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Henry Bolton’s proposed Constitutional ‘reform’

Steve Crowther writes on behalf of the NEC

On February 13th 2018, the Leader has published an attractively-presented new Draft Constitution, which has been sent out to all members for whom the party has email addresses. I should point out that this draft and ‘consultation’ has not been discussed with or presented to the NEC, so is an informal process at best.

No doubt there will be an opportunity for members not on email/Internet to examine it shortly, in hard copy, and Henry will let us know how to respond to his three-week ‘consultation’, and to whom. Obviously, no consultation can be valid if a quarter to a third of members have no access to it.

I have had a chance to look through the new Draft Constitution and, as someone who was elected to represent the members’ interests on the NEC (with almost as many votes as Henry got, in a field of 91 candidates, rather than seven), I find the tone of this proposed ‘reform’ quite chilling.

More power for Leader, less for members

As expected, it seeks to remove power from the NEC and give full control of the party to Mr Bolton and a Board of his appointees.

This has been espoused by Nigel in recent years; though his other idea, for a ‘5-Star style’ party in which the members drive policy through direct democracy, is notably absent. I was never sure how these two ideas – the concentration of power away from members and into the hands of the Leader, and the provision of greater member democracy – could be made compatible; and of course, they can’t.

No longer a libertarian party

The first thing that strikes one on reading the draft is that the word ‘libertarian’ has been removed from the party’s definition of itself. Some members may like that; many, I imagine, will be appalled.

Of particular interest is the new para 4.1, which places the Leader, rather than the NEC, in full charge of the organisation of the party and its structures.

In the current draft, Mr Bolton provides himself with a new personal power or veto in paragraphs 4.2, 7.3, 7.4, 9.1, 10.1, 10.5, 11.1, 11.2, 13.2, 13.3, 14.4, 14.6, 16.1, 17.4, 23.11, 28.2, 29.1, 32.1, 34.1, 36.2, 36.7. 36.8, 39.1, 39.2, 43.2, 51.1. (I may have missed one or two, but you get the idea.)

Massive new powers for the Leader

This wholesale power-shift provides the Leader with personal control over who can be a member, the level of subscription, organising the party structure, organising special conferences and EGMs, how much to charge branches for EGMs, appointment of party officers, appointment of ‘interim NEC members’, appointments of the Party Treasurer, Party Secretary, General Secretary, Deputy General Secretary, National Nominating Officer, Deputy Leader (who will automatically become Leader if he is unavailable), sub-committees acting with the delegated authority of the Leader, plus removal of party officers, all aspects of policy and political organisation, appointment of the Party Cabinet, and the power to make any appointment he sees fit (including his new Chief of Staff).

Clamping down on dissent

More concerning, however, is 10.3, in which a new disciplinary offence is created: Activity ‘liable to undermine the cohesion and unity of the Party’. This Stalinist measure will allow the Party Leader to exercise an iron discipline over anyone who dissents; and since dissent is the Ukipper’s raison d’etre – and is surely the point of any political party – I am not sure that is entirely healthy.

Under 13.2, no longer will Party Conference motions be considered by the NEC, but by the Leader-appointed Board.

Under 16.1, the same Leader and Board will be making the Rules, rather than the NEC.

In 46.1, we see that a new Disciplinary Committee is set up (presumably to hear all the cases of Ukippers ‘liable to undermine the cohesion and unity of the party’), comprising two Leader appointees, a member of paid staff (appointed by the Leader or his Board) and – glory be – one NEC member.

But perhaps the most intriguing thing is that under 36.8, the Party Leader may be a full time employee of the Party. Since the employment and management of staff has been removed from the NEC’s authority, and that employment will be controlled by the Leader’s appointees, might some conflict of interest arise there?

Members’ representatives neutered

Overall, this is a fairly simple ‘reform’, aimed at concentrating power in the hands of the Leader. The NEC will be comprised of elected Regional Chairmen, but will have no decision-making power other than ‘ensuring that decisions made by the party are made in a transparent and accountable manner’ – which since it no longer will be making them, may prove difficult.

Members voting for this – if they have had a chance to read it before voting for it in the extremely rapid timescale laid down (in part, not even allowing the minimum time laid down in the current Constitution) – would be turkeys voting for Christmas.

