It’s that time again. The time when our revolving executive seeks new blood, or perhaps continues with the existing haemoglobin but, the whole process seems to be inadequate and out of touch with a modern party. Oddly and despite the importance of such elections the rules are both out of date and contradictory which reinforces a common perception of organisational incompetence even when undertaking quite simple tasks.

Once upon a time the UKIP executive consisted of party founders and committed people, in essence those of like mind getting together to do the things that needed to be done to create and build a new political party. Clearly, not all remained chums as evidenced by multiple departures since then but the processes used in the past that may well have been suitable for a party with 20 or 200 members doesn’t fit that well with a major UK party polling 4 million votes in a general election and with a wider, much larger, spectrum of membership. I would give you the current number but our headline website doesn’t provide that information, just one of the fundamental tools, (the website) that drastically needs to be improved.

Some tasks undertaken by the party are done well, the European Elections being one example but, too many things that are generally well understood in the real world aren’t done at all well in UKIP and it’s disappointing that a this very significant election process is open to criticism because nobody has bothered to update the rules document and remove inconsistencies.

Just to emphasise the point the rules of this election are riddled with out of date and contradictory statements as well as omissions. Even the procedure isn’t clear as the August 2015 edition of the Independence magazine confirms that the closing date for nominations is 1st September 2015 whereas the invitation for candidates on the MyUkip website http://www.myukip.com/national-executive-committee.html has this date as 14th September 2015. Questions might be; was the 1st September originally correct and if so why was it changed, by what mechanism was that authorised and notified to the membership or is it simply another case of the left hand operating in isolation?

Here are a couple of additional examples:

P.4.5 No candidate or supporter shall make unsolicited contact with members by any means whatsoever. This shall include, but not be limited to, contact by telephone, post, email, SMS and online messaging.

How one is supposed to seek a proposer, second and eight assenters is quite mysterious if one can’t talk to any members and is more in keeping with a tiny party with just mates running it?

P.4.7 Candidates may post a single thread on the members’ forum advocating their candidacy.

Well, at least one can publicly declare and add a few more details, actually no, hang on, there is no members forum as it was folded some time ago to prevent offensive comment that was posted from time to time. I’ve no issue in moderating public expression that can be damaging but I am mystified and truly despair as to why this paragraph appears in what is supposed to be a current document.

To rub it in the rules then go on to specify the size of banners, headlines and other material that can be posted on this non-existent medium.

[envoke_twitter_link]You may know the feeling, head in hands, how can we be so unprofessional?[/envoke_twitter_link]

However, making an assumption that some non specific public utterance is in order and the fact that The Daily remains the sole platform for independent expression, I now declare my candidacy for one of these vacant Executive positions (which has been submitted) but, if you want to know more about me such as why I want to do it, what I want to achieve and why I think I have the ability to make a difference then you are just going to have to ask me directly as I cannot talk to you without an invitation. You can, however follow me on Twitter @djaukip.

If one looks back at previous elections of this type, the rather closed nature of the process and all of the prohibitions surrounding it, one may conclude that they are designed to keep the same names in the same seats when we might well benefit from new faces. If earlier elections are any guide the next issue of the Independence magazine will carry brief details of each candidate plus a tiny photograph and a 150 word personal statement. Last time it included 29 candidates for 4 positions but, this time it could be 60 or even 100 candidates for 6 positions which rather makes this more akin to a lottery though, in this case, known names and perhaps faces may hold an advantage.

If the numbers that voted last time are any guide most members won’t bother and an additional complication might well arise from such an increase in numbers. The October 2014 Independence magazine took 7 (and a bit) pages to present the candidates. By that measure 100 candidates will need 25 pages which apart from adding substantially to the postage costs it may also bore the pants of the ordinary member. At least my surname begins with A and we all know the importance of position in listings.

Our process is rather like the periodical communications from the National Trust or the Consumers Association when one is asked to vote for people one has never heard of and for undefined positions. Perhaps in the future this process will be reviewed, as the Executive Committee should have a material role in the development of the party, so its membership should be important enough to have an open and less restricted election which, in turn, should provide sufficient information about the candidates to facilitate an informed choice.

Personally, I’ve no idea what individual Executive Members have done over the last year as I’ve never received a communication from any of them explaining why they should be re-elected. Actual performance is perhaps a better guide than good intentions so who did what? We’ll not know that this time round but in the future, who knows?

Photo by DonkeyHotey