Saturday, September 6, 2008

Regional Tables, PR and Fundraising

- So far, grumble grumble, I don't like the venue for conference this year. I'm not going to say I hate it, since, well, buildings have feelings. But in past conferences, there's been a cafe with food in the building. And, in the plenary hall, we've had tables for people to meet others from their region, and we don't this year. The plenary tables seem to be, especially, a good way for Young Greens to network. Bring back the regional tables, and I'll turn my frown upside down!

- I had an interesting chat with the "Unlock Democracy" stall about PR. I asked if people who had more PR than England (i.e. in England, we only vote PR for Euro elections) favour PR for Westminster. He didn't know. It's something to look into. Their steering group has Labour, Lib Dem and Green members, but the Tories seem to show nada/no/zilch interest in PR. To secure PR in Westminster elections, or at least in all local elections (not just in Scotland), we're going to have to rely on the Lib Dems and a hung parliament (i.e. using a promise of PR in local elections to secure their support in a coalition government, whether that is Lib Dem-Tory, or Lib-Lab). PR in local elections in Scotland has led to 8 local Green councillors in Glasgow and Edinburgh combined.

- The report from our Treasurer was interesting this morning. Don't get me wrong. Khalid Hussenbux has been a star. But, due to some penetrating questions about the "Westminster Fund," it came to light that the party has hired a fundraiser as an independent contractor. There will be a five-person panel set up to scrutinise any donations proposed/accepted, but there has been (by whom?) a decision not to elect people to this panel, and the fellow is already employed without a panel put in place. The idea is to raise a substantial amount of money from people who are not currently members. This is a great idea! Our entire elections budget is the same as what the Tories spend in one target constitutency! We need more fundz to be able to secure 4 MEPs and 2 MPs over the next 2 years. But, there had been no detail in the entire report from GPEX and in the Treasurer's report specifically. Fundraising needs to be more transparent. Heck, if this had been more widely known, it could motivate grassroots members who feel the party needs more funds to compete on a more equal playing field.

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