Mr Bolton’s recent long email was a not very subtle attempt to try to overwhelm people with information and distract from the real issue.
His proposed Constitution revision is another tactic to try to further muddy the EGM waters and should be being dismissed in one word: unacceptable. The only additional required clarification is that, as Mr Bolton doesn’t have exclusive rights to UKIP Constitution reform, it is an entirely separate issue from his continued actions being, in his own words, “incompatible with my [his] leadership” of UKIP.
I suspect Mr Bolton’s Lib-Dem background attracted people to vote for him because it would immediately detoxify the resurrection of UKIP being seen as the ‘BNP in Blazers’, as a result of the ridiculous continual over-emphasis on the ‘Ban the Burka’ policy in the last General Election campaign. But conversely that is one reason why, continuing to date the author of racist texts even after he himself said that doing so would be “incompatible with my leadership”, has bitten him doubly hard.
I wanted to use my professional expertise as a musician, and hands-on political experience (including being a councillor for 16 years), to support and help UKIP under Mr Bolton’s leadership and so I approached him at the end of the Conference Chairman’s dinner. I suggested that while not the area which makes or breaks government, nonetheless given most people’s hobbies are either a sport or an art, coming up with some common sense policies in these areas could help UKIP be seen as reasonable and so better communicate other more significant policies with voters. I suggested that culture was far more than just being British as appeared to be the UKIP approach thus far.
Frankly, I was appalled by the total lack of preparation, from a Leader supposedly doing the job full-time to technicians, for the disastrous Save Our Services policy launch just the day before the one and only Shadow Cabinet Meeting in mid-November. But my feedback was entirely constructive, mainly in sympathy that anyone is likely to have a hard job following the seemingly naturally brilliant and polished presentation of Nigel Farage, wanting to encourage improvement rather than be totally damning.
The dry, boring, uncommunicative and totally hypocritical as it has turned out (“Be nice to a stranger”) Christmas Message was clearly being read. Why? No long list of facts to remember. No strict time limit (no wonder even Nigel wisely read his opening and closing statements for both Clegg debates). As all UKIP Parliamentary Candidates will know, our tests included speaking off the cuff without even notes, so what on earth was going on here? Yet again, the Leader was clearly hopelessly under-prepared!
At the one and only Shadow Cabinet Meeting, Spokesmen agreed to start to review policies in the 2015 Manifesto and to gather other UKIP members who might have expertise and/or general interest in our area to help us.
You can imagine my disappointment that nothing was done to help progress in this process in the Christmas Magazine: no encouraging members to make contact with Shadow Cabinet Spokesmen even via one central email address, never mind directly. How else could spokesmen contact the UKIP membership more efficiently themselves?
The second mid-January Shadow Cabinet Meeting was cancelled at short notice – hardly surprisingly in the circumstances! I assumed that was to prevent a proverbial Leader massacre, which was to be formally delivered later last month by the NEC. So as far as policy development was concerned, it was rather like doing your homework, having had no friends available to ‘phone, packing it all in your school-bag ready to hand in, first thing the next morning at registration, only to find the school had been closed!
I had set out some thoughts about how to better present policy as a whole to current members and prospective voters, and started a first stage of brainstorming Culture & Arts policy ideas.
The Halal/Kosher meat issue again raised its head in the media and I’m grateful to UKIP Daily for having published my proposed way forward. In summary I suggest separating Muslims’ and Jews’ assumed aims of minimising animal suffering and maximising hygiene from the means of action on these aims at the time of these ancient writings. Therefore, far from being incompatible with the original aims, or showing hostility towards Muslims or Jews, moving on from Halal and Kosher methodologies by legislating to follow best modern animal slaughter practices, including requiring all animals slaughtered for food to be fully stunned before killing, is precisely in keeping with the assumed laudable over-riding original aim of Halal and Kosher practices: to minimise animal suffering.
Thus accusations that all Spokesmen have been doing absolutely nothing perhaps says more about those coming out with such baseless nonsense than those of us they’ve attempted to smear.
So, in summary none of the information in Mr Bolton’s multiple attempts at defending the indefensible changes the fact that, having been given what I’ve called the UKIP (still Interim) Chairman’s Edward VIII Challenge on Sunday 21 January, and having said that his leadership was incompatible with dating the author of racist and other vile texts, Bolton has nonetheless continued to do just that, and in doing so has brought the leadership of UKIP and the party as a whole into utter disrepute. No wonder 16 out of 24 of us Shadow Cabinet Spokesmen resigned. All UKIP Peers are against him and the NEC rightly voted unanimously against him.
On Saturday I shall attend the EGM and will vote to Bin Bolton as the party will not make any impact on UK politics while Bolton remains.
Sorting out any other shortcomings are for future days and occasions.