Having just completed a lengthy review of the Liberal Youth constitution and then issued a bunch of election rulings, I am a mite weary this morning, especially as my rulings were issued in the early hours.
It is interesting to operate with a set of rules which leave vast areas of doubt and uncertainty. There is no guidance about endorsements, and given the apparently general assumption that these are barred - indeed, they are in most internal Party elections and selections - the ensuing debate about the use of photographs with celebrities in them rather misses the point in this instance.
I have therefore chosen to assume that inclusion in a photograph does not imply endorsement unless said individual explicitly endorses the candidate whose manifesto it is in. It is my intention that this assumption is clearly stated in the manifesto booklet. The flip side of this ruling is that, if an explicit endorsement is claimed, it must be vouched by the endorser on pain of disqualification. And yes, for the avoidance of doubt, I really mean it.
Use of Facebook is in. I want candidates to use the free tools available to them. I want members to be able to engage with candidates. I want experimentation, initiative and imagination because these are the sort of skills that can make radical organisations work more effectively, achieve more and make more of an impression.
It hasn't all been as I would wish. The Rules explicitly prevent the membership list from being made available to candidates for purposes of campaigning, and I'll be looking at this again after the conclusion of the elections. I do think that this hands some individuals a potential advantage but my hands are tied.
Lastly, what I would like to see is a campaign of ideas, of proposals and of commitment. What I don't want to see is negative campaigning, abuse and cheap shots. I don't approve of it and, of course, I have the authority to do something about it.
So watch this space, as I'll be using this blog from time to time to report on the campaign...