I am concerned that some good candidates for the leadership may be daunted by the task – daunted, because the task looks impossible.

It is incumbent on the existing management to make the job possible and attractive. I do not see that happening. For that reason I suggest an alternative approach.

Whoever wins the leadership election will be faced with re-inventing the leadership role so that it becomes possible. There is no point in starting an impossible job and failing. It won’t help you, it won’t help UKIP and it won’t help Britain. I suggest therefore that you seek to agree terms before starting your work. If UKIP and you cannot agree terms, then you will need to resign. If UKIP and you agree terms and then UKIP reneges later, you may decide to resign. I do not wish to publish a proposed list of terms, though I have drafted one. However, I do wish to try to summarise the conundrum that we face.

The Conundrum:

Nigel has been too good!

Nigel has been a strong leader with incredible energy. Can you follow that? Or can you design a structure where you can get by with less energy? Nigel is the best orator in the world. How can we manage without him? Or would you continue to use his skills?

The Vacuum:

The leader, deputy leader, chairman and Diane James have all resigned in very quick succession. The rulebook and constitution have not addressed this unforeseen situation and thus cannot cope. Where is the leader’s private office, secretary, and personal staff? Is the inward cash flow enough to pay for routine payments? Who is running UKIP right now?

David and Goliath:

There has been a 10 year battle between the EU and UKIP. UKIP has partially (perhaps wholly) destroyed the EU with words. The EU has partially (perhaps wholly) destroyed UKIP with money.

Party Members:

The volunteer wing of the party has 35,000 wonderful members. Bolted onto that volunteer wing is the small professional wing, consisting of people who (in the main) receive money (salaries). Some of the professionals have publicly made disparaging remarks about other professionals and about the NEC. (There may also be unpleasant remarks on Facebook etc, but I don’t look at those). Some of the professionals have threatened to leave if other professionals do not leave. The professional wing is, as I see it, corrupt, cheating, and undisciplined.

Money:

Our largest potential donor has said he will leave if certain other prominent members remain. Nigel Farage plans to stay on as head of the MEPs, thus controlling nearly all the money, and the paid staff. Nigel Farage conducts the relationship with the donors and there is no guarantee that donors will continue to donate. Nigel Farage wants to depart; but how can he, if he controls all the MEPs and nearly all the money? We shall lose all our MEPs and all the associated money in 2019 at the next elections to the EU Parliament. The job of leader is unpaid. The work is massive. The hotel and travel expenses, the security expenses, could be substantial.

The NEC:

The NEC does not always stick up for the members. Instead it often collaborates with the central Clique, against the members. When the NEC sticks up for what is right, some of the professionals want the NEC abolished. NEC briefing papers are often inadequate. The NEC should probably elect its own chairman, as should the Board. The NEC need better links with the regional organisers’ and regional chairmen’s meetings, which also should elect its own chairman.

Press/Media:

The press office will continue to work for Nigel, thus reducing control by the leader. Only the professionals appear on TV. It is not certain that the volunteers could cope on TV. The press office will disappear in 2019.

Policies:

Our main policies have been stolen by the Tories. Our ‘VIPs’ may have different views on future policy and presentation of Policy. Some voters and some members think the Party’s work is now done; our membership is shrinking.

Briefings:

It is not certain that you, the leader, will be briefed on how the party works. Do not expect a proper briefing book. You will not inherit a civil service to brief you. It is not certain that the MEPs, nor ADDE nor IDDE nor EFDD will give you the information you need.

You are inheriting a vacuum.

Mad Ideas:

Mad option 1: 

Could Nigel stay as nominal leader, but with a much reduced Workload? Could you, as new leader, come in as deputy leader or chairman or chief executive? Nigel could resign as an MEP. That way he would get most of his life back.

Mad option 2:

An amicable divorce; MEPs and the professionals can leave and found a 5-star party, with no internal democracy; the councillors, AMs, MP, and volunteers can carry on in UKIP, with the branches, counties, regions. The regional chairmen would constitute the NEC.

All options need to be considered. Procedurally it would be odd to win the leadership election and then suggest that Nigel stay as nominal leader, with you as deputy, but if it might work, then it should be considered.

I don’t claim that I am right, but we do seem to need some creative thinking. The highly intelligent people who read this forum may be able to hit on the right solution.

Summary:

The new leader will need a management consultant style report on the state of the Party and on the options. Who is going to write a good report and will there be a cost?

I hope that, having read this screed, good candidates will feel more able to enter the contest!

Photo by Sheila Hudson

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