LPUK – trying to make sense of the mess

I have been away on holiday, and during that time there has been an implosion at the LPUK.

It would seem that for some time there are many factions at work in both trying to undermine the Libertarian Party and at a very personal level its elected leader Andrew Withers.

I have spent the last few days since returning to the UK wading through a mountain of emails making claims and counter claims trying desperately to make sense of what should have been a simple matter, the allegations that were raised by Susanne Nundy against Andrew Withers and his handling of the LPUK accounts.

What followed was an internal investigation by the NCC, which has subsequently cleared Andrew of any wrongdoing (which I shall publish below), a report that was accepted by the NCC in their meeting of 8th May, para 1.1 refers.

1.1 All accepted the report in full. It was unanimously agreed that there was no evidence of any impropriety surrounding the loan secured to cover expenses incurred during the General Election in 2010. It was, nevertheless, accepted that some of the Party’s procedures over such matters were less than clear and this was a matter which needed to be addressed

At the same time there had been a complaint made by persons unknown to the Electoral Commission, which I understand has also cleared Andrew of any wrongdoing and declined to investigate further.

NCC Report – FINAL

That logically should have been an end to the matter, however what has transpired has been little short of chaos, a feeding frenzy of vitriol which has been used to force out elected NCC members and culminating in what I can only describe as a coup by a group of anarchists and non party members (Gavin Webb, Richard Brunton) in a hastily called meeting on the evening of 19th May. What they have done can hardly be called Libertarian.

So for those who have not had an opportunity to see the ‘minutes’ of that meeting, I publish them below.

Minutes of NCC Conference call 19 May 2011 SCF v1 220511

For those who can’t be bothered to open the document, here is the text.

Minutes of NCC Meeting 19 May 2011
The agenda and pre meeting notes are copied below.
Simon Gibbs has provided me a transcript he took to the best of his ability in difficult circumstances. I would like to thank Simon for his heroic efforts.

The Conference call opened at 2100hrs. Attendees:
Simon Fawthrop Nominations and Membership
Tim Carpenter Policy
Ken Fergusen Communications
Liam Hillman NE Coordinator
Simon Slade SW Coordinator
Flemming Aarenstrup East Anglia Coordinator
Simon Gibbs Observer
Richard Brunton Observer
Richard Carey Observer

Absent: Stuart Heal. Efforts were made to contact him but the Party only has email contact
Simon F  opened the meeting and set out why he had called it. (See agenda below).

Before starting the vote to elect new officers Simon opened the meeting for general discussion. A number of points were raised:
1. Liam asked why the collection of membership renewal payments were suspended.

Simon F explained that when this started he was about to send renewal emails to members. At the time he felt that if he did that members would be reluctant to rejoin and would be lost. He proposed that an email be sent advising members that they wouldn’t be expect to pay their renewal fee until after a report had been issued and they had time to consider its impact. This was agreed by Nic Coome. ( Note: I have copied the email below.)

2. Liam said that he wasn’t sent a copy of NCC’s report or aware that it was on the website.
It was generally agreed that the Party had been poor at communication and efforts would be made to improve.

3. Liam asked why Richard Brunton was observing
Simon said that he had been contacted by Richard and that he felt that he  had just shown commitment by parting with money at this time he would be a good representative.

4. Liam questioned Simon Gibb’s impartiality
Simon F pointed out that Simon G was a respected party member a good representative

5. Liam asked why Simon F, or anyone else, would take on the role of Treasurer in these difficult times.
Simon F said that he was reluctant but saw no other solution and that it was to allow the Party to get organised (see more details in the Agenda notes below). There was a robust discussion and it was pointed out that nobody had stepped forward at short notice although a number of members had indicated they would be interested at some point. Flemming pointed out that there wasn’t another Party and that it was important to keep LPUK going.

6. Elections then took place:
(a) That Gavin Webb be appointed as Chairman of the Party.
Proposed:  Simon Fawthrop
Seconded: Tim Carpenter
Vote: Unanimous
(b)That Tim Carpenter be appointed as Party Leader.
Proposed:  Simon Fawthrop
Seconded: Simon Slade
Vote: Unanimous
(c). That Simon Fawthrop be appointed as Party Treasurer.
Proposed:  Tim Carpenter
Seconded: Gavin Web
Vote: Unanimous

7. Simon F then said he had received an email from Andrew Withers asking for a right of reply on the Party website. The was general enthusiasm for this and it was agreed that Gavin would check the post to protect the Party’s legal position but that we shouldn’t have any editorial control.

