Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sellwood's view....

Just a few brief thoughts from Conference as I sit here in my tiny hotel room, listening to the intriguing sounds of a Blackpool Saturday night.

1) It's really nice to be at a Conference when I don't have any official duties, where there isn't anything enormously contentious being discussed, and when I've been in the Party long enough to know over half the people in the venue. I've been mostly wandering around, having cups of tea, organising informal meetings with people, and doing favours for those who look more harried than me. An excellent way to do Conference, I think!

2) Some good motions have been passed, and some useful fringe meetings put on. In particular, motions CO1 (deepening the Green New Deal) and CO2 (adopting European Green Party migration statement) were both progressive, helpful and overwhelmingly supported. As ever, the fringe meetings have illustrated the great depth of knowledge available in the Party - with sessions on 'reframing Green politics' (featuring a video appearance from my old boss, George Marshall) and 'beyond the Green New Deal' particularly intriguing. Although it should be said that the latter was absolutely terrifying - the figures on how deep a hole capitalism has dug itself into are very very very worrying indeed.

3) I've also spent some time, as is my wont, critiquing the things that we need to do better as Greens. I asked a couple of questions at GPEX Question Time, mainly revolving around my favourite subject of internal democracy/transparency/accountability. I was promised, directly, that GPEX minutes would start to go up onto the members website, and that a new and widely publicised GPEX announcement elist would be set up. I wait with baited breath. As well as this, the still somewhat timid (in comparison to what needs to happen, though obviously still miles ahead of any of the mainstream parties) Green New Deal proposals need a lot of work - both in terms of radicalising them so that we ensure a massively better deal for the poorly paid* and in terms of democraticising them so that we use this opportunity to call for economic democracy in the workplace.

4) Of course, it wouldn't be Conference if I wasn't worked up about at least a few things. One of these is D04, due to be discussed on Monday. This would introduce a provision whereby motions introduced by 'official Party bodies' would have primacy in prioritisation over motions introduced by grassroots members. Clearly, this cannot be allowed to pass and I will be speaking strongly against it. The other thing is a throwaway line by the Chair of GPEX in answering a question, which bodes ill for my blood pressure at Autumn Conference. It sounds very much as if he is intending to bring a motion to that conference proposing 2 year terms for all members of GPEX. Those who remember my (failed) fight against 2 year rather than 1 year terms for our Leader/Deputy Leader will not be surprised to hear that I am already determined to oppose such a measure, should it appear.

Well, I suspect that is all my poor, strained wireless connection can stand. I'll try to post another update on Monday!

* Which, of course, is one of the best ways to stimulate the economy...not that New Labour would realise this in a month of Sundays.

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