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Henry Bolton on Manoeuvres – Frimley 27 January

If a week is a long time in politics, then the last three months is an aeon. Back in October, with a brand new leader, the Surrey Committee (Surrey’s branch chairmen) invited Henry Bolton to Surrey, to meet members and talk about his vision for the party. An informal and friendly meeting, no need for a PA system or video record. Then the storm broke, the clouds opened, rain poured through the leaking roof.

With the NEC no confidence vote on January 21st the meeting’s fate hung in the balance. Cancel and lose the deposit? A replacement speaker if Henry resigns? (worth mentioning here is that, by popular request, we asked Gerard Batten, who would have stepped in if required, had he not been celebrating his 30th wedding anniversary). The event was held after our morning committee meeting, during which Surrey branch chairmen reported their feedback over the leadership crisis. Only one branch, which does not have local elections this May, was broadly supportive of the current leader remaining, although other chairmen were aware of a few members with similar views. Chairman after chairman spoke of the difficulty recruiting candidates if the leader remains and the increasing derision they faced from the general public.

We had opened the meeting to all members, Henry’s Kent supporters were campaigning in the bar before the meeting started and he brought someone to video the event. Two NEC members were present. Henry is apparently on a 2 week tour. For those who have the roadshow coming down their way, here’s what you can expect and what to watch out for.

Henry is both on the attack and taking a defensive stand, he’s upped his game and much of it is good, whether you support him or not you will applaud – and why not. Members who have not made up their mind may be swayed, as may those ordinary folk, appalled at recent events, who do not know what to watch for. Supporters will be bolstered, unless some very calm and intelligent questions expose weakness. Direct attack will reinforce his support – he is a military man, like it or not he is trained in strategy, skilled chess players are what’s needed, not pit bulls.

For an idea of the end result, Luke Nash-Jones of MBGA conducted interviews with some of the 60-70 members present published here

Henry vs the NEC

Under the current constitution the NEC members must stand down if the members at the EGM do not support their unanimous vote of no confidence. This has allowed Henry (and Nigel and Diane James) to turn the EGM into Leader vs the NEC.

Only days before January 21st  it was by no means likely that the NEC response to the motion “The NEC have confidence in Henry Bolton as leader” would be a majority for no, let alone unanimous. This was in direct response to members’ requests.

Steve Crowther has published an Open Letter on the NEC position.

If you do invite a NEC member ensure they can respond to Henry’s accusations but avoid attack tactics. At Frimley the NEC’s ‘still, small voice of calm’ quietly and efficiently refuted claims made against them over the Jane Collins libel case, money paid to Henry and their relationship with him. Unfortunately, with no microphone, many of those present didn’t fully hear what was said.

The Unanswered Questions

Several members, including despairing branch chairmen and Luke Nash-Jones, asked how, if he continued as leader, Henry would restore our appeal to voters who valued family life, or for whom we were now risible. Listening to an audio transcript confirmed my impression that not once did he offer any ideas, if he understood the question – merely waffling about his ‘regrettable private life’ until he finally snapped (or delivered a deliberately aggressive response) at Luke Nash-Jones (described here). Others may like to explore this further.

In his opening address Henry persistently claimed he had to do everything himself. Yes, most know the administration was a shambles but the tasks he mentioned are the chairman’s job. So why didn’t he instruct the chairman, concentrating on providing the leadership and vision the party and a number of questioners cried out for?

One member asked Henry baldly if he was a plant, which he denied (well, he would wouldn’t he!), however, on the day the Mail published claims of a Banks/Farage plot to destroy UKIP, when accused of attracting no new funding, he claimed Arron Banks was waiting in the wings.

No one asked why he missed out a marriage, they did ask about his military CV – anomalies which Michael Crick subsequently revealed.

I will write elsewhere of the myths around ‘reform’ but recommend, before condemning the NEC, all readers watch Gerard Batten’s video (e.g. here).

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About Helena Windsor (5 Articles)
Helena Windsor is the Chairman of UKIP Surrey

32 Comments on Henry Bolton on Manoeuvres – Frimley 27 January

  1. ) The second day of our AGM in Birmingham was converted (by a show of hands) to an EGM, and, with Nigel chairing, a vote of confidence was passed in Michael and no confidence in the NEC. A core problem was that the NEC had lost track of whose terms of office had expired, so they were technically and incurably inquorate. This was our first EGM to be named as such, but the NEC argued it was illegitimate because insufficient notice had been given.

  2. “skilled chess players are what’s needed, not pit bulls.”

    These sets are not disjoint.

  3. I may have said this before; I think it bears repeating. HB seems to have been a Government employee for a considerable time. I’ve not closely studied his CV but don’t recall having read of any private sector employment. I have heard though that he’s potless – but wouldn’t that length of service have attracted a pension and a fairly handsome one at that? Or does that go to subsidise his other families? Perhaps it was the potential earning power of his new ‘model’ paramour that was the attraction? “So Debbie McGee, what was it that first attracted you to the millionaire magician Paul Daniels?”

  4. Calling all Branch Chairmen.

    Did this ever happen?


    ////I want to allocate 15% of all membership subscription renewal fees to the branches, so as to provide branches with a fighting fund and motive for maintaining the branch/member relationship.////

  5. Does the man not understand. Or is he really fighting back? The simple answer may, just possibly be “The latter”. However, There’s nothing new, there is self justification, there is repetition of platitudes, there is no sign of understanding, regret, or explanation for his lack of leadership, and by far the most important, What has he achieved for UKIP

    I BET , he’s gathering all the “evidence”, Packing the EGM with bone-headed supporters. I wonder if he can find 125. I never thought you’ld hear me say this about a committee ( the NEC ). I’m truly sorry for the members of the NEC.