It was then formally proposed that Andrew Withers be given a right of reply to be posted on the Party website provided that Gavin Webb is allowed to see the post first to ensure that there are no legal objection and that there is a caveat that the content of external links is not the responsibility of the Party.
Proposed:  Simon Fawthrop
Seconded: Liam Hillman
Vote: Unanimous

8. There was then a discussion around the organisation of the SGM. Gavin agreed to organise it and the agenda will be sent out later. It was generally agreed that the meeting be set for 18 June and would take place in central London. It was also agreed that amongst other subject fund raising would form a key part of the SGM.

9. A broad ranging discussion took place. Simon F said he would get members renewing in the next few days (afternote, a new bank account is being set up), there was a need to for the regions to become more active – Liam spoke about the apathy he had come across and that students were a good source of members.

10. Ken asked that it be minuted that  Simon F be thanked for his hard work. All agreed. Simon F thanked the meeting and said it made him realise the hard work was worth it.

11. The meeting closed at around 2215hrs. Simon F asked Gavin and Tim (and anyone who wanted to listen) to remain on the call for a quick discussion of what needed to be done to get their appointments notified to the Electoral Commission).
========================================

Email Sent to all NCC members calling the NCC Meeting
I have now spoken to all addressees with the exception of Stuart and Gavin, hopefully Ken has been able to get in touch with Stuart and Gavin will get in touch with me. As you are all aware Andrew has now resigned from the Party and wants to relinquish all ties immediately, which means we need to move faster than I had planned.

Firstly, as explained to most of you, I want this process to be seen to be transparent by the rest of the Party. To that end of I have asked three members to be observers and they are copied in the CC box. For those that don’t know them they are:

Simon Gibbs. Simon is well know within the SE Party and has been an active, and activist, member as long as I have been in this post and from before.

Richard Carey. I haven’t met Richard but he did volunteer to step up to be Chairman if nobody else want the post. He has also been active in the Party

Richard Brunton. Richard is a lapsed member who rejoined the Party today. He asked to be an observer for the meeting on Monday so I see no reason why he shouldn’t do it tonight. As Richard has just rejoined and paid his money I reckon he will be as keen as anyone to see fair play.

The Constitution is silent as to whether or not we can have observers and  I don’t see any credible objections for 3 reasons:
1. In our British way of life everything allowed unless expressly forbidden. I don’t see why that shouldn’t apply to a Libertarian Party
2. We are libertarians, we can hardly object if members want to watch party proceedings.
3. I have it my mind that some past NCC meetings in London were observed by Part y members so there is precedence

As observes are not defined in the Constitution I think it reasonable to treat them the same as those attending  Parish Council meetings ie they can observe but they cannot take part and should remaining silent. Having said that I they believe if we are not observing the Constitution they should be free to say so.

To business.
Emergency NCC Meeting
Time:                     2100hrs BST
Date:                     Thursday 19 May 2011
Venue:                 Conference call
Dial in: xxxxxxxxx
Pin:    xxxxx

Please keep emails open in case of change of plan

Purpose:              To elect new party officials and to put in place a plan start raining funds and organise an SGM to formalise all party positions

Meeting Chairman: Simon Fawthrop, Nominations Officer
Attendance:       All remaining NCC members (see below)
Three impartial Party members as observers: Simon Gibbs, Richard Carey, Richard Brunton

I have a plan that needs voting on, or changing ,which  I will set out that plan now to save time tonight.

1. I am standing as guarantor for the Party’s liabilities, currently c.£290. I am also prepared to underwrite any short term expenditure needed to keep the Party going on the understanding that the NCC will start actively fund raising as soon as it has control of the bank account.

2. I have spoken to a number of people about taking on a formal Party position. It should be noted that they have all stated that they will only do this if the aim is to get to an SGM organised  where all these changes can be put to the full Party. These are:
a. Tim Carpenter as Party Leader
b. Gavin Webb as Chairman. Note I am still waiting for Gavin to confirm. For those who don’t know him Gavin is a former NCC member who left the Party last year for personal reasons. He has recently rejoined the Party and would like to get actively involved. He has been a local councillor and has lots of experience of campaigning  and getting elected in difficult areas and in my view is an excellent candidate for the role.  If Gavin is reluctant someone will have to step forward at the meeting

