Tuesday, November 25, 2008

By-elections: before my computer so rudely interrupted me

I have teething problems with Blogger at work. It tends to stop working part way through blog postings. Perhaps I should find better ways to spend my lunch break... Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, here's the second anonymous comment...

"There is a hidden assumption that local party members are actually local. This is not always the case. A large number of members can have their membership transferred in to local parties from others to influence selection decisions and gain control of local party executives, at the expense of locally based members. A decision at regional or federal level is preferable to this kind of thing."

When the membership rules were revisited in 2006, one of the changes was to prevent members transferring from Local Party to Local Party (except, of course, due to change of residence) by requiring signed approval by a Regional Officer. These are pretty rare, and there have to be good grounds - historical connections or employment, for example. I think that I've signed three in the past two years.

In fact, even before that change, an effective Membership Secretary, working in consort with an alert Local Party Executive Committee, could prevent such naked attempts at entryism. It would be fair to say that the only ways to circumvent that would require either gaining control of the Local Party first (and thus demonstrating that you represented the majority view already), or persuading the Executive Committee not to challenge new membership applications. In either instance, the Local Party is in trouble and could be suspended by the Regional Party.

So, the comment is a bit of a red herring, based on a situation which might have arisen two years ago, and was, in reality, seldom an issue. I increasingly feel that we have show that we trust Local Parties and if not, say why we don't. It is not viable to ask Local Parties and their members to do more and more, yet take powers away from them whilst you do so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mark, I can tell you that this kind of thing has been going on in my local party since 2006. Our regional chair has told us that he is not aware of anything we can do to stop it. It would be helpful if you can you point out the change to the membership rules that you are referring to and which regional officer needs to approve transfers.