RESOLVING CONFLICTS BETWEEN MEMBERS
Before completing the form on this page, please remind yourself of the DV Ethos, summarised below and elsewhere on this website. Notwithstanding the usual objections of ‘authoritarianism’, ‘draconianism’, ‘suppression of expression’, etc, etc, originating from persons whose backgrounds to date have never necessitated that they themselves occupy an effective position of leadership and thereby assume the role of having often to make difficult decisions in the short term to which many may object; in order to foster in the longer term an operational environment that facilitates cohesion, focus and the elimination of destructive distractions that in no way contribute towards the organisation’s growth or achievement of its goals, it is one of the many responsibilities of leadership to ensure that an operational ethos is established and maintained.
Where a member feels, after careful consideration, unable to respect the organisation’s operational ethos, it is presently deemed advantageous to all parties that the member works harmoniously with the leadership to effect their withdrawal from the party as gently, graciously and cheerfully as possible, and without delay. Where, however, it is suggested that the operational ethos established by the leadership may not agree with the will of the majority of the membership, prior to their withdrawal the member is invited formally to propose amendment to any part of the DV Ethos as published presently on the website, and to campaign for the membership to support such amendment, through the DV Direct voting facility.
1. Humour and Humility
1.1 We’re all human and we all make errors, daily. We all therefore need to be corrected and contradicted from time to time. Our leadership team is not interested in people being continually right. We want patriotic grafters who are not afraid to make mistakes or get criticised. We need people who don’t get offended or take it personally when they’re asked (albeit, politely and respectfully) to change course or correct an error. We don’t want people to take it as an insult or as a personal criticism when they’re asked to comply in this.
1.2 The leadership believes that working relationships function more fluidly, and much more cheerfully, if we accept criticism with humility and humour. We’re all on a learning curve at every level in the party. We all have a great deal to learn if we’re going to stand any chance of becoming the government of the UK; but proud people are impossible to teach. Remember: if you’re asked to do this role, you’re already trusted and respected and someone who is competent and committed. You therefore have nothing to prove, and nothing to fear if you suspect that someone is trying to step on your toes.
1.3 If there’s someone to get advice from that you think probably knows a little more than you do, please ask them for help. If you admit where your weaknesses lie, you’ll be respected for this and you’ll be leading by example by encouraging even more honesty amongst the leadership team – which makes life less complicated for everyone.
2.1 Let things go. There’s an old proverb that says something to the effect: “Where no wood is supplied, the fire goes out. Likewise, where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.” Most of the time, nobody really cares who is technically right or wrong. We all make errors and there’s nothing honourable, helpful or constructive in being the person that compiles the longest list of everyone else’s errors and makes sure that everyone else knows about them. No-one respects this.
2.2 When someone is in the wrong, please approach that person privately, in a spirit of humility and gentleness – remembering that we all have our personal pride, and it’s initially a little uncomfortable for everyone when they’re contradicted. If that person doesn’t respond the way you want them to, please give them a little time and see whether they’ve come round to your way of thinking in their own time. If you’re pushy or aggressive, you’re more likely to provoke them to adopt their original stance even more insistently than in the first place. If things start moving in this direction, please think really carefully about whether the matter is really important enough to merit being escalated. In most cases, it probably isn’t.
2.3 If you need to escalate things, please use the proper channels, always approaching the respective member in private, never exposing the person’s alleged faults openly. If you disregard this request, no matter how intelligent or otherwise useful you are, you make yourself an enemy of cohesion and team morale and you’ll be advised that the rest of the team is not capable of accommodating you.
2.4 Remember that we’re here to serve others, not ourselves. We don’t expect any thanks or recognition. The honour and privilege is in having the opportunity to serve others, not in receiving thanks, praise or recognition for anything we do. This being so, please remember some very old advice that has always stood our forebears in excellent stead: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than themselves.
3. Self Discipline and Motivation
3.1 Doing good for others under your own steam very often looks like a thankless task. With the best intentions possible, it will often seem like you’re creating more enemies than friends and you’ll be attacked frequently, often without ever really understanding why. The sad reality is that one of the fastest ways to create enemies is to start helping others. We therefore need determined people who are confident that what they are doing is right and who are sufficiently emotionally robust to continue outputting, even when they’re getting criticised by those close to them.
