Thursday, February 18, 2010

Green Party conference: Day One

Had an excellent start to Green Party conference today. The first day as always had a good helping of admin and agenda tickling as members had their say on how their conference was run. It sounds nightmarish but it actually works very well. Good stuff this democracy.

We still had time to debate and pass some really interesting motions, although the first vote of the day was when few delegates had arrived and on whether a particular motion was in order or not. The vote was a cliff hanging 41 to 40 - woo!

So the Green Party now supports a maximum wage, like they have in Norway I believe, where the highest earners in a company can only earn a maximum of ten times the lowest paid and we're for introducing a cap on mega-bonuses.

We passed a motion on 'marriage equality' saying that we're for partners of whatever sex opting for civil partnerships or marriages. We also "support an end to the ban on civil partnerships being conducted in places of worship".

We passed the much awaited science enabling motion which allows for an entire rewrite of our science and technology policy chapter - which is going to involve quite a lot of work over the next year. Later in the conference we'll be voting on some of those policies straight away and the rewrite of our health policy which may contain some contentious elements.

We also backed Billy Bragg's campaign against RBS bonuses and the BMA and RCN campaigns on the NHS.

There were also a number of interesting workshops and fringes. I went to a whole swathe of animal discussions in preparation for tomorrow's motions, which I'll write about when we get to them and the science workshops which were really heartening and I'm hoping for more good news to come.


Dave Ludlam said...

Thanks for great blog.Can't be there, but am a member if GP and would really like to know if anyone is raising the issue if the Chinese nuclear poisoning of Tibet? Cheers Dave Ludlam
@chalkface2009 on Twitter

David Cox said...

Have you gone for a set figure for a maximum wage, or a differential between top and bottom earners? I know Denmark uses a differential, I didn’t know Norway does the same – I’ll ask my very clever cousin who is a professor at Bergen University.

ModernityBlog said...

Dave Ludlam,

Have you got anything else on China's nuclear poisoning of Tibet?

I had a quick scan across Google but can you recommend some authoritive web sites/blogs on the topic?

I am very interested in this.

Thanks :)

Jim Jepps said...

David: yes it is ten times what the lowest earners in the company earn - so in order to increase this level the lowest paid need to be increased too.

I believe this is the formula Norway use but haven't had time to explore this yet. Really interesting debate and I was pleasantly surprised when Darren Johnson got up and made a rousing speech on the subject.

David Cox said...

So Jim, you haven’t really supported a maximum wage as most people would understand it, but the much more sensible Danish model; less sexy as a policy, but more likely to achieve greater equality, and less easy to undo.

I think we had a good debate about it on your blog in October (you are very tolerant about that sort of thing)

I hope my comments haven’t inadvertently given people policy ideas for the GPEW!

I think you are on to a winner with this policy, it will appeal to the British public’s innate sense of fairness, and it has been proved not to hamper innovation or enterprise in Denmark.

Jim Jepps said...

No David - you deserve all the credit!

You're right it's not a maximum wage in the same way that we have a national minimum wage but I think it's a reasonable description.

I'm actually quite looking forward to being attacked on this! (not here, in the press obviously)

David Cox said...

If that’s true, I’ll throw myself of the fish quay when the tide comes in!

I image the media will totally misrepresent the policy claim that X number of celebrities/footballers/businessmen will be forced to leave the country taking their talent/skill/business with them. There will be a large picture of said celebrities/footballers/businessmen, ‘cos that’s what sells newspapers!