I'm now approaching the end of my term as Secretary of the East of England Liberal Democrats, and I have been wondering about whether or not I should seek a second term.
For one thing, the role is not the one I had when I was the Regional Secretary in London. Where I had Flick, whose role was more all-encompassing, I now have Lorna, whose organisational skills and effective use of technology mean that there is far more crossover between our job descriptions. What this means is that I have lost the hands on element of the task, minuting and Executive servicing, and gained... well, what exactly?
Operating in a new region, with new people, where processes are presumed rather than based on published criteria, has proved to be somewhat disconcerting. I have drifted from one incident to another, without any effective framework to cling to. Worse still, the lack of such a framework has only become apparent when it is too late to build one. And yet, as the Regional Secretary, you are expected to know the answers, and implement them.
I should have realised that I was, to some extent, on my own when, at my first meeting, I had to point out that the Executive Committee were about to act in a manner contrary to their own Constitution. It wasn't a big issue, nor one that would have any impact beyond the structures of the Regional Party, but it was clear that the Constitution had the status of folk legend rather than living document.
However, having given the role of the Regional Secretary in a supra-administrative environment much thought, I have concluded that there is scope for someone to operate in a strategic and analytical capacity, improving the way we operate as a Regional Party, and delivering something which enables those we serve to perform better, focus their attention on getting their people elected and re-elected, and, if we believe in our message, conveying it as widely and effectively as possible. That someone, might I suggest, is me.
My first task is to tighten up our complaints handling, and once that is done, I have some ideas for the very structure of the Regional Party... vorspring durch verwaltung, as we say in Amaranth...