Sunday, May 23, 2010

Liberal Youth: we're living in a federal world, and I am a federal RO...

I'm sure that it would have sounded better if Madonna had sung that, but you can't have everything. However, the federal nature of Liberal Youth presents me with an interesting dilemma.

I have received a nomination for the position of English Convenor. It meets all of the requirements except one - I'm not the Returning Officer of Liberal Youth England. The constitution of Liberal Youth states that I shall organise elections to fill vacancies provided for under Article 6.1 (a) to (f). None of these are the English Convenor, and therefore, I'm loathe to interfere with the constitutional settlement of Liberal Youth by running such an election.

It is quite curious. There is a Scottish organisation, well-established and active, as I saw in Perth a few months ago, campaigning on issues of personal liberty. There is a Welsh organisation, perhaps not quite as high profile but still visible through Freedom Central. However, the English state organisation, rather like the English Party as a whole, is rather less obvious. Does it meet, does it have a focus for its activity, can it be defined as being something distinctive from Liberal Youth federally? Who speaks for Liberal Youth England?

I can see that this might be a tricky one...


jammy_harrison said...

To be honest I never saw a purpose for the role of English Convenor. It just seemed like an additional GEM position

Thomas said...

Hi Mark,

Can I ask what the position is then? Obviously I wouldn't want you to do anything unconstitutional, but at the same time the position of England Convenor does exist (and has been elected before, I believe) so I'm a tad concerned.


Luke Richards said...

I'm going to make the politically-motivated request that you stick to the letter of the law (constitution). Its high time that the federal exec started to take the federal structure and principles seriously and actually saw themselves as the overseer of branch activity that they should be. If, as you suggest, you shouldn't even be running the election for England Convenor, then applying that rule as it should be would not only uphold the Federal nature of the constitution (I don't want any of those horrible Scottish and Welsh types electing exec which decided to ride roughshod over my wonderful English state branch etc etc transferring states-rights rhetoric from the USA over to UK Liberal Youth, as it were) but might also kick-start the need to actually get something going on with Liberal Youth England and not just pretend it doesn't exist.

I honestly believe we could be on the verge of the breakthrough I believe Liberal Youth needs - having decried for some time the fact that it is far too centralised. And all that would need to be done to make this point is, in fact, to just apply the rules. It doesn't even require a crude or twisted interpretation.

How exciting!

Ben Mathis said...

Having previously held the title of England Convenor, it has previously been elected side-by-side with the federal executive, with the ballot paper being slightly modified for members in Scotland, Wales and None of the Above.

What the point of the role is I never could fathom. With the beat will in the world England - not to mention Liberal Youth England - cannot be represented singly. I treated it as a combination of extra GEM and renegade Branch development.

I don't think it's a role that anyone - myself included - has done well in some considerable time.