A member’s view
Members will be aware that we have had recent problems with some local party officers receiving an unmanageable and draining volume of complaints and confrontational emails and messages.
We should all reflect on our behaviour online, and in all communications.
MPs expect a certain amount of abuse. That too has recently soared to frightening levels, but at least they have paid staff. Local party officials are volunteers with work and family and other commitments and we must support them rather than undermine them. We are very grateful that people are willing to give up their time to take on these roles. We don’t want them to fear opening their emails in case of yet another blast of criticism!
Tempers are high at the moment in the whole country and local politics includes people with many views, mostly strongly held – or they wouldn’t get involved at all. This may be a problem especially in Labour as we are a large and very mixed party of people who all want to work for a fairer society, but disagree on other things.
We need to be generous and positive, and recognise that people can disagree with us without being stupid or bad. We need to avoid labels and snap judgements and listen to each other respectfully.
And remember that the long, carefully worded and excellent exposition of your views may well be one of 50 they get that day and try to read in between other work! What seems like a good clear argument of your case can come across as aggressive and angry to the recipient. We see this all the time on social media.
From discussion with CLP officers in different areas, and with officers of non political groups as well, this a common problem, and certainly not specific to Cheltenham Labour. But it is a problem we need to solve, if we are not to lose and alienate good people.
Cheltenham CLP Social Media Officer 2018 – 2019