Sunday, March 25, 2012

Throwing away the key... how not to run internal elections

I find myself in an unusual position. Well, actually not that unusual, in that I find myself in opposition to a bunch of conservatives who find social media 'a bit difficult'. So, where are these reactionaries?

Here is an excerpt from the election rules for the organisation;

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice"No candidate may pro-actively campaign for election online, or allow anyone else to campaign on their behalf. This includes - but is not limited to - setting up special Twitter accounts, "friending" or "following" people for the explicit purpose of campaigning, establishing a Facebook group or page, pro-actively "tagging" friends with status updates about their candidacy, writing a blog post, recording a video or audio message."

and another;

"Candidates may inform their existing friends and social contacts that they are standing and may answer direct questions about their candidacy, if asked. This applies to the informal use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). However, there is inevitably a thin line between informing and campaigning via social media and there are circumstances in which  a candidate may not be able to control how their communications on social media are subsequently relayed by others."

Having just stamped out such nonsense from within the candidate selection rules of my own Party, you cannot believe how frustrating it is to encounter it again. But how frustrating do you think it is to discover that these rules come from the internal election calling notice of 'Unlock Democracy'?

I should like to put on record that I am deeply disappointed that an organisation that calls for a better informed, more participatory democracy should have such repressive election rules, a point I have made most forcefully to my fellow Council members.

It is a sad indictment of the organisation's leadership that I find myself in the position where I can't even tell you whether I intend to run for re-election or not. Because, no matter how ludicrous the rules are, I feel collectively bound to honour them.

So, until I either announce that I'm not running, or the close of poll on 21 June, I am able to give no inkling as to what is happening. What a crying pity, and what a terrible irony...


tern said...

I noticed that too and alerted Purple People friends in Edinburgh about it and they think the same. the discretionary power in one official's hands is a particularly disturbing model. Enough to produce a suggestion that its purpose may be to protect a status quo.

James Graham (UD) said...

Unlock Democracy’s internal election regulations are decided by our members.  The rules are designed to provide a level playing field and to prevent wealthier candidates from having too great an advantage.  The current rules were set before Facebook and Twitter were in widespread use.

Any member concerned about these rules could have submitted a standing order amendment to our AGM.  No-one did so. We are keen to encourage as many members as possible to stand for election.  For more details see our website: