Given Napo HQ's reported attitude to the blog and conspicuous failure to even acknowledge such a large elephant in the room, it would be a little naive to think otherwise seeing as most, if not all the candidates, have very close links to Napo HQ already.
This is a very important election at a critical time in the future not just of the union but our whole profession. I read somewhere that the turnout for the election of the General Secretary was something like 19.06% - this is derisory and I would venture to suggest we have to make sure that the turnout this time is significantly higher.
This comment from last week raised a number of key issues:-
So according to Jim you would be a better candidate for chair if you posted on this blog!,,,, I am beginning to think that you have a hidden agenda Jim. Some of your posts are very anti Napo and not helpful at all.Well, I do indeed have an agenda, but it's certainly not hidden. It has two parts and the first is I want to fight TR. Now the observant will have noticed that all the candidates want to do that because it's akin to motherhood and apple pie. But the second part of my agenda is tackling the dysfunctionality of leadership at Napo HQ. As far as I can see, none of the candidates tackle that one up front in their election statements, but we have this from Joanna Hughes:-
Dino has a reputation for being divisive, but I have always known him to be decisive, committed and actually able to make things happen. Above all, he has been outspoken from the start over TR and will stand up against Napo HQ: certainly, it will no longer be business as usual. I have always found Dino to be approachable, and to have good ideas. Even if his mind is not always conventional and I sometimes struggle with his formidable knowledge about unions and get lost, he has never struck me as someone who puts himself first or holds grudges. Rather, he commits himself to representing others and working for the union, and he is completely committed to defeating TR. While his grammar may leave a bit to be desired, he is passionate and he has shown himself capable of standing up against those at the top of the union, and so I favour him over the other candidates. We need to fight and fight from now until the election. This is also why I would vote for Chas as he is a fighter. (I can’t see a shared post working as they will only have 50% facility time anyway).For me, and possibly those other Napo members not happy with the way things are at the moment, we would do well to dwell on these passages "will stand up against Napo HQ:certainly, it will no longer be business as usual" and "has shown himself capable of standing up against those at the top of the union."
Now, contrast that with the following on the SaveProbation facebook page:-
Napo members...by now you should have received your ballot papers for positions of chair, vice chair and black reps...it's really important that you all use your vote, whichever way you decide to go. You will know by now that I am standing alongside Chris Winters as a job share for chair and I hope that you will consider us as an option. We feel we have strengths which compliment each other, can offer some continuity and a job share will allow for 100% facility time between us too. If you have anything you wish to ask or seek clarification on then feel free to message or mail me here or on napo mail. Whatever you decide, use your votes and let the membership speak!
Yvonne PattisonSo, given that this blog has consistently highlighted the dysfunctionality of leadership at Napo HQ, members have a very clear choice to make. If you disagree with me and feel "some continuity" is just what the doctor ordered, you have your candidates in Yvonne Pattison and Chris Winters!
If, on the other hand, you feel like we need more of the same like a hole in the head, Dino Peros looks to be more likely to be your candidate. In political terms it looks to me like an ocean of blue water between these candidates giving a very clear choice between 'continuity' on the one hand and 'no more business as usual' on the other. You pays your money and makes your choice, as they say.
Whoever becomes Napo Chair, they will need a clear mandate from the membership because we're heading into even more choppy waters than experienced hitherto. We now know that Tom Rendon did not enjoy the support of his fellow elected officers towards the end, or maybe he never enjoyed it, and members need to be aware that history may repeat itself if they decide to cast their vote in favour of a Chair that wants to rock the boat a bit. It's a tough one, but we all know we're up shit creek already. Facing up to the issues now, whilst undoubtedly painful, might just be more preferable than the alternatives that are coming down the track at alarming speed.
I'm extremely conscious that there is a third option in relation to National Chair with Robbie Bourget, but I simply don't know where she might be in terms of this key issue. For all I know she might be the ideal candidate who's approach to all this falls somewhere between what we might term the extreme positions of the others. The sad thing is we might not know unless people are willing to acknowledge the herd of elephants that currently reside at Chivalry Road and have an honest and open debate about it. I'm always happy to be proved wrong, but it seems unlikely in my view unless there are some changes in personnel.
I'll just end this by pointing out there has been no mailout to members since the last NEC meeting when Chris Pearson supposedly took the reigns at Napo HQ. Looks like the dysfunctionality is set to continue for a while yet and I'm sorry if that sounds like it's 'anti Napo and not helpful at all', but who's fault is that?