3. You will note that we do not have a person for the key role of Treasurer. There are a number of people who have expressed an interest in taking on the role in the future but for various reasons are reluctant to take on the position now.  I am very reluctant to take on this position for a number of reasons the main ones being that I am hopeless at this type of work and I am tainted as being part of the old guard and part of an alleged  cover up. However I am prepared to take on the roll under the following circumstances:
a. It is only until the SGM and no longer. Ideally I would like to hand over before then.
b. I am allowed to take over the and understand the  accounts at my own pace. I am not an accountant and diligence is not one of my strong points. I will do my best but it could be slow
c. As Data Controller the NCC accepts that there are certain parts of the accounts that cannot be made public or even known to the full NCC, namely donors who wish to maintain their anonymity.  It could be argued that we shouldn’t accept anonymous donors but if it has been done we should respect their wishes. Party rules can be changed later if appropriate. (Note this goes for anyone taking on this role)

4. There is another reason why I might be a suitable candidate. I live relatively close to Andrew and it would make the handover easier. I have confirmed with HSBC that if the new Treasurer meets Andrew in his local branch with the appropriate paperwork the bank account can be transferred immediately. I have mentioned this to Andrew in an email (he asked for a plan) and said that if it is me I can meet him tomorrow morning ,but there may be other complications.

5. I will pay for it but we need someone in London to set up a PO Box tomorrow. Andrew has asked a number of times for the Party to change the address from his home and it has been remiss of the Party not to do anything about it. It needs to be in London because that is where most of the Party is based and it will be easier to hand over responsibility as personnel  change.

6. The Constitution requires 4 weeks’ notice for an SGM and we don’t want to be any longer than that. I propose an SGM is set for  Saturday 18 June in London where most members are based. If it comes to it we could use that pub in Holborn where we had the a couple of NCC meetings

There is also some background information you should be aware of – I have confirmed with the EC that there is a process to replace Officers if they previous Officer doesn’t sign RP04. It is a bit Laborious and strictly speaking the appointment isn’t in place until the forms are lodged. However, that doesn’t stop elected officials carrying out Party business. It took two months for my predecessor to sign the paperwork.

Agenda
1. Roll call and apologies
2. General discussion on the state of the Party and the plan set out above
3. Election of Party Chairman
4. Election of Party Leader
5. Election of Treasurer
6. Agreement of SGM date
7. Next steps:
a. Setting up PO Box
b. Starting funding
c. Organising regional coordinators to be appointed at the SGM
d. As required from discussion
8. AOB

Current active NCC members as at 19 May 2011:
Position Held
Name
Leader

Chairman

Treasurer

Nominations and Membership Simon Fawthrop
Policy Tim Carpenter
NW Coordinator Stuart Heal
Communications Ken Ferguson
NE Coordinator Liam Hillman
SW Coordinator Simon Slade
Yorkshire Coordinator
East Anglia Coordinator Flemming Aarenstrup
North East Coordinator
Scotland Coordinator
Wales Coordinator
NI
Central
East Midlands
West Midlands

===============================
email response from Nic Coome reference membership renewal

—–Original Message—–
From: Nic Coome [mailto:xxxxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: 17 April 2011 18:36
To: Simon Fawthrop
Cc: ‘John Watson’; ‘Tim Carpenter’; ‘Simon.Gibbs’; ‘Robert Waller’; ‘Stuart Heal’; ‘Andrew Janes’; ‘Ken Ferguson’
Subject: RE: URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL Membership Renewal

Simon

Works for me

Good work, thanks.

Regards, Nic

On Sun, 2011-04-17 at 17:43 +0100, Simon Fawthrop wrote:
> I need to do something about expiring members. I propose to send the
> holding email below if you are in agreement – or can someone provide
> better wording?
>
>
>
> Regards,
>
>
>
> Simon
>
>
>
> lpuk_logof
>
>
>
> Dear «forename»,
>
> Your Libertarian Party membership is due for renewal on «expires» (nb:
> on some email clients this date is in US format).
>
> As you are no doubt aware some serious allegations have been made
> against Party Leader Andrew Withers by a former member and Andrew has
> temporarily stepped aside as Party Leader whilst the NCC is carries
> out an investigation.
>
> It is understandable that members want to see the outcome of this
> investigation before investing any more money with the Party. The NCC
> has therefore  decided that memberships will not expire until the
> results of the investigation have been published and members have had
> time to consider the conclusions and ask further questions.
>
>
>
>
>
> Your sincerely,
>
>
>
> Simon Fawthrop
>
> Nominations & Membership Secretary
>
> LPUK

Why has this not been published on the LPUK website? Well perhaps Ken Fergusen can enlighten, but perhaps he wanted to publish elsewhere first, as I am led to believe it was he who had been feeding confidential LPUK information to the author of the original allegations, and was the reason for the motion to have him suspended from NCC and Party. (I also understand that proof of this allegation has been circulated to all NCC members).

