Why I left the Campaign for an English Parliament

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

I really didn’t want to do this but thanks to the dimwit English Democrats political brain, Steve Uncles, claiming on one of his Twitter accounts that I have been kicked out of the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) I now have to explain why I left.

Before the current Chairman, Eddie Bone, became the Chairman we had some run-ins over some pretty shocking decisions which he somehow managed to convince the National Council were good ideas.  The most notable one was the switch to monthly Direct Debits for collecting membership subscriptions which was agreed despite it being explained by the Treasurer at the meeting that the CEP would have needed something like 100,000 members to make it break even.  This was really the start of a sustained period of financial mismanagement that continues to this day by both the Chairman and the NC.

A clique quickly formed around Eddie and NC meetings rapidly turned into rubber stamping exercises for decisions already made by this inner circle of NC members.  Dissent was frowned upon and half the time at NC meetings were consumed with vigorous sales pitches for what had already been agreed outside the meetings.

Eddie set up the Workers of England union and took on an expensive office and then tried to convince the NC that the CEP should move in to it and share the costs.  The cost was unsustainable – the CEP was already losing money and members year on year and thankfully sense prevailed for the time I was on the NC despite repeated attempts to get the CEP moved into the Workers of England office.

Eddie became Chairman in a two horse race between him and myself.  I didn’t want to be Chairman but nobody else put their name forward and a number of NC members (the ones outside the clique of course) were so concerned at the prospect of Eddie Bone as Chairman that they asked me to put my name forward.  David Wildgoose asked me to support him as Vice Chairman if Eddie was elected as Chairman so that he could try and moderate him which I did.

Following Eddie’s election as Chairman (one member of the clique was given a number of proxy votes from NC members who turned up to meetings so infrequently I’d never even met them) the clique became more important and no decisions were made at the NC.  Any disagreement with what had already been decided before the meeting was met with quite strong defence and it was clear that differing opinions were not welcome.  The Chairman’s job quickly (and unofficially) became an Executive Chairman’s job and unilateral decisions were made not just about the running of the campaign but about spending money.  This is against the CEP’s constitution and MOA but pointing this out got myself and others nowhere, just further ostracisation.

During his reign as Chairman, the CEP’s reserves of about £10k have been spent and with pretty much nothing to show for it.  The “battlebus” (a flat bed truck with an apex on the back) has been used infrequently and presumably sits on the Chairman’s drive.  As far as I’m aware it is still legally owned by the Chairman despite the CEP being a limited company and able to own property and the Chairman of the English Democrats, Robin Tilbrook, made a considerable donation towards its cost in exchange for his party being able to use it as well.

On that note, I raised concerns about the English Democrats using the “battlebus” and pointed out that it was only a matter of time until a journalist noticed they were using the same truck and linked the two together and by extension, linked the CEP with Steve Uncles, the BNP and the England First Party as well as the English Democrats.  This was dismissed of course and recently the CEP was mentioned for the first time on Hope Not Hate’s website because of its links to Steve Uncles, the English Democrats and the BNP (England First Party have all but disappeared).

At some point during all this I gave up going to NC meetings and gave notice that I would resign from the NC and would reduce my patron membership of £100 per year to the standard membership of £20 per year until I saw the CEP spending money properly.  My resignation wasn’t accepted as the NC decided it could scupper the talks that were ongoing with UKIP over an English Parliament policy and as an English Parliament is something immensely important to me, I allowed myself to remain on the NC on paper but didn’t attend any meetings or comment on any NC business unless it was something that was of dubious legality.  There was no sign of improvement in the way they were spending money so I cancelled my standing order and allowed my membership to lapse.  This should have resulted in my automatic removal from the NC but they decided not to remove me from the NC because of the work they were doing with UKIP.  I again allowed this to happen because the cause is more important to me than the Campaign.

However, when the Treasurer reported that the CEP had spent so much money there was only enough left to keep the Campaign ticking over and doing no campaigning for 18 months I took the decision to assert my resignation and insist on having myself removed from the list of company directors.  I had no involvement in the CEP, I had ceased to be a member and I abstained from attending and voting at NC meetings and was certainly not going to be listed as a director of an insolvent company.

After I had successfully been pushed out of the CEP attention was turned to Mike Knowles who was constructively (and unconstitutionally in my opinion) dismissed from the NC.  The purge complete, the NC has descended into secrecy and members are not allowed to know what decisions are made and what their money is spent on.  Campaigning is virtually non-existent and the Chairman is the only public representative of the CEP.  The money has almost all gone – spent on admin, subsidising the Workers of England union office and paying expenses for the Chairman and his friends who have been employed to do work that never seems to be done.

What has the CEP achieved for all this money they have spent?  The Chairman has contributed to a couple of newspapers and on each occasion has displayed a serious lack of understanding of the constitution and of devolution which is slightly worrying for a campaign group that exists solely to advance the cause of constitutional change to bring about devolution for England.  The judgement of the NC and the Chairman has been terrible in terms of how the Campaign is run, how the membership’s money is spent and in its associations with the English Democrats.  The CEP has turned from a campaign into a think tank but without the vital ingredient of any think tank which is a panel of experts in their field – all those people have left.

