UKIP Uncovered
What motivates the leaders of the United Kingdom Independence Party?

Friday, December 03, 2004 

More Manifesto Matters

* A draft UKIP Manifesto running to 57 pages has been prepared.

* Much of the initial drafting was carried out by Trevor Colman, after other members of the Manifesto Commitee, including David Samuel-Camps and Petrina Holdsworth, were too busy to help in its formulation.

* Adrian Muldrew, Nigel Farage's Political Assistant, and an Iain Duncan-Smith leadership campaign team member and then Correspondence and Political Secretary for him in Conservative Central Office until September 2002, has been given the task over the past few days of reducing this 57-page epic to 15 pages.

* The Manifesto has been strongly influenced by Alan Bown (not on the National Executive Committee) and John Harvey, Editor of 'Independence News' (also not on the National Executive Committee and ever more frequently mentioned when murky matters seem afoot!).

* The majority of the N.E.C. do not know what is in the Manifesto.

IF THE ABOVE REPORT IS TRUE (and it comes from a normally very well informed source) THEN THE FINAL VERSION OF UKIP'S MANIFESTO IS PRESENTLY BEING PRECISED, FINE-TUNED AND PRESUMABLY HONED BY A RECENTLY VERY ACTIVE TORY! (Is he even in UKIP one wonders?) Tory Plot maybe not, but why do they need one when they are running everything anyway?

One correspondent points out and queries this morning:

I can say that I have not been involved in any (Tory Plot - ed) and Petrina Holdsworth can say she hasnt which I accept BUT she CANNOT say that there have been none by others -as a barrister I would have thought that was obvious particularly as she hasnt been in the seat for five minutes . If the NEC is as she says it is -what is its point I also think she doesnt know everything thats going on in the cabal. why is it that it is NF that is in the press never the leader -why doesn't he refer them to Roger Knapman?

Another writer makes these valid points on the absurdity of the non-involvement of the NEC in policy formation and the valid parts of the Constitution not mentioned by Mr MacWhirter:-

He (RA MacW. ed!) quoted from 8.2 about the role of the leader in "approving" the manifesto, adding "The NEC has no right of approval." But it would be very hard to deny that under the Constitution they are responsible for its contents, prior to his approval.

Then Petrina Holdsworth said "I was never talking about the manifesto it was the strategy for the election that is being kept quiet".

These are the relevant parts of the Constitution as far as I can see:

7 THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (NEC) 7.1 The National Executive Committee is the Party's highest management committee, entrusted with the duty of ensuring that it functions smoothly. It is responsible for the Party's funds, structure, political strategy, and publicity. It is answerable to the Party conference and is charged with carrying out conference decisions. 7.5 The NEC shall establish temporary and standing committees for the administration of the Party and the development of policy.

8 THE PARTY LEADER 8.1 The Party leader shall give political and administrative direction to the Party. 8.2 The Party leader shall be a member of the National Executive Committee enjoying full voting rights and shall be ex-officio a member of all sub-committees and working groups set up by the NEC; shall, subject to NEC approval, appoint a Deputy leader to render assistance and act in his place in his absence; shall, subject to the approval of the NEC, appoint a Party chairman to be in day-to-day control of the Party organisation; may make such other appointments, in fields such as media relations and policy formulation, as he thinks fit; and shall approve the Party's manifesto and national statements of the Party's policies.

14 STANDING AND TEMPORARY COMMITTEES 14.1 The standing committees set up by the NEC shall include a Finance Committee, a Discipline Committee, a Committee on Standing Orders and a Conference Steering Committee. ..............................................................................................................................................................................

There's a lot of potential for confusion here - it might either be said, inconsistencies, or that there are checks and balances. Under 7.1 the NEC is responsible for "political strategy", and is charged with carrying out any relevant conference decisions - in fact it is "entrusted" with that "duty", among others of course as part of "ensuring that it [ie the Party] functions smoothly". But under 8.1 the leader shall give "political direction". So where does "strategy" (NEC) become "direction" (leader)? Note also that 7.5 includes "development of policy" as an area where the NEC "shall establish" a committee - one would have thought that should be a standing committee - but perversely 14.1 does not lay down that there MUST be a Policy Committee. While 8.2 does say that the leader shall "approve" the manifesto and "national statements of the Party's policies", it does not say that he has any responsibility for developing either of those - except as a member of the NEC and any relevant sub-committee. Rob MacWhirter highlights the passage in 8.2 that the leader "may make such appointments, in fields such as media relations and policy formulation, as he thinks fit, and shall approve the Party's manifesto and .....".

But the NEC also has responsibility not only for "development of policy" (7.5, in performance of 7.1) but also "publicity" (7.1)! I wouldn't like to have to settle the precise demarcation, but I could envisage that with a conscientious and energetic leader and NEC members, and goodwill on all sides, it could work as follows: NEC sets up a Policy Committee with leader as ex-officio member - maybe they work in concert with somebody not on the NEC, but appointed by the leader - which takes into account any relevant conference decisions, and then presents proposed policies to the whole NEC, once again including the leader, for their agreement. In the run up to an election, the NEC establishes a temporary Manifesto Committee to construct the manifesto from agreed policies, produce alternative designs for the actual document, etc. A finalised manifesto emerges, and after that has been agreed by the whole NEC it is signed off - "approved" - by the leader, and then sent to the printers. Of course the problem is that such an idealised sequence of events will not occur unless you have an ideal leader, and ideal NEC members!

I've no idea if they've ever attempted to go about it in that way, for any election, or what they've done in the past.

posted by Martin |2:40 PM
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