What is kept in the dark and fed … manure, in polite language? Mushrooms, isn’t it! That description is often used when we ordinary people talk about how we’re treated by those we’ve elected to lead us. Before a certain lot is offended, let me hasten to add that this mushroom-syndrome occurs across the political spectrum and is by no means applicable only to us Kippers. Let me make it quite clear: I’m not pointing fingers, naming names, or insinuating that someone Up There actually used these words in relation to us members – but as a much older saying has it: “by their fruit you will recognise them (Matthew 7,16 )”, so we’ll just look at some of ‘the fruit’, i.e. facts:
Paul Nuttall resigned as leader in the wake of the GE result;
Jonathan Arnott resigned as General Secretary in the wake of Paul Nuttall’s resignation;
Steve Crowther has been appointed as interim leader in the wake of Paul Nuttall’s resignation.
All that took place on Friday, June 9th. Members were informed via email, with the final email to members that day coming from Chairman Paul Oakden. Let me quote a relevant passage:
“On Monday [June 12th] , the NEC will meet to decide the process for the impending Leadership Election. I will write out on Monday night to confirm what those details are.” (My emphasis).
He did not write in that email to us that “I will inform relevant Top Kippers”, or words to that effect. So here we are: it’s Thursday morning – and did Paul send us any communication? No.
However, yesterday afternoon we did receive the official announcement by UKIP Legal on the leadership contest which will start on Friday 23rd – great choice of date! That was perfectly reasonable, you might say. After all, what has the Chairman got to do with legal announcements! Expressing the legal requirements for the leadership contest is important, after all, and UKIP management doesn’t have any precedents to use as template, does it, after two contests last year …
I will refrain from pointing out that the hurdles for prospective leadership candidates are rather high, with a deposit of £5,000 and the requirement of collecting 99 assentors from ‘at least’ ten branches. Only our ‘UKIP Aristocracy’ can hope to achieve that, not any of us UKIP mushrooms, ahem, peasants.
Something else is interesting. Have you noticed that we members are often being told that there are procedural reasons for not telling us anything in a timely fashion – while at the same time we can read such items splashed across twitter and the MSM? Thus we mushrooms are left to pick up the pieces when talking to ordinary people who want to know what’s going on – and we have to tell them that we are as much in the dark as they are.
This was very humiliating during the election campaign, when journalists – sometimes even live on air – asked our candidates what they thought of this or that UKIP policy, which they didn’t know anything about because HQ hadn’t informed them before HQ went to the MSM. One would assume that PPCs are somewhat more important to HQ than us common mushrooms, but it would seem that, when it comes to keeping everybody in the dark, all UKIP mushroom, ahem, animals, are indeed equal – except, of course, those few select ones who are more equal …
Of course, in good old nosey-parker fashion (an ancient British habit, that!) we ask, suspiciously, ‘have they got something to hide?’. Quite a lot, it would seem.
There was this article in the Guardian on Tuesday, headlining the resignation of Roger Helmer for alleged misuse of funds. While the Guardian writer cannot help herself to smear Roger Helmer as ‘Climate Change Denier’, as if that had anything to do with anything, here’s a quote which illustrates that we were being kept in the dark as per usual:
“His resignation was announced in a European parliament notice published in Strasbourg on Tuesday. No explanation was given for Helmer’s decision to resign midway through the European parliamentary term. The Guardian has learnt that Helmer faces a bill close to £100,000 for illicitly employing a Ukip party worker, Paul Oakden, as his assistant. Oakden’s contract has already been suspended. MEPs are banned from hiring full-time assistants who have jobs in national political parties. Paul Oakden was employed as Helmer’s assistant, while also working as Ukip chairman, according to the party website and in-house magazine.”
Well well well …. And nobody at HQ knew anything about that? It came out of the blue? At the time of writing, it’s certainly not an item on the UKIP official website!
Can we expect more such news? Right at the time when we face yet another leadership campaign? We don’t know, do we …
Pre-GE articles, in the wake of the EU referendum, the resignation of Nigel and the ensuing shenanigans of the various leadership campaigns, have described what could, might and ought to be a way forward – all to deafening silence from our leaders and leadership teams. Post-GE articles, letters and comments here on UKIP Daily have described the experiences of members and PPCs during that campaign. We’ve also heard that our submissions to the Manifesto – which HQ actually called for! – weren’t even acknowledged, never mind made use of.
And now we have the third leadership campaign in less than a year …
Frankly, dear friends, I believe it is now time to abandon the dream of a ‘Leader’ who can and will lead us out of this mire of misery. As this past year has shown: there are none – except those who assure us they are, those whose faces we’ve seen in the last two contests, those who weren’t elected by us.
This contest is the perfect time to ask some inconvenient questions about who actually ‘leads’ UKIP, who represents us members. We’re told on the one hand that the NEC, elected by us, represents us – and on the other that the NEC is the font of all evil, hampering the work of whoever is ‘Leader’, and needs to be abolished. I’ve yet to hear an explanation from HQ, i.e. the current ‘leadership team’, how this circle is to be squared. Let the leadership candidates tell us!
It’s well past time for us to insist on answers.
It is time to show ‘Them’ that we refuse to be mushrooms any longer!