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NEC – Silence is not an Option, Stand Up or Resign

We are told there will be a vote of no-confidence taken at the NEC meeting on Sunday. However, this once again acts as a reminder of the failures of UKIPs governance system. Although these failures have been clear for a long time, they are now coming home to roost.

Recent events show the ordinary UKIP members have absolutely no influence over the actions of NEC members, and NEC members feel no duty to members. Of the 15 members of the NEC, only 2 have made their positions known, and that was before the Chairman issued his order that they remain silent prior to the meeting. Another has strongly hinted at his position in these pages, and Henry has, of course, broken the Chairman’s request already by being interviewed several times.

This illustrates the failure of the governance system perfectly. The Chairman imposes a code of silence on the NEC members, but the Chairman is appointed by the Leader! Thus the NEC members, like sheep, allow themselves to be silenced by someone who takes his orders from the person they are voting about. It is blindingly obvious that the NEC should have its own Chairman entirely separate to the ‘Chairman’ appointed by the Leader, who is in fact more like a Chief Operating Officer than a Chairman. Having the leader exert indirect authority over the members’ representative body is a ridiculous situation to be in as the NEC is supposed to be able to hold the Leader to account. Surely losing the word ‘interim’ from his title (remember Henry’s words; “interim is what it says on the tin”) should make it clear that Henry and Oakden are now on the same side?

At this last-chance saloon moment, NEC members have the duty to tell members how they will be voting in advance of the vote, so that members have a chance to ask them for explanations and make representations to them. You may assume that an NEC member will vote one way or another (or abstain, always the easy way out), but assumption is the mother of all cock-ups. As there is no guarantee of disclosure of the result (there was a vote of no-confidence in the chairman earlier this year which passed 9-0 with two abstentions and at least one absence, with only the result being disclosed, not the individual voting record, and since then no more NEC meeting records have been posted).

Unlike MPs, NEC members do not have a constituency. There is no identifiable group of people who voted for them. On the other hand, if you as a member didn’t vote for any of the NEC members, then who should you contact? There is no accountability whatsoever. In these circumstances, with nobody ‘holding their feet to the fire’ as it were, NEC groupthink takes over, and rather than represent the views of the members directly, they start thinking they should ‘do their best for the party’. In practice, this will mean being easily influenced by others who have been around longer or are more dominant personalities.  If a voting block of five members can be formed (e.g. Crowther, Oakley, Bown, Wauchope, maybe Finch), then Henry is safe.  Looking at the list, my guess is that he will survive.  The waiverers will waiver, or abstain.  It isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that some people won’t show up, or will suddenly get ill.

Silence is not an option, and indeed silence should be assumed to mean they will support Henry. Members are highly optimistic if they think that NEC members will vote against the wishes of the party establishment.  None of the non-NEC senior party members have called for Henry to go. Farage hasn’t. Whittle hasn’t, not Kurten. Deputy leader Margot Parker is active on social media but has not mentioned it.  This is not by chance; the silence of the establishment will be taken by Henry as an endorsement and gives him the confidence to continue.  Worse, these establishment figures may well have their points of view, but they don’t feel the need to tell members. Frantic phone calls will be taking place, tallies will be counted, but none of this will be disclosed to you. Members are kept in the dark and fed s**t as someone else said once.

Hence I suggest that members must make their feelings known to the NEC members and DEMAND that they provide their voting intention prior to the meeting. Their job is to represent members, not join in the groupthink. If the NEC do not speak out for members, who will?

And whatever happens, if the party survives then there seems to be no way to effect reform. These problems have been clear for a long time but nothing ever happens. Unless NEC members speak up now, they are consigning UKIP to the dustbin of history.