More updates will be published here as they become available, but I think that these 2 documents are the important ones at present, showing that LPUK has been taken over by those forces who are willing to ignore the party constitution, make ad hoc changes by suspending elements which flies in the face of the constitution and by deducing comments posted elsewhere clearly want to use the vehicle for anarchist purposes, and in light of that information I reluctantly support anyone who will propose that LPUK be wound up and de-registered with the Electoral Commission.

This car crash is now just waiting for the recovery truck to take it to the scrap yard.

If the anarchists want a vehicle, let them start their own party….

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About IanPJ

Ian Parker-Joseph, former Leader of the Libertarian Party UK, who currently heads PDPS Internet Hosting and the Personal Deed Poll Services company, has been an IT industry professional for over 20 years, providing Business Consulting, Programme and Project Management, specialising in the recovery of Projects that have failed in a process driven world. Ian’s experience is not limited to the UK, and he has successfully delivered projects in the Middle East, Africa, US, Russia, Poland, France and Germany. Working within different cultures, Ian has occupied high profile roles within multi-nationals such as Nortel and Cable & Wireless. These experiences have given Ian an excellent insight into world events, and the way that they can shape our own national future. His extensive overseas experiences have made him all too aware of how the UK interacts with its near neighbours, its place in the Commonwealth, and how our nation fits into the wider world. He is determined to rebuild many of the friendships and commercial relationships with other nations that have been sadly neglected over the years, and would like to see greater energy and food security in these countries, for the benefit of all. Ian is a vocal advocate of small government, individual freedom, low taxation and a minimum of regulation. Ian believes deeply and passionately in freedom and independence in all areas of life, and is now bringing his professional experiences to bear in the world of politics.
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31 Responses to LPUK – trying to make sense of the mess

  1. malpoet says:

    Andrew Withers has not been cleared of anything by the Electoral Commission. The EC do say that they will not get involved in internal Party matters, but that is very different.

    There is a very good reason why the simple matter of identifying whether there is a problem with LPUK accounts has not been sorted out. That is because Andrew Withers has not produced the information to sort it out.

    It is hilarious to suggest that there are factions in the LPUK. There are not enough active members left to form a faction.

    • IanPJ says:

      Mr Saunders,
      “Andrew Withers has not been cleared of anything by the Electoral Commission. The EC do say that they will not get involved in internal Party matters, but that is very different.”

      I would be interested to know how you are aware of what the Electoral Commission has said, as this differs substantially from my understanding that they do not feel that there is any breach of PPERA.

      “There is a very good reason why the simple matter of identifying whether there is a problem with LPUK accounts has not been sorted out. That is because Andrew Withers has not produced the information to sort it out.”

      As you are not an NCC member, that is information that you are not entitled to, legally or otherwise. The 2010 accounts were presented to the NCC in March and accepted by the NCC, those that attended did agree and counter signed those accounts. They have been accepted for publication by the Electoral Commission.

      I am afraid that from where I stand, the allegations, despite all the hype that you yourself have done much to promote are without merit, unless of course you are suggesting that the NCC are all in this together, that they have all conspired against you.

      “It is hilarious to suggest that there are factions in the LPUK. There are not enough active members left to form a faction.”

      It is naive of you to suggest otherwise. There have always been factions within LPUK, with the most aggressive and verbal group being the anarchists.

      • malpoet says:

        ““Andrew Withers has not been cleared of anything by the Electoral Commission. The EC do say that they will not get involved in internal Party matters, but that is very different.”

        I would be interested to know how you are aware of what the Electoral Commission has said, as this differs substantially from my understanding that they do not feel that there is any breach of PPERA.”

        I know because they emailed me in reply to an enquiry of mine. They said that they were not investigating a breach of PPERA. As I said, Andrew Withers has not been cleared of anything.

        ““There is a very good reason why the simple matter of identifying whether there is a problem with LPUK accounts has not been sorted out. That is because Andrew Withers has not produced the information to sort it out.”

        As you are not an NCC member, that is information that you are not entitled to, legally or otherwise.”

