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How Henry Bolton & his supporters are distorting the facts

Under the terms of the constitution, if the members present at the EGM on February 17th do not endorse the NEC’s unanimous vote of no confidence in the leader, then all 12 elected  members of the NEC must stand down. This has allowed leader, Henry Bolton and others, notably former leader, Nigel Farage, to tap into widespread discontent with the running of the party and portray the forthcoming vote as Henry vs the NEC.

This is a dangerous route to take. If sufficient members are deceived we will have a leader who has lost the respect of many members, including a significant proportion of those who originally voted for him. A leader who has lost the respect, if he ever had any, of the general public, who have devoured the whole tawdry saga with their toast and marmalade or mashed avocado. We will still have the NEC, maybe with a few different faces, but with NEC elections months overdue – delayed to allow reforms to be put in place first – we should have had some new faces anyway.

Myth 1: Henry Bolton and the end of the NEC

As Henry himself puts it on his website: “The forthcoming EGM provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to renew the NEC on bloc, for one that will support reform and we can change the ethos of the party management at a stroke.” – Wrong

If the vote of no confidence isn’t carried by the members attending the EGM, there will be new elections for all the elected members (which is not the NEC in its entirety) under the same rules. Apart from those who refuse to stay in the party if Henry Bolton is still leader and those who have already given up, it will be the same people voting for those who put their names forward for the ‘new’ NEC as those who voted in 2016.

“… renew the NEC on bloc, for one that will support reform.” – Misinformation

The reason 93 candidates stood in 2016 was precisely because, after all the criticism of the NEC from Nigel, candidates and members alike were keen for reform. Current and former NEC members have already commented on past problems with its proper functioning. I don’t propose to go over old ground but one thing is clear – the failures of administration, communication and structure cannot be laid at the feet of sequential NEC members alone. Attacking the NEC is like treating the symptoms of a stomach ulcer rather than eradicating the helicobacter infection that is causing it.

Myth 2: Only Henry Bolton will deliver reform

“Another change of Party Leader is not the change UKIP needs.” To paraphrase the late Mandy Rice-Davies – well, Henry would say that, wouldn’t he? No one wanted another change of party leader but a good many members, evaluating the effect of Henry’s brief stewardship on the electorate in their local area, think that a change of leader is essential.
“A vote to support the NEC will be a vote against change” – Wrong

This is wrong in so many ways. Let’s just take one, the response to member’s demands for reform, the recognition that we need to be more professional, communicate with members better, master modern media, some of which dates back to Nigel’s time as leader.

Henry talks about changing the NEC, which operates as the board of directors of a limited company, for a board of trustees. He is not alone, on 28th January Darrell Goodliffe published proposals for reform by Indigo Group spokesman, Ben Walker, including the spreadsheet below:

This was uncannily familiar to a draft proposal shown to me in March 2017 by Paul Nuttall’s then special advisor. He kindly sent me the original document reproduced below:

Spot the difference! There isn’t any. We haven’t seen Henry’s reforms in print yet but note that both refer to a Board of Trustees. Our previous leader, Paul Nuttall, was preparing our much needed reforms and his advisor was struggling to get action. Now others want to take the credit.

There is only ONE item on the agenda at the EGM in Birmingham. It is not ‘reform’, it is not ‘getting rid of the NEC’, it is: – ‘Do you consider Henry Bolton is fit to continue as leader of UKIP?’

As in any divorce, Henry tells one story of how much he has done, his cabinet members and the NEC tell another – of what he hasn’t delivered, until the skids were under him. It isn’t a choice between the two, if you want a credible leader AND change you can have both.

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

12 Comments on Mythbusters

  1. Toby Micklethwait // February 12, 2018 at 11:40 am // Reply

    Dear Helena,

    Thanks for a good article.

    Way back in 2004 I drew up an organisation chart of UKIP (by reading the constitution). The chart was a complete mess, totally unworkable.

    Accordingly I researched the structure of political parties around the world. They were an even more complex mess. Some of them were circular. Some of them were 4-dimensional.

    When I got the chance I showed my chart to Crowther, saying “it clearly CANNOT work”. He said “It’s spot on”.

    This is the problem. One CANNOT draw up a chart for a political party that will, in theory, work.

    A political party has numerous entities (many of them elected). All the entities feel entitled to control the machine.

    Unfortunately some people come to the problem thinking that it is soluble. They therefore blame the previous generations who have NOT solved it. They also waste a lot of time trying to solve it. They promise to write a new constitution…. “by the end of the month”.

    I say “Relax, guys”.

    There will always be stress between:

    • The leader
    • The group of 2 or 3 people who actually run the party.
    • The NEC’s 12 elected members
    • The MEPs
    • The MPs
    • The Lords
    • The councillors
    • The chairmen of the branches, counties and regions.
    • The central campaign manager
    • The staff appointed by the centre to “help” in the regions.

    And I have not mentioned the treasurer, the donors, or independent quasi-judicial disciplinary process.

    It cannot work in theory. We have to make it work in practice.

    Regards, Toby, 01932-873557

  2. It is going to take some kind of Lazarus to save our party. I don’t mind growing pains but dying is really painful. Lets get HB kicked out and start again with a decent and proven leader like, Mmmmm lets think for a nano second, how about Gerard Batten?

  3. Well ” Initiated Digital Strategy ” is like bigging up a CV.
    It sounds much better than ” Did F*** All “

  4. Purple Potty Mouth // February 12, 2018 at 8:12 am // Reply

    What emails from HQ? No one was forcing Henry out, NEC responded to members at the meeting with Henry which led to the VONC. I was one of those who sent an email to all NEC members presenting the views of the branches in my county. I batted aside complaints from branch members that he wasn’t behaving like a leader back before Christmas as I believed he was getting to grips with problems within – mainly tasks a true leader would have delegated to their chairman. Reports since Marneygate from NEC members, MEPs & spokesmen suggest I could have been mistaken.
    Paul Nuttall wasn’t forced out, he stood down post GE17 & thought about doing it post Stoke. As presented in the article he was working on reforms. Diane faced obstructions but not from the NEC. We need to root out the real disrupters, not be sidelined by Henry’s reaction to the unanimous VONC ( very very unusual for a NEC vote to be unanimous)

  5. Something is wrong. We get new leaders and then they leave or are forced out. I was going to attend EGM and have bought my rail ticket but feel these emails from HQ have undermined a free and fair vote. I will not now be attending and wondering just who to vote for in future. I remain a member to see what happens.

  6. Purple Potty Mouth // February 11, 2018 at 12:52 pm // Reply

    Folks, just so you know- those spreadsheets are in the wrong order, first one is my pic of the original document, 2nd downloaded from Kippe Central ( I recommend you all read the post on KC for yourselves)
    I don’t blame the editor for the mistake – after all THEY ARE THE SAME!

  7. Hmm. Henry also says: “Initiated Digital Strategy
    Recruited digital media expert to provide strategy for the party” on his website.

    Would that be be any chance Chris Mendes, who talked here ( about technology) during 2016 BH (Before Henry) and was invited to join the Tec sub-committee the same day?

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