miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
Someone on twitter just asked me what makes you qualified and what quality will you bring to the role? with regard to the party presidency.

I am indebted to Lady Mark for his succinct description of the threefold nature of the job. To address each of those parts in turn:

1, Being the Chair of federal executive, as well as a member of lots of other committees

  • What makes me qualified?

    I'm currently an officer in my branch party (secretary), my area party (press and communications officer), and my karate club (press and communications officer), and I have had similar roles in the past too (for example, when I worked at the local Citizen's Advice Bureau). I'm no stranger to writing agendas and minutes. My best marks on the BVC were in opinion writing and negotiation, and both of those skill sets would be useful in committee.

    Being a moderator on internet forums and communities (and having done so in various capacities for more than ten years now) is also a useful qualification. Knowing when to intervene in a debate is a skill that can only be learned by practise, and I have had a lot of that. I haven't always been perfect, but I have learned from my mistakes.

    I know some of the members of all the committees Mark mentions personally, and while that is not necessarily something that should be an absolute must for a candidate, it would lead to a shorter Getting To Know You period.

  • What qualities would I bring to the role?

    Precision and specificity in agenda formulation, and a willingness to steer people back to the agenda if they go off-topic.

    Giving equal time and respect to every contributor, whatever their background or day job (not saying that other people don't do this too, just that it is something I would focus on).

    Bluff, slightly stereotypical, Yorkshireness. I call a spade a spade, and I don't like skirting around issues.

  • What might be my weaknesses in this area?

    I can be impatient, and I can rub people up the wrong way. Both of these traits are ones I try to moderate. I have a tendency to not be as gentle as I could be in teasing out solutions; I call this being efficient, but some people might find me a bit brusque; again, this is something I try to moderate, particularly around people who don't know me well.

    Finally, some people can be annoyed by my unwillingness to treat them as My Betters when I am a mere barmaid, and they have achieved some lofty station in life; I doubt that this would apply to any members of our erstwhile party, but I suppose it's always possible.

2, Representing the grassroots membership to the party heirarchy

  • What makes me qualified?

    I'm not, and never have been, part of the top brass. I am a walking grass root. I have an established online presence which I use to communicate with other grass roots (as I am doing right now). My education and my blogging make me a communicator.

  • What qualities will I bring to the role?

    Unswerving determination. Openness and transparency: if I can post about something here, I will do so. If I can't, I will post that I can't and why I can't. I will be doing the job full time, with no day job to distract me. This means that when I say that I will do something, I will do it, it won't get delegated. Contactability.

  • What might be my weaknesses in this area?

    Overenthusiasm? I love communicating with people, I love meeting people from all walks of life, listening to them and talking to them. I am happy to debate anything with anyone, just for the joy of it. I am told that this can get wearing for other people. The idea of being a conduit for the views of the membership to the top brass and vice versa is one I really relish.

3, Representing the party as a whole to the outside world

  • What makes me qualified?

    I'm a walking diversity agenda. I'm female; I'm Northern; I'm bi, poly, and atheist. I have tattoos and piercings and oddly-coloured hair. I therefore feel that I could represent parts of the party to the outside world which nobody normally sees, but which are a massive part of the activist and voter base. Also, I would allow the party to show that they are not just for upper middle-class white people in suits. I'm aware of the etiquettes of various different communities, and will treat people with the respect and sensitivity with which I would expect them to treat me.

  • What qualities will I bring to the role?

    In order to represent the party, you have to know the party. Again, I think being from outside the Westminster bubble is an advantage here. An ability and willingness to talk to anyone, even journalists ;) My love of talking to and learning about people from all walks of life would be a huge asset here, IMHO.

  • What might be my weaknesses in this area?

    The fact that I am who I am might not be seen as an advantage by everyone. Some people prefer talking to upper middle class white men in suits, and thus I would already be at a disadvantage before those people even meet me. I think that is outweighed by the representational advantage, though. You may disagree.
Hope that goes some way to answering your questions, Andrew.



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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.



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