Here we go with the March edition of the Albion Alliance Newsletter, and I do apologise for the late distribution of this as I needed to take some time out to recharge the batteries.
A campaign such as the Albion Alliance is always going to be a bit like an iceberg – the visible part is small but there is a lot going on under the water. However, unlike an iceberg we are not just drifting, but carefully aiming our campaign where we think it will have the most impact, and impact it certainly has had. It is quite clear that those in power as well as the public are watching, listening and taking note, with the campaign being read and acted upon by many.
The main web page and candidate database is constantly being monitored by the big party organisations, with regular visits from amongst others the Labour Party, CCHQ, Cooperative Party, Parliament, European Commission, European Parliament, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, Sky News and The Guardian along with literally hundreds of visits from Universities across the UK as well as the public visiting to view the status of their candidates.
One of the biggest impacts that we have seen thus far is that we have been made aware, by candidates, that CCHQ have issued an instruction to all Conservative Candidates not to correspond with us, or if they do then there is a template giving the party line that must be used, and is used consistently. That instruction also indicates that candidates will be deselected if conservative candidates sign the Albion Alliance pledge. It would seem that this party at least is running scared of open debate on the EU, and have apparently also given instructions to TV companies not to include the subject in any forthcoming debates in the run up to the election.
We felt that this level of micro management of candidates over such an important election issue is something that is probably unacceptable to voters, so in order to counter that CCHQ instruction we have added a facility for candidates (of any party) to sign the pledge in secret, where the names of secret pledge candidates will not be released until after the nomination process with returning officers are closed. This is proving to be a popular move.
With the election drawing ever closer, we now feel that it is time to widen the debate. In order to facilitate that we have decided that one of our moves is to launch our own dedicated Albion Alliance blog (http://blog.albionalliance.org.uk/), so that issues relating to the EU, our membership of it and its impact on life in the UK can be brought up and discussed, openly.
Whilst the administration committee will be making regular posts on this new blog, we are also going to open it up to guest posters. This may be from those who already blog elsewhere or from members of the public who have never published their thoughts before and would like an outlet.
The Albion Alliance hope that the provision of this blogging facility will promote debate, awareness and the general exchange of ideas and political viewpoints surrounding UK membership of the EU. Posts for submission do not necessarily have to be purely on the European Union or the need for/against a referendum, but ideally they will link to both those two subjects. You may wish to write about your experiences in getting your candidate to sign up to the Albion Alliance pledge, or how EU laws, regulations or directives impact on your life or even how you envisage the UK working in a de-regulated world.
The only thing we ask is that posts remain polite, do not contain profanities or anything which could be construed as personally defamatory, libellous or racist (sometimes difficult we know), but subject to that criteria it will be published as written. Anything which we feel may cross the outline above we will contact the author with suggested changes, and all posts will be open to comments for which the same criteria will apply. Albion Alliance retain all editorial rights at all times.
If you would like to submit a post for publication, please send your draft to email@example.com
Now to things more mundane. The bulk of our activities are and always will be correspondence based and technical updates, with the major task at this moment keeping the candidate database up to date, and that’s not easy. In this we again look for your help. If you look at your constituency in the database and know there are candidates who are either missing or shouldn’t be there, or any of the details are incorrect, please let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will amend the relevant entries. Let me thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
Whilst the main thrust of the Albion Alliance campaign is to get the agreement of candidates to sign the pledge BEFORE they are elected, where do we see the Albion Alliance going after the election.
We think that it is going to become starkly relevant to people after the election, when the EU really starts to grip combined with the traditionally lean fiscal quarters meeting the general post-recession politics then this campaign will become more the focus than pre-election. It will become more apparent of the need for us to have an immediate say in where we plan to go as a country, socially and politically.
This is where the Albion Alliance will really have its work cut out to keep up the pressure to give us a say in our future, and again a change in campaign strategy, but for now, please, we ask you to keep an eye on your constituencies, write to or phone your candidates, put as much pressure on them as possible to sign up to the pledge, and if you are a blogger keep up the articles, as this is after all, a basic question of democracy.
Thank you all for your support.
The Team at The Albion Alliance