[Ed: This blueprint for how the grassroots can take back control is based on the experience in Wales, but does not apply exclusively to the Principality. Again, colleagues from a cross the Nation in branches, counties and regions can easily adapt these proposals to their own local needs. Furthermore, if adopted across the Nation, the opportunities for collaborating between branches will be of immense benefit.]
Part 2 – A Blueprint
Part 1 closed with this statement:
There is no doubt that as part of a UKIP County Branch your area will do better.
With that and other matters in mind, here is the proposal:
A GRASSROOTS CONFERENCE
where we can express what we really want.
At this conference every person attending will be allowed to speak. The Conference is called and organised by Grassroots members and will exclude MEPs, NEC Members, Staff officers and everyone described as a Controller. The 6 Assembly members will be invited to attend as observers, without the right of speaking, because it is of the utmost importance that this is a Grassroots convention.
We do not want any hint of top-down direction or any possibility that you will be boxed into a corner or inhibited in any way from expressing your views.
The paramount consideration is the development of UKIP in Wales within the classical liberal tradition of Freedom of Association, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Enterprise, Democracy and the Rule of Law which are the foundation stones of every successful Country in the World today.
An invitation to a Grassroots Conference might look like this:
To every member of UKIP in Wales who is not an MEP, an NEC member, a UKIP staff officer or Controller:
You are invited to
A GRASSROOTS CONFERENCE
This is a Forum of UKIP Grassroots members in Wales. It is outside the UKIP Constitution and relies on the inherent right of British Subjects to associate freely. That may offend the top-down, incompetent and ignorant hierarchy who have misruled us so far.
But if we do not lead this principled rebellion, who will?
The Assembly Members and their Staff officers are invited to attend, but not to speak, as there must be no hint of top-down pressure.
The matters for discussion, hitherto prevented by top-down divide-and-rule head-office policy, are:
- Policies for UKIP, and UKIP Wales
- County Governance – the key to success throughout the UK
- A Wales Committee
- The relationship of UKIP Wales to the rest of UKIP
Everything we discuss is non binding, because this Forum has no authority anywhere. We start by being advisory, and then, if we are sufficiently persuasive, possibly something more.
Below are some points providing a background for an informed debate.
In his article on January 10th published in UKIP Daily Gerard Batten MEP identified 10 policies including:
- To continue to argue the case for a strictly controlled and limited immigration system
- To promote economic policies to make ordinary working people feel that the economy works for them by providing jobs for ordinary working people
- To face up to the threat posed to our way of life by radical Islam
- To speak up against political correctness and cultural Marxism
- To increase our membership by adopting policies appealing to those who feel disenfranchised
- To use social media to recruit new members and spread our message
Policies for Wales:
- How to help our upland farmers
- How to save and enhance the prospects of wildlife in the uplands of Wales
- How to increase efficient food production in Wales, possibly as implemented in New Zealand
- Any Wales specific policy which you think should be implemented
If you would like to present one of these topics please contact the convenor with a summary of your presentation. Each presentation should be less than 5 minutes followed by an open discussion of up to 10 minutes.
This will be the first time in many years that ordinary members in Wales will have had a say in policy making. This Grassroots Conference cannot make binding decisions, but members’ views will be indicative of what is required.
Please keep your summary as short as possible – less than an A4 page – to make room for the views of other members.
There will be no ambushes, or procedural sleights of hand, so beloved of the hierarchy.
The Conference will then divide into 5 groups, one for each of the 5 Counties, or electoral divisions of Wales. Assembly Members and their Staff members may participate.
Each Group to consider:
- Forming a County Branch (there are real difficulties in the vast area of Mid & West Wales)
- Whether to meet on a regular date of each month, and where.
Preferably each County should choose a different date, so that members, if invited, can attend other County meetings.
- Appointing a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer or possibly deferring a decision until the Inaugural Meeting, in which case you will need to appoint a convener.
- Appointing 2 or 3 members to represent the County on the Wales Committee (see below).
The Conference will then re-convene, and the Groups can report progress.
A UKIP Wales Committee – Structure:
There are several possible models to be considered:
1 The previous democratic Wales Committee used the same constitution as for Constituency Associations. All members in Wales were invited, and typically 15 to 20 attended. As we now have many more members, that is unlikely to work.
2 The 5 Counties could elect 3 representatives each, making a total of 15. Those members could then appoint their own Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer, and possibly other officers. When meeting with the 6 AMs that would make a total of 21.
The Conference should consider whether the AMs could be among the 3 representatives from each County, and whether those representatives should firstly be drawn from the County Branch officers, if willing.
3 Alternatively the 5 Counties could elect 2 representatives each, and the Wales meeting as a whole, including AMs, could elect the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. This makes 13, so that when meeting with the AMs there would be up to 19, depending on how many AMs were officers.
4 There may be other alternatives.
(If you can think of one, please send it to the convener ASAP)
The UKIP Wales Committee – Purpose:
1 To act as a sounding board for the AMs, to advise and counsel them, and to support them generally.
2 To co-operate with the AMs in producing Policies for Wales.
3 To co-ordinate Election Campaigns in Wales for Westminster and the Welsh Assembly so as to ensure (insofar as the Counties have not already done it) that there is a UKIP candidate in every constituency at least 6 months before an election.
4 To produce Campaign Literature.
5 To provide training for Candidates.
6 To publish a regular newsletter.
7 To receive reports from the County Committees as to progress.
8 Not to interfere with those Counties which are fully functional, but to support those which are not.
9 The relationship between the Wales Committee and the County Committees is not hierarchical. It is one of co-operation and mutual support.
10 To hold regular Grassroots Meetings for the whole of Wales at least once a year in which every UKIP member in Wales has a right to speak.
The relationship with the UKIP Governing Body:
Please discuss each of the following:
- UKIP Wales must have a representative on the UKIP Governing Body
- An NEC mostly comprised of members from the South East has no comprehension of its inadequacy in governing the Party in Wales.
- Wales has an Assembly, whether we like it or not. That means that UKIP Wales must have policies for the Welsh Assembly.
And that means that UKIP in Wales must be internally self governing! How many people in Kent understand, or even care about, problems facing Wales ?
As to the relationship between UKIP Wales and the Governing Body it might be that UKIP Wales is akin to Canada when granted Dominion status.
Is there a workable alternative ?