'Anger and not a little sadness among Green activists as Jim Killock, once the external communications co-ordinator on the party's national executive and candidate for party chair, is banished to the wilderness for five years. It's all a bit embarrassing. He is the executive director of the Open Rights Group and has much to say about defending the civil liberties of individuals on the internet. Yet the party believes he broke its rules by distributing the details of members to interested colleagues during the hotly contested referendum campaign as to whether the Greens should fall behind a leader. A tribunal was convened. Killock, whose membership lapsed last September, did not take up an offer to participate. In his absence, the regional council decided that there was a prima facie case and upheld it. No word from Jim, despite our calls. He can appeal, we are told, but his only reward would be a reconvened tribunal. Shades of Catch 22. Always possible, of course, that those whose details were passed around will now act against the party itself, and thus officials are keen to be seen taking a tough line against the unauthorised disclosure of data. Closing the stable doors a bit late perhaps, but closing them nonetheless.'
It was obvious in the closing stages of the Green Party referendum on having a single leader that the Party membership lists had been 'misappropriated' and were being used for systematic canvassing, by one side, which was against the rules to say the least!
Without the telephone numbers the pro leader camp would have won anyway, likewise Caroline has been an excellent leader, nevertheless this and similar murky dealings left a bad taste at the time.
After extensive investigation the Tribunal, in addition to Jim who left the party last year being refused a membership reapplication for five years.
To the credit of the pro-leader camp, when it was found out that the more enthusiastic were using the membership records without permission, they put a stop to it and the evidence to the Tribunal members was provided by people involved with the pro-leader camp who did not like this operation.
The assumption from some, at the time, was that the leadership referendum had to be won at any cost because having a leader would transform the Parties chances....this was obvious unrealistic, it was clear to me as Principal Speaker that this wasn't going to suddenly make the Party leap to success. The media like a good story they don't particular care about a different title.
There are obviously some big potential dangers with having a single leader, the symbolism is a bit scary!
Nonetheless Caroline has been excellent and the Party is making reasonable, if not spectacular progress....a fraction of the pro-leader camp disillusioned with what they perceive to be lack of progress and frustrated with Caroline are contesting the GPEX elections this time around.
If they have genuinely better ideas and come out with a statement against the excesses of the Jim era, I think members should give them a hearing....personally I am not going to be voting for them.
Very embarrasing for the Open Rights Group as well.