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Reading the Tea Leaves

~~~ Interpreting Monday's NEC decision ~~~

Well, I didn’t expect to be writing my first article of the new year so soon, but as I have had past experience with EGMs, leadership/NEC fall-outs, and constitutional drafting, Viv has asked me to don my gypsy garb and try and interpret the recent NEC statement – taken with the constitution, it’s quite a heady brew! As I write, to set me in the mood, I’m listening to Carmen – an, erm, tale of a soldier who leaves his childhood sweetheart for a hot-blooded young girl who chews him up and spits him out when done – it didn’t end well. (Here’s a video clip of the Habenera!) So here goes…

Firstly, and most significantly, circumstances are very different from 2000, the last time we were in a similar mess. The constitution has been through several major revisions (all ratified by the membership), and this time, the NEC are (currently) validly within terms of office, so are actually capable of being quorate and able to vote on matters.

The NEC statement, which can be found here, says in part:

It was agreed to defer the discussion to a special NEC meeting, which has been called for ten days time.

Normally, NEC meetings are held on the first Monday of every month – Nigel liked Monday meetings, and the regularity made it easy for those with a long distance to travel to plan ahead.  An extra meeting, such as this one, involves booking a conference room in a central area at short notice, and arranging for ~16 people to be available, bearing in mind necessary quorums etc. As this is irregular, it seems tailored to meet the requirements of:

“6.23.1 A motion of no confidence in the Party Leader may be proposed before the NEC. In order for it to pass, no less than nine members of the NEC shall vote in favour of the motion. The Party Chairman shall have a casting vote in the normal way.”

And:

“6.23.2 The Party Leader shall be given no less than seven days’ notice in writing of the meeting. He shall be entitled to attend, to address and vote at the meeting. He may make written representations to the meeting. He may question any member or other witness whose evidence is considered by the NEC as being relevant to the issue on the same basis as any other party and may call witnesses on his own behalf on the same basis as obtained during the case against him.”

Should said meeting decide to hold a vote of no confidence, they would not realistically want to take a “See you again in another seven days” attitude, so I expect that the vote has already been called – it only takes a proposer and seconder, and we know that at least two NEC members have published their disapproval on Facebook.

Given the expense and inconvenience of calling such a meeting, and the state of our funds, it’s reasonable to conclude that there is, following Monday’s regular meeting, an expectation that such a vote is likely to proceed – otherwise they could have issued a statement to the effect that discipline processes (bringing the party into disrepute?) were wending their tortuous way, and would report to the next regular NEC meeting (first week of February).

It is, of course, by no means certain that the motion will pass. Henry might give a brilliant oration, convincing key players. Unexpected travel problems might render the meeting inquorate – and Monday’s attendees might have caught the treasurer’s Aussie flu, which laid him low for three miserable weeks! If however, a quorate NEC votes against Henry, and assuming he declines to fall on his sword (remember Nigel is backing him, on the “any publicity” principle, and he himself has, erm, previous in the area of mistresses), then the next step is an EGM:

“6.23.4 In the event of a motion of no confidence in the Party Leader being passed by the NEC, the Party Secretary shall call an EGM of members of the Party, such EGM to be held within 28 days of the passing of the motion. The NEC may from time to time make Rules as to the conduct of such an EGM. The EGM shall have as its only business a motion to endorse or to reject the vote of no confidence in the Leader by the NEC.”

Ten days from last Monday is Thursday 18th, which means that any EGM would need to be held by Thursday 15th February at the latest. You don’t want the sight of voters being turned away at the door, so you need a large venue coupled with maximum opportunity for attendance – the ideal might be Saturday 10th Feb at Methodist Central Hall, or similar – if someone could be found to sub the expensive hall-hire costs.

We all know what will be discussed, but, sorry, EGM fans from last year – nothing else makes the agenda. And there can only be one of two outcomes:

Either we get another leadership election, or we get an election for the whole NEC.  (3 4-year terms, 3 2-year terms, and 3 1-year terms, ranked on most votes). The existing NEC would stay in office under the ballot was over.

