Thursday, March 19, 2015
Dave - Don't Duck Debate!
Among the many things I rather admire about Ed Miliband is his pursuit of David Cameron over the latter's refusal to face a fair, public debate in the General Election campaign.
It's clear that an incumbent is always likely to resist such a debate (unless they consider themselves an underdog) but it shows a pretty shameful attitude towards democracy and a shabby disrespect for the electorate to resist a debate.
And this is true in other elections also.
One of the motions on the Preliminary Agenda for UNISON National Delegate Conference is Motion 115 from the Lambeth Branch (yes, I declare an interest, my branch sometimes pays my tube fare and Conference expenses).
Motion 115 expresses support for Regionally organised hustings in the forthcoming election for General Secretary of UNISON - and suggests that these could be broadcast online so that members can see for whom they are being asked to vote.
As diligent readers (Sid and Doris Blogger) will be aware, this blog has a position of "armed neutrality" at this stage in the run up to the General Secretary election and - on the only occasion when your blogger had the opportunity to question would-be candidates - I did my level best to be equally rude to all of them.
The point about hustings - and making them accessible to members - is that anyone who aspires to be our General Secretary should be prepared to test themselves in front of our members.
My fellow members of our National Executive Council (NEC) will have to take a policy position on Motion 115. Will we support elementary democratic practice (as advocated by Ed Miliband)? Or will we take the line of Dave who wants to duck debate?
The answer to that question will show whether our NEC has confidence in the ability of candidates who may emerge to contest the position of our principal officer to present themselves well in debate (much as they would have to if - as we surely expect of our General Secretary - they have to appear on "Question Time" or generally in the media).
I await that answer with interest.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.