Thursday, August 13, 2009

Green Party abandons internal election over dirty tricks

Yesterday I wrote about the contest to become the Green Party's external communications officer and the increasingly nasty tone it has been taking. Most of the nastiness seems to have come from supporters of Rupert Read, would-be Mr Clean of the recent Norwich by-election, and his running mate.

This morning comes news this statement from the party's electoral returning officer (ERO):

A contractor working with the party overstepped their authority by sending a message to all local parties making allegations against one of the candidates for External Communications Co-ordinator without that candidate having any possibility of a right to reply. I am treating this as illegal canvassing by that contractor.

This situation is so serious that it has prejudiced the fairness of the postal ballot for External Communications Co-ordinator.

I refer all members to the following section in the Election rules:

5 Conduct of other party members
5.1 Rules of conduct

The ERO has no redress against members who are not candidates in the election. A candidate should not be disqualified due to the actions of another member, unless it is clear that member has acted with the approval of the candidate. However, if, in the opinion of the ERO, the actions of a third party may have materially affected the result of the election, the ERO may declare the election void.

As ERO, with the support of the Standing Orders Committee (SOC), I have taken the decision to call off the postal ballot for the position of External Communications Co-ordinator.

This was not a decision taken lightly.

The election for Chair of the Green party executive is not affected and will continue as normal.

Nominations for the position of External Communications Co-ordinator will re-open at conference, as for other GPEx positions where there were one or zero nominations.

There will be no campaigning allowed for the position of External Communications Co-ordinator until nominations close at conference.Valid candidates' nominations already submitted will still stand, unless they withdraw, but will be treated in the same way as valid nominations for any other position being re-opened at conference.

These decisions were made with the support of SOC.

The party's executive says it is taking legal advice over allegations made in the email.

So much for the Green Party representing a clean new form of politics.


Joe Otten said...

I hope they're still grateful. The system of reverting to a conference ballot for executive posts attracting zero or one nominations in time for a postal ballot (which was usually most of them) was my initiative in a previous life.

It is a poor show if the party's ruling body of a dozen or so members is largely elected unopposed, but perhaps not surprising if this is the sort of vitriol you can expect to receive by way of thanks. On the other hand if there is such a dearth of willing candidates, maybe they just are that rubbish.

Adrian Whitmore said...

As Liberals, we should be concerned that the Greens abandon their internal votes as soon as things get upsetting. Yet another example of their authoritarian, controlling streak. People sometimes sling mud in elections - and if that's unfair, you don't vote for the mudslingers, like Rupert.

God help us if they ever get to apply their weird ideas to national elections. Only hippies need apply.

Joe Otten said...

That's harsh Adrian. There is a second round of balloting they are falling back to - albeit strictly in breach of the rules. It is a conference ballot rather than an all-member ballot.

But we have conference-delegate ballots rather than all-members ballots for similar posts. We also have, as I understand it, rules limiting campaigning for these posts. If somebody breaches the rules, the ERO has a judgement call to make.