Katie Fanning, a NEC member, and I attended yesterday’s (Feb 9th 2018) ‘Meeting with Henry Bolton’ in Bolton. It was a meeting for Northwest UKIP members. However, even though we’re both Northwest members neither Katie or I were formally invited. At first I was denied entry because I was told it was a ‘private meeting’ – bizarre, as NEC members have a constitutional right to attend any party meeting!
Clearly, it was a Henry lovefest without anyone asking him any searching questions. Turnout was very poor.
Mr Bolton gave the attendees the impression that the NEC were blocking or not helping him implement his reforms/plans. Of course, this is palpable nonsense. Since he became leader I can’t think of any substantive plans he has presented to the NEC. In fact as treasurer I’m still waiting for his ‘business plan’, without which I cannot finalise the 2018 budget. Very professional!
To be fair to Mr Bolton though, there is one item that he pushed the NEC very hard on and that’s membership fee reform. The NEC fully backed Mr Bolton’s fee structure, even though there has been some membership backlash since it was introduced. We also backed his request to delay the NEC elections and to continue with the constitutional reform started under Paul Nuttall’s leadership.
So, there are three distinct actions, especially on membership fee reform, that the NEC has backed Mr Bolton on.
It came as no surprise that Mr Bolton attacked the NEC yesterday, given they had unanimously, bar him, voted against him in the ‘vote of no confidence’ meeting two weeks ago on Sunday 21st January. However, he struggled to explain why most of his hand-picked cabinet, including his deputy leader, had resigned and told him to go.
Mr Bolton is said to be a ‘man of substance’ and I assume with his bulletproof CV also a man of honour, integrity, discipline and duty. Therefore, can he please desist from ‘misleading’ members over his dealings with the NEC who from the start of his leadership, before ‘Marneygate’, were 100% behind him.
At that meeting yesterday he belittled the NEC’s ‘vote of no confidence’ meeting (quelle surprise!), giving the impression the NEC couldn’t agree on why we voted against him. Many NEC members voted against him because of, in their view, his appalling lack of judgement and lack of political nous.
He demonstrated that lack again when asked at the meeting: now you know Ms Marney’s background would you have started a relationship with her last December?
He said no. That answer said everything! For a man with his background in security to have not done some simple due diligence (20 mins looking at her social media feeds) was a dereliction of duty. Twenty minutes that would have convinced him to walk away, to protect the party from the ensuing chaos we’re now having to endure because he, our commanding officer, didn’t do his ‘job’ of protecting his regiment (UKIP) from a clear & present danger.
The highlight of Mr Bolton’s speech yesterday was when he introduced his plans for a ‘Code of Conduct’. I had to check it wasn’t April 1st. I wondered whether it would come with a case study i.e. our current leader’s conduct!
It would also help if Mr Bolton and his clique acquainted themselves with the Constitution and Rulebook. Much of what would constitute a ‘code of conduct’ is already covered therein. Maybe Mr Bolton could present to the NEC any ‘code of conduct’ omissions he thinks should be added – after all, as I’ve already outlined, the NEC has been very supportive of the leader’s requests, limited though they’ve been.
One final point. Mr Bolton has made much of his desire to lead. We have the local elections coming up in May and as yet Mr Bolton hasn’t presented any plans for them. Does he actually have any? If so, when can we see them – the clock’s ticking!