notes from JK

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.

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.