Election suspended: Where next?

Green Party members should have by now received notice that the internal election for External Communications co-ordinator has been suspended. Sadly GPEx’s failure to be open & transparent and their continued control freakery created the problems we currently face.

We (Rupert & Jason) wanted an open, democratic process where members’ voices would count; where our different ideas and priorities for the party could be debated. Unfortunately the predictable consequences of some of GPEx’s decisions have started to emerge. That these have halted the election is deeply worrying, we have not been told who requested the returning officer to halt the process. We believe this halt is unconstitutional, it is clear that ALL members have to be balloted if two or more valid nominations are received.

Our hopes for an open, inclusive process continue to be thwarted. First the rules clearly allowed for candidates to mail each member a leaflet, we were told this rule had been left in as a ‘drafting oversight’ and would not be used.

We wanted to speak to members but were told that canvassing was not permitted and no member lists would be provided.

We spoke to our existing contacts and we were warned we could be straying into forbidden canvassing territory.

We have campaigned on the allowed mediums of websites and member elists, but came under concerted pressure for being too open. Yet this open approach engaged with a broad spectrum of the membership. That our endorsers cover a wide geographical range and backgrounds shows that breadth.

Our core arguments for professionalism, openness & transparency remain. Our other key planks that the party needs to be bolder and protect the Freepost scheme still stand.

If the current GPEx had been more open and transparent we may well not have got to the election being suspended. They should have consulted with the wider party on key decisions like:

* Changes to the scale/nature of the Freepost scheme
* Changes to political strategy

We believe it is deeply unfair to exclude the members who cannot or chose not to attend conference. As conference is in Brighton & Hove this autumn it’s particularly far for people in areas of the North to attend.

We await the resumption of the election process, in the meantime as active members and councillors we’ll keep debating what we believe are the party’s key priorities for the next year.

To clarify:

* We were not consulted on the election suspension, just informed once the decision had been taken.

* Only Rupert & I are acting on behalf of our campaign (whatever you call it during this limbo period!). Mark’s letter was his own initiative which we did not initiate or approve. The only thing Mark did at our request was provide an endorsement we used on this site.

Why are we blaming GPEx? Because if they had resolved the issue of the Freepost quickly and clearly things wouldn’t have got to this. Mark, as contractor to the party, had to make significant financial commitments (which put his family finances and employees at risk) to ensure the scheme could be delivered. With unresolved doubts about deposits and the scale the scheme would take Mark has been left in an impossible situation.

I would not have taken the approach he has done, but GPEx having received his increasingly urgent pleas, should have provided him the clarity one way or the other that he needed.

So to recap, it’s deeply regrettable that we are here and people might have taken alternative approaches, but GPEx could have headed this problem off LONG AGO.

Footnote
How the election for External Communications co-ordinator will now work (directly from the ERO) as of 13th August:

“The nominations will close and be elected at conference as per any other GPEx post where the nominations close at conference. I.e. they will close at 10am on Friday 4th September and voting will be on Saturday 5th September on presentation of a Saturday plenaries voting card. The candidates statement booklet advises that this is to be from 14:20 to 15:20 and from 17:00 to 19:30.

“There will be no proxy voting. It will be conducted in the same way as a usual election for which nominations close at conference and are elected at conference.”

PS This was originally a post and a comment on our campaign site which has been closed while the election is suspended. I wasn’t able to bring over other people’s comments from that post without them all being from me — please repost if you wish.

12 thoughts on “Election suspended: Where next?”

  1. Good luck in the election jason. it’s crucial that we are allowed open and free debate in the party – even if that sometimes means people going too far.

  2. Have I lost my vote then? Can I go to Conference, and will the party pay my train fare. I didn’t think so but I do pay my membership fees so I reckon I’m due my vote that’s how it works. Or is this Iran.

  3. Why do I feel that I am being disenfranchised? All this on the day I receive my voting papers and expensively produced candidate statement booklet. This is all beginning to feel like a Burmese-style election process. Jason and Rupert beware of strange people swimming across lakes to get close to you!

  4. Jason & Rupert,

    Whilst I did vote for RON, I agree this situation is certainly undemocratic.

    I’m a little confused as to how you could call Mark Hills comments on your website an endorsement, it came across as just a personal attack of your opponent Tracey, rather than an endorsement of you and was part of my reasons for voting RON.

    I think you showed bad judgement in having Mark’s obviously personal view of Tracey on your website, particularly in contrast to Rupert’s recent pledge for clean politics in the Norwich North by-election.

    “No personal attacks”

    Whilst I also agree GP needs to be bolder and more responsive to the changing political climate, your judgement is what concerns me if you manage to get elected to the role of external comms co-ordinator.

    Just because we need change, doesn’t mean any change at any cost is better!

    I can appreciate Mark may have found himself in a very difficult position for many reasons and it is disappointing that GPEx couldn’t function in a way to resolve these issues between Tracey and Mark, without having them explode all over the Green Party!

    I sincerely hope GPEx and everybody else involved learns from this situation and that is the value of experience – but experience without learning is of no value at all!

  5. Publishing Mark’s statement was a very difficult decision. But having understood the lengths Mark and others had gone to in attempts to resolve the Freepost impasse we felt there was no choice.

    GPEx had failed to adequately manage the Freepost issues and uncertainty was being left to fester. It has now been brought to a head in an unfortunate way but at least I hope clarity and, as you say, learning will be the benefit.

    The concept of ‘personal attack’ is not well defined and I must say that if an allegation is truthful and of serious concern to the party’s well-being does it not deserve investigation?

  6. The trouble with ‘political’ types like yourselves is that you can never see or admit when you have done something wrong.

    You sound exactly like the people you keep running down.

    Clean means clean means clean. And when you harp on about it, you’d better make sure you walk it like you talk it.

  7. Raymond, I understand what you’re saying. But to me ‘clean’ means being honest and straightforward. It means not making things up in the hope they give you political advantage.

    I have been completely open and honest in my conduct for this election, as I strive to be in everything I do.

  8. Jason, much as I would like to know what GPEx are doing, I don’t much care much about your views when it’s all become so vindictive and spiteful. You need to recognise that current suspension of the election for External Communications Coordinator is entirely the making of you and your friends – you can’t blame that on GPEx – and the ERO has acted entirely constitutionally by suspending the election. Likewise it is for ERO with guidance from the relevant official bodies to determine the most democratic way out of this mess.

    Personal attacks and scapegoating is just what the party doesn’t need. You are actively damaging the party by continuing to propagate these comments in the public domain – please remove the post from your blog and help everyone to sort it out diplomatically and fairly.

  9. I have just come back from holiday to have recived my ballot papers for chair and the positon that has been cancelled.
    This I filled in before looking at my mail box and posted. So it was a shock to discover that it had been postponed. I have not recived any mail from Mark, but can’t help feel that he should not have done it although I do understand his concerns. I hold the view that all national members should take part in national committee elections not just those who come to conference. Iam concerned that a lot of the positions for GpEX have been rejected because of only having one candidate to be reopened at conference. If we did this in our smaller branches such as ours we would have no officers! The Party needs to have an electoral conference to sort out all these problems we are having. What is our leaders view?
    All National Elections should be by postal ballot.
    John Vivian

  10. Tim… I refute the suggestion that I am responsible for the current suspension. It was the ERO’s decision following an email from Mark Hill whose content I only saw when told about it by my local party contact on receipt of the message. I also reject your claims of vindictiveness — as I’ve said before on other blogs, I have nothing against the people here, I just disagree with their policies and approaches. Isn’t that fair game for elections?

    John — Thanks for your comments. I agree we should err in favour of all member votes whenever possible.

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