Saturday, September 22, 2007

Selection Rules: From triumph to disaster and back again

I've been a bit busy with another election recently, but have managed to find time to observe those elections actually underway, and they've really been quite interesting.

In the Mayoral selection for London, we've had the first hustings - in Brighton. I have to give credit to those who came up with the idea of holding it, as the coverage was far better than the 'official' one is likely to be, and the press clearly lapped it up. Perhaps it is a mite unfortunate that running alongside the European selections has meant that at least one candidate has the dubious pleasure of having to comply with two sets of Rules which clearly contradict each other...

Meanwhile, one of the European candidates has had a picture of himself and his lovely wife ruled out of order due to her status as a notable member of the Party. That'll teach him to marry a baroness... hmm, perhaps I ought to move along at this point...

This brings me to news of an interesting development. Endorsements have been something of a problem for Returning Officers over the years, and the simple to administrate notion of banning them altogether has been traditionally favoured. However, in an age of Facebook, blogs and e-forums both private and public, policing has become virtually impossible. In my conversations with some fairly senior Returning Officers, it has become clear that there is a real consensus that the 'no endorsement' restriction is dead in the water and moves will follow shortly to have it struck from the Selection Rules. This will simply the campaigning phase beyond recognition, as it will in turn allow links to other websites - yes, another regulation gone.

One advantage of having a former European candidate in close proximity is that you do tend to hear the other side of the argument more clearly, and I have increasingly become discomforted by the paradox whereby we, as a Party, talk about over-regulation and the need for a 'bonfire of directives' whilst simultaneously adding more and more clauses to our Selection Rules.

So, we have an opening gambit in the quest for simpler, more effective Selection Rules. Is there anyone else willing to storm the barricades?

1 comment:

Duncan Borrowman said...

I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you storming them!

A couple of recent sets of rules on candidates artwork define the size of the border on the A4 page for booklets. Which is interesting as the printer is the same one as the GLA and can print to the edge ("full bleed") as they did on my GLA artwork. Another case of we haven't got a rule so we had better write one!