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Open Letters to Members

Statement by Paula Walters NEC, UKIP Wirral Chair

[Ed: we re-publish this statements by Paula Walters with kind permission from Kipper Central, where it was first published.]

I was always one of the NEC’s most vocal critics. Campaigning against a political elite, lording it over the rest of us.  My primary reason for standing in the NEC election was to take forward the voice of grassroots members, to keep them informed by being open, honest and accountable.

It was with great trepidation that I attended my first meeting, I felt like Daniel entering the lion’s den.  I was somewhat shocked to find no over inflated egos or self importance, just genuine, hard working people who love the party as much as I do. For the most part they are professional people giving their time and experience for free and I consider us lucky to have them.

There have been many accusations about the NEC hounding leaders out of the party. When Nigel resigned he was encouraged to come back and was welcomed with open arms. Paul left under his own steam under a cloud of bad publicity and Diane – well she never attended any NEC meeting. How do you get rid of someone who does not even turn up?

When I joined the NEC the leadership election was about to take place and disputes over social media were gaining momentum.  There were calls from some members to remove certain candidates from the ballot.  Equally many of you felt that it was not our place to act as judge and jury.

None of us took the decision lightly but ultimately we came to the conclusion that as a democratic party the power should be placed in the hands of the members to decide. Following that decision, Henry suggested that he knew better than the rest of us and threatened to sue the party if AMW was not removed from the ballot. Is this a person that we want as leader? A person who rides roughshod over the wishes of the majority, dictating that we are only allowed to vote for people that meet with his approval? How is it possible to state that you are prepared to put everything into a party, even willing to sell your home but would sue the same Party into bankruptcy? This defies logic!

With Henry installed as leader, the NEC election was due to take place in November but was held back for two reasons. One was financial because there were already talks about changing the structure of the party, something that had been initiated during the leadership of Paul Nuttall. So why waste money on something that would only be in place for a month or two?  It was decided that we should wait because members wanted change and we were listening. At this time we were amenable to any ideas put forward by the membership and we waited for the plans that Henry was putting in place.  If there were any plans we were not informed: a lot of talking the talk but no walking the walk!

We now come to the infamous VONC (Vote of No Confidence).

The majority of response from the members was that action should be taken. We were unable to please everyone so upheld our raison d’être and gave the power to the people. We do not have the power to vote against a newly appointed leader but we did have the power to allow him to remain and in doing so ignore the wishes of the many. In my book, that is dictatorship. We made clear to Henry the reasons for voting as we did. On a personal level I had concerns but they played no part in my decision. I was there to represent the membership of the party, to serve not govern as I had promised.

Henry has publicly stated that his romance is over for the sake of UKIP. At the said VONC meeting Henry refused to confirm that this would be permanent. My personal view is that this was an either/ or choice, but I would suggest that Henry wants to have his cake and eat it.

Changes will take place with or without Henry. As part of the swamp however, I am a bit confused as it has always been the members that construct the swamp in the first place. At the moment I am in the firing line but I would suggest that this is part of a strategic military tactic: if you have no defence, attack.

I am no different from any of you, I’m a grassroots member with hopes and dreams for the party. I am chairman of the local branch, served my apprenticeship delivering thousands of leaflets, stood for local election and stood for Metro Mayor in Merseyside, of all places, following the Paul Nuttall fiasco – you know the one – where we are now accused of hounding Paul out.

I ran the leave campaign in Wirral during the referendum and worked my socks off at street stalls. I attend NEC meetings in London at my own expense hence Nigel’s comments that butties are brought in. We are not wining and dining on your membership fees!

I don’t want accolades, none of us do, our only agenda is representing you. I take my orders from you and do not consider myself to be some sort of political elite. So it saddens me that a game is being played out with the NEC as the devil incarnate.

During the election many people voted Conservative because they believed it was the only option. They did not want to but decided to settle and accept a lesser evil. If people had the courage of conviction things may well have been different.

There is another way, a way to bring old friends back into the fold and gain new ones, a way to take us through May with renewed hope and conviction. I won’t be standing again but before I am drained with the rest of the swamp, think about it!

Kind Regards, Paula Walters, UKIP Wirral Chairman


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15 Comments on Open Letters to Members

  1. IMO
    The NEC serves its purpose. To maintain and modify etc the constitution. It has carried out this task admirably.
    The problem now is, Where is the rest of the org’n. The Nec is the only collection of official authority available other than 600 branches. So they’ve tried to cope. IMO the entire NEC have kept us going, while’st trying not to overstep the bounds. This is where the representative system becomes REALLY valuable.
    I dislike committees, however.
    I think Oakden in a way deserves a medal and his cabal if one exists, deserve recognition for trying in the face of multiple lawyers.

  2. In case no-one has noticed.The NEC silent, Bolton otherwise engaged. Who’s in charge?. , still nothing is being done. Like children we all wait for Saturday. Presumably we’ll have an interim something or may be two or even more. Has anyone thought what may happen if it’s a close fought battle? Now we know what awaits a poor organisation. At least the Branches survive. But rudderless. I’m sure Batten knows exactly what to do.

    • ! g spokes. I agree with your views except the one about Batten. I do not know Batten hence i cannot agree or disagree with you. Are the branches surviving, I have been informed that branches in Derbyshire aand Nottinghamshire are in “special measures”.
      The branch that I a member of is close to “special measures” because of the small number of active members and UKIP not showing any leadership. After the EGM will UKIP show leadership or will it still be rudderless. Closed branches will be difficult to replace How will UKIP to keep branches open.

      D. Turgoose

    • 1 g spokes

      Are branches surviving? Recently I was informed that several branches in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are in “special measures’ The branch I am with could easily become a “special measures” branch. How will UKIP re-open these branches when members have dispersed. The UKIP leadership is, or has, shown no interest in the post Brexit world, or have I missed something as I am not a Facebook user.


