Posts Tagged ‘consultation’

Jeremy Corbyn’s Syria consultation was flawed and undemocratic

11/12/2015, 01:59:38 PM

by Trevor Fisher

The Syria vote debate has been dominated by events inside the Westminster bubble, but an important development in the Labour Party has so far flown under the radar. This was the attempt at a ‘consultation’ launched by the leader on Friday 27th November – five days before the vote on December 2nd. Part of the ‘new politics’ which are now developing, the exercise needs close scrutiny.

Although consultation of members is not part of the rules of the party, nothing precludes it. However on this case, as Corbyn had already said he would vote NO to the proposal, he had prejudged the outcome. Given that M Ps were to be given a free vote on the issue, correctly in my view, there could be no question that this would set party policy on the topic – and it is doubtful whether this could ever be legitimate as this form of exercise is not one that appears in the rules as part of the policy making process as far as I can see.

However even as a straw poll, the process had serious flaws. It had not been announced in advance and most members would be unaware of its launch. There was no deadline, members merely being asked to respond “by the start of the week”. More seriously, the survey form – which seems to have vanished from the Labour Party website – did not pose a clear choice to voters, which is standard practice in polling. While it is rare that there is a simple Yes No choice in politics, on this issue the issue was stark. Why there was no choice posed that could be answered by a vote, either yes-no or a range of options makes the exercise unscientific.


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Jon Bounds is not impressed by Nick Clegg’s Your Freedom

05/07/2010, 09:36:37 AM

As a principle, asking people what they think is a good thing, but ask them in the wrong way and all you’re doing is storing up resentment. It looks like Nick Clegg’s Your Freedom is piling up the anger.

If you’ve ever been on TV or radio and the producer has developed an interest in your breakfasting habits as you’re sitting down, it’s because just asking people ‘to say something’ doesn’t work — they mumble, go quiet, and generally say nothing of even enough use to check that the sound levels are right.

So it is with consultation. Ask too tight, or loaded, a question and you do nothing but make people angry, but make the question too wide and you’re going to have a hell of a job finding anything useful. (more…)

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