  6. Henry’s personal life is his own affair, however the media now will use it every time and I cannot see how he can attract any new members or retain a satisfactory status for UKIP. I do get the impression that his personnel life was put before the Party and at this important time in UKIP’s history he knew how important it was to have no history that could be used by the press to discredit UKIP which it has clearly done. We cannot afford to give him a 2nd chance.

    • In the chaos of GE2017, coming as it did less than two months after Stoke, many national structures simply weren’t up to scratch. In London, I arranged/offered several training days to inexperienced, curious or nervous prospective parliamentary candidates.

      One humorous section of this was the doorstep or heckled hustings presentation. We’d role-play these, each way around, to familiarise PPCs with pitfalls and opportunities.

      Just imagine what our PPCs could face now:

      “Good morning, ma’am. I’m from UKIP. You may know there’s an election coming soon – may we count on your support?”

      “What, another quick leg-over ??”

      (Door slams)

  7. Troubled Matravers // February 5, 2018 at 6:04 pm // Reply

    “Yes, most know the administration was a shambles but the tasks he mentioned are the chairman’s job. So why didn’t he instruct the chairman, concentrating on providing the leadership and vision the party and a number of questioners cried out for?”

    Which begs the question, why didn’t he immediately or nearly immediately fire the unfit-for-purpose Chairman Biggles?

  8. Does anyone really believe that having Jo Marney as UKIP’s ‘First Lady’ will appeal to voters?

    • Sean,

      Why not? she is pure class.

    • I think Jeremy Corbyn married someone from South America ? Coffee plantation or something.

      This is purely from memory, I have not looked it up.
      The point I am making is that it is not uppermost in people’s minds.

      I remember Dennis, Cherie, Sam, I cannot even name Theresa’s hubby, Nick Clegg has a barrister or something wife who is quite formidable. Her name is Spanish sounding.

      Mrs Brown, no idea.
      Is Vince Cable now in charge of the Lib-Dems ?
      The Green leader, or are there two of them ? no idea on their partners or even their names. Have forgotten them.

      • Chris,

        Are you losing your memory?

        • very drole droll DD !!

          I warrant were you to go with Luke Nash-Jones + camera + working microphone down any high street and ask the public the names of the wives-partners-co-habitees of leading politicians they would know some, but not all. I have a vague interest in the subject matter, I wonder what your average shopper knows remembers.

          • Chris,

            I would imagine that many members of the public would not recognise half of the people you have mentioned, especially young people, let alone their other halves.

            But I would have thought that when you take more interest as we do, you would know some of their partners as they like to push themselves forward. However, I have no idea what Mrs. Cable looks like except she must be quite old like him unless that is he has acquired a younger model.

          • I never even thought to think of Vince Cable’s partner. I guess it is the media which decides how much focus is given to the partner situation and the media is not generally UKIP friendly.

            However it would be wrong to allow the media to influence selection of UKIP leaders. I am now arguing against myself, as I think it would be best for UKIP for HB to step down, but not because of his personal life.

            In terms of my memory DD it took me ages to find this space to reply to your comment !

  9. Henry may have been trained in strategy and tactics but he clearly has no idea how to use it in politics.

    48 hours after saying he’d broken up with Jo Marney he’s seen with her at dinner. Brilliant own goal Mr Bolton. Even if you take his comment at face value that he was supporting her, what was wrong with the common sense approach of quietly phoning or Skyping her? Instead he went for a tete-a-tete in public. Great strategic choice Henry, the press love political naivete offering them an open net.

    That was bad enough, but then the ‘non-couple’ couple were caught again the same evening going back to his place. 2-0 to the opposition who inevitably drew their own conclusions – as did most of the public. Not looking too clever on the strategic front is it Henry? Back to the wall, he claimed she was just collecting her things. Of course she was, but Henry, didn’t she have a friend who could do that? How did you think it would look?

    Even if you forget the moral background issues of Bolton dumping his past families; even if you choose to overlook the embarrassing ‘mistakes’ on the CV; my charge against Henry is that he simply hasn’t a political clue about displaying appropriate behaviour becoming of a leader. We simply cannot afford a man of such ridiculous naivete to continue as party leader.

    If Henry wins on February 17th, it must be painfully obvious, even to his supporters, that his limitations mean it will only be a matter of time before he trips over his laces, runs into the next goalpost and further injures the whole party, probably fatally.

    For the sake of UKIP even those who like him surely see that Henry must go.

    • If this man, who makes a virtue of blaming everyone else for his own idiocy, wins on the 17th, the only sounds will be feet running for the doors–members, patrons, officers–and collapsing branches. And he will be leading a party of self propelled woodentops into oblivion.


      //// I have negotiated regional security agreements with governments in Central Asia, the Balkans, the US, Russia and Europe and have 14 countries to reform their institutions///

      /// …was Chief Planner for the response to the crises in Ukraine and Libya ////

      Q. What, exactly, does this utter guff mean?

      • Bav,

        Well due to Henry it all worked out well in the Ukraine and Libya did’nt it? So we should feel very reassured.

        • He does talk utter bo***ocks doesn’t he Ducky ! What amazes me is that anyone is fooled by this. Is he SERIOUSLY telling us he planned the British Governments response to the Libyan crisis. He hasn’t got a fecking ‘O’ Level. !!!

          • Mr.Bav,

            He is a proper Walter Mitty character and they all fell for it, imagine how it makes our party look that we never properly vet these imposters, instead we just take Nigel’s word for it.

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