Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reading Travelodge: living the life of luxury

Travelodge is probably the anti-thesis of living a sustainable, human scale life. However, the beds are very comfy. Life has conspired against me again and I have lost the notes I made during the day - however I wanted to make some general points about conference process.

Yes! You are right to be excited.

What has always impressed me about the Green Party is its unflinching openness of process allowing members access to every bureacratic decision and influence over how their conferences are run. When deciding what motions get heard first its the members who decide, not some closed committee; When Standing Orders Committee report it is thoroughly discussed in workshops and voted on on conference floor so any controversial or inept decisions are laid open for the members to see; Members decide what fringes occur at conference and they decide
whether they can be bothered to go to them too.

Coming from a more traditional left background this was a real culture shock to me at first - it just seemed crazy to allow members direct possession over their own conference, even when they are a bit silly. But crazy in a lovely, lovely way.

So that means when there is a fringe meeting on policing you get lots of really interesting people attending who feel it's their meeting - even if the person who called it is not *entirely* suited to chair the discussion. When we have a fringe on prostitution we get blazing rows, I mean heated debate, because the person who called the fringe opposes Green Party policy (which is for total decriminalisation) and favours the Swedish Model.

I think this is healthy even though prostitution is the one policy area where I'm utterly bursting with pride as we're the only party in the country to actually talk to prostitutes in formulating policy and have them take part in the writing of that policy. How radical! I've asked a member who's very eloquent on this to write a post for us which I hope we'll see before the weekend.

It's odd being in a democratic party, where members have more say than the executive - and even when it's a total pain in the bum I wouldn't change it for anything.


Sue Luxton said...

I am also in the Travelodge and have a lovely view of the big ring road and a building site out of my window, with the thundering noise of traffic only slightly drowned out by the constantly dripping tap in the bathroom. Definite shortage of cheap independently-run B&Bs in Reading, or at least I couldn't find any online when I was booking accommodation.

Jim Jay said...

Hey Sue, we'll have to travel in together, these places are utterly bizarre