4. Pursuing Excellence
4.1 There are currently no career politicians amongst the Democrats and Veterans, and we hope things stay this way. This does however mean that we are all finding our way, probing the boundaries of what’s possible and doing our best in circumstances where our opposition have far more resources and much more experience. However, we do what we do because the established parties, notwithstanding all their resources and experience, are badly missing the mark. They are betraying the people’s trust and serving very different masters to the people they should be serving: the people of Britain who elected them to their positions and who pay their salaries through taxation.
4.2 We therefore have a massive mission ahead of us, a mission that would daunt and discourage those who did not care about Britain as much as we do. What we’re committed to is incredibly ambitious: replacing Representative Democracy in Britain with Direct Democracy and thereby transferring power from a corrupt and contemptuous elite into the hands of the British people. We do not choose this ambition because we like a challenge; we accept this mission because it is a necessity. There is no other way to fix Britain, politically speaking. Our democracy has been hijacked and no longer serves its purpose.
4.3 Starting out as a little team of patriots with no resources, we therefore have to learn to combine our respective strengths and skills as efficiently and effectively as humanly possible, and to work as the most cohesive team ever known to political history. Doing this is going to involve working incredibly hard, sticking our necks out, taking many risks and getting a lot of flak.
5.1 Success is impossible to achieve without making mistakes. If we need to succeed fast, we need to be willing to increase the rate at which we’re willing to make mistakes. And when one of the team errs, you can be sure that there will be no shortage of people outside the leadership team to try to punish us for these mistakes. There’s no need to duplicate their efforts. So, when one of your colleagues makes a mistake, please always let them know straight away that you’re there for them. Be ready to show them support and understanding and to help them correct the error and make amends – if that’s possible. Support them in the way that you would want to be supported by people you knew you could trust, if roles were reversed and you were the one who had made this mistake.
5.2 While we all enjoy being right, in the overwhelming majority of cases the leadership is far less interested in whether someone is right or wrong in any particular instance, than in whether that person is loyal to the rest of the team, because while we can survive nearly any kind of mistakes that are made, while united we will conquer, divided we will fall. Any conduct or attitude that communicates the idea that a team member prioritises being proven to be right ahead of being loyal to the rest of the team will indicate to the leadership that that person is better suited somewhere other than in a position of leadership within the Democrats and Veterans.
5.3 Nearly all decisions will please some people and disappoint others. The leadership will inevitably make some decisions that you don’t agree with. When this happens, please express your concerns and arguments – as forthrightly as you need to – privately to the person responsible for making that decision. If however, in spite of your advice a decision is made that contradicts your view, even if you think the decision-maker is making a big mistake, we need you to discipline yourself to bite your lip and let the matter go. Once something is a fait accompli, nothing constructive is accomplished by revisiting the matter continually. The only outcome will be that you will quickly get a reputation for disloyalty and divisiveness, and there will be calls throughout the team to recommend an alternative environment in which to exploit your ability to see a person’s (alleged) faults.
(When You Just Can’t Live With a Decision)
5.4 And of course, having thought really hard and had a few nights to sleep on the question, if you are convinced your response is proportionate and the decision to which you object is so heinous that it erodes the moral character of the entire party to a lower level than an alternative political organisation towards whose work you could contribute, please leave with dignity, discretion, and good grace and enable those you leave behind always to be able to describe you with a clear conscience as a person of honour and principle, someone they respect, and not as an attention-seeking, self-righteous trouble-maker.
6. Remember Who the Real Enemy Is
6.1 “That trenchant blade ‘Toledo Trusty’, for want of fighting was grown rusty, and ate into itself for lack of somebody to hew and hack.” That old poem should never be forgotten by those committed to fighting the Establishment. For those of us who know that it is only by confronting wrongdoing that the status quo can ever be changed, and who therefore have the habit of conflict, it is not uncommon to find ourselves directing our aggression at entirely the wrong people, and shamefully, even towards those who fight alongside us and share our cause – to whom we should properly owe loyalty and respect.
6.2 DV doesn’t want internal conflicts, and if and when we see you becoming embroiled in bitter infighting, we will ask you to stand down and take some time out until such time as you remember who the real enemy is. You may feel like you have perfectly justified and highly principled reasons for attacking one of your colleagues for something they’ve said or done, but we simply cannot afford to tolerate this – however strongly you may feel.
6.3 Please keep your powder dry and save all your aggression and focus for the real enemy – those enemies of democracy that we exist to remove.