In his Article published in UKIP Daily on 14 February, Steve Crowther responded on behalf of the NEC to Henry Bolton’s constitutional reform proposals.
What I would like to know is why is Steve Crowther giving Bolton’s draft document the credence it does not deserve, by engaging in substantive debate of it instead of pointing out a few obvious facts – and by so doing, shifting the ground to substantive debate of the constitution rather than giving it the short shrift the irrelevant document deserves.
1) The sole business of the EGM will be to either confirm or not the NEC’s motion of no confidence in Bolton, and dismiss him. No other business can be discussed. If the chairman of the meeting permits such other discussion, it would an outrage and my conclusion will be that he is in cahoots with Bolton.
2) The EGM clearly cannot change the Party Constitution; at least Bolton’s timeline acknowledges that this is the case.
3) Under the Constitution, the Leader does not make Constitutional reform proposals. Constitutional reform proposals are initiated either by:
a) the NEC (good luck to Bolton persuading them to adopt his proposals and present them to the membership); or, b) by 20 branches – provided those branches stump up the sum of £50k (or so) to conduct the subsequent postal ballot (good luck to Bolton finding 20 branches to endorse his crazy proposals and then to come up with the required £50k). Such proposals are then sent to the members by postal ballot and require the approval of 2/3 of ALL members (not just all members voting) to pass.
Broadly speaking then, constitutional reform is the prerogative of the grassroots representatives on the NEC and of the grassroots members, not of the would-be dictator Leader. This is the biggest power grab of all.
4) While the Leader’s job is to lead and to provide direction (and this, together with his membership of the NEC, gives him some right to influence – but not direct – constitutional reform), most likely, Bolton will no longer be Leader within the next 48 hours. Thus, any document he has now prepared is totally irrelevant. His views within 48 hours will be just as relevant (or not) as those of any other ordinary member (provided he is not expelled for having repeatedly brought the Party into disrepute, which in my view he already should have been, as Leader is not immune to such disciplinary action), and any right to influence constitutional reform will befall the new Leader (or to a much lesser degree Interim Leader).
5) Brexit is being stolen away from us under our very noses, and what is Bolton doing? Making highly controversial proposals to re-arrange chairs on the deck of the Titanic which would be certain to tie us up in knots, paralyze the party and provoke an internal civil war if truly substantively engaged in… and result in the destruction of the Party if implemented. Why would someone loyal to UKIP and to Brexit do this? The answer is, he wouldn’t – Bolton is not working in the best interests of UKIP and Brexit, no sane person would cling onto their job in this way with no support of the Party unless his real job was to try to destroy the Party. See my letter on UkipDaily for more.
6) Bolton’s work clearly isn’t his own alone. Why is Nigel being a coward in not having the balls to step out from the shadows and say upfront that this, is in fact, his plan? Because this is Nigel’s plan: he knows Bolton will be defenestrated, so he doesn’t want to burn himself by endorsing him overtly. Instead, he is doing his usual deniable stuff: letting it be known to everyone subtly that he is behind this, but being able to deny it afterwards, especially if it goes wrong. He’s hoping Bolton will cling on and push through this reform. Obviously, Bolton has no credibility (Nigel knows that) and will be thrown out & Nigel is hoping that once Bolton’s done his dirty work of getting rid of the NEC and giving the Leader dictatorial powers, he can swan back in. I think the members are smart enough to see through his and reject this plan.
7) The plan is Stalinist and I say this as someone who lived for 16 years of my life under communism. Not only is it a massive power grab by the Leader as Steve Crowther correctly points out, but to me, the biggest issue that the (proposed to be totally neutered NEC) would consist of the regional chairmen, rather than elected grassroots representatives, thus totally eliminating any element of democratic control of the centre by the grassroots members and consolidating that little bit of residual central control which has not been grabbed by the Leader in the hands of insiders. Someone elected by three levels of delegates (branch delegates elected by members; county delegates elected by branch delegates; regional delegates elected by county delegates) is not democratically accountable to the grassroots members.
This is how “democracy” used to work in precisely Stalinist countries. In communist Yugoslavia, all elections worked this way, rather than by directly electing the national members of parliament. The higher up the hierarchy you went, the more tightly the higher levels were stuffed with cronies and loyalists of the Dear Leader. I don’t mean to say this is how it is now and many of our Regional Chairmen are some of our best people, but this is surely how it would be once their role was made much more key to the running of the Party in the proposed way.
I urge you therefore not only to make the effort to come to Birmingham and vote Bolton out, but also to refuse to engage in any substantive debate of “Bolton’s” “proposals”, a document which is not only badly misguided and potentially very divisive (by design) if treated as a basis of serious debate, but is, most of all, completely irrelevant.