.
    This is ridiculous and will do real damage to the party. Don’t the idiots on the NEC realise that without membership contributions in money time and support the party will die?
    I guess the plan is to install Crowther as leader backed by the gang of ten (bickley/flynn/oakden/reeve/duffy/evans etc) who also want to see off the gang of two and a half (etheridge/arnott/carver).
    This is not a threat nor a promise but it is a realistic prediction – if AnneMarieWaters is stopped from standing for Leader or if she is hobbled and cheated of a fair chance and/or ditto JohnReesEvans then UKIP will implode.
    The AGM in September in Torquay will be a MSM delight with open warfare and poss physical clashes. It will be schadenfreude with cream on it for our enemies in the libdems and corbynistas.
    What imbeciles changed the leadership rules at the 11th hour?

    • The whole point of having Steve Crowther as interim leader is that he ISN’T going to be a candidate! And thus will NOT end up being leader.

      As the party’s rulemaking body, it is incumbennt on tne NEC to learn from previous elections and overhaul the rules from time to time. What WOULD be improper would be for the ruls to change after tiday’s 10am starting gun.

      • oh come on. to go from 28 days to 2 years is a major decision that should have been made earlier, not on the hoof during an election cycle. In fact, for the credibility of the NEC, they would have been much better to make no changes at all so there is at least some consistency from one cycle to the next and they don’t give the appearance of rigging the game. This election is delegitimised already.

      • Crowther is the eminence gris in all this and may still end up de facto leader. It is not inconceivable that there are no candidates who satisfactorily meet all the NEC rules of standing in a leadership election.
        The accounts of the party under bickley must be in a parlous state if leadership candidates have to risk £5,500 to stand.
        The election could all be done on line for a couple of thousand pounds but then democracy has never been a NEC strong point. hence the strange events following the nuttall goodbye.
        Many thanks as always for your contributions Mr McWhirter – you are a window into the darkened smoky room of the UKIP High Command.

  9. Then I hope, Stephen, your branch will be calling for an EGM to amend the Party constitution to change the rules on leadership elections and bring in a hefty measure of direct democracy.
    Whilst we’re at it we need to remove ‘libertarianism’ and ‘low tax’ from the creed. One means sharia, the other Tory economics and more national decline.

    • Quercus: please re-read the constitution, and you will find that a national EGM is NOT a legal method for amending the constitution…

    • Although is we are on matters of constitution then it is interesting to note that the UKIP constitution says the party will not discriminate on grounds of religion, which is difficult to square with an AMW candidateship. Unless she argues that islam is in fact an alternative civilisation that includes a religion, rather than simply being a religion, and is therefore in conflict with the libertarian element of the constitution. Are there any liberterian muslims? Will be interesting to see which view will prevail.

  10. The NEC are having far too much say in UKIP, we need more than just a new leader. And the new leader we need is of course Anne Marie Waters. Who is not ‘far right’, although she is completely correct.

  11. Oh, and I notice that the ‘meeting record’ of the NEC meeting on the Monday 12 is still not on myukip, so who knows what the NEC actually decided or why. I will give 10/1 on that document not being posted to myukip until after the leadership election is finished!

    • There is a backlog of meeting records to be caught up with, I am told, and they will be appearing imminently, but the 12th would normally need to be passed at the next full nec meeting first.

      • Rob, can you explain what was the thinking behind 28 days? Obviously there was some ulterior motive behind that.

        Also, it is hard to understand why there is a backlog in putting the ‘meeting record’ (note, not minutes, there is no suggestion that any minutes will be published) onto myukip as if the January one is anything to go by it is so sterlised that all it is is a list of thankyous to so and so, not a whole lot of debate. I can understand that non-published minutes need to be adopted by the following meeting but not a sterile ‘meeting record’, in particular if it makes clear that where the meeting record and minutes are in conflict then minutes should prevail.

        Let’s face it, there is no will to be open to members.

        • No idea about the 28 days, sorry.

          As for the delay – just people being busy – there have been elections and things 😉

          • That’s no excuse. The HO people don’t want help from anyone else. They maintain their control and power this way. I offered 6 weeks of full-time help and was ignored. They would rather we fail under their control than have to share success with the members! There was NO call to the members for help at all, and as far as I know there never has been. So it isn’t any wonder that they have no time to do anything as they never think about how to expand the time available by utilising the talents and time of members. Its the mushroom thing that Viv talked about.

  12. I agree with some points, particularly the capriciousness of the NEC in changing the rules AFTER the contest had begun. Once Paul Nuttall resigned the party has a legal requirement to appoint a leader and so does not require any formal announcement, and as Paul resigned as a director of the company as of Friday, then Friday 9th is the day the leadership election commenced for legal purposes. The fact that the NEC then changed the qualifications for candidates on the following Monday, i.e. after the process had already started, shows they are basically just making up the rules as they go along to fit a particular purpose.

    On the other hand, 28 days was also ridiculous, but this was also a rule put in place by the NEC, so they should also explain how they ever came up with 28 days, it sounds like that rule was put in place specifically to allow someone from the outside to come in and take over.

    But taken together these rule changes unfortunately demonstrate that UKIP governance remains unfit for purpose.

    • Having read the constitution, my understanding is that the election starts when it is “called”, and that is at 10am today…

      • I think that is open to legal challenge. By law, as soon as the leader resigns, the party has to notify the electoral commission and appoint a new leader. This was all done Friday 9 and Saturday 10. However, I understand that not even all of the NEC were consulted on the appointment of Steve, just a ‘majority’, i.e. those members who support him and not those members who don’t! Also there was the possibility of the deputy leader being put in that position rather than an interim leader, and hence this decision to go for an interim leader is also open to challenge if it wasn’t put to the NEC to decide, or if the NEC’s decision-making process was deficient. If there was no genuine effort to garner the decisions of all NEC members or any other bias in the choice of how this ‘majority’ was made up then that decision to appoint Steve as interim leader should also be open to legal challenge. And as the make-up of the NEC subtly shifted with his appointment and Paul’s leaving, then this also leaves the Monday decision to change the rules also open to challenge.

        Given what happened after Stoke, I don’t think anyone should have been surprised that Paul did a runner as soon as he could and therefore this whole situation was entirely foreseeable and there should have been a plan to appoint an interim leader, a plan including gathering ALL the NEC votes on (i) deputy leader promotion or appoint interim leader?, and (ii) everyone on NEC has to vote on interim leader, not a majority.

        How convenient that no such obvious plan was made!

    • The contest legally began at 10am today. Until then, the nec were perfectly entitled to tidy up the rules as necessary. We had this argument before when I was on the nec, and as far as I am concerned, nothing has changd this time, either.

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