Jun 30th

Roll Spliter

By Steve Lawrence
Has anyone heard of a program add on for excel called ,

Roll Spliter

It's a program used in conjunction with the electoral register that will sort the wards in your areas into streets along with lots of other usefull info for campaign and leaflet management.

If we can find it anywhere you will fing it indespensible for your campaigns.

Steve Diffin.
Jun 30th

Templates

By Steve Lawrence
I have some leaflet/ poster templates which can be edited to your needs via microsoft publisher.

If anyone would like them let me know .

Steve Diffin.


http://stevediffin.com
Jun 28th

West & East Midlands Candidates

By Steve Lawrence
I was wondering.  where have all the JT candidates or members of the Midlands gone to, and should any of you come across this blog, I would like to hear from you with the view of establishing an East/West
Midlands region.

Steve Diffin.
Jun 28th

JT Site Blogs

By Steve Lawrence
I've been reading some of the blogs on the JT website i just wondered how many have read them. I thought i would post a couple for you to take a look at.....

  1. AJM says:

    Tinter is right - the best way to be taken seriously as an Indie, whether by yourself or under the JT banner, is to have some local profile. There is no point in vying for selection for simply any constituency in the faint hope you can change local peoples’ minds away from the parties.

    The whole idea of primaries to select candidates is a good one however there does, in my view, need to be a further layer of selection to avoid independent candidates being seen as cranks or flashes-in-the-pan or worse - another form of career politician in the making.

    Perfect candidates for indie candidates are successful local businesspeople, local public servants such as doctors, teachers, police, councillors etc. Someone who has been a councillor and has some track record in the community stands a much better chance of getting a few thousand local people to vote for them than someone with as good intentions but with no profile at all.

    In addition to making the candidates more local and with more track record in the communities, JT has to overcome the misconception that it is a party. It is an umbrella group set up to helpand enable independents to get elected. Many people and the media still think it is a new party. Some work to be done there.

    Otherwise, pretty amazing for a 12-week old organisation.

  2. Tinter says:

    What was amazing? You got less votes, by some way, than moribund groups like the Socialist Labour Party that do nothing but put up candidates, despite generous media coverage. Probably partly because at least their name tells something unlike the ridiculous “jury team” which sounds more like something from a bad childrens show. I full expect the project as is to be abandoned after a shocking result. The people actually running the show are after all fully aware what a faliure it was, hence why the website remains non-updated.

    People support local independents on local councils because they can be apolitical. How is a coalition supposed to work at this level? Surely if one of your candidates sincerly believes in nationalisation, they will want other candidates who believe in privatisation to lose? Pretending a thin manifesto of reform is enough to unite people is a joke. Running a campaign to be elected just because not being in a party means you won’t be corrupt is a joke. Indeed, at least parties can withdraw the whip, deselect, ect- Jury Team can’t do anything. Fortunately, the electorates response was the punchline.

  3. Tinter says:

    Indeed, just look at Scotland- Duncan Robertson is an independent, but I can’t for the life of me who he is. Its unlikely he did any significant campaigning.

    He beat Jury Team, running a slate of multiple people with a significant budget, because people prefer a single named independent to a meaningless name like “jury team”. The whole project was not thought out at all and is now dead in the water.

  4. WG says:

    Well done Tinter, I’m sure you sit self-righteously contented at your computer, secure in the knowledge that you, and you alone, knew this would all fail. It must be soooo nice to know that while other people put up money, time and effort to effect change, you just get to sit around and criticise…never achieving anything.

    There’s little doubt the Jury Team didn’t work. Although, if you look at it, the vote share of the major parties other than Labour barely moved, which suggests it doesn’t matter if you cheat, lie and steal from the taxpayer…the apathetic and switched off will still put a cross by the old favourite.

    If you ask me, independents are the way forward and this was a good attempt to make them better know…albeit one that failed. Still, I applaud the effort and hope that boring know-it-alls like you do not disuade people from trying to bring about the change that is desperately needed in the future.

  5. Derek Ruskin says:

    Thank you for putting my comments back - now lets get to work on communication to the great unwashed - ! The Juryteam is a weird name so that needs changing. How do I know? I asked in my pub the other day - none had heard of you and then they said the name was “weird”, “odd” and distant.

    Here you are preaching to the converted - so difficult I know - I just wish I was famous and could help.

