The group Notavote, also known as The NOTA Party (for background and context see here: https://nota-uk.org/2014/06/11/the-judean-peoples-front-myth/ ) have been told by the Electoral Commission (EC) that they can no longer use NOTA in their party name as the word is prohibited. Not surprisingly, some of them are now crying conspiracy and believing they have rattled the establishment.
But there is no conspiracy. The only reason NOTA was previously allowed in a party name is because the EC obviously hadn’t realised it stood for ‘None of the Above’, a phrase that has been banned in party names for many years. Because of mounting calls for actual NOTA and common use of the abbreviation, the EC have obviously now realised what it stands for and acted accordingly.
And here’s the thing – their reason for not allowing the term NOTA or ‘None of the Above’ in a party name is perfectly valid: it would have people thinking it is already possible to vote NOTA for real at an election when, clearly, it is not.
The party that were trying to get away with this are actively in the business of claiming they have already got a working NOTA option on the ballot paper when they haven’t, seriously undermining our efforts to get one in place and damaging the credibility of our campaign by association. In the past, some of their members have also claimed that they set their group up in 2007 in an attempt to get the jump on us (NOTA UK, est. 2010) – some four years before they actually formed. They have also been infiltrated by far right types vying for power in the past (as was our facebook page temporarily, around the same time, in the interests of transparency).
NOTA UK is, and always will be, 100% non-partisan and a far right / far left free zone, as any campaign for real and lasting democratic reform should be. It is not clear whether Notavote can say the same. NOTA UK will also never be a political party trying to get itself elected. Notavote, in spite of this recent setback, apparently still are that way inclined.
A new political party, by definition, whatever it is called and whatever it claims to stand for, can only ever be another One Of The Above. This should be glaringly obvious to all who understand what NOTA is and why it is so important. The party in question appear to have become obsessed with getting themselves elected by any means possible, using peoples disillusionment and desire for actual NOTA as a vehicle for doing so. Clearly, this poses a problem for those campaigning for actual NOTA.
For this reason, personally, I welcome the EC’s decision and hope that it helps people to distinguish between those campaigning for real and lasting democratic reform in a considered, long term way and those good intentioned people simply muddying the waters and inadvertently making things harder for everyone.
Know your NOTA campaigns and accept no imitations. The real, official campaign for actual NOTA remains here: https://nota-uk.org/
Please direct all media enquries to stan(at)mailmanstan.co.uk