After having read several increasingly angry posts on Refounding Labour that curse the party and the people involved, I felt that there was something people seem to be casually glossing over in their rants and rebuttals that is actually really quite important – the boring, techie side of the whole affair.
How many of you have ever tried to undertake a task of this size? How many of you understand not just the theory, but the technicalities behind the entire process?
And when you have all of this information, how do you present it?
After nearly five years of working in a position where you have to be on the ball technically, legally, editorially and many other things beside, I can tell you even I forget the little things sometimes – so are we really surprised that, as a party who can’t claim to be anywhere near technologically advanced, that people maybe went about this whole process in the wrong way?
And so it’s easy to understand why Ed himself stated the submissions would be published; if that was the plan, you – rightly or wrongly – assume that those building and creating the site and structures involved in the consultation have put into place the correct mechanisms to make this easy.
But, for whatever reason, they didn’t. You may be annoyed, furious, confused or any of the many other adjectives found in the vocabularies of seasoned members of any party. But – and this is key point I think many people are casually ignoring in favour of their own conspiracy theories – procedure comes first.
The law comes first.
How many of you ignored the the check box on the online forms, saying you didn’t wish your comments to appear on the site, yet publishing them onto your own blog? How many CLPs explicitly stated they would be/would not be happy with their comments being published online for all to see in their written/email submissions? The truth is, we simply don’t know.
Data Protection is not something to take lightly and so, if it takes months to ensure all the permissions are in place? It takes months.
And we shouldn’t forget, this is the first exercise of this kind the party has undertaken, and there were obviously going to be unforeseen problems; nobody ever gets anything right first time round, and you can be absolutely certain that this particular mistake won’t be made again.
I’m normally not the most optimistic or forgiving person when it comes to things our own party gets wrong, but on this? Experience tells me they should be given time.
We are all accepting of mistakes, since we all make them, but we should wait to see how these problems are (or aren’t) resolved before we dole out the criticisms and declare the whole process a massive failure.