Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ros Scott and the art of the "running commentary"

LibDem President Ros Scott has announced that she has ended her blog:

Recent events have caused me to reflect on the best way to communicate with the Party. Blogging is a great medium for recording instantaneous reaction to events, but there are times when the constraints of the Party Constitution, the legal framework and political sensibilities mean that instantaneous comment on my part is inappropriate and potentially dangerous. However, the existence of my blog seems to have led some people into thinking that it is possible to keep up a running commentary on what is going on. I wish to avoid a recurrence of that and so, with some regret, have closed down my blog. In future, minutes of FE will be published here on LDV, within the one month required by the Standing Orders, and I’ll post this monthly report as close to the end of the month as possible. Liberal Democrat News and all member e-mails will form alternative means of communication.

I am fascinated by this line:

However, the existence of my blog seems to have led some people into thinking that it is possible to keep up a running commentary on what is going on.

What did you expect, Ros? A blog is a "running commentary".

I appreciate that this is probably the right decision. But please also reflect on your own actions.

You told everyone, on your blog, that there was a crucial FE meeting happening a few days before it. If you hadn't told everyone via your blog, you wouldn't have been inundated with enquiries as to what happened in that meeting.

And you were the person who gave a Federal Executive update on your blog on 24th March 2009 the day after it happened (text below). So perhaps it might occur to you that people were expecting a running commentary because you were actually giving them one up until when the solids hit the Vent-Axia!

I appreciate you were bold enough to start a blog in the first place and, obviously, events proved that this was untenable. That is disappointing but you can't be blamed for trying. I just think it is a said day for openess (or lack of it) in the Liberal Democrat party.

Last nights meeting was a bit of a marathon, as we had a pretty packed agenda and almost a full tally of members to make contributions to the debate. Nick Clegg updated FE on some of his most recent activities, and his assessment of the current political situation before we went on to receive a strategy presentation from our new communications guru, Chris Fox. Chris and Nick took questions and responded to comments from FE in what proved to be a lively session.We looked at the regular set of performance indicators, and decided on some new ones, and worked out our forward scrutiny programme for the coming year before moving on to our two remaining significant items of business. Ros Harper, Chair of the Campaign for Gender Balance introduced a paper on the question of retention of parliamentary candidates, in which there was a thorough review of the reasons why candidates drop out, based on a series of interviews with former candidates and local parties. Their paper made a number of practical suggestions about candidate support which we will try to take forward, in conjunction with the various party bodies, over the coming year.Brian Orrell spoke to to his extensive paper on previous European elections giving us a really useful contextual background to the election in June. Part 2 of his work, on the PR elections in Scotland, Wales and London, will be discussed at our next meeting in May.I'll write a more full report of FE next week, but this does, I hope, give a flavour of last night's work.

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