Monthly Archives: February 2014

Suggestions to improve Scottish UKIP

This is a copy of the suggestions for improvement for UKIP in Scotland. They seem quite reasonable.

logoThe future of UKIP Scotland

It is time for UKIP Scotland to enjoy greater autonomy; to place itself on a more professional footing; to raise substantial funds for campaigning; to recruit new members and to keep in closer touch with existing members; and to establish a regular presence in the news media. We will discuss these proposals with Nigel Farage at a meeting that we shall request if a significant number of UKIP Scotland members support this initiative.

MEP ballot: It will now be necessary to hold a fresh ballot in the second week of March, which we propose to conduct in Scotland. We shall select and approve our own candidates. We shall send ballot papers, with the candidates’ names in alphabetical order, to all members. An impartial third party will count the results.

Manifesto: UKIP Scotland will be responsible for its own manifesto, and will decide policy on all matters that are devolved, but in all fields of policy falling outwith Scotland’s legislative competence we shall agree our manifesto with London.

Council: The Council of UKIP Scotland will consist of a Leader, Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, and Chief Fund-Raiser, all of whom will be elected annually by the whole membership, and a paid Regional Organizer appointed by the Council and not eligible for any elected post. Each Branch Chairman or his nominee will have a seat on the Council. All members of the Council will have a vote each. The Chairman or in his absence his nominee will have a casting vote.

The Leader will be responsible for policy and will be UKIP’s chief spokesman in Scotland. He must have the financial means to do the job.

The Chairman or his nominee – normally the Vice-Chairman – will chair the Council and general meetings of UKIP Scotland, will set agendas, and will have a casting vote.

The Secretary will keep the minutes of Council and general meetings and the records of UKIP Scotland.

The Treasurer will maintain party bank accounts and subscription lists. No payment out of the accounts may be made except by the signature of either the Treasurer or the Chief Fund-Raiser, together with at least one other voting member of the Council.

The Chief Fund-Raiser will be responsible for fund-raising. He must have the experience and contacts to do the job.

The Regional Organizer will be responsible for branch formation, member recruitment and day-to-day management, and will be the official nominating officer for all public elections in Scotland in terms of electoral law. No canvassing will be permitted for any position whose holder is elected by the membership.

Candidates: The Council will select and nominate candidates for public elections, and may conduct the selection by election from the whole membership.

Discipline: The Council will be responsible for party discipline in Scotland.

The Constitution: The Council will draw up the Constitution for UKIP Scotland, which must be approved by a two-thirds majority of UKIP members in Scotland and may only be amended by a similar majority of the membership. The Council will prepare briefs for MEPs on Scottish affairs.

Scottish NEC seat: Scotland’s UKIP members will have the right to vote for a Scottish member on UKIP’s National Executive Committee.

Scottish membership subscriptions will be retained in Scotland to assist in developing a membership density no less than in the rest of the United Kingdom.

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UKIP bows to a judge’s order lifting the party’s ‘unlawful’ 100-year fatwa expelling its Scottish ex-chairman

Party lawyer concedes: “No stain on your character”

25 February 2014

UKIP has reinstated Paul Henke, its Scottish ex-chairman, as “a member in good standing” and has told him there is no stain on his character.

Last week a judge in the Central London County Court lifted a 100-year suspension of Mr Henke’s party membership.

The party chairman’s first reaction, an hour after the judgment, was to arrange for his secretary to send Mr Henke an email directly contradicting the judge and describing as purely “nominal” his 100-year suspension for the offence of having told a newspaper UKIP was “an honourable party”.

Her Honour Judge Taylor had said the 100-year fatwa amounted to expulsion and was beyond the party chairman’s powers under the rules. She added that no evidence had been put before the court that the party chairman had paid due regard to proportionality in effectively expelling Mr Henke.

After a stiff letter from Mr Henke, the party eventually realized that it might be held in contempt of court. UKIP’s in-house lawyer wrote to Mr Henke to say it was now accepted that “the decision by the Chairman to invoke his urgent powers was null and void for want of procedure”, and that there would be no need to convene an emergency disciplinary panel.

