Saturday, September 6, 2008

Things I've not yet blogged about

The last two days have been a bit hectic and more importantly it's been difficult to blog - I'll try to sort that out. Just to fill you in on a few things I've not yet discussed;

- The leadership hustings (which seems weird to discuss now the election's over) including great speeches by Adrian and Caroline and a disappointingly... strange... speech from Ashley who hasn't quite recovered from telling the world on his blog that he wanted to have dinner with Hitler and his subsequent inability to explain why.

- Women only meetings. Almost the first thing to happen at conference was a dispute about two women only meetings that are timetabled for today and tomorrow. This is the women in name group (which is a caucus for women in the party) which starts in less than an hour and the launch of "Green Party Women" tomorrow afternoon.

Sharar Ali, well known face and dapper gent of the party, put it to conference that as an open and inclusive party the Greens should not be excluding members from any meetings it holds at conference. It was one thing to say groups should have a right to get together but another to say that a members conference was not entirely open to the members attending.

Rupert Read and Molly Scott Cato gave good speeches on the rights of groups to have their own space and organise separately at times - in the wider context of the wider party.

However I think it was Hazel Dawe who swung the crowd when she got up and argued that she had not got involved with the women's group precisely because she felt it excluded members. she felt that the "concrete ceiling" in society that presented a barrier to women's advancement did not exist in the Greens, who, in her words, "promote and enable women".

I surprised even myself by abstaining in this vote after hearing the argument and Shahrar (who is standing for the equality and diversity post in the party) won the day my a small, but healthy, margin. So today's meeting will remain women only - as that is established practice in the group - but the launch of the new group would not exclude men, particularly as their would be an associate membership category for supporters.

I still haven't convinced myself either way on this but I'm really glad the debate was raised.

- Much more importantly I was given a 9/11 truth movement leaflet on my way in to conference. It boldly proclaimed that if I dismissed David Icke I would be dismissing the entirety of quantum physics - which sounds like something I do not want to do. Actually, unlike the US party the UK Greens are mercifully free from this sort of rubbish and it really stood out that this was a lone leafletteer on the fringes of the party with no support or resonance among the members.

- Lastly I'll just mention Jean Lambert who I think is a massively overlooked resource in the party. Not just because she's a hard working MEP who does tremendous trade union and refugee work in particular, but because her speech opening conference praised Hugo Chevez, talked of the need for a global vision for a global city (in this case London) and denounced eloquently the "liberalisation" of public services, the arms trade, the BNP. Her whole approach was probably best summed up in the way she tackled GM.

She didn't talk about mutant plants or messing with nature she talked about GM being about corporate power and that we have to oppose them to both protect diversity and the livelihoods of the most vulnerable around the world.

What a star.

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