 

The NEC is imperfect, and in need of reform. It is, however, the only means by which ordinary members exercise control over the party and its Leader.

The NEC was created – by Nigel, ironically – specifically to prevent a Leader having autocratic powers.

Reform the NEC by all means – the current NEC will willingly help you, and consult you properly.  But lose it at your peril!

 

 

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About Steve Crowther (4 Articles)
Steve Crowther was the chairman of UKIP until 2016 and was the interim leader in 2017.

61 Comments on Henry Bolton’s proposed Constitutional ‘reform’

  1. I look forward to Henry taking UKIP forward and hope he gets rid of those that have been holding us back for so long…as Nigel has said reform or die!

  2. Lenin had a description for this type of party constitution: he called it democratic centralism and it was put into practice with by Soviet Union and its satellites.

    In a democracy any party taking power and control wholesale to the centre is asking for the party to die.

  3. I would never join UKIP at the moment, so how will UKIP attract new members.

    Which is more important at the moment. Is it backing Henry Bolton and hopefully UKIP will have a positive vision for Great Britain or is the alternative to go through several more months of what has been described as naval gazing. At the end of that period there might be fewer members, or will there be fewer members iff Henry Bolton remains the leader.

    Regarding the proposed constitution change I will vote for NO change to the present constitution. I personally regard the discussion of UKIP’s post Brexit policies and buzz phrases as being more important than the constitution. A constitution change can be delayed.

    Without post Brexit policies that the voting public will engage with, UKIP might not survive. Regarding the UKIP logo ‘for the nation’ it should be ‘for GREAT BRITAIN”, I have used capital for GREAT BRITAIN as those two words will resonate with the British voter more than nation will. Also with a patriotic narrator, feeling can be put behind GREAT BRITAIN whereas nation seems dull and life less, Perhaps nation is correct for UKIP which, at the moment, is a dull lifeless political party.

    UKIP needs to be a proactive party, just think of announcing an education policy using EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION. I am certain that LAW and ORDER could be used to mean one law through out the UK and order could mean the tying up of lose ends and defining political correctness.

    The second thing needed before a constitution change is improved communications. I would like to say that the County Organisations are good, Good can only apply to organisations if they exist, and they serve the many not the few. A branch that is ‘ticking over’ is better than a branch that has closed. Regarding communication I now use UKIP Daily as the there is no other way of expressing my views unless I use Facebook. May thanks to UKIP Daily.

    At this moment in time Is a a constitution change less important than UKIP becoming the THIRD major British political party that the GREAT BRITISH voter will be attracted to. I say NO to an immediate constitution change.

    D. Turgoose

  4. Thank you Steve Crowther for your very helpful analysis of Henry’s proposed constitution. You have helped me make my mind up as to which way to vote on Saturday.

  5. Ooops

    JF

  6. Briefly, but relating to the original post:
    “The first thing that strikes one on reading the draft is that the word ‘libertarian’ has been removed from the party’s definition of itself. Some members may like that; many, I imagine, will be appalled.”

    ‘Libertarian’ is a catch-all description of politics which is largely coloured by the Usian far right. Small state, no tax, no welfare state, pull yourself together and stop snivelling freedom lovers all. Yes, you’ll now say that we don’t mean that when we say that’s where we’re going: our libertarianism is something different, no more PC, more freedom of speech, lower taxes by reducing waste, make criminals pay properly for their crimes etc etc, but the number of targets we would be painting on our backsides if we seriously advanced that as a way ahead would provide a major kickfest for Left and Right alike – try the line ‘we’re against the Welfare State’ on the doorstep and see how it goes down. Once painted with that sombre brush only the ideological few would remain. The libertarian label is contaminated. Choose a new one.

    In 2017 four constituencies had a candidate from the Libertarian Party – yes, the UK does have such a party. In three, that candidate came last. There was better result in Blaydon — the Space Navies Party came last with 81 votes (Aidan please nb), the Libertarian Party achieving a mammoth 114, rocking the paradigm with a last but one position.

    I’ve talked to hundreds, possibly thousands of people who voted for me, supported me, encouraged me. What they want from UKIP is what Nigel Farage once named as our policies – ‘ones that work’. Clinging to a vague and malleable label like ‘libertarian’, a word that might have been coined by Humpty Dumpty when he was in his ‘words mean what I want them to’ phase, would be political suicide.

