Sunday 18 December 2011

Floating Voters.

As a floating voter in more ways than one. I have been looking around and I have found some individuals who have already thrown their hats into the ring. The problem is that so few of the known participants so far are actually prominent even in boating circles.

Well, do you know who are you going to vote for?

A 150 word manifesto is going to be as much use as an empty toilet roll holder.  There is so little information about how the election is to be organised and what the method of voting is going to be. So little time and yet I still have so many unanswered questions.
  • Where and how will the individual manifesto be published?
  • Will it be on-line so that we can all peruse the candidates at our leisure?
  • Will any additional information besides the manifesto be provided, like links to any candidates blogs?
  • What are the candidates current affiliations and what of their previous experience?
  • Will the list of nominees be published for each candidate?
  • If there is a large candidates list, will there be a pre-election short listing process?
  • Will I be able to vote for more than one candidate as there are four positions up for election?
  • If I can vote for more than one candidate, whats the maximum number I can vote for?
  • If I can vote for more than one candidate, can I prioritise the voting order?
  • Is there anyone representing all canal users with disabilities?
  • We own our boat in joint names, we share the cost of the boat licence, will both owners be able to vote?
I have the feeling that in this British Waterways organised event, much of the real information will be missing. The lack of an identified cohesive BW team providing additional information on any candidates. This makes me feel that there is a real chance that the process could end in tears. We can already see conflicting information being published on Waterscape by different people. Other information requests on Waterscape are seemingly just being ignored.

So I feel that many bloggers like myself will take the opportunity to support and promote on-line one or more candidates of their choice.



  1. I think that there could be many candidates for these positions - it's not as if anyone is going to 'lose their deposit', so many people will try. As there are still many boaters out there with no Internet access, or Internet skills, then BW must provide all boaters with a paper copy of the 150 word manifestos - possibly a considerable document that almost no one will read.
    The vast majority of boaters will make their decision based on what they have gleaned from the Internet, by knowing a candidate, or by recommendation by another boater, or by an organisation.
    I have seen the suggestion that the candidates should limit themselves to their 150 word 'election statement', but the reality is that there is little that you can say in so few words to distinguish you from any other candidate. In an election for parliament there is a lot more information available about the candidates, and about party policy. Additionally, once one person begins campaigning on the Internet, then any other candidate who does not also do so is disadvantaged.
    I agree with you that the amount of information that BW has provided about the election, and about the roles themselves is lamentable. It is important that committee members representing the needs of boaters are elected, so I cannot agree with the comments of some that suggest that all boaters should boycott the elections, however, I do feel that the whole process is poorly thought out, and poorly excuted.

  2. Apologies - I seem to have managed to append my comment to the wrong post, (not a great start!).

    Are you please able to let it through in the correct place, and perhaps delete it from the wrong one ?


    Firstly, to avoid any confusion, I'll declare myself as a candidate, as others reading these comments may not know me.

    You are of course correct about how difficult it is proving to find out about the role. A good example of how poor information has been was the issuing of nomination and sponsor forms that asked for "boat licence number" rather than the far more knowable "boat index number". BW compounded this problem by giving wrong answers on Waterscape when this was queried.

    A "Frequently Asked Questions" document can be located on the "media" section of Waterscape that seems to give good answers to several of the questions you raise in your post. Initially I found it impossible to locate that document other than via a "Google" search, but it does now appear to be linked to from another Waterscape page. I don't think it was initially, and believe it is probably a recently added link, but can't prove that.

    Anyway, here it is (Abobe PDF)

    It is certainly worth reading the whole thing, but specifically the following sections do answer some of your points.....


    A. For fairness and practicality, the election is on the basis of one vote per licence, so please agree how your vote is used with your partner.

    A Members will be elected on the basis of proportional representation using a method called the Single Transferable Vote. This form of election is strongly recommended by the Electoral Reform Society and is quite widely used in organisations with multi-member constituencies.

    A. Every eligible voter will have 1 vote in the election that under the Single Transferable Vote system can be transferred to avoid wasted votes. The ballot paper will include all candidates standing and the elector will use his/her vote by numbering as many of the candidates as they wish, in the elector’s order of preference (eg. by putting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc, against the candidate names). If the first preferred candidate already has enough votes to be elected, or cannot ever get enough, the vote can be transferred to the second preferred candidate and so on so it is not wasted. Votes will be counted electronically.
    To ensure that the election process is fair, open and transparent we have enlisted the help of the Electoral Reform Society, an independent organisation, to organise the election process. For more information about the ERS and the Single Transferable Vote visit


    There are other options on some of the Waterscape pages to leave questions via the "Disqus" route, and whilst I got answers, (wrong ones initially!), there to some questions, others went unanswered, including this one.....

    "Will every person who provides a nomination with the required 10 supporters automatically make it on to the ballot "papers" for the election ? If so, might this not present an extremely large number of candidates."

    My personal take is that the final number of candidates will be very big, and trying to choose one from another on the basis of 150 words not really practical.

    For clarity, I am an independent candidate, concerned by the likes of the IWA putting up a slate of "preferred" candidates for what are meant to be specifically BOATER roles on the council.

    Alan Fincher


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