    You need someone funny and intelligent like Rory Bremner or Joe Brand + you need people like Peter Hitchens aboard too (OK he is right wing mail journo BUT he can see the wood from the trees).

    I will give all the support I have to give because you are fundamentally spot on in your analysis of where Britain’s politics need to go - BUT - more thought on how to get there by a proper strategist is required. (Mandy will be free in a few weeks! ;^) You heard it here first!

    This discussion need to widen …onward!

  6. Tinter says:

    WG: Unsuprisingly I do plenty to achieve things in politics… just not for the Jury Team! Its pure schadenfreude I’m afraid! Despite that much of my criticism is constructive, but I suppose its easier to imagine your opponents as pathetic and self-righteous. Its also why I’m not ignorant of whats required to actually win elections, or at least compete.

    It failed *because* it was a bad attempt. Funding actual individual independents with some possibility of winning would work better than this mess did. I would like all people to work to bring about change, and there are many electoral races where offering more voter choice would be no bad thing- and I say this despite the fact I personally wouldn’t support those candidates. But this has been a complete mess. Which as I said, those actually running it clearly understand.

    If this were a party, you could have an actual say in the future direction- but since its not a cabal at the top with the big donor will make the actual calls behind closed doors. Something to be envious of I’m sure.

    Also, as I said- independents without any policy other than a few reforms and promises of “transparency” only goes so far. There no way for them to participate in government; there seems little to hold them together at all when reforms are through; and being an independent doesn’t make promises of honesty more credible than those of party politicians.

  7. Tarquin says:

    I’m somewhat disappointed there hasn’t been any action on this site since polling day - have you given up?

    Only 12 weeks old and 80,000 votes is not a bad achievement - beating the likes of Libertas, JT were unlikely to ever win a seat, but the principle should be supported, the English Democrats haven’t given up, why should you

Jun 28th

Blogs not showing up

By Steve Lawrence
It seems that I am having replies to my amazed blog but for some reason they are NOT showing in the public blogs.

So  would some please reply to this so I can see if its something wrong with the social network . I have had a couple of email notifications alerting me that there have been comments . They just arent showing up on the JT blogs?????
Jun 27th

Amazed

By Steve Lawrence

I thought there were a couple of interesting blogs recently... I do have to say, I think the JT are losing the impetus it had built itself...I also have come to the conclusion that whilst these people are sitting around waiting to see what  the JT is going to do they won’t be in a position to fight an election.

 

I have advised them they should organise themselves regionally so that if the JT decides not to progress further due to lack of funds, at least some of them might be better organised to carry on alone as a group just the same, where they can still meet and discuss strategy and help one another, yet none of them seem interested In doing anything without the Jury Team... I find them all totally amazing. I don’t get them.

AS for the Jury Team, I know that if I ran my business like this, I would soon be out of business.

Please dont tell me Pual Judge is taking stock. There is no excuse for not at least updating the JT website, not just for us but for all the people posting all over the net asking, Was the Jury Team just a flash in the pan. You can never win these people back as they are already suspiciouse of political parties.

I'm sorry it just is not good enough.

Forget about hanging around waiting for the Jury Team. Start doing something. If the Jury Team decide to carry on all well and good .

If not least you can be regionally organised.

Wake up Jury Team and wake up everyone else.

Steve Diffin

Jun 26th

DEBATE: Principles, Policies and Strategies - can they be credible with Independents

By Mike Brown

I have started this debate because I see comments in various articles about the need for “Policies”. I believe this to be a key area of debate if we are to remain independent, yet still look like a cohesive and sensible “team” under the JT umbrella. If we can not find some common ground in some key areas then we risk the whole JT brand being tarnished.

Alan Wallace wrote in a comment on Helen Critchell's excellent article re education “Unless we are shouting a positive message, one that inspires, we haven't a chance.” he also suggests that the electorate will only listen to those who tell the biggest lies.

I believe he is mistaken. I believe that the electorate, as a whole, have grown up. They were angry about many things well before the economy fell over a cliff. They were fuming about the economy well before the expenses scandal blew up. They know that they have been deceived and they know they are still being deceived. They are desperate for someone to trust but their experience tells them that all existing parties are the same. To win their trust we must be different and we must be seen to be different. We should not be afraid of our differences, instead we should emphasise them and be proud of them.