For a leadership election in those circumstances, the following points should be noted:

  • The Interim leader should not be a candidate themselves.
  • Whoever stands will need to ideally be self-financing, (and not relying on the missus, or generous donors!)
  • Nothing stops Henry (apart from deposit?) from standing again.
  • If Henry stands and wins, the NEC (see above) are all up for election.
  • The election must be held within 90 days, max, but there is nothing to stop the NEC from attempting to hold it in under 28 days, so 4.1.2 would apply, and entryists following the EGM would be legally disenfranchised. (Otherwise a load of mischief makers could join in order to re-elect Henry!)
  • Nigel might decide he “needs to return to SAVE BREXIT and UKIP!” and other candidates might thus be “invited” to step-aside, in which case there would be no need for an election and a considerable cost saving.

Whichever way this pans out, I can confidently predict the following:

  • Our enemies will have a heyday.
  • There will be calls for urgent constitutional and rulebook reform.
  • The relationship difficulties between NEC and leader (both are validly elected by the membership) will continue.

So, who wins: NEC, leader, or baying social media? Place your bets…

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48 Comments on Reading the Tea Leaves

  1. Oh and by the way I can`t stand that “Yorkshire” hat he ponces down the street in.
    Part of the “Pied Piper outfit” he used to wear Green Jacket and yellow trousers – that little game ended in a mess if I remember correctly!
    Yorkshire?
    t`wat (Rhyming slang for hat)

  2. Nigel calling for another referendum!
    Over the other side of the pond they would be calling him nuts and for sending him off to the funny farm.
    Here we should recognise it for what it really is
    a mid-life crisis.
    Personally I don`t share his optimism that LEAVE would win it hands down if it was just a re-run of the first one.
    However I don`t like the scenario in which the present “deal” appears to be heading i.e that we will leave in name only but end up subscribing without having a vote on anything and the ECJ still in charge and we are even more enslaved to the EU forever.
    I equally don`t like the idea of Parliament having “a meaningful vote” on the outcome, particularly if they had a chance to vote to accept the prospect which I have outlined above.
    Then, in that event perhaps it should be put to the public. After all there is precedence Camoron negotiated a duff deal and was left with no option but to put it to the people.
    In the present case the people (us grass roots) who voted for a simple all embracing no penalty divorce and have the right (rather than parliament) to the final word, I am sure would unhesitatingly vote for simplicity and opt for No Deal and make do with the WTO option.
    Oh! that would be a referendum wouldn`t it? I`m now beyond mid life, so it must be a premature visit to the nut house.

    • He always was a mixed blessing.
      He already has his place in history in getting and winning the Referendum. On the form of EU re-runs this is a highly irresponsible thing to have gone and said.

      • Quercus – you are right, he was always a mixed blessing. He got the referendum on the table and we won it. Thank-you a thousand times Nigel. But I don’t know what possessed the man to make the suggestion of a second referendum. And how about a third referendum? And a fourth possibly?
        Thank you hugely again Nigel for leading UKIP, but it really is time to ride off into the sunset now is this is your idea of being helpful.

      • Well said Q and good to see you back.

    • I think even though I am no longer a member I am entitled to comment about the fact that Nigel has effectively pulled the rug out from under Brexit in a way no-one else could have done.
      Not because there will be a second referendum, though there may be – but because the Remainers now need no further ammunition – and he will have sown the seeds of doubt amongst ordinary folk who believed in him and believed in Britain, as well as provided sufficient ammunition for Gina Miller on Question Time tonight (I won’t be watching).

      What happened to the tub-thumping speeches about ‘they believe Britain isn’t good enough’ and all the rest. Why hasn’t he been going round the country for the last year making rousing speeches in Leave voting areas? Why hasn’t he led a march on Downing Street, having gone round and gathered support. It wasn’t even difficult, the Leave voting areas are known to all.

