The day after tomorrow cannot come soon enough: the day of the EGM. If you haven’t done so – you have until noon tomorrow to register (see this article for particulars).
Looking back to the beginning of January when all this kicked off: these past weeks have certainly been illuminating. The case pro and con the current Leader has been made on Social Media (those of you with twitter and/or facebook accounts must be fully aware by now of the accusations thrown back and forth), it has been made here on UKIP Daily, on Kipper Central, and even in the MSM. Mr Bolton has used these past weeks to visit more branches putting his case before members in person, and has also suddenly found the time to create his own blog. Two days ago he sent his message to all UKIP members whose email addresses are on the Party database.
So accusations of partisanship and bias from Bolton’s supporters addressed to UKIP Daily and Kipper Central – accusations which have become increasingly vitriolic during the last week – are well beside the point.
UKIP is not the property of the leader. UKIP members are not to be treated like toy soldiers, to be put into their box once the Leader has no use for them. Denying the grassroots to have an opinion different to that of the leader and to express themselves e.g. on UKIP Daily unless they sing from the Leader’s song sheet – that smacks perilously like an exercise in totalitarianism.
It is not, after all, as if the leader doesn’t have a big advantage such as the legitimate use of the Party database to get his message across, an advantage denied, by the nature of things, to the grassroots.
Now there’s the biggest gun of UKIP looming on the horizon:
“The decision could be crucial as Bolton tries to cling on to his job” writes the author of that article. Indeed so – and we can bet that Farage’s decision or announcement will also be published in the MSM who have a far greater reach than Kipper Central and UKIP Daily! I can hear some say that Farage is entitled to his opinion – and so he is, but so are we!
We all need to recall that, unlike what Mr Bolton and his supporters have been arguing increasingly vociferously, the EGM is not about his “reforms”, or indeed about a new constitution such as presented by him in his message (and do see Steve Crowther’s article on that!).
It is about one issue only: do the members support the Vote of No Confidence by the NEC or do they not.
It is not about Bolton’s private life, his ‘reforms’, or even his leadership. It is not about the ‘bad’ NEC, no matter what Farage keeps telling us. It is not about a reform of the NEC. It is, plain and simple, about that no-confidence vote. The NEC, taking that vote, have listened to the members, to us, the grassroots. The NEC represent us, the grassroots. We voted them in, we can vote them out. It’s our privilege to support their decision at the EGM – or not.
It’s not about the hurt ego of Bolton, it’s not about Farage’s ages-long feud with the NEC – it’s about us.
This is why it’s so wrong of Bolton and his supporters to turn this into an issue exclusively about the NEC and to try desperately to show with his message to members that he’s “done things – look at me”.
Funny, isn’t it, how all this activity suddenly took place in the last week – but not in the months before. Funny, isn’t it, how his constitutional reform proposal suddenly is presented now, a few days before the EGM – but not during the months before …
Based on Bolton’s message Feb 13th – I won’t go into the details – I will emphasise this warning: not to support the NEC’s no-confidence vote will see UKIP turned into a grotesque caricature of itself.
For example, how is it possible to claim UKIP stands for “Respect and promote freedom of expression and speech” when it says in the same document that Membership can be removed from anyone who “is liable to undermine the cohesion and unity of the Party” – see Jack Russell’s Letter yesterday.
We must not let ourselves be bullied by the Big Gun that is Farage, by the smaller gun that is Bolton and by the tiny guns that are his supporters into turning our vote into one ‘for reform of the bad NEC – keep Bolton!’ rather than into support for (or not) the NEC’s no-confidence-vote!
We grassroots told the NEC members what we felt, that the leader had lost our trust. They listened to us. When was the last time Farage and Bolton listened to us grassroots rather than denigrate us?
You know the answer!
Come to the EGM and show the Big, small and tiny guns that it’s not about them but about us, that they have lost our trust. Trust lost is very hard to regain. Have they done anything these last weeks to regain that trust?
You know the answer!
UKIP is us, the grassroots – or it is nothing. Let’s show that to all at the EGM!