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About Graham Matthews (8 Articles)
Graham Matthews was the 2017 General Election UKIP Candidate, Kingston & Surbiton Parliamentary Constituency

63 Comments on NEC – Silence is not an Option, Stand Up or Resign

  1. The members of the NEC are not idiots, they are members of UKIP like the rest of us. Its like saying all branch chairmen are idiots and everyone connected to a branch committee are idiots. Someone has to be in charge whether it be locally or nationally. It just cannot be lost on them that UKIP is in dire straights at the moment, losing members hand over fist. They read newspapers and watch TV like the rest, and can see what Henry Bolton is up to. Whilst I believe Henry Bolton should have resigned a week or more ago, he hasn’t. I am of the opinion that Henry Bolton was failing the party on most fronts before his private life and the racist texts came to the fore. He has been totally invisible insofar as the Brexit issue is concerned, and has hardly said a dickie bird on the subject. That in itself is indefensible. So we are left with the NEC to do their job. Let them do it. If at the end of the day they return a vote of confidence in Henry Bolton on Sunday, and is retained as party leader, that will be the time to ask some searching questions. Personally I think this time next week we will all be in a better place. Henry Bolton is toast. Even he must surely realise this.


    I have to say that UKIP has no governance.
    The leader is still yapping to the media, recently with the Telegraph about his “love”.

    UKIP governance should have suspended him days ago for bringing the party into disrepute. Whether they had the power-legal footing or not to do this proves the weakness of UKIP governance. QED.

    Henry Bolton’s continued behaviour with the media and not respectfully shutting up shows he is out to wreck UKIP. As a former Lib-Dem, police & military advisor to the EU it would appear beyond doubt that he does not have the depth of belief in an Independent UK to command any respect from the British voting people in what are becoming difficult times.

    Raheem Kassam’s list of UKIP wreckers is gaining credibility.

    “The following people are now curses to Brexit:

    — Henry Bolton
    — Steve Crowther
    — Paul Oakden
    — Neil Hamilton
    — Bill Etheridge
    — Ben Walker
    — Suzanne Evans

    All (and more) must go, else all (and more) shall be lost…”

    • With all due respect to Kassam – Neil Hamilton is not a ‘UKIP Wrecker’. He is doing an excellent job in the Welsh Assembly as leader of the UKIP Group there. Neil Hamilton does not belong on that list.
      As to the rest of Kassam’s list: that needs updating …

      • From what I’ve seen of Neil Hamilton he’s doing everything to protect and promote UKIP and the policies it is (or perhaps used to be) known for.

        He is also a very experienced politician who has, in the past, been an MP. Sadly, his knowledge and skills have not been used by UKIP and the party has lost out as a result. Shameful.


        • Thanks Viv-Brenda for the correcting counter point.

        • I agree.
          I do not know Neil personally, but I first heard him speak at a UKIP rally back in the glory days of 2013 / 14 up in the Northeast.

          He was second ONLY to Nigel in the power of his speech and ability to enthuse the packed hall………
          Whoever takes over next week would be well advised to bring him into the inner circle.

  3. Telegraph headline:
    Ukip leader Henry Bolton: ‘Three-weeks with Jo was the happiest I’ve been in years’

    “However asked if he rules out getting back together with Ms Marney, he replied: “I don’t rule it out, not at all.” Asked if he still loves her, he replied: “Yeah, absolutely. The anguish that Jo and I have gone through…”

    It has gone beyond any measure of credibility. I thought the suggestion that HB was a plant was not without merit, but no-one could have concocted plan to highlight the complete lack of dysfunctionality exhibited since Christmas.

    It’s past becoming a farce, with each new news confirming that my decision to not renew at the end of this month was correct.

    In fact it is becoming a ‘real life’ soap, with the scrip writers on something illegal, to allow cognitive dissonance to reign supreme. It is the only explanation for the thoughtlessness exhibited to so many, with Party members being the least pained, one would have thought. We are just angry, discusted and wondering how it can be halted.

  4. It just gets worse with Mr Bolton:
    Sounds like the split with Jo Marney was another lie.

  5. Henry, seemingly not bound by the code of silence that the other NEC members are holding fast to has today been interviewed by the Telegraph! The little p***k, he can’t stop insulting his wife and children. If you weren’t happy, why did you have the kids you p***k??? What an odious human being.