      • I think there is an organic way for branches to survive and regenerate, but merger, as membership and confidence falls, as it is doing, and de-merging, as membership and confidence rises, as I hope it will under new leadership.

  3. More self-serving clap-trap from the ‘ever-so-humble’ NEC. Come off it Paula, we’re not mugs. It’s been clear to anyone with half a brain that the biggest stumbling block this party has had, and the only consistent thing throughout UKIP’s turmoil has been the NEC. Quietly ignoring repeated requests for change. Blatantly ignoring requests for greater transparency and riding roughshod over Conference motions that could mean greater accountability. Just some of the arrogant behaviour we have grown used to from those at the top of our party. You talk about grass-roots members, well the grass roots will give you a serious surprise on Saturday. Faced with two dysfunctional elements, the one who fails to prepare must prepare to fail. And fail you will. In the whole of your comment you still fail to mention why the NEC too the decision to pass a VoNC in Henry Bolton, indeed no one from the NEC has clarified that yet. I thank you for your openness but it’s too late to play the ‘just doing my job guv’ card now. Thank you, and goodbye.

    • Purple Potty Mouth // February 13, 2018 at 9:08 am // Reply

      I’d listen a little more carefully to what Paula says if I were you. She’s a relative newcomer, stood, as many of the massive 2016 cohort did, on a reform ticket.
      As one of those who sent in an email the evening before( I waited until I had attended one of my county branch’s AGM so I could canvass all attendees) I know the NEC responded to the members. The events in the week leading up to the VoNC were appalling – publicly chucking Jo then dating her in a ridiculously public place days later, toe curling personal confessions in the dailies to be followed by the papers’ inevitable interview with the discarded wife. No political nous, sorry.

    • I’ve heard Henry Bolton himself complain that he doesn’t know why the NEC voted “no confidence”. I’m afraid that just shows his inadequacy as a political leader. The NEC voted “no confidence” because they had no confidence in his leadership. That’s all there is to it. They think –
      all of them – that, bad though to is for UKIP to have yet another leadership election, and an expensive and damaging EGM, to boot, it is less bad than continuing with Henry as leader. That is, literally, all there is to it.

      And why did individual members of the NEC lack confidence in him? Probably there were at least fourteen different reasons, and no one but the individual NEC members themselves can be entirely sure of their reasons, but I can think of a few: his leaving his wife and young children or the manner of it, his taking up with Miss Marney or her character, his management or mismanagement of the scandal, his failure to accept responsibility for his mistakes, his failure to understand that he is in the public eye, his misrepresentation of his CV, his divisive blamemongering, his misrepresentation of his dealings with the NEC, his insults to the NEC and party members, his failure to command the respect and confidence of party donors, his failure to engage with national politics, his failure to provide political leadership or even to understand the role of a political leader, his making the party a laughing stock, the overwhelming weight of opinion of party members (as expressed to the NEC, their elected representatives), the loss of spokesmen, councillors, prospective candidates, and ordinary members …

    • John Bickley has given reasons here, e.g. no promised plans. Google is your friend 🤓

  4. I know the NEC has to go thru the motions But I don’t see we need to even talk about it.6 months done nothing, Fostered division, achieved nothing, wasted money, time, and patience.

    I’ve come across dozens.

    They just know they can do the job, all they need is to be given the chance. Then find they can’t. Winge, whine ,look for someone to help, they’re no good either. Run away, hide. Displacement activity. But they’ll always believe they were robbed.

    Dump them as brutally as possible. Otherwise they’ll damage someone else.

  5. Thanks, Paula. You were the only NEC member I didn’t know, but now I feel I do!

    I was slightly surprised that the Jan 21st VONC, which I expected to pass, was (with the obvious exception) unanimous.

    I heard that Henry was going to make a statement to the press the next day, so that Monday I drove down to Folkestone. While I expected him to say what he did (i.e., “I am not going to resign”), I could not be certain he wouldn’t change his mind. After all, there had been unanimity on the NEC, and near-unanimity among the MEPs. I’ve never seen such a consensus within UKIP.

    I did this because if he had changed his mind at the last minute and decided to resign, UKIP had to have someone there to answer questions. If he said he was staying on, I’d scarper (which I did).

    I arrived exactly on time and lurked in the background (yes, I do know how to do this!). I found not a single UKIP member among the gaggle of journalists waiting at the side entrance of The Grand hotel. Not even one.

    That’s quite telling.

    But Henry was late, and so I was spotted by Crick (with whom I have history dating back to Chingford 2014 and Iain Duncan Smith MP’s “inventive” CV, which referred to a degree that wasn’t and a sort-of management qualification that also wasn’t).

    I explained I’d no more idea than they did about what Henry was going to say, and that’s why I was there, and batted aside the predictable questions.

    Then Henry appeared, and began speaking. He didn’t look me in the eye. Once it was clear there was to be no climbdown at all, and no concessions, I walked away.

    Since then, it’s only got worse.

    See you on Saturday. I’ll be on the 9:13am from Euston.

  6. Well done Paula, I am still waiting for HB to tell me about the swampy things that upset him most.
    Henry just loves Henry and is looking for fame and fortune. I suspect he is really a Walter Mitty and what former serviceman has not met lots of them. Bedecked with medals that were never earned.
    HB is like that, his CV a mess and he has been found out thank goodness, lets fire him on Saturday and move on. Paula keep on doing your thing we like it.

  7. Thank you Paula, especially for reminding us that the membership is responsible for the election of members of the ‘swamp’, a point which is often either overlooked, or possibly wilfully ignored.

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