I believe that Honesty inspires, Integrity inspires, Principles inspire and transparency inspires. Deception and lies will not inspire and will put us in the same contaminated cesspit as the other parties. If we are to gain enough votes to succeed we will need to win the trust of an electorate, and political press, that are so used to deception that that they expect nothing else. We can not do this by repeating the mistakes of other parties just because the electorate and the media expect us to.

If we can win that trust, we can not only bring in votes from the other parties, but we can also bring in votes from disillusioned voters that have stopped voting or have never voted. If you canvass that group, and it is now some 50% plus of the electorate, the majority will tell you that reason they don't vote is that “all politicians are the same”. If we can convince them otherwise we potentially have a bigger vote than all the other parties combined.

When the electorate, or the media, ask for “detailed policy commitments” it is because they are so used to the status quo that most of them do not even realize that what they are asking for is a contradiction in terms. You can create a policy and, if you want to be a hostage to the media and every other political party, you can create a detailed strategy but a “detailed policy” is a complete non sequitur.

I believe that it is totally unfair of any party to ask their parliamentary candidates to sign up, in advance, to a detailed strategy on every policy issue. While they are still just candidates, they probably, at the most, have detailed knowledge only on only one or two key issues that they may feel very passionately about. Even where an individual candidate currently believes they have sensible ideas for a detailed strategy proposal, it is quite posible that their views would change after they are in parliament. In parliament, with paid research assistants, an MP will probably get access to a lot of detailed information that is not easily available to the general public.

Expecting them to prejudge these issues and create, or sign up to, detailed documented strategies before they enter parliament is dishonest and unprincipled. We may say that things are wrong and we may all feel that things should be better, but not many of us know enough about complex subjects such as health and education to sign up to any detailed strategy document. It is quite sensible for candidates to debate on the doorstep both their own ideas and those raised by their constituents but we have all seen the results of bad legislation where parties have made manifesto commitments to detailed strategy before knowing all the pros and cons on a complex issue and then implemented bad law because “it was in the manifesto” and because they needed to keep faith with whatever pressure groups had financed them.

I believe that the most our candidates should put in any Prospectus is along the following lines that I think almost all of us could sign up to. A similar wording could be used for any key policy issue and it is an honest, principled statement of intent that can be sold to both the electorate and to political commentators.

Education Policy. ( A similar set of words can be used for any policy area)

“I believe that successive education acts have left many of our schools not fit for purpose and many of our teachers unable to do their job successfully. I believe that despite the enormous amount of money that has been squandered on implementing successive education acts, EEC directives and Executive orders the situation now is no better and quite possibly worse than it was twelve years ago or twenty years ago. If elected I will endeavour to pass legislation that will make our schools fit for purpose and, if possible, I will endeavour to make sure that it is done within existing budgets by eliminating waste and unnecessary bureaucracy.”

Education Strategy. ( A similar set of words can be used for all strategies.)

“I will do this by supporting any legislation from any party that I honestly believe will improve the current situation. I will also use my parliamentary allowances for research assistants to get the best information possible to understand the complex problems that our teachers have to deal with and I will actively support any measures to repeal existing legislation, Executive orders or EEC directives that I honestly believe to have made the situation worse.


......

I appreciate that this could end up with a fairly lightweight manifesto, but that would not necessarily be a bad thing. It would be easy to understand and to read. It would be easy to believe and the electorate are truly desperate for prospective parliamentarians they can believe in. If necessary you can always pad it out with a litany of the problems that have been created by the professional politicians in the other parties.

To summarise.  I do not believe that we need to define detailed strategy documents on every or any area of policy. It would be counter-productive. Of course some voters, and all the other party machines, will say that this is tantamount to sitting on the fence.  We need to rebut that argument forcefully by stating that these are honest policies, and strategies, that we know we can deliver on.  We need to stress, over and over, why will not make detailed strategy proposals before we have debated and understood all the relevant facts. We need to explain that our candidates all currently have other jobs and they do not currently have access to the paid research assistants that they would need in parliament to help them make sense of complex issues.  We need to make the electorate, and the media, understand why our candidates should not be expected to prejudge import issues that affect all their constituents when they know that there may be other facts that they are not yet aware of.  We can also validly point out that candidates of other parties that have prejudged theses issues, or accepted party doctrine, before they can possibly have understood all the facts are deceiving the electorate.

Please follow and contribute to this debate until we have an understanding that most, or all, of our candidates can sign up to.

 

Jun 25th

Why Jury Team is important.