    JF

  7. Briefly, but relating to the original post:
    “The first thing that strikes one on reading the draft is that the word ‘libertarian’ has been removed from the party’s definition of itself. Some members may like that; many, I imagine, will be appalled.”

    ‘Libertarian’ is a catch-all description of politics which is largely coloured by the Usian far right. Small state, no tax, no welfare state, pull yourself together and stop snivelling freedom lovers all. Yes, you’ll now say that we don’t mean that when we say that’s where we’re going: our libertarianism is something different, cuddlier, no more PC, more freedom of speech, lower taxes by reducing waste, make criminals pay properly for their crimes etc etc, but the number of targets we would be painting on our backsides if we seriously advanced that as a way ahead would provide a major kickfest for Left and Right alike – try the line ‘we’re against the Welfare State’ on the doorstep and see how it goes down. Once painted with that sombre brush only the ideological few would remain. The libertarian label is contaminated. Choose a new one.

    In 2017 four constituencies had a candidate from the Libertarian Party – yes, the UK does have such a party. In three, that candidate came last. There was better result in Blaydon — the Space Navies Party came last with 81 votes (Aidan please nb), the Libertarian Party achieving a mammoth 114, rocking the paradigm with a last but one position.

    I’ve talked to hundreds, possibly thousands of people who voted for me, supported me, encouraged me. What they want from UKIP is what Nigel Farage once named as our policies – ‘ones that work’. Clinging to a vague and malleable label like ‘libertarian’, a word that might have been coined by Humpty Dumpty when he was in his words mean what he wanted them to phase, would be political suicide.

    JF

  8. “The NEC is imperfect, and in need of reform. It is, however, the only means by which ordinary members exercise control over the party and its Leader. ”
    Who controls the NEC? Themselves, of course. Perfect!

    • They control each other at meetings by debate and voting. Rather better surely than Bolton’s new constitution which concentrates power in the leader with no control over him by anyone.

      Allen fails to explain why having an Ayatollah, a supreme leader, is desirable.

    • The MEMBERS control the NEC, by voting them off if necessary. It was MEMBERS who requested the vote of no confidence, and it will be MEMBERS, who, God willing, remove Henry.

    • Exactly! My experience with the NEC is negative. To keep it short they don’t respond to any communications and are for the most uncontactable e.g. there are no contact details for any of them on the UKIP site. The NEC are in my opinion controlled by a few senior figures in UKIP. These few through the smoke screen of the NEC have shown many times they are incompetent at running the party.

  9. I can only assume that the author has an uncertain grasp of history and the actions of Joseph Stalin. To compare a British politician with a mass murderer smacks of desperation. It’s often said that the idiot who mentions Hitler in a debate has alreay lost; well, that also applies to mentioning Stalin.
    Why one lot of semi elected unqualifoed people should have the last say instead of a leader elected in a much more forensic election process, is simply self-serving. Steve says I want to keep power instead of the leader. Well, perhaps not, after all the leader carries the can, not the anonymous, opaque and secretive NEC.

  10. H Bolton might want a new constitution but what do I need? I need to feel, as s grassroots member, that I am a part of a professional organisation that connects with its members and will listen to its members. I, like other members, are losing interest in the internal UKIP politics and UKIP’s lack of vision for the UK’s future.
    I am close to saying “UKIP, you lack Vision For the Future of Britain” so why should I remain a UKIP member.

    At the moment a future vision for the UK is more important than the constitution. Possible constitution changes should be delayed for at least six months. Vision might mean a membership increase, constitution changes could mean a membership loss.

    Continue your squabble about the UKIP’s constitution and I will look for another political party that has vision, upward and down ward communications and positive leadership.

    D.Turgoose

    • Indeed. The purpose of proposing a highly divisive rearrangement of chairs on the deck of the Titanic at a time when the ship is sinking can only be subversion and sabotage. And if it is one thing about Bolton’s career I believe is that he has been highly trained in those two subjects through his work for OSCE and other European and international establishment institutions.

