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June 2, 2014 at 1:21 am #99650BrianParticipantrobbo203 wrote:One might understand the need to take a gentle trot if you lacked the necessary resources to commit yourself to a gallop but in this instance, this is not the case.
Its pretty obvious you are failing to understand what the word sustainability means in practical terms despite the fact that I spelt it out point by point. But in your rush to use a general election as a means to get the party name mainstream you appear to forget that to run a general election campaign of 50 candidates entails a lot more than just organising a PEB, or even perhaps changing Rule 27 (which personally I'm opposed to). For instance, during the euro campaign the printing and the distribution of the manifesto is we found no easy task, even on that limited scale. Again, we would expect for a general election every constituency to have at least one public meeting, then there's the hustings, media interviews, etc. To expect the Election Committee, presently consisting of three members, to be the main conduit for all this activity is unrealistic. And even with an enlarged committee they would not have the necessary skills and experience for running and organising a general election campaign for 50 candidates. On top of this there is the actual production of the PEB which is contentious to say the least!To get back on the thread, three very important facts came out of the euro campaign. Firstly, at long last we got treated seriously by the media. Secondly, it was a learning curve and a new experience for all concerned. Last but not least we desperately need the time to get used to this new experience and to improve our activity accordingly so we continue to be treated seriously by the media.And we wont do that by contesting a general election with 50 candidates just to justify a PEB. But having said that we will get used to this new experience by: Planning to contest the euro again in five years with even more candidates contesting further areas; substaining the election strategy in London; contesting the Welsh Government elections; contesting local elections outside of London; and possibly putting forward local and regional candidates in Scotland.That in practical terms is what is meant by sustainability.June 2, 2014 at 1:49 am #99651alanjjohnstoneKeymaster
No-one suggests it will be easy. I simply posed two obvious questions and there are plenty more to ask.Your Point3, bRIAN – The rule about speakers test qualification for General Election is already bent to permit election list candidates to stand in the Euro, so as Robbo said, it can be amended. Even so, it can still be overcome by conducting the test by email or telephone…not a great obstacle…unless you think 50 members cannot pass the speakers test. JulianV appears to have answered one query. Of course, the said person will also be acting as his own election agent so there will be a lot of canvassing for the initial proposers in each consituence (i forget the number required), and plenty of form filling and visiting returning officers meetings, deliverng leaflets to the sorting offices of Royal Mail .(they don't pick them up if i recall from my own experience but i stand to be corrected) and then finally another bit of form filling after the election on the expenses spent ,I think we can safely say we do need an exceptional commitment from members and that has to be gauged first of all. Scotland branches already seemed to take a back-seat in the Euro-election, they may also be reluctant to participate.Morale and enthusiasm in the party generally will have to be gee-ed up to achieve this. A process of feedback should be somehow embarked upon. A poll of who would volunteer to be a candidate/election agent, who would assist in other ways…The purpose is to draw publicity by a nationally broadcast NEW election video, and a Royal Mail free mail-out to 50 constituences. In this regard , it is a one-off campaign. Regards Brian's Point 1 We don't have 50 branches to sustain. Your point 2 is more relevant -Those branches that are capable should do as you say engage in visible campaigns to build up a presence but of course that should always be the activity of a branch. But this is the focus on a general election when peoples minds are already (willing ot not) focussed by the media on politics. Relatively, people are more receptive to political messages at this time and we should take advantage of it. My view is entirely consistent with my previous opinions during the party fund discussions. Rather than concentrate on where to get the most healthy returns i argued that we remove that question and problem and spend spend spend our money on activity. I am sure the election committee will be taking notice of this thread and they will be reporting to ADM with recommendations for the future. They however should be aware of the feeling of members (and sympathisers)They can then produce and distribute a standing for election in 10- easy- steps instruction manual or whatever and act as liason and help centre. .June 2, 2014 at 5:02 am #99652ALBKeymaster
I'm not sure where the figure of contesting 50 seats to qualify for a election broadcast has come from (maybe it was once the case) but the current Ofcom rules on political broadcasts state:Quote:Other registered parties if they are contesting one sixth or more of the seats up for election in the case of first-past-the-post, multi-constituency elections such as a General Election.
