Rumors abound that a senior Labour MP has been lobbying Labour’s NZ Council to put rules in place for members who actively blog (or regularly comment).
Well, before we get on to the real issue here, let’s just be clear, there already are rules in place and if this senior MP doesn’t understand the constitution of her own party, I think she should go back to the mainland and spend Christmas swotting up (oops, I may have eluded to who I suspect this MP is). Anyway, just to help them out, I think rule 302 (ii) covers all eventualities:
302. Disciplinary action shall be applied for and ruled upon on the grounds of:
i. contravention of the Principles, Rules and policies of the Party as contained in the current Constitution and policy documents of the Party;
ii. and/or for bringing the Party into disrepute;
Regardless of this, I am a member, a campaigner and a blogger (although the last one is debatable as I think there is a requirement for people to actually read what you write, and I have been told I am just too un-contentious to drive web traffic). I blog because I want to express my views on the issues affecting NZ, and maybe just influence future policy. Its just one weapon in the arsenal of campaigning. To try and stifle that shows a complete lack of understanding of how politics, campaigning and communications work now (and I really would expect better from this person).
Yes, blogs are disruptive, and some have been excessively so at times. Any appearance of dissent and disagreement within Labour has been amplified by the MSM to give the impression of turmoil and revolution where there is none (certainly the latter in previous weeks).
It’s vital to have the debates and arguments over strategy and policy, and we have contributed our bit towards that, and been vilified for it. That’s how we improve what we do and how we do it, but it becomes a problem when we look like we are washing our dirty laundry in full public glare (especially when disruptive members of other left-wing parties stick their two cents in).
Caucus (and more importantly, senior staffers) need to take more interest in the blogs and how they work. If you don’t like what the blogs are saying, and you can’t stop them, there is only one option left to you. Get involved in the action and beat them at their own game (and Red Alert is not fit for that purpose).
It takes time, it takes hard work and it takes integrity. Now, instead of whinging because people don’t treat you like some political demi-god and revere your every glare, how about we set about engaging with our members via any means possible (and while we’re at it – just remember who works for who)!
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