The lawyer wrote: “You remain a member in good standing within the Party without a stain on your character and … no note of any adverse decision should be recorded against your Party membership.”

Judge Taylor ordered UKIP to pay most of Mr Henke’s costs. UKIP now faces total costs of some £30,000.

Mr Henke said: “I am pleased that the party has come to its senses. This has been a worrying few weeks for my wife Dorothy and me. But now we are in the clear. The court made a particular point of saying that I had acted very reasonably throughout this affair.”

He added: “Banning me for 100 years was plainly disproportionate, particularly as the statement I had made when approached by a reporter from the Sunday Herald had been mild and polite.”

The reporter had discovered that Mr Henke was one of ten UKIP members who had complained to UKIP’s HQ in London that David Coburn, appointed by London as the lead candidate for the party in the forthcoming European Elections, had told lies about his fellow candidates on national television.

The party chairman had purported to exercise emergency powers to expel Mr Henke on the grounds that he should not have complained about Mr Coburn (though the party’s rules allow this); that he should not have told the newspaper about his complaint (but the newspaper already knew about it from another source before it rang him); and that he had privately told another party member that he would oppose Mr Coburn’s candidature (but Mr Henke had made no such comment and, even if he had, it would not have breached UKIP’s rules).

The judge, in a precedent-setting move, annulled the party chairman’s decision. Usually, the courts do not interfere in private membership organizations such as UKIP. On this occasion, however, the party chairman had breached a specific obligation of proportionality by giving Mr Henke so severe a punishment, so the court unhesitatingly set it aside.

The judge refused UKIP permission to appeal either the decision or the award of costs substantially in favour of Mr Henke.

Mr Henke’s claim for £3000 ordinary damages and £1000 exemplary damages has yet to be heard by the court. However, the judge who heard the application for an expedited hearing commented that Mr Henke had asked for too little money, and had added: “The damages you have sought are in a nominal sum. The reality is far more important.”

Lord Monckton, the former leader of UKIP Scotland, who had successfully argued before the court that an early hearing should be granted, said: “The court has restored Paul’s membership and reputation. He is very popular in Scotland, and his many friends and colleagues in UKIP Scotland are delighted at the news. We have had support and even contributions to our heavy costs from UKIP members all over Britain.”

A senior UKIP Scotland source said the future of UKIP’s party chairman, Steve Crowther, and its in-house lawyer, Matthew Richardson, was now gravely in doubt. On Sunday, a meeting of almost 100 UKIP supporters at the Albert Halls, Stirling, expressed strong support for Mr Henke and demanded greater autonomy for UKIP Scotland to prevent abuses of the disciplinary process in future.

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UKIP Scotland in the news

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Stirling Party

scanThe invite to the Stirling party was a surprise, as the surprise came earlier. Because I had naively gone to speak to Lord Monckton about climate only to find myself persuaded to stay for “a few hours” to help fill several hundred envelopes with an invite for:

“the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, Mr Mike Scott-Hayword, Mr Peter Adams and the 21st Birthday Rally Committee” requesting  “the pleasure of your company” at a:

Grand Rally and Luncheon

IM650D_010133_1at the Albert Halls, Stirling Sunday 23 February 2014.

As I was the only person to have attended the EGM at the Albert Halls (missing the emails cancelling the event), the agenda was intriguing:

  • Welcome by Christopher Monckton
  • The past year: Mike Scott-Hayward
  • Discussion
  • Complimentary Sandwich Lunch supplied by Malcolm Macaskill
  • Where we go from here: Address by Paul Henke
  • Financing the fight for our nation’s freedom: Malcolm Macaskill
  • Ask the Panel: Scott-Hayward, Henke, Macaskill, Adams, Monckton
  • Grand Prize Draw.
  • Rallying-cry by Christopher Monckton. Continue reading

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