The Bolton Legacy: Reform Of The NEC Is Needed

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9 Responses

  1. Rob McWhir says:

    The brutal truth is that Nigel rarely attended the NEC, apart from to give his report, and he periodically misrepresented the constitution, e.g. suggesting Tomaž Slivnic could serve as an NEC member without the legal responsibility of being a director.

    Yes, the constitution needs improving, but begin by seeking criticism from someone who attended meetings regularly and understands how the existing constitution works.

    Tomaž would be a good starting point.

  2. Simon Platt says:

    You’re right that Henry did say that the UKIP NEC was responsible for the day-to-day management of the party, and that such a job couldn’t be done by a group that meets for three hours once a month.

    He’s right about the second point, but surely wrong about the first? Surely day-to-day management is the business of party officers and staff, with the NEC providing oversight?

    I’m sure that the UKIP constitution needs revision, and that that work should continue. I think, though, that the biggest problem must be that any change must be approved by two thirds of the membership. That’s surely an almost impossible barrier to overcome. I wonder whether it was originally a drafting error.

    I don’t think we disagree much. And frankly, I don’t much care how the party management is done, so long as it works, gives oversight to members’ representatives, and so long as the leader, whoever he is, doesn’t get dragged into the weeds. I want him to provide leadership and do politics.

  3. Rhys Burriss says:

    “” that any change must be approved by two thirds of the membership. “”

    You are right that this needs to change ~ please see my article in tomorrow’s KC with a proposed solution.

    ALSO, on the subject of the NEC and the Leader / salaried officers at Party HQ ~ I think the existing system works reasonably well, albeit I do think that the specifics of how people are permitted to present their candidatures for election to the NEC needs changing ( also see my article tomorrow ).

    The truth of the matter is that a political Leader who has intelligence and ideas which broadly resonate with the membership’s will be supported by the NEC as far as they possibly can.
    Nigel did have this support.
    However much he criticizes the NEC as being ‘amateurs’ and then the silly snobbish remark about bringing sandwiches ( it suits me mightily that most of them are not rich enough to be able to dine in Mayfair restaurants like Nigel has the money to do ) the fact is that during 2013 ~16 Nigel bestrode the British political scene like a Colossus ~ the NEC did not put a single spoke in his wheel.
    So whatever Nigel achieved during those three glory years could be achieved again ~ the NEC cannot be the obstacle to a Leader being successful.
    I hope now Nigel has been unsuccessful at keeping the Nightmare on as Leader he will row back from his unfair criticism of the NEC and the Party more generally and start being more supportive.
    Nobody asked him to resign.
    He is starting to look and act like Ted Heath after Mrs Thatcher won the Tory Leadership. ( Not a good look for old Ted and not a good look for Nigel 🙂 )

  4. forthurst says:

    I think Henry Bolton’s Constitution is complete rubbish. What is the point in constraining the Leader as to whom he must have on his Executive Board ? I see from the minutes of 8.1.18 that “We are still doing very well in certain areas, such as Thurrock, for instance.” Well, that’s gratifying!

    According to the minutes of 27.11.17, the decision was taken to use the £ sign until after the May 2018 locals and Lennie the lion thereafter. This is an incorrect decision because according to the Electoral Commission, “an emblem that contains text which cannot be read at the size emblems appear on ballot papers (2cm square)” cannot be registered. “For the Nation” is totally illegible in that context.

    I would have liked to review the minutes of the meeting at which the decision was taken to support Jane Collins’ defence. Was Jane Collins present? Did she present documentary evidence in support of her allegations that would stand up in court? Was legal advice sought about the implications of the adopted route because mostly the advice is to climb down publicly and pay undisclosed damages.

    My concern about the NEC is that any idiot can put himself forward for it and in the space available for each candidate, it is not possible in many cases, to make the necessary distinctions.

    More vital than changing the constitution is to have the potential to operate UKIP, entirely as an online party; the first step being to ditch HB’s initiative. Once UKIP has the potential to operate entirely online, then the Constitution can be built around that so that e.g. we can have pro forma CVs online for all internal candidates for all Party level offices, videos of hustings with audible sound and online voting for all decisions required of members.

  5. MIKE MAUNDER says:

    UKIPs NEC did not make me blush when talking independence. Henry Bolton did that all on his own !