      And where are the trusty Lieutenants that were elected, let’s not forget, to serve UKIP in Brussels? Wolfe, Gill, Diane Evans, all remarkable for their inaction, but still taking the UKIP shilling if not wearing the UKIP badge?

      Many loyal UKIPpers (not me, I lost faith in Nigel a long time ago) have been kept dangling with a will he won’t he Faragian promise to return – many of you must have believed that his endorsements of past leaders meant they would be the answer to your prayers. Meanwhile the man himself has been basking in reflected glory which he was, but imo is now no longer entitled to.

      Gerard Batten has been consistently on the outside of the Nigel clique. Ask yourselves why. And ask yourselves why such a talented man wasn’t made use of by the Interim Leader who some of you want to see return. Gerard speaks ably on RT and Jon Gaunt – has he been the face of UKIP? No.

      Anyway, I have had my rant, if the E-in-C allows it, so I will end by saying that if the concerted demonization of Anne Marie and her supporters by Nigel and his acolytes hadn’t been enough to get me to cut up my membership card – if I were fit enough I would go to LBC studios today and insert it in the place best suited and where it belongs.

      • You haven’t changed Dee. Thank goodness!!!

      • An interesting article here, particularly the bit about “Nigel Farage leader of UKIP and Nick Griffin of the BNP both work for the EU. ”

        eutruth.org.uk/eucontrolstructure

        I wonder? Things are often not what they seem when taken at face value.

      • Yes, Dee, you are entitled to have your rant even if no longer a member. I resigned my own membership a few days ago.

        There will be many people out there, not members but certainly UKIP voters, who will also feel badly let down by Nigel’s recent statement. Those voters might well be glad of a place to state their feelings – if only they were aware that this site existed. Many people felt badly let down by Bolton – now this!

        I have, for some time now, wondered if Nigel just wanted to prove a point about a referendum. Why else would he step down, without any prior warning, the day the referendum results were known? He threw the party into turmoil as it was left floundering, not having been allowed sufficient time to put a contingency plan into place.

        Notwithstanding all that has taken place in the intervening time, Nigel’s latest statement really could be the final death throes for a party that was built on a campaign to leave the EU. It’s almost as though he’s saying “Well, I don’t really want UKIP anymore but I don’t want anyone else to have it”.

        I have never been, nor ever will be, a supporter of AMW but it seems to me that, if she was prepared to focus on Brexit as a priority, she could well pick up some new people by default.

        Kind regards.

        • Hullo Brenda, thank you.
          What annoys me more than anything is the picture in my mind of Nigel leading a fishing flotilla up the Thames. Those people really believed in him. He gave them hope.
          A decent man would have gritted his teeth and continued to carry the standard – he obviously hadn’t lost his voice or his energy, he went whizzing off to the US of A (where they love him) and I really thought, because to be fair he may have helped Trump win, that he would then come home and, having seen the Remainers getting organized, would rally the troops and shoot the traitors down in flames.
          UKIP was in chaos, there was nothing for Leave to hold on to.
          He didn’t, and I will never forgive him. He must have known Nuttall, he worked with him for long enough.
          Nigel is a plaster saint – he has shattered the hopes of the country – but that began long ago.
          I am sorry you have left UKIP, and I wish you could join For Britain. We all want the same things, that’s the tragedy, another organized by Nigel – creating division where there should have been none.
          Anyway, onward and upward, very best wishes to you.

          • Something else that looks a wee bit suspicious and may bear out my feeling that NF doesn’t want someone else to make a success of UKIP.

            The article Gerard Batten put up yesterday resulted in many calls for him to lead the party and shows how popular he is. Indeed, had I read an article like that a few days ago I might still be a member. Funny how Nigel’s statement came soon after Gerard’s article.

            In get more suspicious with each day that passes.

            Regards

    • I have, for some time, been having unfortunate suspicions about Nigel Farage. This simply compounds them. I no longer trust him.

    • Another referendum – Another nightmare

      they would never agree on the wording,
      it would end up a multiple choice.