There are currently 650 MPs. One-sixth of this is 109.Frankly, I don't think we could do this, even if we relaxed the Rule about candidates standing in single-member constituencies having to have passed the Speakers Test. Incidentally, the Rule currently says that in multi-member constituencies only one of the candidates has to have and in fact in the South East Region only one of the 10 had. Despite this 7 of the others were interviewed or wrote statement or letters to the press. They were quite capable of expressing the socialist case. After all, we have no leaders. The Speakers Test is essentially a test of knowledge and could probably be done away with (it already has for everything else) but one lesson of this election is the need to train members to answer questions on radio and TV.In any event, I don't think the PEB itself had much more than symbolic significance. It wasn't it that brought in hits to our website, but its posting on Youtube. We could still do this even if we didn't qualify for one (as I can't see us doing). Also, the television interview with one of our candidates on the BBC2 Daily Politics Show will have been seen by many more than saw our PEB on the two occasions when it was broadcast.Obviously we have to follow-up our Euroelection campaign at the General Election by contesting seats in the areas we contested. The results, both in terms of votes and responses, identify Oxford and Brighton as must-contests. Also in Wales Swansea. Others such as Reading, Canterbury or Cardiff or Rhondda could be added.Outside the areas where we contested, we could do, say, 3 in London, and, taking into account where we have people on the ground (I think Brian has a valid point here), one in Norwich, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Lancaster, Doncaster, Sunderland, Glasgow and Edinburgh. That would be 19 or 20 as a realistic maximum figure. That would still be 4 times the largest number of seats we have contested before. I don't think that in practice we would reach that figure. Try convincing the branches in the North West and Scotland to engage in election activity !Looking beyond the 2015 general election, there's regional assembly elections in London, Wales and Scotland in 2016. These are easier to manage except there's no free postal distribution in them.If you want to think big there's the London Mayor election in 2016. It costs £10,000 to stand but every elector in London gets a booklet with statements from all the candidates. Here's the one from 2012. That's more than 5.4 million. We've never covered that number before. It's 4 times what we've just done. The "Independent Working Class Association" took advantage of this in 2004 mayor elections. But, since we are against the principle of elected mayors, could we contest these?Two other points. Candidates wouldn't have to be their own agents. And if we put up the same candidate in different constituencies we'd look silly (but we wouldn't need to as we could easily find 20 candidates. In fact, with the local elections in London and the Euroelections, we just fielded 17).June 2, 2014 at 5:57 am #99653alanjjohnstoneKeymaster
Your clarifications reveal that we simply cannot stand sufficient candidates for UK-wide broadcast. So that's the end of that. But the resources that would have been earmarked for 50 seats i suggest should be directed to the half-dozen or so constituencies we choose to contest. Prominent local press adverts placed and perhaps a billboard or two, strategically selected. My main concern with the London Mayor idea is that it reinforces the impression that we are mainly a London party. That is inevitable but would require to be countered somehow. Your comment that You Tube produced significant hits may suggest we also invest more heavily in video presentation of our ideas rather than just showing meetings and debates. Nor need they be all-encompassing videos but a series, each separate one showing an aspect of our case…and maybe with animation.June 2, 2014 at 9:43 am #99654AnonymousInactive
I don't see why another election video would be needed. The current one is fine and does the job.June 2, 2014 at 9:57 am #99655ALBKeymasteralanjjohnstone wrote:My main concern with the London Mayor idea is that it reinforces the impression that we are mainly a London party. That is inevitable but would require to be countered somehow.
Elections to the Welsh Assembly will take place the same day in May 2016.Elections to the Scottish Parliament are also scheduled for that day too. Of course in the unlikely (in my opinion) event of Scotland having broken away by then the situation there would be different. Presumably, there'd be a separate Scottish Electoral Commission with which we'd have to register. Be interesting to see if they would accept one from a party calling itself "The Socialist Party of Great Britain" or, in fact, whether we'd want to register under World Socialist Party (Scotland) instead. All very (very) hypothetical.June 2, 2014 at 10:00 am #99656BrianParticipantVin Maratty wrote:I don't see why another election video would be needed. The current one is fine and does the job.