  11. I would have liked to see a vote for the EGM to go out to all members as a postal vote. We had a postal vote to elect the last leader so it should be considered as an alternative to travelling miles to vote. I did not read the proposals as at present Henry has had a vote of no confidence and until that is settled there is no point. Having said that from this post it seems a bit extreme and would not be an easy task. The main issue is to retain members and recruit new members not to rewrite the whole of the rules. We do not have time to do this and implement it before May elections and whilst it needs to be looked at now is not the time. The NEC were elected by members so obviously members have confidence in the NEC at this time.

    • Unfortunately, the 2012 constitution, backed by Nigel “In our view – a view supported by the current Leader – a strong NEC enables a strong Leader to flourish.” requires physical attendance, in case Henry makes a brilliant speech of defence on the day.

      My view: although it’s Fashing (spring fancy dress) season, don’t come as badgers, although the vain Mr. Toad should be fine 🐸🤣

    • I agree. Indeed, in my view, a full ballot with the ability to opt into voting electronically would be even better (if adequate security of e-voting could be ensured, which is a big issue and the reason I had strong reservations about implementing e-voting in the way that was on the table when I was on the NEC technology sub-committee). A vote of all the members would be a lot more credible and harder to try to manipulate than that of a few hundred members attending an EGM. Unfortunately, the Constitution is prescriptive, and it has to be done at an EGM in person. But bear in mind that the cost of an EGM is a fraction of the cost of a full postal ballot (I believe the ratio is something like £2000 vs. £50000 – these numbers are just ballpark). So there are good reasons too as to why a full postal ballot is conducted relatively infrequently. If it could be done electronically (subject to the very important and non-trivial caveats of adequate cyber security and allowing those unable to vote electronically to do so otherwise), it would be a different story. Of course, Rob also makes the important point that a physical meeting gives both sides the opportunity to present their arguments in person, an option not available when conducting a postal ballot.

    • I have no confidence in the NEC. A new change in the “rules” accepted by them allows members to announce they intend to stand for election as officers of a branch NOT in advance but at the AGM! This results in a form of “gerrymandering” whereby they can turn up at the AGM with their “supporters” and take control. All the members of branches need to know in advance who intends to stand so they themselves can decide. This is just one example for the inept NECs decision making ability.

  12. Just a hunch I have, that Bolton isn’t working alone. Or is that really just obvious? Let’s hope he gets well and truly kicked out on Saturday but then, watch where he goes and where he earns his next salary, I believe that will answer a lot of questions.

    • If Henry has clever allies, Russell, why would they not trouble to proof read his constitution? Or do they want him to fail?

    • I agree. Or what honours and gongs he receives. Of course, it won’t necessarily be done overtly and perhaps his links to the European Commission, OSCE, the Liberal Democrat Party and his continued membership of the National Liberal Club will be the only kinds of clues we will be able to get and go by.

    • ‘Where he earns his next salary’ ??

      I don’t believe he has any chance whatever of gainful employment. Or self~employment as some sort of ‘Consultant’

      Who on earth would wish to employ, or seek consultancy advice, from someone who has shown such egregious lack of JUDGMENT in both his personal and his political affairs ?

      I surmise that he knows full well that unless he miraculously clings to his post on Saturday he is staring poverty full in the face.

      His wife, remember, had to be dispatched to a foreign country to work as a senior secretary to bring in a family income.

      Having stated he would not need a salary as Leader we now know he puts out the begging bucket at Branch meetings ( as well as accepting thousands from the Treasurer in stipend and expenses ).
      His cast off wife will obviously be awarded the marital home as she has two abandoned ( by their dad ) children to look after so he will have NOWHERE to live, other than Jo’s parents’ sofa ( as he no longer has a ‘romantic’ relationship with her, so presumably that precludes sleeping in her bedroom ).

      In other words ~ unless he clings on on Saturday he is facing financial catastrophe – I believe that is his sole reason for not bowing out gracefully when the NEC voted unanimously in favour of the VONC.

      That and his utter absence of judgement, of course.

      Difficult to see many more dinners at the Nat Lib Club on the horizon….. ( we must all hope they have a vacancy for a live ~in dishwasher ? ).

      • ‘Where he earns his next salary’ ??
        Oh come on Rhys what about all that experience and those wonderful qualifications plus he has an OBE …… Oh wait a minute didn’t Mr Bav of this parish prove most of those to be suspect.

        I think most District Councils have vacancies for Bin Collectors, should be right up his street!

