I am writing in response to the allegations made in your ‘Open Letter to Kippers’, published in UKIP Daily on August 27th.
First, please would you name the people you are accusing of rigging elections. Your allegations point to the conclusion that you are accusing me, so I would be grateful if you would be clear on the matter of who you allege is or has been rigging elections within UKIP.
Second, I have to tell you that I have received a strong complaint from the staff at Lexdrum House regarding your allegation that they may have introduced ‘dummy members’ and ‘dummy branches’ into the membership database. Both as employees and as members of the party they are incensed at this public accusation of criminality.
Third, you state that “The party will always be run by a small clique. Teams larger than five cannot manage anything”. This rather invalidates your whole thesis, which is based upon this clique being corrupt and corrupting.
Fourth, I will now attempt to correct some of your more egregious allegations and assertions.
- NEC votes “look grossly rigged”. This is a ridiculous assertion. Look to whom? I can state with categorical certainty that since I became Chairman in 2010 no such thing has happened. Every NEC count has been overseen by a volunteer member of the party, and has been open to any NEC member to attend. I was not even a member in 2004.
- The London list was adjusted in 2012 by the NEC, according to the rules pertaining to that election, adopted by the NEC. Again you allege a crime. I demand to know to whom you ascribe this crime. You were a member of the NEC in 2011-12 and the minutes show that you took an active part in that process.
- The London list in 2016 was not ‘resequenced’ after members had voted. It was run according to the rules made by the NEC, who did not alter the results of the selection process. Another crime allegation. Please name the criminal(s).
- The MEP list was managed in “wrong ways” (according to you, but not the NEC). You allege that the merit point system was rigged, but provide no evidence of this. You may be interested to know that the MEP selection process was challenged in the High Court by a disgruntled prospective candidate, and was found by that court to be not just fair, but ‘designed to be fair’.
- On the current leadership election, I am perfectly happy to give you the opportunity to check the membership data for ‘dummy members’, and the Returning Officer has no objection. It will be on condition, however, that when you find no such thing, you publicly apologise to everyone involved, especially the staff, and resign from the party forthwith. You can see the data at Lexdrum House, since we do not send the members list out to any Tom, Dick or Harry. You will be assured of full co-operation from the criminals at Lexdrum.
- You again assert “NEC election rigging”, this time without qualification. Name the guilty party/ies, please.
- “Corruption of NEC members by dangling MEPships’. Please provide evidence of this, and name the perpetrator(s).
- I understand that Diane James never even tried to “wrest power from the Clique”, apart from asking the Treasurer to send the party’s financial information to an unknown person who had no role in the party, over an email address which she herself had reported to be compromised. He not unnaturally declined to do this. The NEC was keen to meet Diane to arrange and assist her assumption of ‘power’, but she did not attend the meeting(s) that had been arranged.
Finally, despite asserting that the party can only be run by a clique, you lay out a litany of allegations of criminality, which are all apparently to provide ‘the Clique’ with “power”. As a former member of the NEC, you are aware that the power in the party resides with (a) the Constitution and (b) the NEC, through its rulebook.
You say that the Constitution needs to define the split of powers between the Leader, CE/Chairman, NEC members, regions, branches. It already does. You proofread it, so are perfectly well aware of this.
The idea that ‘the Clique’ – whoever they are, but I would be fairly surprised not to be named among them at this point – are desperate for ‘power’ is insulting and cheap. I have done my job(s) for the party over the past eight years because I believe in its cause and wanted to do whatever I could to help achieve it.
I cannot wait to relinquish the responsibility, and I know that my close colleagues feel the same, largely because of the fact that when our external enemies are not trying to destroy us, some of our ‘own’ people are only too keen to queue up to stab us in the back – for what reason, I cannot fathom.
Sincerely, Steve Crowther