Ed: We publish Henry Bolton’s Letter to Members because many will not have received it, for the known reason:
FINANCES, ORGANISATION, MEMBERSHIP AND COMMUNICATIONS
On taking office I looked in the money bucket and found it entirely empty. In fact it was worse than empty; it had a big hole in the bottom. There is no money – in fact for a year we have been running on an entirely unsustainable monthly deficit.
The party has very few resources and I have inherited no office and no office equipment or staff. As you well know, despite the party sending out information over the summer, the technical flaws in our internal communication systems have meant that many of you haven’t heard anything from the centre for a long time. Likewise our planning and public profile has been almost non-existent.
UKIP hasn’t had stable Leadership for over a year. I’m now restoring that stability and with it will come confidence.
Our financial health is crucial to our future success and the books must be balanced. This is not a ‘nice to have’ – it is a ‘need to have’. However, balancing the books is no easy task. That said, we have now identified a range of potential savings to our annual running costs. We are also tightening up on the collection of our membership subscriptions. Together these measures should increase the financial health of the party by up to £200,000 per year.
It will take at least three months for these savings to be implemented and take effect and, in the meantime, we must somehow bridge the gap in order to survive. To that end I would like to ask whether you could donate something to the party. Every little bit helps. Donations can be made by credit/debit card and PayPal via the front page of the new-look party website at www.ukip.org
Recruitment and finances are inseparable. Our day to day running costs are met by membership subscriptions – the more members we have, the more money the party receives through subscription fees and the larger the pool from which we can draw activists and candidates. We will be sending out new instructions at the end of the month regarding recruitment.
As for numbers, for the past 9 months, with one exception, we have lost between 800 and 1,000 members every month. I’m pleased to report that now the net figures have levelled out and presently stand at just under 25,000 (at this time in 2014 we had 22,000 members). So, whilst we may have been losing members, we have also been gaining new members since our conference and many people have re-joined.
As said, I inherited no structures to which I could delegate tasks. I have now established six ‘Leader’s Management Groups’ to help make things happen:
– The Leaders Group (‘L’ Group)
– The Shadow Cabinet (‘O’ Group)
– The Communications Group (‘C’ Group)
– The Events Group (‘E’ Group)
– The Fundraising Group (‘F’ Group)
– The Membership Recruitment Group (‘R’ Group)
1. The Leader’s Group – Tasked to advise the Leader on all matters pertaining to direction and policies of the party and consisting of the senior Shadow Cabinet members and party officers.
2. The Shadow Cabinet – The party’s highest political policy body, tasked with formulating, discussing and determining party political policies and with proposing policies, as necessary, to the membership at conference.
On Friday 17th November I held my first full Shadow Cabinet meeting. I am told it was the first of its kind ever held by a UKIP leader! And, in another UKIP first, it started and ended precisely on time. The Cabinet discussed a range of matters, including the party’s finances and organisation and policy development processes. It focused on the role of Spokesmen, the need for collective responsibility, the need to engage more closely in national politics and the requirement to review and update of the 2015 Election manifesto. The Cabinet will meet every six weeks.
3. The Communications Group – Based on my direction, the Comms Group will define the party’s master messages, enhance the party’s internal and external communications and reinforce its public brand. In addition, the Comms Group is tasked to oversee the implementation of the party’s new Digital Transformation Strategy, which we completed at the beginning of the month. This strategy should, over the next 12-18 months, see an overhaul of our national and branch websites with automatic news updates, the introduction of a new and reliable email system and the creation of an intranet and smartphone app.
4. The Events Group – This Group is tasked with planning and organising all administrative and logistical aspects of national party events (conferences, launches, cabinet meetings etc)
5. The Fundraising Group – The Fundraising Group is tasked with finding imaginative ways in which to increase the party’s income.
6. The Membership Recruitment Group – The Recruitment Group is tasked to increase the membership of the party. Presently the party has 25,000 members. The Group targets are:
– End 2018 – 32,000 members
– End 2019 – 40,000 members
With these groups in place I shall be able to focus much more on re-building the public face and image of our party
CAMPAIGN PLANNING & SUPPORT TEAMS
I have established three Campaign Planning & Support Teams.
– The Elections Planning & Support Team
– The Save our Services Planning & Support Team
– The BREXIT Campaign Team
1. The Elections Planning and Support Team:
We must urgently prepare for the local elections. I am determined that we will never again be unprepared for an election at any level. We will always strive to contest every seat in every local and national election.
To this end, I have established an ‘Elections Planning and Support Team’, headed up by Andrew Charalambous and comprised of ten highly competent campaigners. This team has been tasked by me to provide the national level planning and support to general and local government elections. It is also tasked with improving campaign communication, planning, the provision of training and analysis. You will hear more from Andrew and his team soon.
2. The ‘Save our Services’ Campaign Planning & Support Team
On Thursday 16th November, Mike Hookem MEP and I launched our national campaign to oppose and reverse cuts to our armed and emergency services, to oppose any subordination of the armed forces to the EU and to support our veterans. I also discussed the subject on Daily Politics the same day.
The campaign already has a dedicated website: https://saveourservices.ukip.org/
Over the next couple of weeks the ‘Save our Services’ will be sending leaflet templates and a link to my speech to all branches so that you can build opposition to the Tory government’s willingness to subordinate our military to the EU into your local campaigning.
The government has been praising our servicemen and women and our emergency services but in reality it’s been stabbing them in the back, cutting their budgets, ignoring their welfare and compromising our security. Those in uniform and in the service of this country deserve better and UKIP is now the only party committed to providing the support they need; the only party committed to protecting our protectors, through BREXIT and beyond.
So please do push this campaign as strongly as you can and integrate it into any other campaigns you may be running in your own area.
3. The BREXIT Campaign Team
The Tories are leading us into longer term integration with the EU rather than implementing the democratic mandate of the country. They are lost; they are failing to plan and prepare for BREXIT and are making a hash of the whole thing. They are giving away money and are integrating the UK further into the EU when they should be implementing the mandate of the people to do precisely the opposite.
They are betraying the British people. Only UKIP is 100% committed to a real BREXIT. We must refresh, reinvigorate and ramp up our BREXIT messages. If the government cannot plan for BREXIT and beyond, UKIP will.
I have asked our outstanding Spokesman for Exiting the EU, Gerard Batten MEP, to head up a new BREXIT Campaign Team. Gerard and the team will immediately start work with members of the Shadow Cabinet and begin the process of refreshing our BREXIT messages.
My intention is that the party will hold a major BREXIT event in the spring. Further details will emerge from Gerard and the BREXIT Team in due course.
The Leader’s Management Groups and our new Campaign Planning and Support Teams are crucial elements in strengthening much of what we do internally and in ensuring that you, at the sharp end, get more of the support you need.