Wednesday 21 October 2009

Peer raises Journalist election in Lords

The FOIA Centre , co-ordinated by Journalist editorship candidate Mark Watts (pictured), reports today that Lord Laird of Artigarvan has put down a question in the Lords about a rival for the editor's post on the NUJ's magazine not declaring his political affiliation. It follows Watts' email attack on Rich Simcox which claimed he was part of an NUJ Left cabal trying to "hijack" the union.
The FOIA website says: "Concerns about a candidate not declaring his political affiliation in the Journalist editorship election have been raised in the house of lords. A life peer who is a member of the national union of journalists (NUJ), which publishes the Journalist magazine for its members, raised the matter in a written parliamentary question. Lord Laird of Artigarvan, the well-known public-relations figure in Northern Ireland, said: “I under-stand that one of the candidates standing for this key position has an affiliation with a particular group within the union, one that he did not declare in election material sent to the electorate. In my opinion, undeclared factionalism is not acceptable.” The crossbench peer continued: “In union elections, I think people should be suspicious of the candidates and, where possible, opt for the independent.”
Watts has asked the NUJ, on behalf of four candidates – Tim Arnold, Christine Buckley, Michael Cross and himself – to make a formal request to the Electoral Reform Society to extend the voting deadline in the election because of the disruption to postal services.
Watts said: “At least two of the candidates have not received ballot papers. I have had enormous feedback because of that e-mail circular, and it is clear that many members have not yet even received their ballot papers. An extension is vital in the interests of democracy.”


Whealie said...

Why is he not asking every candidate to declare their political beliefs?

We need an editor who will work across political divides, give space to all voices and stand up against vested interests.

I am interested in how candidates will put aside their own views to ensure a truly independent Journalist.

I am less interested in anyone's politics than I am in how they will hold their own views in check.

Watts appears incapable of doing that.

Marc Vallée said...

Mark Watts “campaign” is starting to look more like anti-NUJ then just anti-NUJ Left/Rich Simcox - what is at play here?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Lord Laird of Artigarvan might also ask a question about candidates who fail to specify which of the supporters, listed on their websites, are not actually members of the NUJ, and therefore won't be able to vote.

I've tried twice to get an answer on this on the forum. At the time of writing, Mark Watts is one of the candidates who has yet to respond.

John Jones

Whealie said...

Lord Artigarvan is a cross bench peer. All very independent.

But he is an Ulster Unionist.

When you organise a witch hunt for imaginary reds under the beds and you team up with an Ulster Unionist, you start to look like a right-wing nutter.

David Hoffman said...

Watts isn't STARTING to look like a right-wing nutter. See his other rabid rantings, he's a very well established right-wing nutter.

And his verbal diahorreah isn't the ideal characteristic for an editor.

David Hoffman