  13. The leader’s recent email to members shows where IMHO his priorities lie, with himself.

    The leader knew there wasn’t a salary when he stood as a leadership candidate, yet he’s been touring the branches, at the party’s expense, collecting thousands as he passes GO. He’s refused to step down, even as he continues to makes the party a ‘laughing stock’ by telling the media of (i) his ongoing ‘feelings’ for his ‘girlfriend’ (who the media now regularly tag as a ‘racist’), (ii) that it’s losing money and members and (iii) that he’s quite good at badger strangling!

    Some weeks ago the leader announced via the media that a relationship with his girlfriend is incompatible with him being leader, so why hasn’t he resigned as very few people believe the leader’s not in a relationship with her?

    The leader wants to impose on the party a new constitution that Kim Jong il of North Korea would be proud of. UKIP is a libertarian party not a dictatorial one. The leader’s draft constitution concentrates all power & patronage in his hands, giving him the power to hire and fire all party officers, employees and volunteers (and no doubt approve or veto all election candidates). The leader wants a constitution that, bizarrely for a constitutional document enshrines in it a salary for the leader (and only the leader), one that they can probably set via their appointees.

    What we have before us appears to be a leader not really interested in the core values of UKIP (their draft constitution sets UKIP on a course to become like the Lib Dems, who no doubt the leader feels more at a home with) and a leader, who many members upon reading his draft constitution may conclude wants to accrue power and monetary benefits. Is this why the leader has refused to resign, even when the NEC, the majority of his hand picked cabinet, the Assembly Members and most of the party’s MEPs have told him to go?

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    • Idiotic response, desperate and very very angry.

      • Mr Allen, is your purpose to persuade? The absence of reasoning and ad hominem comments you make across several articles suggests not.

        In that case, you only come on here to be abusive but the disrespect to the volunteers who run UKIP Daily, and to its readers who make intelligent and reasoned comment that implies is itself an abuse.

        We are fully aware of your support for Bolton and no-one has been impressed by your nastiness toward people who take a different view to you.

        You describe yourself as a “UKIP Cabinet Member”. Bringing some dignity to that position is clearly not something that motivates you.

  14. Purple Potty Mouth // February 14, 2018 at 11:07 am // Reply

    We should all remember – and Paul Oakden, or whoever is chairing the EGM, must re-iterate that we are NOT voting on a new constitution.
    We already have proposals that were drafted for Paul Nuttall – Gerard I would hope would encourage both to be analysed as part of the redrafting work but in a post Bolton democracy I feel confident all clauses that lead to dictatorship will be ignored and ‘libertarian’will stay. methinks he’s spent too much time in the EU – or the TWO Russian wives were fans of a fan of the role of the Douma as show democracy in USSR times. The role of the NEC to the PMB – or whatever he calls it, has all the hallmarks of EU Commission vs EU Parliament

  15. If Henry Bolton retains his position (and indeed, his membership) in UKIP I foresee that UKIP will soon become a party of ‘One’! The man is a dangerous megalomaniac in the making! Democracy ‘R’ not Henry Bolton!

  16. Agreed, Henry Bolton’s new draft “constitution” is self-serving and barely literate. The more I read the more “chilling” as SC says, HB’s efforts appear.

    There are so many mistakes I assume that HB’s new constitution has been written in haste; and recently at that. It reads almost like a wish-list that HB needs to protect himself in his current predicament, rather than a considered long term revision. So how much work had he done on the constitution before the vote of no confidence? Precious little it seems. Which for an avowed administrator is rather odd.

  17. Sounds like he is following in the footsteps of the Tory Party HQ, which also wishes to remove more power (if indeed not all) from its ordinary members and local associations. Add that to Momentum’s desires for removal of “moderate” Labour MPs and we will have a country where the population is utterly disconnected from all political selections. What that will lead to, I hate to think.

  18. Thank you Steve for this.

    “Stalinist” I think is the right word to describe Bolton’s stab at taking total power.

