There was a little bit of welcome news to do with the internal workings of the Liberal Democrats that I heard about recently. This was that the Party’s Federal Executive had agreed to support a series of proposals to relax the restrictions on campaigning in internal party elections. Mark Pack has more details on this over on Liberal Democrat Voice. In particular, I am very pleased that they are proposing to remove the, frankly ridiculous, ban on electronic campaigning.
Back in 2008 I stood, unsuccessfully, for the Federal Executive. I found it a frustrating process as, not being a member of the Party with a high profile, I was hindered by the campaigning tools I could most effectively use – email, websites and blogging – being off limits to me because of that ban on electronic campaigning. After the election I wrote a post on my old ‘Process Guy’ blog complaining about the situation and calling for the rules to be reviewed.
They were not and the most recent elections for the Party’s committees last year were also held under rules that prevented campaigning online. Although it was more noticeable that this time that more of the candidates were prepared to bend and break the rules with, seemingly, no consequences. The ban on online campaigning was one of the reasons, although to be honest not the most significant, why I chose not to try again to be elected to the FE.
The removal of the ban makes sense. Not only because it is impracticable, but also because I want the Liberal Democrats to have a healthy and vibrant internal democracy that encourages debate, challenge and accountability and the use of online communications is an essential method of encouraging that. So I hope the proposals will be supported when they come to conference for approval.