This week’s meeting of the Federal Executive could have been a fractious affair as we were discussing both the future of Spring Conference and the future of the interim peers’ panel. In the end, it was very consensual and amicable. We also passed next year’s Federal Party budget, talked about membership (growing) and the S/AO Group, of which I’m a member, reported on its work. We are trying to develop a tool kit to help S/AOs along the lines that they’ve been feeding back to us that they would like to see. We’re also wanting to be more proactive about communicating with S/AOs and keeping in touch with what they are doing.
Obviously, there are limits to what I can say on a public blog about FE’s deliberations, but if you are a party member and you have questions, please contact me privately on Facebook, Twitter (@caronmlindsay) or by email caronsmusingsATgooglemailDOTcom.
Even those who had initially advocated a big change to the format of Spring conference noted that the consensus in the party was opposed. Both Federal Policy Committee and Federal Conference Committee had rejected the idea of reducing the event to one day as had the majority of the responses to the consultation. We decided in the end to look at ways of encouraging digital engagement to allow more people to take part and at ways of reducing costs without altering the format.
I had been very keen that no changes should be made without Conference’s say so. It would have been ludicrous for us as FE to have made a decision about Conference in 2016 when there was plenty time to take that to Conference. The point was made, though, that those who couldn’t go to Conference wouldn’t have a say in that. In all the years I couldn’t go to Federal Conference, I never once thought it shouldn’t happen. Affordability wasn’t the major issue for me, although it was certainly part of the story.
On the interim peers panel, a motion from the FE will be brought to Spring Conference in York. I can’t tell you the wording because it’s going to be redrafted taking into account the views expressed at the meeting. I think that Sue Doughty’s committee have done some excellent work on this, balancing all the views they’ve had from across the party. They’ve come up with something that should make the system more democratic and that the leader is more likely to use. I spoke in favour of wording that gave the leader slightly less wiggle room. However, Nick has shown more willing on this than any leader before him and I’m sure that he will embrace the new system once it’s up and running. I just wanted to make sure that any future leader would get the message that the party values this method of choosing our peers.I also feel that there is a very strong case for appointing a much greater proportion of women to help redress the appalling imbalances elsewhere.
Anyway, here are mine and others’ tweets from the occasion, collected in a nice Storify thingy.