    What is deeply saddening is that Nigel has nailed his own colours so firmly to Bolton’s mast. He did such a lot to dispel the idea that UKIP was the “BNP in blazers”, banning any former BNP member from ever joining, smearing Anne-Marie Waters most unjustly as a “racist” who would have destroyed UKIP (this deliberately confuses race and religion)… and now here he is supporting a man who is openly sending a Valentine card to a real racist. She insulted all people of mixed-race descent with shameless vulgarity, from non-white British soldiers who risked and sometimes gave their lives fighting for this country to the Queen herself and the royal family who are welcoming Meghan Markle into their midst, not to mention a leading UKIP figure David Kurten who, we are told, had been promised to be Bolton’s deputy, only for the promise to be ratted on after Bolton’s victory. At this point one might be forgiven for wondering why…

    Bolton himself has not expressed any racist sentiments in public, but by being so “seriously” attached to one who accused Prince Harry’s fiancee of “tainting the royal family with her negro blood”, he obviously doesn’t care, and can surely be classed as a closet racist.

    David Cameron called UKIP a party of “closet racists”. Well, if Bolton is reconfirmed on Saturday, people will say he has been proved right.

    • Please no! For all Henry’s faults, convicting him as a closet racist in the court of your own opinion is a very slippery slope indeed.

      “… can surely be classed as a closet racist.”

      David Cameron’s manipulative mud-slinging “proved right”.

      Honestly, I find it incomprehensible why anyone would vote Labour under the current leadership, but if an attractive and willing lefty who was half my age offered me warmth and comfort (ahem), then I might wish to partake of her generosity without in any way condoning the IRA or Hamas.

      Stop this waaaycist dogwhistling, it’s beneath contempt.

      • Bolton either privately shares Marney’s Nazi-type views (and why isn’t she in the BNP?), in which case he is a “closet racist”. Or he thinks they do not matter, since she is “only a female”, in which case he really is a prehistoric male chauvinist.

    • Dear Torquil Dick-Erikson,

      I echo your thanks to Steve for this informative article.

      I am very glad that Steve Crowther cared enough to take the time to read and summarise Henry’s proposed constitution and wrote about it here. Thank you Steve.

      I did not join UKIP because it has the word libertarian in its constitution. This is, however, the single deepest reason I have remained with the party since I joined.

      To put it differently I could not join either major party because the Conservatives run roughshod over liberty even while conveying a notional sympathy for it while Labour merely call it evil in one way or another thereby condemning themselves.

      UKIP’s constitutional clause is also the single largest reason I took the trouble to stand for the leadership in 2017. I stood to speak for liberty. In the course of the campaign I came to the conclusion that at least two of my opponents (Anne-Marie Waters and John Rees Evans) were in favour of the opposite of liberty and so celebrated for our party’s sake when they both left it.

      In so far as I was glad that Henry Bolton was elected leader it was because he had committed in his campaign no grave offences against liberty in what he advocated although not be speaking for it you understand. When I was asked at a hustings who would I vote for other than myself the main reason I named Ben Walker was because he was the only candidate other than myself to describe himself as libertarian.

      The clause where our constitution says we are a libertarian party goes, as readers will know, also to the heart of our history as a party. It speaks also to the heart of the reason why many wished for independence for the Kingdom.

      Without a constitutional commitment to liberty UKIP’s soul would have been given to the devil not that I believe in devils or souls but if you see what I mean.

      Steve has done any reader a service in his summary of Henry’s proposal and by his analysis provided an overwhelming argument for any of us who believe in freedom to take the trouble to go to Birmingham and there support the NEC.

  19. Members will not want to concentrate power in anyone’s sole hands let alone in the hands of a petty bureaucrat with an Ayatollah complex.

    A new offence of ‘liable to undermine the cohesion and unity of the party’ is particularly sinister. Its terms are so imprecise that the leader, via his appointees, can use them to silence of expel legitimate political opponents. And concentration of power almost certainly leads to abuse at some point. The proposed constitution is a dictator’s charter.

    The constitution, a document with legal effect that can be reviewed and adjudicated upon in the high court through judicial review and other actions against the party, needs skilled draughtsmanship to produce a document as free from ambiguity as possible. Courts apply the wording actually used the effect of which may not be what you had in mind. That’s why we have to use lawyers.

    Production of a constitution is (or ought to be) an arduous process with as much `stress testing’ of the wording as possible before a final version is put to a vote. Bolton’s amateur draughting and unrealistic timetable betrays his complete lack of understanding. It suggests he is consumed by and impatient for cementing his role as the all powerful supreme leader. If anyone was having doubts about removing him they should no longer.

