I have found myself regularly checking in on the posts on the blog from the time I get out of the Prison and have access to the internet and there have been some interesting debates on the General Secretary election. I hope you will not have any issues with me using this forum to convey my message of thanks for the nominations that I received in order to officially be included onto the ballot paper for which members can cast their votes.
I find myself in what I would consider as an unusual position of having to use this forum to convey my gratitude as I have been informed from the start of the process that Napo election rules prevent me from accessing any member details or from using official Napo channels to promote any message to members. Similarly, as stated in a previous post, I am unable to attend any branch unless an ‘unofficial’ meeting is convened where both candidates are available to attend and at the expense of the branch. Obviously this applies to both candidates.
I was buoyed in learning today that three branches had nominated me, I have had contact from Napo HQ about attending branch meetings and had provided my availability but for reasons unknown to me no dates were able to be agreed, therefore achieving three nominations seems to me to be somewhat of a success given the circumstances. I also understand that it was close in several other branches and that some areas that made no nomination may well have supported my candidacy.
Obviously it would have been nice to have also achieved the support of the NEC following the individual interviews and I congratulate Ian in achieving the NEC support although I understand that it was also quite a close call which again I was buoyed about having had no brief as to exactly what I was expected to present or what questions may come up when attending Napo HQ. I would therefore obviously expect that Ian would have a greater knowledge of the current issues facing members having been directly involved and in the position of GS for the last 5 years, however I want to be clear I am definitely not a defeatist and I believe that nominations alone will not necessarily reflect the desire for change amongst the wider membership that I have encountered and have been made aware of. So therefore I urge members to get involved and make sure that they use their vote in the direction that they believe will best take Napo forward, whether that be with continuity or to take a chance on change on something new with the belief that the public profile can be raised and that with renewed energy, passion and belief things can be changed for the better.
The ballot papers will now be issued with presumably the same election statement that I was required to send in before attending the first selection panel back in May. Whilst this reflects my views at the time of writing over a month ago I have read and learnt much both from this forum, from members and from reading more and more Napo publications that have obviously started to change and shape my view, but I would also welcome any branch or member to engage with me if you are interested in learning more about what I believe I can deliver in rebuilding trust, unity and success for Napo members. If you are a member (unfortunately I cannot check) then please feel free to use my contact details below and I will endeavour to respond to you as soon as I can.
Once again thank you to everyone who has offered support, encouragement and has been prepared to support my nomination throughout this process and I hope that come the 28th June I can reward your faith in me by bringing a renewed energy and ambitious programme to drive and deliver change.
Michael (Mike) Rolfe on Facebook
@micalmusrolfe on Twitter