Monday, September 06, 2010

Conference highlights

This Friday sees the start of the Green Party's Birmingham conference and it looks set to be the largest in living memory with a record number of pre-bookings on top of our surging membership since the election.

I thought I'd highlight a few of the fringes and events that are going on that particularly interest me.

* Friday at 7pm in the New Lecture Theatre Afghanistan: What now?

I'm looking forward to hearing our new MEP Keith Taylor speak as well as Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, and Jonathan Goodhand from Afghan Aid.

* Friday night 8pm in "the bar" there will an informal bloggers' meet up. Come and chat to us, a good chance to ask basic questions or just have a rant about what you think bloggers should be doing.

* Saturday 3pm in the New Lecture Theatre there will be the first ever official Green World hosted fringe on electoral reform.

I'll be chairing a debate on what stance the Green Party should take on the probable referendum next year. We'll have a speaker from Unlock Democracy for a yes vote and a green stalwart for the no's.

* Saturday 6pm in the main hall there's a panel on public sector cuts with the excellent Salma Yaqoob of Respect, Billy Hayes the General Secretary of CWU and Adrian Ramsay.

* Sunday 12 noon in Lecture Room 2 I'll be attending, as a birthday treat, Sex workers speak on the need for complete decriminalisation of all aspects of prostitution.

I'm really proud that the party takes its policies on sex workers directly from what workers in those industries want, by actually speaking to them rather than just about them. It would be a great shame if we were to adopt the paternalistic and reactionary liberalism on this issue that others would like us to.

* On Monday at 1 pm, in Lecture Room 1, there will will be a science working group fringe on science funding policy.

We have a really impressive line up of speakers with Imran Khan - Director of Campaign for Science and Engineering, Frank Swain - Science Writer and Journalist and Stuart Parkinson - Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility. I think this is going to be a cracker!

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