    His mistrust for and disdain of ordinary members means, for me, he is not a kipper and no way will he be supreme leader of me. If the EGM, by some mass, masochistic psychosis, votes for Ayatollah Bolton then I am off.

  20. The main problem with the composition of the NEC is that the election procedure ( as laid down, I assume, by the NEC ? ) simply does not permit candidates ( because of the the 150 word limit ) to fully present themselves ~their career path to date, academic and other qualifications, ideas as to policy etc., to the party’s electorate : the members.

    Reforming that ~ eg by allowing candidates 2 x A4 pages each and / or having a dedicated website where all this info could be presented for each candidate, would go a long way towards remedying that important defect, as I perceive it.

    Another mechanism could be to have elections based on the Regions, which would permit candidates to present themselves at Hustings, which could also be live streamed / recorded for those unable to attend the actual Hustings in person.
    I realize that the Regional idea has its own problems in terms of Regions having v different numbers of members, but I still think that this could be addressed with a little imagination. ( The Euro elections manage it.)
    I imagine that the Regional idea might need Constitutional change ?

    But permitting candidates a proper amount of space in which to set out their life time experience and current policy ideas surely is something that the NEC could address now, prior to the upcoming batch of NEC elections ? Why not at least do this reform now and let us see the results ?

    Also, banging on about the NEC ( even though I do believe reforms such as I suggest above would be beneficial ) as if it created the Party’s problems since June 1016 is delusional.

    The NEC did not give us the bizarre succession of Leaders we have had since Nigel : the MEP hierarchy and the membership ourselves have done that. ( Though the FPTP system which the NEC have erroneously convinced themselves is the only way to conduct the Leadership election certainly has not helped : that also does NOT require constitutional change to remedy.)

    Let no one forget that the glory days of UKIP ( so far anyway, let us hope more are soon to come ) were 2013 ~16, when Nigel F. supported by highly enthusiastic and hard working local grass roots members quite simply changed the political debate in the United Kingdom and ultimately delivered the equivalent of a great fist in the face to the Great British Establishment.

    All this was achieve with the NEC as currently elected and established in place ~so it cannot possibly be that the NEC is the root of the party’s current misfortunes.
    rhys burriss

    • I have already partially resolved this: BB of the rulebook, implementing electronic voting, means that each candidate has, within reason, unlimited space for plugging their website, videos etc. The only practical limit, once you click on “more details” by the candidte’s name, is how much they are willing to read.

    • Dear rhys,

      I believe you are absolutely right that the 150 word limit to the NEC election address should be reformed. The mandatory confinement of the NEC candidate pitch to the party magazine compounds the error. In the last leadership election at my interview by the selection board I made your argument but without effect.

      At the very least I think the party could organise an electronic election address (by e-mai)l of greater length. As Steve Crowther points out an electronic address could only reach 70% but I suspect that 30% do not read the party newspaper (even at election time) and certainly with both information provided would be increased.

      I think there is an additional problem in the generalist nature of the duties of NEC members which means that all candidates are effectively competing to discharge the same duty. From the elector’s point of view this means the field is a crowded one if 91 candidates are standing. If, by contrast, we had sixteen NEC members half of whom were discharging specialised functions for the party (such as increasing membership, raising money and so on) and half of whom were working on policy as chiefs of staff to the party’s spokesmen then candidate manifestos for the NEC could be assessed on narrower grounds rendering a too short election address less crippling to the voters understanding or, if the election address were made longer as you and I favour, ensuring that for each post the field would be smaller and more easily digested.

      Permit me to draw to your attention to, in particular part II of my article this week on making the NEC more effective. To summarise the advantage of having an NEC with specialised functions to perform would be that the NEC’s work would become more action (and idea) oriented not only that elections to it would work better.

    • The 150 word limit could easily be changed by a resolution of the NEC (and should be, in my opinion). Other options should be explored (e.g. allowing candidates to submit a short video, etc. etc. – who knows what is right). NEC elections should be conducted in a way which allows the members to get to know the candidates better.

      Regionalising the NEC would require constitutional change, and in my view is not a good idea. The different size of the regions (and the under-representation of the larger regions) is not the only problem, although it is a problem and I don’t think the EU is a good model to copy! There are other issues, e.g.:

      – right now, every NEC member represents every Party member; any member can turn to any NEC member, if one NEC member is unresponsive or unsympathetic, you can turn to another one. If there is a regional representative, he or she is your representative, if they are unhelpful, tough.

