Friday, September 22, 2006

Crash land

Considering the crash accommodation was a floor in a church hall things weren't too bad.

Around twenty men and a couple of women packed into what became a rather cozy sleeping arrangement (steady... steady...) and good fortune smiles upon me - my sleeping bag turned up again. Whether I'll be able to withstand this until Sunday, who knows with my back... at my age... with my back. Anyway I feel pretty chipper on it.

Green Party conference, just like any other, has the debates and workshops, but a lot of the real action takes place over coffee, beer and hummus in the halls and dining areas around the venue. It's been a really useful experience on many levels talking to committed and experienced left wing activists from a very different tradition. Although parts of these conversations have been frightening to say the least.

Conference is either really difficult to understand or just chaos with a just thin veneer of structure, designed mainly to confuse. I'm still at a loss to work out the logic of their national election procedures which mean that male principle speaker will be elected by a members postal ballot and all the other posts (including female principle speaker) will be elected at conference. Anyway I had the fright of my life when someone asked me to go on the national executive.

I was like "We've just met, you barely know me! Are you just asking everyone you talk to?!?!?" Thankfully I'm not allowed as you have to be a member for two years but the principle just seems nuts.

Ed mentioned in an earlier comment that the beard factor was still far too high. It's been something I've been looking out for, and I think it's reasonably fair to say 10% of the delegates have just arrived from middle earth and any one of them could weave a long, strong rope with their fulsome beards. That's a far lower percentage than I was expecting.

During the local elections in Cambridge the CEN published pictures of all candidates for all wards and in almost every case you could tell who the Green Party candidate was without reading the caption. What came as something of a relief is that a full 90% of delegates *appear* not to be nutters at all and come within an acceptable spectrum of *normal looking*. God bless them.

The same cannot be said of the food which consists of unidentifiable heaps of something unspeakably vegan. My recommendation is to go to Planet Janet for breakfast who do a lovely poached egg on toast. I notice they also do massage and the dreaded Reiki - which is an odd combination but maybe useful after the more stressful sessions (not for me obviously)

Another thing I realised about delegates today was that more than half of them are women. Now *that* is unusual, although it is also predominantly white (not wholly you understand).

Much talk of Newsnight today - if people just learned to behave it would not have happened!

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