        I have been told repeatedly by John Watson, LPUK Treasurer from 27th November 2010 until mid May 2011, that Andrew Withers has failed to provide this information. He even claims that he has sent around 100 emails trying to get the information.

        It is very telling that you should think Party members and donors are not entitled to know how their money has been used.

        “The 2010 accounts were presented to the NCC in March and accepted by the NCC, those that attended did agree and counter signed those accounts. They have been accepted for publication by the Electoral Commission.”

        The summary accounts required by the EC are completely inadequate to establish whether Party funds have been properly managed. I do think that the NCC have failed to maintain proper oversight of financial matters.

        • IanPJ says:

          Mr Saunders,

          Having just checked with the individual concerned, for the sake of clarity, what the EC said was:
          The Electoral Commission takes all allegations of impropriety seriously, and I have considered carefully the issues which were raised in line with our assessment procedure. The assessment involves consideration as to whether there is sufficient reason to believe that a potential breach of PPERA may have occurred and if so whether it is in the public interest for further enquiries to be made. Having done so, I do not consider that it is
          appropriate for the Commission to pursue the matter further.

          Coupled with the fact that the NCC saw and signed off the accounts in March, the high level version of which is sent to the EC for publication, and an internal investigation the report which was also accepted by the NCC. As a paid up member of LPUK I am satisfied that those in authority in the Electoral Commission and the NCC have all done their jobs correctly and professionally.

          It would appear, after having read your numerous comments on various blogs and websites, that the real issue here is that you have a problem with authority figures, not accepting any of their findings, appear to want to disregard the legal constraints placed upon those whose activities are governed by a range of laws, and have a feeling that somehow you are entitled to more. That is neither helpful nor reasonable.

          As I said in my post, the anarchist can start their own party.

          • malpoet says:

            You are entitled to your opinion about me, but you are wrong.

            I am a Libertarian and I will pursue my political objectives in the way that I think fit.

          • malpoet says:

            For the sake of clarity when you said:

            “there had been a complaint made by persons unknown to the Electoral Commission, which I understand has also cleared Andrew of any wrongdoing and declined to investigate further.”

            you were wrong. The EC has not cleared Andrew Withers of anything. They did say:

            “the information currently available does not appear to disclose evidence of any potential breach of PPERA which would be appropriate for the Commission to investigate.”

            No investigation has taken place because of lack of information. The pursuit of comprehensive information will continue.

  2. Andrew Withers says:

    When Malcolm Saunders was challenged to be treasurer did not stand, when challenged to stand for his local council did not stand

    Most famous quotes

    ‘Due Process Is For The Courts, Not Political Parties’

    ‘ I am retired and will stay retired’

    • malpoet says:

      “When Malcolm Saunders was challenged to be treasurer did not stand”

      When John Watson resigned as Treasurer I offered to take the post temporarily until and SGM or AGM could be held. I also offered to have the accounts analysed by a forensic accountant at my own expense if they did not appear satisfactory on first examination. Andrew Withers response to this offer was ‘in that case I’m off’.

      “when challenged to stand for his local council did not stand”

      I have never been challenged to do anything in the LPUK. It is true that I do not stand in local elections or any other elections.

      “Most famous quotes

      ‘Due Process Is For The Courts, Not Political Parties’”

      That is absolutely correct. The organisation and management of a political party needs to be carried out in such a way as to satisfy its members and supporters. Nobody is on trial in a Party, but everybody who takes Party office should act in an open and cooperative manner which builds confidence.

      “‘ I am retired and will stay retired’”

      That’s right. I am a contributing and active member of the LPUK. That is the extent of my involvement. I do not stand for public or Party office. What is the problem with that?

      • Nic Coome says:

        “Andrew Withers response to this offer was ‘in that case I’m off’”

        Not so, that was my response and it came about, as you well know, after a prolonged bout of email slanging. It was not caused entirely by the email from you to which it appeared as a direct rejoinder; your email was the straw which broke the camel’s back.

        • malpoet says:

          Both Nic Coome and Andrew Withers said ‘I,m off’.

          This is what AW said in his email of 12th May:

          “In that case, I am off if the Party is prepared to act against its Constitution and will advise the Electoral Commission accordingly”

  3. Daz Pearce says:

    The mind boggles – Ian it should be stated you have not had rightful to NCC information either, so your utter confidence that everything was kosher cannot be based on something you saw with your own eyes.

    Can someone, anyone answer this question – how much money is in the old LPUK account if any? No need to say where it went – many of us gave that up a while ago. What’s the current balance?

