So – this week there’s been some heated disagreement and in-fighting between a couple of NOTA supporters on our facebook group wall and other supporters expressing disdain for such public displays of disunity. Unfortunately, this is inevitable in any group of people with a common goal and numerous viewpoints competing for airtime.
Clearly, with only a few weeks to go until the 2015 general election, and the obvious opportunity that this time period represents in terms of getting our message out there, we need to keep such distractions to a minimum and make sure that we are all on the same page.
UNITY & FOCUS
For very good reason, I have fought long and hard to keep NOTA UK as a separate entity from the various other seemingly pro-NOTA camps that have sprung up since I founded it in 2010. Each one of them has been plagued with egos and agendas that fall outside our focused, purposely limited remit of getting the concept of NOTA, the urgent need for it and the inevitability of it firmly embedded in the public consciousness with a view to pressuring the establishment into making it so when the time is right.
As I have stated previously elsewhere, the idea of taking ballot papers home this May (discussed at length here), like all other proposed gimmicks to simulate NOTA or draw attention to our campaign, is a risky one for a number of reasons. As such, it is not a basket that NOTA UK should be putting all its eggs in, in my view.
I personally will be taking my ballot paper home as it makes sense to me as a form of pro-NOTA freedom of expression. I am also happy to support and advise any separate campaign calling on others to do so in the name of NOTA, so as to a) ensure that said campaign is on message with our long term aims and not doing any harm to our credibility and b) help co-ordinate and capitalise on any media coverage that may come of it.
What I won’t have, and have never tolerated, is people throwing their weight around unduly and trying to force others into accepting their vision of what our NOTA campaign should and shouldn’t be doing.
The facebook group wall is a discussion forum where people put ideas forward for consideration. If the consensus is that the campaign should adopt a certain strategy and the key players who have been here actively pushing things forward the whole time can all see the merit of it, then it will most likely be adopted. If I were ever in a minority of one opposing such a shift, I would happily stand down and hand over the reigns to someone else.
The fact remains though, that under my stewardship and tight control of how this campaign interacts with the outside world since 2010 (for no other reason than to avoid the kind of implosion and aimlessness observed elsewhere), we are now a recognised force (for better or worse) in the electoral reform world by a great many people, including, believe it or not, some movers and shakers on the other side of the fence in Westminster.
In other words, we have LEGITIMACY.
We are also in the right, morally and philosophically speaking, and have time on our side.
Whatever happens between now and the election and beyond, the calls for systemic change are only going to get louder and the opportunities for us to get our arguments for NOTA across are only going to increase. We don’t need to throw caution to the wind or take unnecessary risks. We just need to stay focused – ready, willing and able to fight our corner.
With that in mind, I thank everyone who has contributed to the development of this campaign and got us to where we are now and ask that instead of getting jumpy and bumping up against each other, we all remain patient and keep the faith.
Because we are winning.
Onwards & Upwards!