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In May 2010 I submitted my nomination for the Board and am pleased to say I was elected to it on the 18th July. It is now coming up to five years that I have been a Governor and I hope to be able to serve another five years.
There is a lot that has happened over the past five years, we've come far as a Party. We have had some fun, and we have had our ups and downs. We've been down some rocky roads, but we are still around! I hope that the members have been happy with my work as a Governor and that they will be happy to be stuck with me for another term.
With a bit of a retrospective mood taking me, this is a good chance to look over answers to questions I was asked five years ago. From the first link above you can see all of them, I'm just picking a selection...
Q) Where do you see the party in 1 years time?
I worry that in the next few months the party will hit a rocky point. As we approach the one year anniversary of those members how many of them will we see renew? I fear that when it comes to the inactive members many of them will not renew. After passing this rocky patch, we may have less fee paying members (one way or another) and our finances may be hit, but I suspect as far as active membership goes there won't be a decline and so we'll rebound. In parallel, over the year, I expect the Board to organise and formalise the party structures, so that in a year's time there is much greater administrative and organisational understanding of who does what, when, how, etc. I also anticipate the majority of the work done by the Board will be mind numbingly boring for the average member, yet rather important to ensure we have a robust infrastructure and governance.
I have mixed feelings that I was right about the membership dip. I was also right about active membership not really changing. Though this did help us get stronger, it did so at the expense of the health and sanity of those active members. With the recent losses we're back into a rebuilding phase.
I was also right that the Board provided a lot of boring administrative and organisational structure and understanding. It is hard to criticise the Board for doing what it was constructed to do. But it would be fair to say that too often Governors were too focused on their own defined role rather than the wider health of the Party. There were times when it would have been better for Governors to be providing their time and skills to help the NEC. I'd like to think I did this - it is for others to judge how successful I have been. But I certainly cast that as a challenge to all others who put themselves forward for the Board - that they should be prepared at times to muck in wherever needed. That should indeed be a challenge to all members too!
It is fair to say that we're at one of those points again. I would like to see anyone standing for the Board to be prepared to not only fulfil their Governor duties (if elected) but also to be prepared to volunteer in a wide range of operational areas, as needed. More than that, I'd like to see anyone nominating themselves to be prepared to get stuck in with volunteer work right away, during, and after the election even if they aren't elected. We need to fill our elected positions, but it is far more important that the work gets done.
Q) What do you imagine as your role within the board and party within the same period?
If I was elected to the Board, I would anticipate my role as a member would continue pretty much as it does now.
I think I was wrong on this one, though in a good way. I think I've done so much more across more roles than I used to.
One of the advantages of being a Governor is having a big-picture perspective of where the Party is and needs to go. Yet it is too easy to lose sight of the day to day work that needs doing. The best way to prevent this happening is by getting involved in that day to day work. I am confident that I have managed to do this. While being a Governor I was involved in so many other parts of the Party and I have regularly done volunteer work in various other departments including:
I hope this shows that I have been prepared to get involved with a wide variety of activities that benefit the Party and are outside my role as Governor. I believe that this gives me a good picture of how the Party is operating which actually supports me in having the big-picture view that I think is essential for Governors to have.
Despite all of the above I haven't let my work on the Board slip. I believe my record as a Governor is strong. I've participated in a wide variety of discussions with direct impact on the way the Party operates - from arguments about how early elections were undertaken, to how to deal with a range of potentially disciplinary matters with absent officials. I have spent endless boring hours (am I allowed to confess that at times I enjoyed the work??) doing the admin work to shepherd constitutional amendments from ideas into votes...