    A more interesting take on the story appears here, although improving on the horse shit I just read is not terribly difficult…

    http://outspokenrabbit.blogspot.com/2011/05/why-word-libertarians-and-parties-dont.html

    • IanPJ says:

      Daz,

      I appreciate your comment, however I did say that I have had to wade through a raft of emails received whilst I was away. It is nice to know that there are still those who view me as a stabilising voice.

      You may recall something that I wrote in an earlier post, something that is more than relevant now, especially with Ken Fergusen in charge of the media.

      What the public see and read in the press and media is a very sanitised end presentation, what goes on in the background and in dark corners is what some of us have been dealing with and exposing every day for many years. We have always been aware that there would be attempts to destabilise the Libertarian Party, to stop it forming into a coherent political force in the same way using similar methods that were tried on UKIP in its early days.

      …and so it comes to pass..

      • malpoet says:

        It appears that you have crept into the dark corner with Andrew Withers to work on keeping covered how up to 800 people have put money into the LPUK, very little has been spent on politics, and maybe only one person has had the rest.

        To the best of our knowledge the Party was nearly £300 in debt by the time the NCC elected new officers. It is time for some more light and air.

        • IanPJ says:

          Oh dear. So now I am part of this conspiracy along with AW and the whole NCC. You really must get out more.
          I refer you to my answer to Daz.

          • malpoet says:

            You responded to Daz’s post, but you didn’t give him an answer:

            “The work done by the EC and the NCC appear to me to have substantiated that innocence.”

            The EC said very clearly that they have not carried out an investigation. They have not done any work and they have not established the innocence of anybody about anything.

            The NCC report produced by Nic Coome was content to say that all was well with respect to the Raccoon blog statements and chose not to go further. That was accepted by NCC members who took part in the conference call, but it was a long way short of dealing with the problems within the Party.

            You seem very attached to ‘authority’ that takes your viewpoint, but I am a Libertarian who expects my political party to be accountable to its members.

          • IanPJ says:

            You really are a card. Where does it say they have not carried out an investigation.

            Let me repeat their words.
            The assessment involves consideration as to whether there is sufficient reason to believe that a potential breach of PPERA may have occurred and if so whether it is in the public interest for further enquiries to be made. Having done so, I do not consider that it is
            appropriate for the Commission to pursue the matter further.

            That means that they did look at the matter, that they did assess, or in laymans terms made an initial investigation, but felt that it was not appropriate to pursue any further.

            Likewise with the NCC report.

            I am willing to accept that both these parties are in a far better position than myself to make that assessment, and conclude that Raccoon’s allegations are a load of crap…. or are you starting from the premise that Raccoon made the allegation therefore it must be true.

          • Nic Coome says:

            “The NCC report produced by Nic Coome was content to say that all was well with respect to the Raccoon blog statements and chose not to go further. That was accepted by NCC members who took part in the conference call, but it was a long way short of dealing with the problems within the Party.”

            This disingenuous to say the least.

            It is important to realise that, when the report was called for, there was no suggestion of any issue over the accounts. That arose whilst I was putting the report together.

            It didn’t say that all was well, it pointed out several weaknesses. It specifically mentioned that there were questions over the accounts and asked the NCC to take a view on what should be done. The NCC accepted that a full audit may be necessary, certainly would be desirable, but the then Treasurer opined that the Constitution only allowed for an independent audit. The NCC accepted that the party had no money for such an exercise at the current time and so it was accepted that that option could not immediately be taken up.

  4. Daz Pearce says:

    Ian, I think you totally misunderstood my comment…

    Please can someone answer the question – has the old LPUK account got any money left?

    You cannot find a man guilty or not guilty on incomplete evidence Ian – it appears that a series of stalling tactics have been used to prevent full disclosure and then scream that there is ‘no evidence of wrongdoing’ – maybe not, but let’s see absolutely every last detail before declaring anyone to be either guilty or innocent.

    • IanPJ says:

      Daz,
      has the old LPUK account got any money left? I don’t have a clue and don’t have access to that information.

      You cannot find a man guilty or not guilty on incomplete evidence Ian – quite right, that’s why as a Libertarian I always work on the basis of innocent until proven guilty. The work done by the EC and the NCC appear to me to have substantiated that innocence.

      Sooner or later someone will have to accept the word of someone in authority or it simply becomes a never ending witch-hunt. Like the traffic cop who is determined to find fault with your car, there will of course always be some who will never be satisfied.