      Before the EU referendum the stay-remain forces based their counter arguments on the UK completely leaving the single market, the customs union the whole thing.
      They often said of the Brexiteers that UKIP and Leave were anti Europe and the UK was in danger of turning its back on Europe.

      It was only when the referendum was won by Leave that the Remainers began to say noone knew what they were voting for and that people hadn’t voted Leave on the basis of exiting the single market and customs union.
      The Conservatives seem hell bent on never ending “partnership” with the EU.

      So what would a second referendum be about ?
      Leave the EU BUT Staying in the single market ?
      Continued freedom of movement and all the other devices to remain.

      It would be the Theresa May Government in hand with the EU making up the wording of any second referendum and it would never be:

      Leave the EU. Leave the single market Leave the customs union. Enter immediately WTO.
      No foreign courts ruling over the UK.
      Do not pay between 40 to 100 billion on the divorce
      Regain all the fishing and territorial waters.
      The armed forces and defence to be UK only
      Strict border controls.
      Leave would be binding on Scotland and NI and none of that regulatory alignment fudge.

      It would be left open-ended so the fudging Westminster Europhile MPs and House of Lords could get whatever they wanted even if they lost the second referendum, why does Nigel Farage think he would ever win a second referendum ?

    • This block belongs in a separate article, surely, EDs?

    • This block belons in a second article, surely, EDs?

    • My head is spinning with all this. Can it be a coincidence that he does this just after the no-confidence motion is proposed? Could it be that he already had this idea in his mind and grabbed the chance now to return as leader and save UKIP? Although everyone is exhausted, surely another referendum is something that would bring the party together again. Who knows, I can’t understand. Every newspaper is leading with this, the remoaners will have a field day…. why?

  3. WE could call it UKIP.DISORG

    • “The headline number for new top level domains is $185,000, the price of submitting an application. But domain registries also pay ongoing fees to ICANN each quarter. Amazingly, what exactly those fees are is up for debate. and December 31) of the year to an account designated by ICANN.Jul 24, 2012”

      If someone buys .disorg and starts a business selling the 2nd level domains, that could be a nice little earner! Brexit.disorg anyone? 😂

  4. Our pettifogging rulebook is useless, the rule on interim leaders not being able to stand particularly risible.

    The NEC should launch a coup on behalf of the membership, appoint a leader who in their opinion is likely to command most support and who’ll take it on (preferably Gerard but anybody but Crowther).
    And then re-constitute itself on a regional basis, with the old unique logo restored, leadership election and new constitution vote in due course if there’s still a membership left.

    Forget the MSM’s field day. They’re having that every day anyway.

    • It’s not the rule book, it’s legal advice on ethics and best practise, as the interim leader would have a much higher profile than the other candidates.

      • And I used the term “should not”, rather than “must not”…

      • Best practice Rob?! I’m not aware other parties burden themselves with this nicety, or at least they’re not so stupid to get themselves in our position.

        Don’t call him/her ‘interim leader’ then, just ‘leader’. We should be holding leadership elections every one or two years anyway (simple return to HO, none of that EC malarkey till we’re much bigger.)

        • I use the term “interim leader”, because that’s what the constitution says:

          7.11 Where a vacancy in the Party Leadership occurs unexpectedly, the NEC shall within fourteen days appoint an Interim Leader to lead the Party until a Leadership election takes place. Such Interim Leader shall have all the powers of the Party Leader under this Constitution as if he had been elected to that post.

          And it also defines the four years:

          7.4 The Leader’s term of office shall run for four years. This term may be extended for such time as may be deemed necessary upon the NEC passing a motion by a two-thirds majority to enable the Leader to stay in post in order to fight an imminent General Election or European Election, but in such event the period of extension shall be for no more than one year. The Party

          • What matters here is getting the best person into the job tootsweet – and common sense says ditch the ban on standing.
            The legalistic approach will very likely just lead to another sub-optimal outcome. In this crisis, profile or lack of it is hardly the biggest consideration.

          • I have no objection to an interim leader standing for election – provided we could be sure that the other candidates, or their supporters, would not be able to legally challenge it – we can’t afford that sort of thing…

          • Rob our country is in a mess and getting into a bigger mess every day. UKIP is a state of complete disorganisation and failure. If there ever was a time to say stuff the rule book, immediate action needs taking to save the party, so that voters have a true protest vote available in May, that time is now.

  5. Erratum – I was essaying after a long day – “four three year terms, four two year terms, and four one year terms” if the nec is up for election.

    I too, despair about the accuracy of the nec pages online, but there are higher priorities for now.

    I, or a colleague, will write more on ukip.org later in Q1.

    As regarding votes, there are 12 elected members, two elected rep votes, leader, and chairman’s casting vote.

    • I’m curious about these higher priorities, because as the head of the ‘Technical Committee’ you first acknowledged this problem about 2 months ago, since then you have spent a lot of time on this website, but nothing done about getting a very basic point correct. Surely if you took a break from this site for a day then you could solve this. Don’t worry, while you aren’t here I’m sure John B will cover for you 😉

      • I’m no longer head since I came off the NEC, and someone else is working on it. Expected an update on ukip.org soon, but, in the meantime, updating the nec page isn’t for me urgent – perhaps if the missing NEC members themselves did some lobbying on their own behalf then matters might improve? 😛

      • It’s on the list if things that our IT bod Chris Mendes (Ukip member) is doing for us. He’s doing it gratis so we have to be grateful & accept that he can only give us the time he is able to.

  6. The above does not seem to take into account the most likely course of events, which is that Henry wins the no-confidence motion and continues. As I pointed out yesterday, the NEC numbers seem to be in his favour. Although the correct composition of the NEC is not published anywhere, only two wrong versions (both wrong in different ways mind you) are published, but if you assume it is made up of 14 people, then he only needs the support of 5. Obviously Oakden is in the bag (and has the casting vote, how ironic that would be), Crowther and Bown too, so he only needs to convince 2 of the remaining 10 members. They are pretty good odds. The male-female breakdown will also be interesting.

    If he wins, then there is really nothing that members who object to him can do other than leave the party. Rob will confirm, but I am pretty sure there is no other course of action. So its a good time to set up an alternative fur UKIP, or a 5-star UKIP, or anything else, as suddenly a lot of people are going to be looking for a new home. I wonder if Banks has noticed this yet…..

    • I think it unlikely a no-confidence motion would be called unless the propsers were reasonably certain of success…

    • There are fifteen votes on the NEC: your 12 elected reps, the leader, the Welsh AM rep & the MEP rep. The chairman has a casting vote which if there is a full turn will be irrelevant.

  7. They ( the NEC ) would have to be BRAIN DEAD to positively vote for HB to continue.
    ( But has anyone actually proposed a Motion of No Confidence ? I feel sure it would have leaked if anyone had. )
    They may not deign to write in these pages ( barring few honourable exceptions ) but surely they read what loyal, long suffering UKIPpers are posting here ?
    As at this writing I have not noticed a single opinion favouring HB’s remaining in post.

    There must have been a few which I have missed, but such a vanishingly small number as to be neither here nor there : there is just no support for HB remaining.

    His departure (asap) means UKIP has problems; his remaining means UKIP disintegrates completely.

    This is a crisis, sure, but crises exist to be taken advantage of !
    We had a Leader who was totally hopeless and had no idea whatsoever what to do with the Leadership ( hence all the managerial flim~flammery and fiddle faddling about whilst remaining utterly invisible to the wider public and propounding [ when asked ] policies about mass uncontrolled immigration which differ not a sliver from Mrs May’s.)
    The next Leader will turn all that around : I can just feel the party and the country are ready for the change.
    🙂

    • Brain dead or shallow enough to let hostile media grubbing around in one’s private life and spinning it for the worst, claim another victim?

    • Well, they may not be “brain dead”, but we know (thanks again, Nigel 😡) that they’re “total amateurs”, so anything could happen!

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