  6. Jim Stanley says:

    To be honest, I have not given much thought to the running of any political Party, but on reflection, ans having been a CEO, only of a private family company, it must be a tough job. The NEC are directors, responsible for the correct (legaly) governance of the organisation, under sanction of jail time if they get it wrong! Directors are normally shareholders with their money invested, usually quite large sums, but I believe the NEC are not shareholders, any more than members are. ( I am not sure but depending upon how the company/ party is set they may stand to lose £1, as all members may) They are morally required to co operate with a Leader, whom they disagree with, and they are accountableto the members, many of whom frankly have not a clue how things are run and worse moan like hell when something happens! There has been a suggestion to bring in professional management, charged with the functions of the current directors, running back office function, membership fundraising etc. This obviously costs money, but commercial fundraisers work on results paid a fixed percentage of the “take” they raise. For example we have all seen the plastic sacks for old clothes for charities, this a commercia enterprise paying the charity a fixed price per ton of cloth collected, in effect they use the charity name, and pay for it, likewise the “Charity worker”,signing you up for a direct debit membership of some prestige national charities, are again commercial fund raisers, and believe me, they make a dsmn good living at it. But I digress, and get off my hobby horse, my point is this, it is very easy to critisise the NEC, I recall reading that the members of the NEC are “Jointly and Severaly Liable for the Debts of the Company”, (Party) so, if this is the case that 200k will be the source of many sleepless nights.
    So, when we say that they got it wrong again, given the situation, they do have to watch their own backs! This question of personal liability needs to be addressed, as a director of my own company my maximum personal liability was restricted, as it was a limited liability company, but there are companies limited by gaurantee and other set ups, I am not sure of the exact definitions but to place this short of obligation on a voluntry body, ,iike the NEC, is in my opinion not right, so, as can be seen, there is far more that needs to be looked into than just scrspping the NEC, as they are directors, and a company without directors ceases to exist, so you can see the problem. OK, I am working on hearsay evidence, and knowledge learned in the 1980s, so I may very well be wrong, if I am I apologise, but not for the point I am making, be more certain of the circumstances before going off the deep end, as there may be many factors that we are not aware of. The author of this article is doubtless better informed than I, but the set up is, by it’s very nature a complex multi-faceted organism, something that should be taken into account.

  7. Russell Hicks says:

    All the time members are fixated and fussing about rule books, we fail to broadcast our message to the broader public, as if it’s a second or third priority. I was at a King’s College debate last night where Martin Wolf, grizzled old senior journalist of the Financial Times was still banging on about ‘the mistake of Brexit’. I made the audience laugh by comparing him to the Japanese soldier in the jingle, who refused to stop fighting because he JUST COULDN’T ACCEPT THE WAR WAS OVER AND HIS SIDE LOST. I also pointed out that the trade figures he was spouting were wrong.

  8. Simon Platt: “He’s right about the second point, but surely wrong about the first? Surely day-to-day management is the business of party officers and staff, with the NEC providing oversight?”

    The fact that the NEC is the Board of Directors means that legally it has control over everything. It can control expenditure, hire and fire staff, and overrule any decisions made by officers. To what extent that has actually happened I don’t know, but I can see it might be a problem.

    Since the word of a director can be taken to represent the organisation, or commit it to a legal contract, a directly elected BOD can be quite dangerous. A diverse elected council can be a huge asset but you do tend to get the occasion odd-ball elected and you don’t necessarily wan’t those people on the BOD.

    At IPSE our solution was to say that the elected council are not themselves directors, instead they appoint a Board of Directors. Having appointed a board they can’t instruct them what to do and they can’t sack or appoint additional directors. But they do have the power to call an EGM which can eject the board as a whole and call a new election (a power we have never used at IPSE).

    That is not the only solution, but every organisation I have been involved in (or been told about) has this tension between a lager directly elected body and a smaller executive with day-to-day-control. The challenge is to make sure the executive can get on with running things while the directly elected body is consulted and has real influence.

    I agree with forthurst that operating online is important. Getting the members and even the wider public involved in the policy process via the web could be hugely valuable. IPSE started as an entirely online organisation (As IR35update in 1999) but we soon found that some face-to-face meetings are needed. But web technology has moved on since then and I think there is a lot of potential in this.

    I really think this needs a much longer consultation period than Henry was suggesting, and that is why the interim leader should get the ball rolling ASAP.

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