By Alan Wallace
There's been a bit of frustration about the lack of news from Sir Paul and although I sympathise, we just have to be patient. I also think there's a bit of confusion about the nature of Jury Team.

For me, Jury Team is more than a support group. Although the candidates are all independents, JT provides a unifying thread that helps place us on the political map for voters. Agreeing certain principles doesn't make us a party, it's proof that a large group of independents can in fact coalesce around an issue and provide a coherent response - a point that the parties do not hesitate to use against us.

Let's be clear, except in unusual and bizarre circumstances, 300 independents could stand in the General Election and not have a hope of winning a single seat. Why? Because any promise we make to the electorate to achieve manifesto pledge A or commitment B will not be believed.

Let's say I stand on a platform of (say) repealing the smoking ban. Why should anyone vote for me? Even if elected, I'll be a solitary voice with no influence or power to change anything. But if we have 300 candidates standing with the realistic prospect of 50 being elected, the aim becomes achievable and the promise believable.

So Jury Team acts as a force multiplier and gives us a realistic chance of having independent MPs elected.

Sir Paul came up with a number of core principles for the European Elections. Many were about corruption and good governance, but they've been adopted almost wholesale by Westminster. How can we campaign on issues that have been resolved? Until the dust settles over the expenses scandal, we don't know for sure what core principles will remain unsettled.

The next step is the most crucial one. I truly believe that Jury Team offers something fundamentally different from the parties, but it's something that is hard to convey to the electorate - especially in a 10 second soundbite.  To change Parliament, we have to get there. We need a banner to rally around, a hymn sheet to sing from that will make voters want to vote for us. More importantly, we need to have a message that inspires non-voters to turn out at the Polling Stations and vote for us.

A first step is to attract as many people to this site and to Jury Team as possible. Get sending e-mail requests out. Start blogging and joining message boards. Invite everyone you know. Speak to other political activists and explain how they can stand as a candidate with Jury Team now and promote their Green/Left/Right/Libertarian agenda once elected. Speak to exceptional councillors, business leaders or public figures in your area. Explain how Jury Team can support them and empower them.

If Sir Paul sees dozens of people joining the site each day, he might be encouraged.

We're all sitting here waiting for Sir Paul to make the next move. Maybe he's waiting for us?
Jun 25th

On a lighter note!

By Mike Brown

A man died and went to Heaven.

As he stood in front of the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks
behind St Peter.

He asked, 'What are all those clocks?'

St. Peter answered, 'Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on earth has a
Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock move.'

'Oh', said the man. 'Whose clock is that?'

'That's Mother Teresa's', replied St. Peter. 'The hands have never moved,
indicating that she never told a lie.'

'Incredible', said the man. 'And whose clock is that one?'

St. Peter responded, 'That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved

twice, telling us that Abraham told only two lies in his entire life.'

'Where's Gordon Brown's clock?' asked the man.

'Brown's clock is in Jesus’ office
 ' ……
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 ' He's using it as a ceiling fan ' .

Jun 25th

Debate: Closed primaries, "Wide Open" primaries or halfway house.

By Mike Brown
This subject is discussed by various people in various comments attached to other articles but maybe this and other key subjects need a separate article where all the comments on a single key issue can be debated and viewed.

I apologise if there is already an article on this specific subject that I have not yet found.

In a comment on Steve Diffin's more general article on Funding I wrote :

“There is a valid case for expecting members to pay a membership fee before any primaries are held for the general election. There is also a valid case for suggesting that only paid up members should vote in that election. Conversely, people may be reluctant to pay up before they can be shown that there is a fighting chance of some JT candidates actually winning. Therefore the more people we can get to vote in the primary the more valid is our case for then asking both for people's votes and for their money. Chicken or egg?”

However, because we are a fledgling party, and because I suspect that most of us would want to avoid a landslide victory for any major party, there is also a case to be made for a completely open primary. It should be feasible, with the existing technology that was used for the Euro Election to open up the JT primary to any of the official candidates of other parties, excluding Conservatives and Labour (but maybe not BNP) This should be contingent on a written guarantee from all JT candidates and the official candidates and constituency chairman of the other parties that if they lose the primary they will not contest the constituency and will instead fully endorse and canvas for the winner of the JT primary.

I am not sure how practical this would be, or how it would go down with electorate, or how it would go down with other parties, but at the next election it may just make the difference between a Conservative landslide and a parliament that can genuinely hold the executive to account.

I look forward to your thoughts.