  5. malpoet says:

    “they did look at the matter, that they did assess, or in laymans terms made an initial investigation, but felt that it was not appropriate to pursue any further.”

    No. There was no investigation. I have already given you the relevant words of the EC:

    “the information currently available does not appear to disclose evidence of any potential breach of PPERA which would be appropriate for the Commission to investigate.”

    I have never been only concerned by matters raised in the Raccoon blog. I have asked legitimate questions and never got any answers. Like you, Andrew Withers and some others have preferred to conceal information so that proper investigation is prevented.

  6. Andrew Withers says:

    Daz Pearce is I understand not a member of the lpuk having resigned, but is a committed member of Saunders fraternity.

    Malcolm Saunders stated belief is ‘Due process is for the Courts, not political parties’, not one of the most Libertarian statements I have heard. Che used similar statements to justify summary executions in Cuba

    As Mr Saunders can quote chapter and verse from the Electoral Commission’s letter , and they would not tell me who the complainant was because of ‘confidentiality’ we can safely assume the source.

    800 hundred people ? get a grip, before I was locked out of the membership database by Ken Ferguson,well before ‘Raccoongate’ , that only Simon Fawthrop now has access to. The membership was barely 200. I suspect that after this fiasco, you are looking at possibly a figure nearer a hundred possibly a lot less.

    A political party is there to gain influence and seats in a democracy, just three people stood in the local elections. The Libertarian Party website did not even cover the elections as it was in Jeremy Kyle mode. A mass movement the Libertarian Party is not.

    I can safely tell you that the lpuk is insolvent because of a decision to stop accepting memberships six weeks ago by just one person who has now appointed himself treasurer, and has now set up an account’ in his name’ to accept memberships and donations. Mr Saunders thinks this is splendid. If I had done the same he would be screaming conspiracy from the roof tops.

    • malpoet says:

      “Malcolm Saunders stated belief is ‘Due process is for the Courts, not political parties’, not one of the most Libertarian statements I have heard. Che used similar statements to justify summary executions in Cuba”

      Guevara was a mass murderer acting in secret for a vile dictatorship. No too much similarity with a LPUK member asking for openness about Party funds and decisions. If there is any allegation of crimes having been committed, that is for the police, courts and due process. What I want is full information about the LPUK. The information that Andrew Withers has belongs to the Party. He is no longer a member so he must hand it over.

      “As Mr Saunders can quote chapter and verse from the Electoral Commission’s letter , and they would not tell me who the complainant was because of ‘confidentiality’ we can safely assume the source.”

      I made enquiries with the EC and I believe others did too. It isn’t a secret and I expect to make further enquiries with them.

      “800 hundred people ? get a grip, before I was locked out of the membership database by Ken Ferguson,well before ‘Raccoongate’ , that only Simon Fawthrop now has access to. The membership was barely 200. I suspect that after this fiasco, you are looking at possibly a figure nearer a hundred possibly a lot less.”

      As you know, I am not saying that there are 800 members. I stand by my estimate that up to 800 people have put money into the LPUK. This is the total who have paid a membership subscription or made a donation over the last three and a bit years. What this means is that at least £12,000 has come into the Party, but it will be substantially more than that because some members have paid more than one subscription and others, like me, will have set up standing orders to give some more to the Party. When Andrew Withers and John Watson resigned as Leader and Treasurer this month, the Party was in debt and the members had no information about where this money had gone.

      “A political party is there to gain influence and seats in a democracy, just three people stood in the local elections. The Libertarian Party website did not even cover the elections as it was in Jeremy Kyle mode. A mass movement the Libertarian Party is not.”

      It is true that no information was publicised about LPUK candidates in the May 2011 local elections. The reason for this is that Andrew Withers, the Party leader, chose not to put out that information. His excuse for not doing it was that there was such a small number it would not look good. (I have the email in which he said it).

      I wonder if the public would also have been puzzled why the LPUK Leader would stand as an independent Parish Councillor for Clevedon Town Council.. Odd behaviour from a party leader that one might expect would want to publicise the activity of his Party.

      Andrew Withers was returned unopposed to Clevedon Council so he didn’t have to do anything to get elected. He is also an independent so his position on the Council is nothing to do with the LPUK. Just for the record Mr Withers, please confirm that you have not had any LPUK money in connection with your standing for and becoming a Councillor of Clevedon.

