23 September 2006

Coming Up To Speed -- Green Party Conference

I think that I've nearly learnt how to conference.

It really is a verb, since I needed to quickly work out what acronyms mean: SOC was the standing orders committee (the quasi-judicial body that is constantly called upon to rule on, well, the rules), RON, re-open nominations (a kind of none of the above when the Green Party is electing its committee members and executive for the coming year).

I've participated in workshops to discuss and work out motions that will be voted on later in conference. I've gone to fringe meetings, raised voting cards umpteen times (yellow on Friday, blue for Saturday) and am now standing for membership on the editorial board of Green World, the quarterly magazine for the party. I suppose my only regret so far is being very quiet. I keep thinking, it's my first conference, I'll keep two ears open and one mouth closed, but then I see other people who are at their first conference speaking, or I see people who just talk and talk and talk without saying much at all.

The most valuable fringe meetings have been the sessions where we've discussed how to try to win over voters from the Tories and from Labour. Blogging about the tactics we discussed would kind of defeat the point. Suffice to say that it will be political jujitsu, we'll be using what they think are their strongest points against them.

The other two sessions that were interesting were on:

- prostitution (is it a human right to sell your body if you choose, or a human right to prevent women from doing so ... do you have a policy of straight legalisation, brothels in residential areas with four prostitutes banding together, having a receptionist, having a buzzer and a lockable front door ... or a policy that allows that but sets a moral tone and urges programmes to get women out of prostitution as a long-term goal?), and on,

- the party policy on culture, media and sport (gender discrimination in sport; how can we set a media policy in stone when media is changing so fast, i.e. how advanced will online TV be in a year; how do you support local bands and live music venues as a Green councillor; how do you achieve the democratisation of art).

The other thing that I'm discovering is Brighton itself. I'd been here twice before (the last time being in Feb 2004). There are some amazing places to eat and shop (Taz, Planet Janet) that support fair trade goods and organic vegan lifestyles, and there's public transport everywhere, from taxis to buses to cycles to tuk-tuks, and on the buses, there are slogans, Shop Local, This Bus Reduces Emissions, etc.


Anonymous said...

Hi Scott
Good blog, didn't get to speak to you at conference, but think we spoke at AGC conference. Glad you survived your first GP conference. When do you find out if you're on the Green World editorial board? I've put a link to this from my blog, btw.

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