This is the text as it was received. The answers of UKIP Daily’s E-i-C are added in red

 

Dear Editor,

>

> I note with dismay and heavy heart that the “Time to slay a few myths” by John Bickley thread is now closed to comments.

This is the first and only time I had to close comments, and I hope I shall never have to do so again. But it’s the preferred option to deleting comment posts en masse. Had I done so, the uproar would have been remarkable. I assume that’s not what he and you would have relished.

>

> In my time, I have been involved with several party-related forums:

>

> • DemocracyForum, setup as UKIPForum by (then) NEC Member Anthony Butcher, and subsequently rebranded because the NEC objected to an official forum.

> • UKIPforum, setup by Jonathan Arnott, and closed (Toby M., of this parish, has specifics), because of posts made, and the inability to adequately moderate.

> • NECForum, setup by myself to replace email distribution lists, which was intended to show the NEC could behave, then expand to regional organisers, chairmen etc. A couple of NEC members, including one of this parish, spammed it so badly that the others refused to have anything to do with it. And I had to agree.

> • This erm, newspaper/forum.

I note with interest that the Party, for whatever reasons and in whatever guise, closed down these forums because of no ability to moderate. The funny thing is that there are a huge number of blogs/forums on the internet, often run by one or two persons only, where comment is free and only very modestly moderated, where spammers/trolls are outed and chased off by the regular posters. It’s called ‘self-policing’. Of course, an official Party Forum would need much more stringent moderation than an open one. But why would a Libertarian Party want a strictly regulated echo chamber rather than open debate with members, would-be members and voters?

> I note that the (laudable) founding goal was to be a cut-price ConservativeHome. However, on that site, no-one complains about lack of party board minutes or voting records of board members!

Thanks for this back-handed compliment: UKIP Daily is not just cut-price, it’s ‘no price’. In good old UKIP tradition, everything is done by volunteers – from running the thing to authors writing for free. Of course, if you recall the articles/debates on UKIP Daily over time, you’d have noticed that the ‘complaints’ about the NEC/lack of minutes etc etc only kicked off after the disaster that was last year’s leadership elections (both of them), where candidates themselves took on the NEC and the abysmal lack of communication between HO and ordinary members. And I’m not even talking about emails to HO and MEPs which remain unanswered and about which too many members have complained about …

> One senior party member, who visits occasionally, has observed that the standard posting pattern is:

> • Welcome, Newbie!

> • Glad to have you posting here, but:

> • Bitch 1

> • Bitch 2

> Ad nauseam…

Please give me chapter and verse: which articles, which authors, which comments. Your summary is unrecognisable, to me as well as to our readers.

> John Bickley, our treasurer, has, resigned and restanding MPs excepted, our BEST EVER result in a by-election (losing in Heywood & Middleton by ~617 votes because no-hope Tories refused to hold their noses and support him). He also, at short notice, took on the difficult and time-consuming post of treasurer. This should be respected and cherished. Instead, when he comes here and delivers a dose of reality, in some cases going further than I did, he gets brickbats, and, in one case, a threat of physical violence!

1) He chose to interpret one angry sentence as a ‘threat of physical violence’. It wasn’t. Furthermore, you might have read the many comments from members who supported him in his by-elections. They had valid points and criticisms. Instead of attacking them for their use of pen names he might profitably have answered their questions.

2) Since when are UKIP leaders deemed to be sacrosanct, since when must UKIP members not criticise them because of ‘past deeds’?

> John has made his email address public. Stout could have used it to go “pm” with John, but apparently hasn’t.

So? What has that got to do with comments on an article on UKIP Daily? Or did he and you expect me to exhort ‘Stout Yeoman’ and others to please email John Bickley privately? Really?

> And it is abundantly clear that the site’s pre-moderation policy, by allowing the punch-up threat through, has failed.

Oh no it hasn’t. Not only is it ludicrous to proclaim failure based on one (!) article/comment thread, it is even more ludicrous to overlook who actually started that ‘punch-up’ – it wasn’t the comment posters! You are in fact asking for censorship of posts which might conceivably annoy authors who are of the ‘Party Elite’. Thank you, but no.

> There is also the not-trivial matter of people posting here through ignorance. Those who wish AMW to be allowed to stand for leader, unhindered, are perfectly entitled to their opinion, but should take the trouble to understand the limits of the NEC, and that it can’t overrule the membership endorsed constitution under ANY circumstances. And AMW, by the way, is not the only branch-backed prospective PPC to have been blocked at the urging of the (then) party leader as a GE candidate. Said candidate is now thriving in an, erm, westernly location ?.

Has it occurred to you that this alleged ignorance is due to the fact that getting information both from the official website(s) and from the Party officials is like trying to wring water from a stone? That a drip feed of ‘suitable’ information by e.g. someone like you (which is at least something!) instead of allowing members to see for themselves is not sufficient? This complaint about ignorant members is rather patronising, and reminds me strangely of the complaints from Remoaners about Leave voters …

> It is popular, and easy, to make the NEC, and thus party directors, the fall-guy for defending the constitution and legalities, but that doesn’t make it fair or right. At least one leader resigned blaming the NEC, (“The information I requested in order to make our scheduled 1:1s meanngful has not been forthcoming) when she (hint!) had never even met us on the job! Those who post, therefore, from a basis of personal experience, such as Toby, thus automatically command more respect. He has also moderated a forum!

Yes, and? Where was the correction of this declaration by that erstwhile leader from the Party Management? I haven’t seen anything like that, officially. Instead it’s ’confidential’ rumours and more rumours.

> I now see why (most of) my colleagues on the NEC object to forums, and why I was wrong in defending them. Scales have fallen from my eyes.

Good grief, Rob! You might recall last year’s elections to the NEC. Most of the grassroot candidates (some of whom even published statements on UKIP Daily) didn’t get elected, due to lack of name recognition. They all stood on a platform of reforming the NEC, of wanting more openness. I doubt they’d have objected to open forums.

> Going forward, I will:

> • Reply, within reason, to comments on this thread.

> • Occasionally correct obvious glaring errors elsewhere, e.g. posters thinking the rule book (A10, for example) and NEC can overrule the constitution.

> • Refrain (for now) from wasting time from writing unwelcome and misunderstood op-ed pieces, and discourage senior members from similar wasted efforts.

>

> As the bard wrote, “To war, take you my most grievous curse!”

> Rob McWhirter ?

Thank you, Rob – that’s absolutely fine, and doesn’t change anything really, does it! But please do tell me which of your op-ed pieces were ‘unwelcome’. Have we rejected any? Not as far as I know! As for ‘misunderstood’: yes, well, it’s up to writers to write in such a fashion that they won’t be ‘misunderstood’, and to correct misunderstandings when readers ask for clarification. If there is a theme to the replies to John it could possibly be summarised as typical kipper responses to perceived condescension. Something to celebrate, no? As one commenter wrote, IIRC, “Anyone who posts an article on here can expect debate and criticism, not grateful sycophancy.” As E-i-C I can confirm that.

And thanks for that quote from the bard …

 

 

We all, you comment posters and we, the editorial team, are now under extra scrutiny. Therefore, please remember when posting: ice-cold politeness works better than hot rants

Print Friendly, PDF & Email