So that’s the reason I left and the reason I’ve not publicised all this until forced to by Steve Uncles?  Twofold really: firstly because I have no desire to damage the CEP out of spite and secondly because if the CEP goes into administration before we get an English Parliament or an alternative civic nationalist campaign is set up to replace it, the English Democrats will end up as the only organised voice of English nationalism and that really doesn’t bear thinking about.  As I said at the start of this post, I really didn’t want to do this but Uncles left me with no choice.


  1. Daggs (55 comments) says:

    You know? Sometimes i just bloody despair.
    I became a supporter of the English Democrats because they seemed to be the only voice speaking for England. They then veer so far to the right, they damage English Nationalism and i’m out.
    So i take up the CEP, even sending a (modest) donation. Now, according to your words. They are failing in what should be their only objectivive. Bringing to the attention of the people of England, the democratic defecit affecting England.
    Meanwhile, UKIP whisper a few words about supporting a parliament for England. A year or so on, the conference over. Not a peep.
    All that is left for me is to hope the Scots vote for independence. But they won’t, they know what side their bread is buttered.
    What a shambles…………………..

  2. William Gruff (138 comments) says:

    I was a member of the CEP NC when SR was the chairman (I joined the campaign only after speaking to him on the telephone and agreed to a nomination by him to the NC only because of his obvious commitment and integrity). At that time I was an active (branch chairman and reluctant LA and CC candidate – paying all of my expenses myself) member of the Labour Party, as was SR. I resigned from the NC and the CEP following the AGM and subsequent NC meeting, which together lasted for an exhausting seven hours. The AGM took up no more than one and a half to two hours and for the next five hours or more I sat through a replay of so many other committee meetings, for all sorts of purposes, in which jealously guarded egos fought over dotted ‘i’s, crossed ‘t’s and the credit for some trivial suggestion or another. I particularly remember the table thumping that accompanied a vigorous discussion of the precise wording of a leaflet that had been agreed, with difficulty, at the previous meeting, the megalomaniacal fantasy of ten thousand members marching in London and the near paranoid demand that we should submit all material for approval that met our suggestion that we could act as a campaign group within the party of which we were then members, which was the governing party. No one with any political nous would have thought of such an idea, understanding instinctively how impractical that would have been.

    What finally convinced me that the CEP was exactly what I had feared and could achieve nothing were the childishly snide remarks about the Labour Party and the sneers that were clearly directed at my wife and me in the pub afterwards, where we were refreshing ourselves, at seven o’clock in the evening, before driving back to Berwick-upon-Tweed from Bedfordshire.

    I was also a member of the EDP for a short while. I allowed my subscription to lapse after seeing and experiencing, to an admittedly absurdly trivial but none the less telling extent, the flaws of those running the party. I was also less than impressed by the performances of CC, RT and SU on 18 Doughty Street, who were very generously given a platform they clearly did not merit. That was five or six years ago (I can’t remember precisely) but I regularly received invitations to stand as a PPC for the party until I took the trouble to contact the relevant person earlier this year (if I recall correctly) and advise him that I have not been a member for some time.

    I remain committed to the cause of an EP, although I am not aware of any capable organisation that is campaigning seriously on the issue.

    I haven’t looked at your blog for some time and I’m surprised, and delighted, to see that my sporadic effort is shown in your blogroll, which is rare these days. Many thanks for that, I will add you to mine forthwith.

  3. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Daggs, sadly the CEP is on its last legs. It’s taken about 2 months to get a response to “One Nation” Labour’s calls for a Northern Parliament.

    William, it’s a common theme throughout the CEP’s history and a lesson that to this day hasn’t been learnt. If you’re interested in collaborating on something then there might be an opportunity soon.

  4. William Gruff (138 comments) says:

    I would be interested in working with anyone who is principally concerned with the issue and not his own advancement. With a very few notable and honourable exceptions almost everyone I have ever come in contact with, in whatever context, in various political and charitable organisations has suffered from what I think of as the small businessman mentality, viz: a very, very big fish in what was effectively no more than a puddle of piss in the dirt, if I may be forgiven for being so crude. Filled with very small ‘big dreams’ they lacked the vision, the intellect and the balls to do more than feather their own foul nests while deluding themselves with ideas of personal grandeur. As an example I offer, again, the example of the CEP NC. I suggested that the newsletter could be sent to MPs, peers and any other potential backer, whether political or financial, as a way of explaining what we were about and capable of. The suggestion was met with hostility and horror. ‘Oh no’, came the reply, ‘they’re not members so not entitled to a newsletter giving details of our business’, or words very much to that effect. I swear it’s true.

    I can work with anyone who finds that sort of approach laughable.

  5. Sarah (21 comments) says:

    ” It’s taken about 2 months to get a response to “One Nation” Labour’s calls for a Northern Parliament.”
    Have UKIP given a response at all? No offence to yourself, you’ve been a dedicated campaigner for years but your party isn’t covering themselves in glory on the EP issue. As Daggs says it’s been a year since it was first announced, by the deputy leader no less with supportive words from the leader himself. Since then it seems to have disappeared. There was some kind of conference with Welsh UKIP speaking against the idea, talk of it being ‘worked on’ and finalised as a proposal, then nadda. There doesn’t seem to have been any mention of it at the last UKIP conference from what I’ve read. Is there any movement at all?

    On the other hand.
    Interested to see what you and Mr Gruff come up with. 🙂

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