Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow English Democrats, hello and welcome!
I am Robin Tilbrook, your Chairman and I welcome you all. Thank you for coming today to our 4th Annual General Meeting. Many of you I know have come long distances from right across our Country, England.
It is very heartening to me and to the other members of your National Council to have your support and interest today. I also take confidence in the strength of interest of members which is shown, not only by the fact that you have come, but also by the fact that we have received 129 proxy votes.
You might like to know that in Veritas’ recent, bitter and, for them, crucial leadership election, less of their notional members voted than are represented here today in this our ordinary Annual General Meeting.
Before we proceed with the agenda today, I would like to say a few words about the difference in the way that we do things which we, English Democrats, have from parties such as Veritas who have just elected a leader but still have no constitution which has been properly or legally approved by the membership; or also from UKIP which, technically, has a democratic constitution, but really power lies solely in a clique centred around an MEP, Nigel Farage. This leads to constant factional infighting which has just caused their Chairman, Patricia Holdsworth, to resign last week in disgust. In a further twist she was persuaded to rescind her resignation by Roger Knapman, the Notional Leader of UKIP, and when he could not deliver what he had agreed with her, she has resigned again, some might say “re-resigned” on Tuesday – and so they are having their conference today without a Chairman!
We are also witnessing with the three main parties the problems that they have because they do not have a proper democratic spirit and are addicted to the cult of celebrity leadership. By contrast, we English Democrats are trying to develop a more democratic approach to politics.
I am not here to try to impose my will upon you as a Leader. I do not try to issue orders, nor do I try to push my faction into key positions in the party. None of us in this party have any taint of corruption or self-seeking. We are all genuinely working for the good of England, not only with no thought of self-advancement but actually at personal cost and expense to ourselves.
So in a democratic and thoroughly English way, I hold, for as long as you want me, and you are going to have a chance to vote on that later, a role in our party as Chairman. The National Council are your Board and our regional and local organisers are our managers and we are all, as subscribing members, rather like shareholders in the company, which means, that in a general meeting of members like this today, you can, if proper notice of motion is given, change the office holders of the party, our constitution and also our manifesto.
This means that our general meetings are really very important to the English Democrats as a party and so I really do thank you for making the effort to come here today, with all my heart and welcome you to this meeting.
You will all have had an agenda and so I don’t think that much explanation of the timetable for today is needed, but I would just say now that we will, I hope, have some interesting speakers this afternoon.
I am going to keep my report on our progress since our last General Meeting, until 2.00 o’clock. We have the Electoral Reform Society sending a speaker to tell us about how P.R. would work for an English Parliament and also the Electoral Commission are coming to give us an interesting presentation about standing as a candidate. Then we shall have, I hope, an open and fruitful Question and Answer session for us all to discuss policy issues and anything else that anyone would like to bring up for the good of the party generally or the NC in particular to consider.