      – putting artificial restrictions on recruitment of talent will surely not improve the quality of the NEC. Choose the best 12 wherever they are coming from?

      – remote regions (e.g. Northern Ireland): very few are likely to stand, and if elected, attend meetings in London, because of the long commute. Either the seat will be vacant or there will be very little contest for it. Some such regions have very few members.

      – administrative nightmares (what happens if an NEC member moves home between regions? Transitional arrangements – currently, NEC members serve for 3 year terms with 1/3 of the NEC changing every year, etc.).

      – regions are an EU concept, do we really want to base our governing body on it?

      – if introducing regional quotas, why not gender quotas, skin colour quotas etc.?

      In my view, the FPTP system is enshrined in the Constitution and would require constitutional change to implement (cf. Article 7.8). We had a lot of debate of this point and in the end the initial dissenters conceded that the wording of Article 7.8 implies FPTP. I understand you disagree and I’m happy to engage in debate over it, but I feel, considering how much analysis went into it, that the end result would be unchanged.

  21. On February 14 around the year 278A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.
    Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unsuccessful and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain an army, but was having a hard time getting soldiers to join his military leagues and losing troops by the day. Claudius believed his policies were not at fault and that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their Senators, wives and families.
    To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome and restricted the powers of the Senate. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.
    When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and condemned to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.
    Claudius the Cruel died of the pox soon after.

    • Mr. Bav,

      That is all very romantic!

      Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Purple Potty Mouth // February 14, 2018 at 10:54 am // Reply

      Did you intend this as a parable Bav? After all the good lady has described herself as a hot rockstar f*er. Well I know that they’re all taught about safe sex whilst they still believe in the tooth fairy these days but anyone can forget in the – er – heat of the moment.
      And my little friends from the lab are soooo clever when it comes to learning how to protect themselves from our nasty antibiotics. Three cheers for our knight in shining armour – Treponema pallidum, do your worst my poxy friend!

      • It is indeed a parable PPM ! However the pox that killed Claudius II was Variola major….As for tooth fairies, I understand that they now pay at the inflated rate of £10 a pop, which explains why our glorious leader Roderick Spode is missing most of his at the front. It saves him borrowing from his girlfriend….

      • POP,

        This comment is a bit ‘racy’ for me.

  22. Hopefully this will finish off any chance of his winning the vote at the EGM.

  23. No danger of it passing Steve – even if 20 branches passed “draft 2”, all it would take is one member, from one of those 20, to complain that “draft 3” wasn’t what his branch had passed, and the courts would have a heyday.

    • Dear Rob,

      In matters of interpreting the constitution of a political party the courts mayl tend toward reluctance to take a view.

      In defence of this annotation I mention that when Henry Bolton took legal counsel as to the lawfulness of UKIP allowing Anne-Marie Waters to stand one legal counsel provided argued that the courts would consider this an internal matter for the party to resolve. Whether or not this aspect of the counsel contributed to Henry’s decision not to force this issue, in matters of internal party politics relying on justice to come to the rescue if push comes to shove can lead to taking one’s eye off the potential necessity of achieving virtuous outcomes without resort to The Court.

      I take your point that the proposed constitution would not fly but Steve’s immediate concern is that the vote of no confidence in Henry not be overturned. Henry’s constitutional proposal certainly does send the message that he has an idea how to reform the NEC. In my article of this week submitted before Henry’s proposal’s were published I pointed out that he had not defined what he wanted to replace the status quo with. Now that we know that it is all about rendering executive power unencumbered I would love to think that Henry’s boat is sunk. However I am not sure that it is. For members who do not follow UKIP daily at all and have not followed the NEC’s actions in any other way the E.G.M. could seem like a distraction the party can ill afford and which should therefore be quashed. In the two constituencies I am most familiar with this seemed to be the default consensus. It is also worth considering that Henry’s home county of Kent is dense in UKIP members relative to other counties. Possibly the most dense of them all. I would like to think the E.G.M. is a foregone conclusion as it should be but I am less certain that it is.

      • Any attempt to criticize the sainted Mr Bolton on Twitter is met with a torrent of abuse that goes on for hours, Aidan.
        The outcome is by no means in the bag imo.

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