Friday, 21 November 2014

One thing that interests me about Rochester & Strood by-election....... & one thing that doesn't.

I find White Van Dan interesting as he is the kind of swing voter I come across in my private life - at parties and just talking to people. I often find on the doorstep, the type of people I meet (and who want to talk) do tend to have explicit reasons why they vote certain ways, or plan to. But most people vote in General Elections, and when chatting to friends and acquaintances I find it's not always a logical decision. White Van Dan said he voted Tory at the last election but "didn't know why". I've heard that sort of statement before - and I don't believe it's altogether a bad thing

On this blog I often argue for the role of emotions in politics to be paid more attention to, especially here in Britain where we aren't terribly connected to our emotions at the best of times, or at least aren't supposed to be. I think recognising that emotions play far more of a role in the lives of voters, members and activists is important work..

After the Police and Crime Commissioner elections it was stated (tho I'm still searching for the source!) that the circa. 20% of the electorate that voted seemed to be the type of people that activists are, and can be wont to think they are targeting - those who engage with logical argument (whether that's to agree or disagree), research candidates and always vote. Which leaves 80% that don't. Worth thinking about.

On the other hand the one thing I'm really not interested in is the "narrative". Emily Thornberry may have been snobbish, foolish, unwise and/or arrogant but I really don't think it says anything about Labour in general.

And I am rather sick of people talking about "the narrative" which seems to be shorthand for "I'm going to either agree or disagree with what everyone else is talking about". It's just all a bit boring.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

An answer for everything and a solution for nothing?

I've been reflecting on some recent decisions within the Liberal Democrats internal procedures and trying to unpick them from a perspective of "how did we end up here?"

Take the Regional Parties Committee decision on disciplinary matters. Putting aside whether you think it was the correct decision or not, it's very difficult to understand who is on the Regional Parties Committee, what it's remit is, how powers are devolved to it and how decision-making is done. At best it looks muddled, at worst it looks murky.

If you don't like any of those structures within the party, and wish to challenge them, how is that done? Is it just a question of "shut up and deliver leaflets"? Can one stand against these people on a platform of reform or even to raise awareness of the issues? 

But the other thing that strikes me is a number of people always have answers when any question of reform is raised. It feels at times as if the answers are reached for "off-pat" - for instance we can't have All-Women Shortlists because it is "illiberal"  - discussion over. Or because there was a process over the recent sexual harrassment scandal we should all have respect for that process (usually expressed as "having respect for due process") - discussion over.

It just seems that we often have an answer but not a solution.

Finally, I am at a loss about where to find reports of the key committees that run the Liberal Democrats. How am I to know, if for instance, we are going to have a "balance of probabilities" test for sexual harassment cases, if they occur in the future? This decision could be taken by the relevant authority (which would be....... no... don't know that either) and we wouldn't be aware. 

This question doesn't even seem to have an answer..... If I'm elected to the Federal Executive I will endeavour to find out.