In five days we members will cast our votes at the EGM. If you haven’t done so – there is still time to register. Complacency and thinking that other members will do ‘the right thing’ may mean that the vote endorsing the NEC could be lost by default.

We’ve heard rumours from across the country that supporters of Bolton have organised coaches to have as many of his supporters at the EGM as possible. The ancient Romans used to say: “quod licet Jovi non licet bovi”, meaning ‘what is permitted to Jupiter ain’t permitted to the cattle’. Since we’re not cattle (even if  certain former and current leaders would like to have it thus) and since Mr Bolton is not Jupiter, let’s say that, if ‘Jupiter’ thinks he can do so – so can we. But – how?

Well – most importantly: you have to register! The lovely ladies at Lexdrum House tell me that they would be more than happy to register you if you call them at 0333-800-6800. If you’re not registered you won’t be allowed in – and don’t forget to bring your membership card with you. You must have been a ‘paid-up’ member on Jan 20th to register, but if you’re still in the three-months grace period in which to renew your lapsed membership, you must have done so before midday on Friday Feb 16th, and it must have been processed by Head Office by that deadline. So – get your skates on!

A member made the following suggestions about how to organise the attendance of us,  the grassroots, in a phone call to me:

“Ask your branch members personally (your Branch secretary will have their names etc) if they are 100% attending EGM and if not – would they like to do so? Unless your branch chair has already organised the trip to Birmingham, perhaps you might find out if a car pool could be organised so that members who would like to go but have difficulties with transport can do so. It’s obviously important to message people on social media, email, phone and even visit people to get their opinions and not miss anyone out that you know of – even if they are blatantly obvious!  And obviously find out if they are willing/able to give lifts to other members to the EGM.”

So: get registered, get your members to register by calling Lexdrum House, get organised with your colleagues to go Birmingham – and don’t forget to bring your membership card!

Once we’re there, this is how things will unfold, as Adam Richardson, Party Secretary, described it in his snail-mail letter (dated January 30th) to members:

“The Party Chairman is required to chair the EGM. The EGM shall have as its only business a motion to endorse or reject the vote of no confidence by the NEC. Once the EGM has started, a representative of the NEC will outline the decision they have made. Henry Bolton will then put his case as to why he should remain as leader. Other speakers may be invited to speak but both sides of the debate shall have equal speaking time. The Party Chairman will call for a vote and those present will vote on whether to endorse or reject the VONC in the leader.”

In his recent messages to members Paul Oakden (still only Interim Chair, not ‘Interim Leader’!) informed us that, due to the expected number of members registered to attend a simple show of hands for and against would not be feasible. Thus ballot papers will be issued. The ballots will be counted in public, for all to see, on the conference platform.

I would suggest that the ballot boxes ought to be shown to be empty before they are locked and members put their ballot papers inside – unless, of course, they are transparent ballot boxes as used in many official elections on the continent, but then I’m a bit suspicious …

Further to the EGM Paul Oakden sent out another message last evening, the important part is quoted below – just in case you havn’t received it:

“They [the members] will register their decision by way of a ballot that will take place immediately after hearing arguments from both Henry and a representative of the NEC. To ensure the smooth running of the meeting there will be no interventions permitted from the floor during the meeting. However, I am keen that our grassroots membership have their opportunity to participate in the debate, to give their view on the current situation. 

With that in mind, I am inviting members of the party to submit in advance a request to speak either for or against the motion. As part of the format, I have included six, two minute speeches (three from those who support the motion and three from those who oppose it).

If you are interested in giving one of these two minute speeches, you will need to follow this link and complete the simple form to register your interest:—speakers.html

Applications will be accepted until 12noon on Thursday 15th February 2018. Please make sure that when applying, you supply an email address that you will have access to on the Thursday afternoon. At that point, you will be written to with further information on how speakers will be selected on the day.”

I do hope you take this opportunity to make your voice heard! It is of course a lottery as to which speeches will be selected, but: nothing ventured – nothing gained.

And finally: what happens after the votes have been counted?

Should the majority vote to oppose the NEC then Bolton remains as leader, the whole NEC will have to resign and there will be elections for a new NEC.  Should the majority vote to endorse the NEC, Bolton will have to go as leader – but:  will he, or will he cling on? We’ll know in five days …


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