      “I can safely tell you that the lpuk is insolvent because of a decision to stop accepting memberships six weeks ago by just one person who has now appointed himself treasurer, and has now set up an account’ in his name’ to accept memberships and donations. Mr Saunders thinks this is splendid. If I had done the same he would be screaming conspiracy from the roof tops.”

      Simon Fawthrop can speak for his own actions, but he was properly elected as Treasurer by an NCC meeting of the LPUK. The difference between Simon Fawthrop’s actions and Anddrew Withers’ is that Mr Fawthrop has been completely open about what he is doing and Andrew Withers has always concealed his behaviour.

      I am not accusing Andrew Withers of conspiracy, I am saying that he has refused to disclose what has been done with thousands of pounds of LPUK money. The conclusion that I have drawn is that Andrew Withers has just about destroyed the LPUK by his behaviour and it is most likely that he has been a parasite on the Party to the extent that it has been left in debt for new leadership to have to sort out.

      Others will come to their own conclusions.

  7. Daz Pearce says:

    Daz Pearce is I understand not a member of the lpuk having resigned, but is a committed member of Saunders fraternity.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Andrew as you know I’m still a supporter – as for being one of Mal’s disciples that’s quite funny – you’re better off asking him what he thinks.

    Malcolm Saunders stated belief is ‘Due process is for the Courts, not political parties’, not one of the most Libertarian statements I have heard. Che used similar statements to justify summary executions in Cuba
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Andrew, this is a childish and ill-informed line of argument. Firstly, when a private organisation leaves people in trust with the money of others, high standards are expected and required. This means transparency and openness about how the money is being spent. You’ll also know that unlike a police investigation, the ‘accused’ in a political party may be in possession of the evidence that proves them guilty or innocence. Since there is no means of compelling disclosure of this information, how can you realistically expect to apply the same standard.

    Sooner or later someone will have to accept the word of someone in authority or it simply becomes a never ending witch-hunt.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Maybe LPUK should not have sold those ‘Question Authority’ T-shirts then? I had to rub my eyes when the ex-leader of an insitictively liberal party told us we should all shut up, speak when spat at and just trust the fuhrer. Fucking incredible.

  8. Daz Pearce says:

    guilty or innocence – bad typo of course I meant guilty or innocent – was in a rush

    Break over and back to work…

  9. Andrew Withers says:

    Daz, I am still laughing knowing what I now know about the ‘tribune of the people’

    Best A

  10. Daz Pearce says:

    ‘Tribune of the People’ – that a reference to me, Mal, the Raccoon, my blog? I’m lost, no point lying about it…

  11. malpoet says:

    Nic Coome said:
    “It is important to realise that, when the report was called for, there was no suggestion of any issue over the accounts. That arose whilst I was putting the report together.”

    As Nic knows I asked questions about the accounts very quickly after the Raccoon blog. Instead of answering those quite simple questions or incorporating these issues into his report, Nic regarded them as some sort of slur on his integrity and ignored them other than to send a hostile email to me.

    • Nic Coome says:

      “As Nic knows I asked questions about the accounts very quickly after the Raccoon blog. Instead of answering those quite simple questions or incorporating these issues into his report, Nic regarded them as some sort of slur on his integrity and ignored them other than to send a hostile email to me.”

      Yes you did, I acknowledge that. However, you are simply wrong to state that I ignored what you were saying. I have already, on another thread, pasted the actual words from the report which directly addressed the issue you were raising, namely that you believed that the integrity of previous years’ accounts was suspect. It also set out some possible actions to address that, which the NCC were invited to consider.

      As for your last point, all I can say is that one man’s hostility is another man’s robustness! We will each have to acknowledge our differing views on the other’s emails.

      • malpoet says:

        It is true that we have different perceptions of what is genuine enquiry and what is aggression.

        To the extent that we share a political objective it ought to be possible to recognise different approaches and personalities and get past that to sorting out how to get an effective Libertarian movement. After all, the very nature of Libertarianism is that we are not homogeneous.

        As you know, I think that the only way of building trust is by complete openness about the accounts, NCC minutes and decisions. I know that others will hold different views, but resort to quasi-legal excuses of data protection, etc. are not adequate.

        Returns to the Electoral Commission are only summaries and of no value to members who should know that their money has been well used. I do not so much question the integrity of past accounts as to seek enough information to judge whether they are sound.

        With this very destructive process having gone so far, I hope that those who still want Libertarianism to flourish, might come together to uncover the past problems and move forward in a way that minimises the chances of the same situation recurring.

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