Last month an article entitled “Statement from a member of NEC”, tried to paint a wonderful picture of the UKIP’s NEC as you can see below:
“The NEC consists of grassroots party activists elected by all the members of the party from among themselves. Our role is to oversee the permanent party hierarchy on behalf of the members. We are volunteers, we do not get paid, we put in our own time which we frequently have to take away from our paid employment. Most of us pay our own expenses which in the cases of some of our overseas members exceed £10,000 per year. Although we formally meet only once a month, in reality, being a member of the NEC is a nearly full time job (unpaid). Many of us are patrons and further donate large sums of our own money to the party.”
You may have read this in a positive light, however I read this and I could only see flaws in the core structure of the UKIP’s NEC. Even though the NEC is elected I cannot find anywhere their voting records. How do UKIP members know what they are voting for in terms of the right NEC member that will stand up for the membership and their views? Surely a solution would be voting records of each NEC member to be published for the members to view for future NEC elections?
“in reality, being a member of the NEC is a nearly full time job (unpaid)”. This is probably because the meetings mainly take part in London. Therefore the long distance traveling and the expenses on top, makes becoming a NEC for some members difficult or even impossible, consequently limiting the number of people that can become part of the NEC. A solution would be to use the advantages of 21st century technical advances like video/audio conferences making meetings geographical and to some aspect, wealthiness irrelevent (the ability to afford a computer and a decent broadband connection).
“Many of us are patrons and further donate large sums of our own money to the party.” So dispite being the people’s party, many of the people who are affiliated with the NEC have given large sums of money to UKIP. This sounds like a small cartel can buy the power of UKIP with money not the willingness of the membership, making those with money having a bigger voice. Therefore my final solution is the most important one, and that is for UKIP to adopt one of its own external policies internally, Direct Democracy. I believe all majority decisions on UKIP’s future should be up to the vote of the membership, as this can be done via the internet or postal for older members who ‘opt in’ making the costing low but most importantly making every members voice heard and equally important. Even a system where members can vote up or down policies should be considered to.