Monday, March 26, 2007

What did you think?

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the final day so I'd be really interested to hear what people thought about that - or any other observations about conference.

How did it compare to Brighton? What did you think of the leadership debate? Where do we go from here?

I was really pleased with the emergency motion on defending council housing and that the motion I sponsored on ALMOs was passed... but how do we get councillors to go along with this?

Some Greens have already blogged on conference. Greenman, for example, talks about motions, and possible consequences of conference. Ruscombe Green talks about the localisation debates. Peter mentions the leadership debate.
Noel Lynch talks about supermarkets and Mark talks about the Corrib project.

Let me know if you've blogged on this and I'll add you to the list.


Matt Sellwood said...

I left Conference very conflicted!

On the one hand, it was much much much more civil and mature than I had thought it would be. Almost without exception, the debates were rational, enlightening and polite. So that was a real positive. I was also delighted that the motion on ALMOs was passed with a healthy majority, and that the leadership referendum process was begun.

So far so good. However - I was very upset that the leadership proposal that will go to the membership includes the abolition of annual elections for our leaders, in favour of elections once every two years. I feel strongly that this is a step backwards in terms of accountability, and it probably means that I will vote 'no' in the referendum. Which is a bit of a blow given that I've put in quite a lot of work to get a referendum in the first place!

The other thing that left me conflicted was the point that you raise, Jim - 'how do we get councillors to go along with this'? Conference is a marvellously democratic experience - but it means little more than a Labour Party Conference unless our policy really is binding on our elected representatives. I think that is the thing I will be working on over the next few months.


alan howe said...

Jeez, you wait for a post then 14 turn up at once!!! it might take a while for me to assimilate all this.

Xhris said...

Not there for the last day? Well the motion to abolish proxy votes fell so comfortably it didn't need to be counted (20-60 or something), but after proxy votes it went through by about 90-70. Not the most pleasant motion, but people remained amazingly respectful despite most people who'd heard the debate feeling "robbed"!

Jim Jay said...

Matt: yes, excellent on ALMOs and bad news on annual elections although I couldn't in all conscience vote for the motion on votes of confidence as its an accident waiting to happen.

I think this other point about traction between various organs of theparty including the membership is really improtant needs to be looked at - in my view

Alan: I know what you're sying although in my defence I wrote more posts for Brighton's conference!

xhris: i would have voted for the proxy motion I think, and attended the workshop on it. It was friendly but I was worried that some "inappropriate" arguments might get put forward. It sounds like that might have happened.

Natalie Bennett said...

On the final day the updating of the international policy - important if not terribly sexy stuff - was a model of conference efficiency and goodwill ... worth noting.

As for the proxy debate; I know some have questioned if the proxies were given for this purpose, but surely by choosing to give someone your proxy you are expressing your approval of the process?

Jim Jay said...

On proxies I think that transparency is really key when taking decisions on national policy and constitution, etc. something which the proxies can't provide.

Because the system is one of trust it also seems to tend towards creating distrust and I'm very uncomfortable when i hear people talking about a vote as if it was stitched up, because there is no evidence either way.

To remove that element of doubt and to help those who lose votes to lose gracefully I think the proxy system needs to be curtailed - although i'd be as happy with limitting people to 2 rather than 5 or perhaps sending proxies direct to SOC with the specific motions/amendments on them.

pete murry said...

I don't think giving a proxy necessarily means assenting to the principle, it could be done pragmatically eg I vote in westminster and other fptp elections because its the vote I got not because Ithink the electoral arrangements are in principle fair.