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Social inaction

Back in October 06 it was decided to choose the three co-opted NME positions in a professional manner. The roles of Media & Marketing, Marginal Seats and Social Action were chosen and detailed job descriptions written up. Applicants formally applied, went on to be interviewed by relevant people, and eventually a couple were selected.

As it turned out, about as much effort went in to selecting people for these roles as went in to the roles afterwards, if not more! This was a very good approach though - will this year's NME and Chairman candidates continue it? If not, what do they propose?

Social action is one of my hobby horses. In the run-up to the last elections Patrick Sullivan, Dominic Llewellyn and Mark Clarke all wrote for CF Diary about its importance.

Hamish Stewart reinforces the point today.

So the lack of progress in social action has been a particular disappointment for me. The person co-opted to develop it seemed to completely disappear after being selected. Their role was described in detail to potential applicants:

"We require someone to develop a plan for bringing this to life. This will encompass the development of a national strategy by Christmas, but more importantly working locally with CF branches to inspire and enable them to make Social Action happen in their area.

It is vital that what we come up with is sustainable in that it develops long term relationships with small scale voluntary groups. We must also recognise that we must have a plan which recognises the fact that our members move around the country a great deal and so while the CF branch can commit to projects often the turnover of individuals is high.

In addition, once the person is a member of the NME, we will require monthly attendance (virtual if necessary) at meetings. There is also a need to provide a general level of support to all CF activities, especially any campaigning activities. The person will also be allocated the task of building up one CF branch in a marginal seat in common with all NME members."

Essential attributes included being "a true believer in the power of social action programmes to affect political change", and... "a doer not a talker".

It's my understanding that nothing has happened at all in this respect. The co-optee has had a few chances to correct me on this over the months but hasn't replied. On the positive side, I believe Mark Clarke is working on including the branch-level role of Social Action Officer into the CF constitution. Also, there have of course been a few examples of social action at a branch level over the past year or so, which is ultimately where it needs to be happening. Perhaps they can be pointed out in the comments to show others what's going on?

It'd be good to know where the NME and Chairman candidates stand on all this. For such a feel-good issue it's surprising that it isn't referred to in the main principles of the Forward Together, Rock4CF or Daryl Williams campaigns. I'm sure they all support the concept of it - who wouldn't - but what do they propose to catalyse its development as a core CF activity?


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