Party registration – myths, lies, and home truths.

How do you get registered? The short answer is: don’t lie. Obey the law. That’s it; the case is closed! But if you want to learn about how it works and the traps fools walk into, read on, and I’ll give you my uncensored opinion at the end.

The law states that the Electoral Commission (EC) shall register a party as long as its name meets the requirements and it ‘appears’ it has adopted a financial scheme. A constitution must be supplied with a scheme which accurately defines the structure and organisation of the party. Most of the EC’s powers relate to the monitoring of money

Every rejection I have read (and I’ve read many) has been regarding whether or not it appears the scheme has been adopted, contradictions between the scheme and constitution, contradictions with the law, and contradictions with information published on a website or social media. Being consistent and giving the appearance is what some find so difficult.

They do not have the authority to reject on political grounds, only legal grounds. The idea that they arbitrarily prevent parties from registering solely because they have a particular political stripe is a narrative that has been put about by a few people who never show the correspondence to anyone and then ask for money.

The EC rejected 15 out of 17 applications in September (including ‘The Party of Women’), 8 out of 9 in October (including ‘Party of Islam’), and 11 out of 15 in November. Most of the ones that get approved are minor parties who can only stand in parishes, so they have a lot less paperwork to submit and be scrutinised for.

In my opinion, these things happen because the guidance isn’t very clear; they don’t tell you what they want to see, and ordinary people aren’t used to reading directly from legislation and making an argument or correcting mistakes. The EC will not help you with any of this.

Having read all the FOI requests, I have seen no evidence to suggest they reject applications on political grounds. Furthermore, The National Housing Party got registered on the third attempt in 2022, with the rejections being for the same things everyone else gets rejected for. They were registered a second time for Northern Ireland in 2023!

It is true that the EC is difficult to deal with and applies a great deal of scrutiny to anyone who has a profile, which we have suffered. By the end of our application, we had written 11851 words without contradicting ourselves, which is what you would expect for a master’s degree dissertation. Understand that they are just professional bureaucrats working for a quango and act as one would expect. If you abide by the law, keep your nose clean, dot every I and cross every t, you have nothing to fear from them.

What you shouldn’t do:

  • Hide what money you’ve got, where it comes from, and where it goes – Lack of transparency has been a major issue in nationalist circles for at least 20 years.
  • Fail to explain the relationship between the party and a related entity, such as a limited company – If it’s there, be honest about it.
  • Copy someone else’s constitution – It will do you no good if it doesn’t reflect how you operate in reality.
  • Deny you have a membership – a party must have at least two members.
  • Fail to follow the guidance closely, missing something vital.
  • Submit contradictory documentation or contradict what the law says, directly or indirectly.
  • Contradict what you’ve said in the application on your website or elsewhere.
  • Appoint yourself as a petty ruler who can do whatever he wants – the law has rules for changing officers.
  • Try to register emblems or descriptions – It’s not needed for an initial registration, and if you ever thought it was, it means you didn’t do your research.
  • Side-step an issue or try to talk your way out of it – If they find a fault, fix it.
  • Be rude to or harass public servants who are just doing their job – if they have to email you to tell you to stop, you’re going about this wrong.
  • Hide your draft constitution(s) and financial scheme(s) from your members – These are the people who trust you, so you should trust them. If you fail, be honest about why and show them all the correspondence.

What you should do:

  • Form a team of highly competent people with professional backgrounds.
  • Read the PPERA, EC guidance, Eq Act, and EHRC guidance twice over. There is a good example in the last one where a party did something stupid.
  • Read other parties’ constitutions – there may be something to learn.
  • Read FOI correspondence between the EC and other parties – don’t make the same mistakes.
  • Be transparent, especially with finances.
  • Keep it simple, short and sweet, but don’t miss anything.
  • Work as a team – It took us nine days to get our first application together, working late nights and even writing in the passenger seat to & from events. Writing the response to the 1st rejection and getting the 2nd application in was much harder.
  • Be honest with your members – We presented our 1st constitution & financial scheme to our members on a Zoom call and sent it off with their unanimous approval while they watched live. We did similar with amendments in subsequent Extraordinary General Meetings.

Now, with the facts and logic laid out, let’s delve into the opinion as promised…

We can’t tolerate individuals who constantly play the victim card and then have the audacity to solicit donations. If you think like the victim, you’ll start to act like the victim, denying yourself and your people the success you are supposed to strive for.

Those who propagate myths, portraying the state as an insurmountable enemy that we should all flee from… are either defeatists, cowards, larpers, or some combination thereof. Their doom-mongering does our people a terrible disservice. It’s all so tiresome.

Internet losers, “dissident right” larpers, worthless windbags, wormtongued old has-beens or, in some cases, never will be’s… snipe at those who are successful, as though success in politics is intrinsically suspicious and all the “real” people are in the pit with them. I say let them stay there, let them rot, why should we care!

If they don’t have the stomach to do what needs to be done, they should stand aside and keep their forked tongues behind their teeth.

To those fellow travellers who work hard, we respectfully doff the cap, as we know that real politics and the electoral road are hard and that success is rare but all the sweeter when it comes our way.

P.S. I was confident that we would be registered and anticipated the reactions, so this article was drafted months ago and only slightly modified with dates and word counts, and released upon the predicted reactions. It really is that predictable.

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