Matt O'Connor withdraws
The English Democrat's London Mayoral Candidate has stepped down, but the war continues.
Press Release - 25th April 2008
English Mayoral Candidate Steps Down – New Campaign to Launch
Matt O’Connor, the 41 year-old founder and frontman of Fathers 4 Justice today announced he was stepping down from the London Mayoral Race but will launch a new campaign for England this year.
O’Connor, who works in PR and Marketing, said the party did not have sufficient financial clout to run a credible campaign. When he joined he was told that the funding was in place to make a positive difference but that the reality was somewhat different.
The problems O’Connor discovered were that there was no party machine in London as promised, no advertising budget as promised, and they were economical with the facts about whether we’d be funded by backers. His recent party election broadcast which he organised also had amendments made without his knowledge.
He also struggled with an organisation that didn’t share his ideas and vision as evidenced in the difference between O’Connor’s official www.voteenglish.org site and the main party site.
On one occasion he was called racist and anti-Semitic by a senior member – a claim O’Connor described as ‘absurd’. He is also profoundly disappointed that they are now deliberately trying to smear him whilst at the same time the party was happy for him to stand.
Said O’Connor this morning, ‘It is sad but inevitable that they are trying to cover up their own internal problems. They did not deliver on their part of the agreement. It is extremely regrettable that this happened at this stage but I cannot stay in the party where people say things like that or where we have no sensible funding. I also had a clear vision to raise the issue of an English Parliament which they didn’t share.’
Nadine Taylor, Matt's Campaign Manager resigned several weeks ago because she could not work with the level of incompetence within the party. O'Connor recognises now "that I should have listened to her advice".
‘Descending to abusing somebody who campaigned in the Anti-Apartheid movement would be laughable if it were not so offensive. I am truly sorry for the good men and women in the party that this happened and while I wish the party every success, my record speaks for itself. Fathers 4 Justice has existed for the same amount of time as the English Democrats and F4J is a household name, with more members and wider recognition. The reality is that my resignation may generate more publicity for them than they achieved in the last six years.
‘Later this year I will launch a new campaign to raise issues like Tartan Taxes. Awareness is everything and they would probably stand to benefit from it.’
To which the EngDems reply:
Matt O'Connor's shock resignation as London Mayoral Candidate
Robin Tilbrook, the Chairman of the English Democrats said:- "I am obviously very disappointed that Matt O'Connor has issued this statement but I have to admit, not entirely surprised. What I now say is in sorrow, because Matt has done the cause some good but, contrary to what he now claims, Matt approached the English Democrats Party to be our mayoral candidate. In January he came to our National Council meeting in Leicester to urge us to select him and promised to "give the campaign 110%"!
During several discussions, he was made fully aware of the problems confronting a candidate for a smaller political party which is challenging the Establishment Parties - not least the problem of raising sufficient funds to fight an election campaign especially given the lack of coverage of non Establishment candidates.
Within the bounds of our limited manpower and financial resources, Matt has been given 100% support by the English Democrats and our members who have campaigned for him, and England's cause, day in day out for many weeks and who have paid for everything that has been done. At no time has any funds been received from Matt.
Unfortunately - and this is not a subject I would have wanted to air publicly had it not been for the statement released by Matt O'Connor this morning seeking to blame us - it became apparent that there were problems with Matt's candidacy arising from his own personal problems, not least following his disappearance from the campaign for several days, to the extent that I advised him to seek professional counselling regarding alcohol abuse, which he did. Matt did not disclose this problem to us when he urged us to select him as our candidate.
Despite this counselling, Matt again went missing last Saturday; - neither his office nor his partner seemed to know of his whereabouts and he could not be contacted at home. Indeed the Party prepared a statement last night raising concerns at his disappearance, as we were becoming genuinely worried for his safety.
Now, he has stated that he has resigned, although he cannot, of course, at this late stage, remove his name from the ballot paper.
This is all a great pity for Matt personally - he obviously has personal issues that he needs to address - but it also a pity for English Democrats' candidates standing for the London Assembly - of which we have a full slate. Their campaign is running well and we have great hopes of getting a candidate elected, particularly on the party list, to campaign against the Establishment's discrimination against London and England. The campaign for fair spending for London, an end to the Tartan Taxes, and real democracy and freedom of speech, will go on.
So I urge the people of London to give their vote, particularly their list vote, to the English Democrats. England's cause is far bigger and more important than any one individual!"
English Democrats Party
And so ends a beautiful but short friendship, like two ships passing in the night, etc, etc.
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The English Democrats Party's new best enemy, Matt O'Connor, had been planning to set up a rival to the Campaign for an English Parliament. Instead, or in addition, it appears from his latest press release that he intends to set up a rival to the EDP.