I lack the wit, wisdom and guile of many who have written about this vexing issue before; I apologise.
I lack Henry Bolton’s rhetorical skills, or the debating skills of his supporters; for this too, I apologise.
I hope the fact that I write this from my heart makes up for my deficiencies.
Of course I wish we weren’t where we are. Appalling that it’s come to this.
I won’t restate, paraphrase or condense what’s been argued so far. There’s no space for that.
Some may have had ulterior motives, but most didn’t. I don’t.
It was a disparate bunch that entreated Henry to go, people with little in common, and many of whom actively disliked each other. They united in what they were convinced was necessary for UKIP’s survival to fight another day.
The need for a functional party to guarantee Brexit has never been stronger. Parliament is a veritable nest of traitors, fools, hypocrites – a repository for the greedy and the selfish. Brexit is being theorised about, diluted, redefined, talks of second or even third referendums indulged in, including by some, within and without UKIP, whom we have hitherto trusted.
How do we ensure we have, in the wings, a functional party to save Britain?
Initially, when the unpleasantness began in early January in the media, I was of the opinion that the least-worst scenario for UKIP was to stick with the status quo, to brazen it out, relying on today’s news becoming tomorrow’s fish ‘n chips, and so on. It was common ground that neither the silly nor the abhorrent views expressed were Henry’s personally.
Note I supported Henry (and one other) during the last leadership contest. I supported Henry for months thereafter. ‘Events, dear boy, events’ shows I erred.
Information (about all sorts of things) that later came to light, as well as attempted refutations, have been aired in the online press, social media and MSM. I’m aware of even more damaging stuff yet to be published, being saved up for when they really want to do us down.
I studied all of this with care, with scepticism but not bias, and with no self-interest whatever.
Here follow my conclusions – their first recipient was Henry himself.
I’m afraid it’s a busted flush.
If Henry stays on any longer, it is my considered opinion that we can never again function as a viable party. It is debatable whether UKIP can survive this even if he doesn’t.
As Regional Chairman of what’s the most challenging part of Britain, London, it is undeniable that most activists who would normally have been relied on to stand in the imminent local elections (every single one of London’s 1851 seats is at stake) are reluctant, if not flat-out refusing, to put their heads above the parapet while Henry remains Leader. Many have touchingly said they’ve only stayed on out of personal loyalty, including to me, and despite the “leadership”.
So near unanimous is London’s voice that I need focus only on two dissenters.
A chairman of a large branch said Henry must get the chop, but after May. I can’t see how that could fly – mixing metaphors, the cat’s already out of the bag, the horse has long bolted the stable, etc. It would merely prolong the agony and trial, drip-by-deliberate-drip, by media, to no conceivable electoral advantage.
An elderly, retired Treasurer counselled us not to cast the first stone; to judge not, lest ye be judged. I countered that I was not judging Henry, but judging what was best (or, least-worst) for UKIP, and that this was a judgment I was obliged to make. To this he agreed he had no counter.
Almost all the rest were in the mood for a lynching. That’s London.
I’m told by my counterparts that there’s widespread support for Henry elsewhere. I simply don’t get this. But since my colleagues are all honourable men, I’m certain they haven’t been influenced overly by the section in the proposed new constitution which replaces the elected NEC by – them!
I turn to the draft constitution recently put forward. Others mention typographical and referencing failings in it, perhaps to be expected in a draft. I think that’s missing the wood for the trees. It is inherently an abomination; structurally unsound, more holes than fabric, it’s wholly unfit for purpose, far worse than the existing one. Throughout it, I spot opportunities for mischief.
Worse, however noble its intentions, it’s also seen to be self-serving, removing such checks and balances as one would expect, especially in a party that has ‘Libertarian’ on its box, where a Leader with untrammelled powers is anathema. Henry, don’t you get it?
A leader who puts his personal considerations, or life, before what his party stands for is not a leader. Henry has himself stood on an electoral platform promoting the right to recall. Henry, we’ve recalled you.
The concept of honour, of sacrifice for a worthy cause are ones with which many in UKIP are only too familiar.
Ten days before V-E Day, a London art dealer who loved restoring Rembrandts died of wholly treatable pneumonia; he’d refused to go to hospital because “they’re for our lads”.
His older child was my (then teenage) mother.
I’m disappointed Henry did not himself make a sacrifice, irrespective of whether or not he felt he had done wrong. Whether or not he’d erred before – others have produced strong, persuasive evidence he had – he erred for certain in not falling on his sword as the damage to UKIP spiralled.
With heavy heart, I know what has to be done.
I have no semaphore, but – England expects that every man will do his duty. Scotland, Wales and Ireland too, and with women to the fore.
Be there at the EGM, be brave, and do the right thing. After the Darkest Hour cometh dawn.