Saturday, 9 June 2007


I've been getting involved in arguments on another blog - an NUJ group on Facebook - with people who accuse me and other broadcasters of being undemocratic. They maintain that it is only BBC staff who are making a fuss about the boycott of Israel and that we have no right to try to overturn what was a democratic decision taken at ADM. I have pointed out that Reuters, The Observer, Manchester and Belfast branches are among those who've also joined this campaign. If I felt that this policy was backed by the majority of NUJ members - those who don't make it to branch meetings - then I would have kept quiet. But I believe most union members would rather the NUJ left them to decide themselves where they stood on international - and domestic - political conflicts. Am I right?

Here's an example of the criticism:

"Simply because not every member or delegate to ADM works at a major broadcaster doesn't make them less aware of the subject matter or a bunch of radicals with some 'agenda'. The fact that the campaign to overturn this democratically taken decision is overwhelmingly led and followed by BBC workers is getting a little worrisome. Frankly, whatever one's opinion on this matter, who are the BBC workers in the NUJ to have some veto over the rest of the union?

The motion was taken in a democratic fashion, as was the election of the delegates who voted for or against the motion. The motion was in the agenda, which every member was sent (electronically) and one can only assume thus that in fact the membership did support the motion if they elected delegates who then voted in its favour. That's representative democracy. Going outside democratic channels, as this campaign is doing, is the real threat to democracy in the union.

In the end, for Pete's sake, a boycott is completely non-violent. We're talking Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. here. It's not like we've passed a motion to organise fundraising disco house-parties for Hezbollah or something.

I really don't understand what all the fuss is about."

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