Its done the job for the euro campaign but with constant change in the political and economic climate it most certainly wont do the job in the future.June 2, 2014 at 10:33 am #99657jondwhiteParticipant
We could have a selection of videos to choose from and use in different circumstances.June 2, 2014 at 11:59 am #99658steve colbornParticipant
Election activity was not "overstretched" in the NE Brian. It was actually done on an ongoing and purposeful basis. It got the parties name but moreover ideas, well known in the area, which it still is today. This is the focus and intent of activity, electoral or otherwise, is it not? Steve.June 2, 2014 at 11:26 pm #99659SocialistPunkParticipantBrian wrote:SocialistPunk wrote:Brian wrote:We have learnt from our experiences in the North East that once a particular Branch, or a combination of Branches have committed themselves to election activity it has to be sustainable in respect of Branch resources being sufficient to cover the activity in the long-term. In short, one-offs are a nono.
Hi BrianIt was during my time in the North East I believe you are referring to and we contested a general election, a euro-election and several (if not more) local elections. There was a lot of activity going on then and the branch became very focused. The intention was to contest more future elections, but things have a tendency to happen.I certainly would not describe the hard work and effort put in as a one-off affair.
Neither do I for I was also in on the ground during the euro election and was fully aware that the intention was to contest further elections. But with foresight all that hard work and effort has to be tempered with some thought on the pace of election activity matching Branch resources, and developing an election strategy which also matches Branch resources. Otherwise the election activity is in danger of becoming overstreched and unsustainable, which in truth is what occured in the North East.I'm partially to blame for this occurring in the North East for I was on the Election Committee during this period and encouraged the comrades there to contest elections at every opportunity without giving any thought to the necessity for pace and election strategy.
As this thread is now looking at lessons to be learnt and possible tactics for future elections, I think it important that Brian clarifies what he means in the above quote regarding the overstretching and unsustainable nature of the North East election activity. If mistakes were made, they need to be exposed and avoided in future.During that period in the North East branch the election activity helped to focus and motivate the branch with most members pitching in according to their abilities etc. I wouldn't say we were overstretched. Of course we could have done with more members, show me a branch with too many members.As for the unsustainable aspect, I think it safe to say that most parties see an increase in propaganda opportunities during election time, and as election "fever" dies down so to do the opportunities, more so for small parties. So full on electioneering sustainability is not an issue. Between elections it is business as usual, with branches forever seeking ways to promote socialism. Hopefully with an extra member or two.What is meant by branch resources? I'm assuming it refers to both finances and people power. Either way, a party branch is not, or should not be an isolated entity when it comes to resources. If resources are running dry during intense periods of activity, it is up to the party as a whole unit to pitch in, after all it's what socialism is about.Lessons must be learnt whenever possible and strategies always need fine tuning. But it is of little use just to knock words such as overstretched and unsustainable about, with little clarification. I was there at the time and I haven't a clue what is meant by those comments.I think the SPGB has been pacing itself for far too long now. It's long overdue a high octane injection.June 3, 2014 at 12:16 am #99660steve colbornParticipant
Hi SP, hope you are OK! Your post is, as far as I can see. spot on. North East Branch did not, in fact, overeach nor oeverstretch itself. It did exactly what was written on the can. At "that" time, there were a number of totally committed Members/Socialists.SP and John Bisset in the forefront. We, as a Branch, carried out humungous efforts on behalf of, not the Party, but of the cause for Socialism.What needs to be addressed, is the maximum amount of publicity, propoganda and activity that can be squeezed from such a small "base"! I, and others, think it is considerable, time for "members" to prove us right!!!June 4, 2014 at 12:39 pm #99661AnonymousInactive
As part of the follow-up to the recent electoral activity Kent & Sussex branch will be having another stall in Tonbridge on Saturday, 14th June from 12 noon. In the High Street by the castle overlooking the River Medway. Nice…June 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm #99662SocialistPunkParticipant
Hope you get a nice day for it.June 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm #99663rodmanlewisParticipant
I think that members who are going to be in the "public eye" need to have done more than pass the speaker's test. They need to be trained on how to deal with grilling by a hostile interviewer; spot trick questions; bring the discussion back on track when it is starting to drift; insist on dealing with key points of the socialist case etc. Julian VeinJune 7, 2014 at 4:24 pm #99664AnonymousInactive
I fully agree with you, Julian, but who will do the training? Other members? Will it require specialists from outside the party?
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