  6. A view on the NEC and leadership from Raheem Kassam and a timeline of UKIPs Demise from theSun. Make of it what you will:

  7. Why hasn’t Henry Bolton resigned? He must be mad to imagine he has any future in UKIP. Why hasn’t the NEC expelled him for bringing UKIP into disrepute? Why have the views of people like Gerard Batten, who I admire, been ignored? I’m only glad that I don’t have to worry too much about these questions as I am in my eighties.

    • Bill,

      These are valid questions and I can only think they quite like the publicity he is attracting as he had none before, or they are concerned about the press making fun of us if they sack him immediately. Let’s face it they are between a rock and a hard place at present, but somebody does need to be decisive or is that just expecting too much!

      You say you do not have to worry about it due to your age but do you have children and grandchildren, are you not concerned about their future? I understand how frustrating this all is as I too share that anger but yet again the chosen one was not vetted thoroughly it would see.

      I cannot help but think how everyone was petrified of AMW winning, but quite honestly in comparison could she have done a worse job, she has now set up her own party ‘For Britain’, and so far not a hint of a scandal emerging, it will be interesting to see how she fares. The ridiculous thing is that most of these small parties have many things in common, so it is a pity we could not all get together and form one brexit and patriotic party.

    • The mechanism for getting rid of a leader is being given due process – hence the no confidence vote on Sunday.

      • Which he will win. The silence of the NEC members tells you everything. And watch out for people not attending and abstaining.

  8. Purple Potty Mouth // January 17, 2018 at 4:56 pm // Reply

    Fascinating reading this leaders training. One wonders if the trainer has forgotten the lessons.
    “The difference between leadership and management and the vital importance of that difference”
    UKIP was mega mismanaged and this is an area that Henry has concentrated on since his election. The absolute rubbish & ridiculously overpriced database system is on its way out (as informed by Paul Oakden & Noel Richardson last night)But – Paul had to admit that HB has owned up to f-ing up the leadership bit, as a number of people, like Russell Hicks kept saying, (Where’s listen to those you are leading?)
    “Motivating others and creating loyalty”
    “Dealing with spoilers and managing conflict”
    Seems to have created it since Xmas
    “Leading change”
    Any change? We kept asking for reform
    Massive fail here!!! I have talked with Henry – before Xmas and the chairman, Henry has been working to make the changes needed in the structure and management but it is only fair to say he’s not kept the confidence of his troops as he hasn’t communicated it – sticking to the positive ‘what will happen & when’ to avoid washing our very grubby linen in public
    “Building a leadership team”
    OK -after asking for it for years we’ve got a shadow cabinet
    “Leading leaders”
    “The importance of a vision and how to communicate it”
    This one should be highlighted! The people – that is the non-kippers we want to vote for us and become members NEED A VISION FROM THE LEADER to do that!
    “Creating values”
    Whoops – least said here.

    Only one missing from that little list – you are living in a glass house so don’t throw stones. You wouldn’t invest in a company without doing the due diligence so treat a new relationship the same. Head first not d**k first.

  9. mick mcgough, nec member // January 17, 2018 at 4:33 pm // Reply

    I have been clear from the outset of our troubles before THE RACIST,ANTI-ROYAL,KIDDY -FIDDLING fiasco that he must go and will not be bound by a NEC silence that Bolton will not observe.

  10. If Nigel doesn’t want to lead UKIP, then the party should fold and make way for a new patriotic party that can continue to support a proper Brexit and can highlight the many problems caused by mass immigration and Islam.


    Running courses like this is what Henry seems to have done for a living before standing for the Leadership

    • A chancer with a website.

      • “Learning to be lucky” ?

      • Anyone care to decipher this Bolton-Bollocks?

        – assist organisations and individuals to improve performance through enhanced decision making, strategy development, planning and implementation management;

        – carry out organisational and cultural diagnostics, and transformation planning;

        – provide geopolitical political advice and political, conflict and general operating environmental intelligence and analysis;

        – provide stakeholder and key actor mapping, mediation & facilitation;

        – assist organsations in developing and implementing strategies successfully;

        – conduct briefings on European Union structures, policy & policy making processes;

        – assist planning through the secondment of qualified and experienced planners;

        – provide tailored as well as public training courses;

        – provide informative and thought provoking speakers.

        • Purple Potty Mouth // January 17, 2018 at 4:07 pm // Reply

          Was he thinking of offering up the ‘ex’as a ‘thought provoking speaker’?

        • “Assist planning through the secondment of qualified and experienced planners”
          Presumably qualified means Critical Path trained (rather than what UKIP usually uses = back of fag packet).
          Qualified – I assume that means they`ll expect to be paid – the going rate.
          Experienced – have you ever come across anybody experienced in planning a Brexit or even a re-run of a Brexit.
          All sounds a bit complicated to me and so much tosh, particularly as I seem to remember a letter from hopeless/helpless/hapless HENRY saying the cash box was empty

        • It all reads very ‘Common Purpose’ to me!

    • How amusing that the very first Bullet Point ( see I can do the management jargon [ aka BS ] as good as anybody ! ) of his course is
      The difference between leadership and management and the vital importance of that difference ##

      Je reste mon case.

    • Quite apart from the fact that Bolton doesn’t exactly set an example by practising what he preaches, due to the organisations he lists as having provided services for, is there not a conflict of interests with his role of UKIP leader?

    • Rabbit – the website and organisation was illuminating, especially the “About Henry” page.

      His list of who he has worked with makes one wonder why he bothered to trouble himself as leader of UKIP:

      “Henry has provided advice and other services to:

      The European Commission, The European Union Security & Defence College, The European External Action Service,”

  12. This detailed narrative of the shortfalls of the management of our party will resonate with most members.
    Why is the NEC not constituted of elected representatives from our regions and elected by the officers/members of those regional branches? There may be a good reason for this but I have not seen any credible evidence put forward.

    • Because, in part, some regions have a small number of members, e.g. Scotland, and many people feel that the best possible candidates should be elected, irrespective of where they come from.

      In addition, in the past, some regional lfficers have proven controversial, so their nec appointees might be equally so.

      I remain in favour of one member one vote, and, hopefully once electronic voting is up and running, members will be able to make an informed choise helping ensure we get the best candidates for the job and not just Buggins’ Region’s rep’s turn…

      This topic turns up at conference every year, and I am sure it will not go away anytime soon! ?

  13. I fear UKIP is dancing the last waltz and drinking in the last chance saloon and only a miracle can save it from itself. Graham’s article encapsulates the situation completely.

  14. If the worst happens, membership should stabilise around 40.

  15. Excellent article Graham and all too true. Here’s an article that I think will also be of interest to you.

    Kind regards.

  16. I fear that everything in the above article is correct.
    It prompts a further reflection:

    WHY is it that this Forum – as far as I am aware the only place where Ukippers of whatever rank and opinion may air their views and debate, courteously, with one another – is so rarely graced with a contribution from any of the UKIP hierarchy?

    I define the latter loosely as MEPs ( remember how MANY of those we have ??? ) or NEC members. Perhaps one should add Regional Chairs ?

    Why do those in charge of the Party so resolutely refuse to engage with us, the membership who pay our dues ( And in some cases a lot lot more than our dues.) ?

    Compare and Contrast where MPs and Lords ( oh ! we have a few of those also ! ) not infrequently write and respond. There is much more of a sense on that site of the hierarchy taking note of what the membership write.

    Is our hierarchy more toff~like than the state registered Toffs of the Tory Party ?

    There has been an outpouring of anguish from us over the Henry Bolton grotesqueries ~ yet no response here from the hierarchy.

    If even someone like Gerard Batten MEP or Mike Hookem MEP can’t put his head above the parapet and state the *****ing obvious that HB has to go, then what hope is there for courageous Leadership post HB ?

    We have no idea whether the NEC have registered, much less will voice, the members’ very clear wish that HB goes or is pushed if he will not go.

    Do we even know if the hierarchy READ the postings on ukipdaily ? If they did they would have to be very politically anaemic never to feel an urge to put fingers to keyboard and respond ?

    If he goes by Sunday things will be difficult for UKIP in terms of recovery ( tho’ we might get lucky with the next Leader ).

    If he does not go things will be simply impossible.

    There will be no UKIP for HB to lead.

    Activists will melt away, as it would not be possible for us to campaign with a straight face for a Party ‘led’ by such a cartoon grotesque individual.

    • Do they read? John Bickley reads regularly, for starters…

      • I’m glad he does. In which case he will note that 99% of the commentators want Bolton GONE. And fast.

        • And as a man good with numbers, I expect him to also note that 99% of commentators is not the same as 99% of the party…

          • True. And soon there will be only 99 members in the party . Every day, dropping like flies….

          • But that 99% includes activists without whom there is no party and some of them, branch officers, regional officers, are influential and communicate widely. It would be a grave mistake to dismiss UKIP Daily readers. It is the active ones who will turn up at any EGM.

          • Indeed, I would consider flying in myself…

      • JB is one of the RARE exceptions to which I referred. Good for him.
        If UKIP and the NEC continue to exist after Sunday I do hope he will urge his fellow NEC ites to AT LAST start reading and writing on this site.
        Who do they think they are ? The Queen, that they are not allowed to engage on controversial topics ?
        And if HB stays and thus UKIP terminates then the discussion about reform of the NEC is moot.

    • I fear that he could be promoted sideways and effectively silenced after nominating another(or more ) post say Brexit and After, or Political correctness (to include Religious tolerance etc) to include from his democratically electe authority. This would Possibly avoid embarressment and provide opportunities for our nec. And indeed it could be inspired if they were capable of choosing wisely. Say Batten, Etheridge, Hookem, Kurten or anyone of proven worth and political sensitivity and still popular.This could save a lot of time and blushes.and could be for a fixed period to give the party ( or nec ) time to reorganise properly.

      Making Henry a sort of temp constitutional monarch with absolutely no powers. But pretty.

      I’m not a lawyer so god alone knows what this would result in, but better ( or worse ) than a lot of doomsday scenarios.

  17. Interim chairman, Paul Oakden spoke at a meeting organised by Mole Valley branch in Surrey last night. (I use interim as I have heard that, before his recent coup de foudre he had approached more than one possible appointee for the role and they declined)
    NEC was raised as part of the Q&A & he informed (claimed?) that members were to discuss how it could be reformed to be more accountable & efficient(I think he said it was due at their Jan meeting & of course other matters may have dominated the agenda)
    As a branch & county chairman I would argue that we do need a conduit to this body & regardless of whether NEC reps are nominated & elected nationally or regionally in future we should have a NEC member allocated responsibility for a region (specifically allocated, not volunteering as many of the best do/have done)
    I would like to be able to invite one to a county meeting for example so that we – and the members I represent- understand each other better & grassroots can be more involved in shaping the party & its future.

  18. Hello Graham,
    My view is wait until the meeting happens.
    The voting record and preferably the minutes of the meeting is made available to UKIP daily.
    Then with or without the information of the meeting in front of the grass root membership a decision can then be made about whether or not the NEC is acting in members interests.
    A view could then be taken whether UKIP HQ governance reform is needed.
    I agree that the chair of the NEC should never be the leader or from the operational-executive side. A clear separation between governance and executive is sensible.

    • Yes. Minutes of the meeting MUST be made public on the UKPD site. Any deviation could be released to the electoral commision..

  19. Yes Graham everybody should resign. The whole party should resign. Kippers are great resigners. It’s the most commonly used word. Resigning is the way forward! If you already have resigned then do it again! And again!

    Actually Graham, I’ll be happy if just Bolton resigns

    • No, they have the option to stand up and let members know what their intentions are. If they reject the slightest accountability then what use are they as representatives?

  20. My area chairman has asked my branch to support a letter to the NEC calling for Henry to stay. Since I will be leaving the party in March I have asked the branch committee and activists to decide how to react, without making any recommendation. There is clearly some remaining if reluctant support for business as usual for the time being. Given our turnover of leaders I can understnd this.

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